As mentioned earlier, the folks at Lesney had begun to move the MoYY line up from mostly trucks and other, more industrial vehicles, towards a car-centric theme. This continued into the 1960s as more models were introduced and others retired. This model, the 1929 4.5L Supercharged Bentley is quite interesting in that it is also a replacement: for itself!
The first Y5 was introduced in 1956, and was one of the very few cars in the lineup. It was, however, the same car, a 1929 4.5L Supercharged Bentley LeMans racer! So, then, what were the guys at Lesney thinking? What was the point of replacing Y5 with a new version of itself? Well, as modellers, we can certainly appreciate the value of an updated mould and better reproduction, right? So could the folks at the Lesney company. The 4.5L Supercharged (hence the “S” in the designation) Bentley is another of those iconic British cars, well-loved and much sought after by enthusiasts. Fans of old autos in England would hold the car in much the same regard as we in North America have a thing for Smokey and the Bandit Trans Ams. At the time of issue, this MoYY would have represented a car as old as the S’n’B T/A is to us right now, too, interestingly enough!
Because of this love for the 4.5(S), it was felt that the original casting didn’t quite do the job, so a new version was issued. Y5-2 has a lot of changes made; in fact, NOTHING is the same besides the colour and type of car. Y5-2 is larger than the original; the scale is 1/52 vs. 1/55 (there’s that Valkyrie scale again!) and there is a lot more detail. Headlights, a window frame, Union Jack decals and truly spoked wheels are all highlights and improvements. The original Y5 had wheels that appeared to be finely spoked, but were actually solid. The Dashboard is surprisingly well-detailed, as well. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to notice this until you get a macro-set camera and a flash on the thing. However, Lesney deserves credit for putting a lot of work into something that most people likely wouldn’t ever notice!
(Modeller’s note: a wash would have worked wonders on them. Collector’s note: NEVER repaint, alter or apply washes to a classic toy. This is collecting heresy, and if you are stoned to death, you have only yourself to blame! I will be the first to toss a rock!)
This casting is also different because it has a one-piece plastic part for the tonneau cover and seats, whereas this was metal on the original and the seats were painted red (sometimes) but the cover was green. There’s a later version of this car that does have the green interior and cover, though, just to confuse things. The Bentley is adorned, like the Bugatti Type 35, with a racing number that is also its Y number, in this case 5. However, there is a version with a number of 3. No, I don’t know why.
The box on this example is of a more advanced type than the Bugatti’s, and is from a bit later. It is also the first kind of box to boldly call out that this car is, indeed, a Matchbox. In fact, it’s interesting to note the evolution of the boxing; By this time, it was more important that it was a Matchbox than was previously the case; the Matchbox writing actually takes centre stage! Note too the much more elaborate artwork, as well as the newly decorated end flaps. While this looks awesome, it’s not free. This version of the Bentley cost $1.15, which is almost 2.5 times the 1959 price for the earlier Y5 at $0.49! Updates don’t come cheap, I guess!
There’s still a description on the back of the box, but it’s in several langauges. This is likely an “international” package, the same way that a lot of toys, like Transformers, are packaged now. I don’t know if there’s a version of this box with only English on one side, but this one is likely meant for sale all through Europe and over here, in the multilingual “colonies”. Still, it’s a handy little writeup, and still with the scale callout.