What is a code-3 car?
For those who don't know, here is an explanation of what a code-3 car is. While I'm at it, I might as well try to explain the difference between the codes. This explanation is based on information I picked up* years back, completed with more that I picked since then. Beware, many talk about code 3 when they mean code 2!
Code 1 unchanged as made by the manufacturer on sale for the general public.
Code 2 altered with full permission by the manufacturer.
Code 4 made by the manufacturer without intention of selling.
Code 3 customized for an event or a promotion.
Code 1 models completely produced by the original manufacturer, in this case Mattel. Generally these models can be bought by anyone in retail stores. But it also includes limited edtions that were not made available to everybody, e.g. the 2005 Comics Con.
Code 2 models were originally code 1 models, but they have been altered by a third party with full permission of, even assistance by, the original manufacturer, e.g. the 1993 Shell Purple Passion.
Code 3 models were also code-1 models, but they have been altered by a third party without the permission of the original manufacturer for a specific event, like a club car , convention or company promotion, e.g. the 2009 Circus Circus Super Convention '49 Merc.
My addition to Code 3 is that, were I have the info, I'll differentiate three types.
Code 3A are made for a specific event authorized/commissioned by the event organizers, e.g. the 2006 Nationals Button Bingo cars.
Code 3B are made for a specific event and sold or given away at the event, but not commissioned by the organizers. More than just a few should be made, e.g. the 2009 Osaca Kustomizers Syndicate cars.
Code 3C are all others.
Code 4 models were produced by the manufacturer, but were never intended to be released to the general public. These models could be proto-types, one-offs, "employee specials" (Friday afternoons), for presentations or for commemoratives, e.g. the 1993 Happy Holidays Purple Passion and Toy Fairs.
Custom models are all models not altered by original manufacturer. Generally anyone's handywork in altering a model for his/her own pleasure or for trade. Code 3B and 3C are considered as these Customs too, leaving only 3A as what most see as a code 3.
*Here is a link to one of the Matchbox sources.
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