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Making childhood Matchbox dreams a reality

Recently, the team from Matchbox South Africa invited the AutoTrader team to bring along one of our dream vehicles to Sun City, where the Mattel-owned brand would host us as part of its 'Drive Your Dream Car' challenge. By Sean Nurse

AUTO TRADER SA Published: 3 February 2022, 08:44



1/5 Photos Photo Grid

Nostalgia can be a powerful feeling, as something that reminds us of our childhood or a fond memory from the distant past, instantly flooding our brain with a feel-good emotion that is difficult to replicate anywhere else. This writer experienced this very emotion recently when Mattel Inc, owners of brands such as Hot Wheels and indeed, Matchbox asked the AutoTrader team if we would be interested in taking part in its 'Drive Your Dream Car' challenge. Being blissfully unaware that Matchbox was still around, and having consoled myself with browsing for Hot Wheels at my local supermarket when looking to get my mini model car fix, imagine my surprise when a more concerted effort to find the Matchbox cars I remember from my childhood yielded a large display are filled with the brand's more realistic take on small models at my local toy store. The premise for the 'Drive Your Dream Car' challenge was simple since you can find almost any exciting vehicle in Matchbox guise, the brand is trying to communicate an aspirational message that purchasing a smaller and indeed, more affordable in this case, version of your dream car from Matchbox can lead to a goal of one day making owning the real-life version of your Matchbox car a reality. The GR Yaris Since the brand invited us to literally drive our dream car as part of this challenge, we approached Toyota to ask if they would be willing to part with one of its GR Yaris press vehicles for a few days as the WRC homologation project is certainly one of our dream vehicles. The specific GR Yaris that arrived was wrapped in the brand's e-sports racing livery and was the Rally spec version, which adds lightweight BBS alloy wheels, stickier rubber as well as front and rear limited-slip differentials, among others. Powering the 1 280kg Yaris is one of the most powerful turbocharged three-cylinder engines ever produced, with 198kW and 360Nm of torque available. This potent motor is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and a trick four-wheel drive system which all came in handy during what proved to be a wet few days behind the wheel as our AutoTrader photographer and I made our way to Sun City. Piloting the car through to Sun City to attend an event arranged by a brand from our childhood felt as if we had come full circle, and that was rather special. For more information about the Toyota GR Yaris Rally, be sure to check out our (2021) video review. Related: Toyota GR Yaris colours and price guide Toyota GR Yaris (2021) first drive - Why you don't need a GTI Toyota GR Yaris test drive: make sure to check these features out

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