I come from a car family! Both of my grandfathers owned car dealerships, one a Chevy and the other a Pontiac. My dad worked for 27 years for American Motors so that’s what most of my collection is made up of. OK, I’ll admit, there were some crummy cars they produced but also lots of cool ones. And since the company is gone there are not any promo models made which means some of the ones I have are worth a lot of money.
Collecting these can be a hoot. If you remember having these as a kid, or even if you like the actual cars, it is nice to hold a piece of automotive history in your hand. Some cars you can get fairly inexpensive, others not so much because of their rarity. The fun is in the searching. Either way, vintage models are out there. You can find them at local swap meets or online stores such as eBay.
These cars still though cost a whole lot less to have an collect than the real deals. Dealer promos are among the most valuable, most sought-after scale model cars ever made. These were usually available through the parts counter at the dealerships that sold the actual cars. They were often molded or painted in the same colors available on the real cars and sometimes came in various body styles. They were meant as an incentive to help sell real cars. Of course, most of them ended up in the hands of little boys instead of locked away in dad’s display case, so condition becomes an issue when looking at a 60-year-old plaything. I can attest to that. How many promo models my dad brought home became experiments for rocket powered, burned up to see how much smoke I they could produce or blown up just because it was cool. If I had kept them, they would have been worth enough money to fund my daughter’s college education.
Promotion model cars (Promo Models) date back to the mid-20’s where they were made out of metal and more recently plastic were predominantly made in 1/25th scale. Promo models were made primarily by AMT, SMP, PMC, MPC and, Johan along with a few produced by Hubley. Early promos were made of acetate plastic, which warped as they aged, while later promos were made from styrene making them much more stable.
Not only will this be a section about promo models, it will be for some of you, a trip down memory lane. For the AMC cars I have ads from the years my dad worked there. Follow the links below to learn more about some of my cars. Enjoy and be sure to chime in with what you have in your collection.
by Paul Daniel