Tag Archives: promo car models

The toys we had as kids

Oh, I had one of those…….

Bet I could count on one hand the amount of guys who never played with model cars growing up. We had them because there was a connection. Our parents, relative, or the guy down the street had one. Yup, he was the cool guy. We smashed them, burned them, and blew them up. Boy did I get busted for that one. Of course we did have special ones that never went out of our bed rooms like your first one. Remember it? I remember mine and it wasn’t a Rambler. I was probably about five or six. Dad and I had an HO train layout so we made several trips to the local hobby shop growing up in Madison, WI. to get more stuff. There it was, the shiny bright object before I even knew about shiny bright objects! It was a promo model VW promo models, promo models, collector toyscar and dad knew I wanted it but I would have to do one thing first. OK, I’m giving a deep dark secret here. Like Linus, from Peanuts, I had this blanket that, well I sucked on. Hey I was a kid. So I gave it up. Yup, I wanted it that bad. Now you’re wondering what was the car? You would never guess in a million years! Wait for it…..an early 60’s Volkswagen Beetle, and it was pink. An early view of my softer side:) As I picked up on how this whole deal worked, I was giving up all kinds of promo models for doing stuff my parents wanted me to do and I made them think it was their idea.

Look ma, no hands!

58-ford-remote-control, promo model cars, ford promo model carsJust the other day I was “just looking” on eBay and came across another early car I had 57-remote-control-promo-modelthat let me run it around with a remote control. This 1958 Ford Hardtop made by AMT was exactly like it. Took two D batteries and you could run it forward and backwards and turn it left and right. Hey this was the technology of the day. One of my relatives must have given it to me as a gift at one time, this one went for 140 bucks recently on eBay while this red 57′ sold for 99 bucks. But I also had one even cooler than that, a 1958 Skyliner that retracted the top just like the real one back into the decklid. Couldn’t find one but it was exactly the color of the real deal here only nowhere near as complicated.

hardtop convertibles, ford skyliner
Multi-license with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.5 and older versions (2.0 and 1.0)

The Skyliner was the only true hardtop convertible in the world when it was introduced in 1957. The top came down with a touch of a button but that was the simple part. To get the top into the deckle took three roof drive motors driving four lift jacks, four door-lock motors, ten solenoids, and four locking mechanisms for the roof. 610 feet of wiring made sure all that stuff was talking to each other. A good example is hard to find and when one is it will take about $75,000 to take it home. Too rich for me. I’m going to keep looking for the model I once had. Give me a shout if you find one.

 

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Pontiac GTO sweet sounds

Songs about the GTO

ronny-and-the-daytonas-little GTOI love cars! I love music about cars too which might be the reason I like the Pontiac GTO so much. Overall there are over 15 songs about this car mostly in 1964, the first year the GTO was built. Songs range from Little GTO by Ronny and the Daytonas, to Mighty GTO by Jan and Dean, to Here comes the Judge by Shorty Long. I have several on my iPhone.

History of the GTO

1966PontiacGTOBuilt from ’64-’74 and then again by Holden from ’04-’06, It was a classic muscle car of the ’60’s and ’70’s and considered by some to have started the trend with all the big four automakers offering a variety of competing models. The GTO was the brainchild of engine specialist Russell Gee, Bill Collins, a chassis engineer, and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. GM had a ban on sponsored racing on tracks and events at the time so these guys took it to the street. DeLorean came up with the name idea inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO. Good luck on trying to find one of those now! GTO is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, in english “Grand Tourer Homologated”, which means officially certified for racing in the Grand-Tourer class. The Ferrari guys were not to happy about it. Go figure.

Consumers began calling the GTO ”The Goat,” because the animal is known for eating anything in this case on the street. Acronym for GOAT was turned into “Gas Oil And Tire” burner. Those who had a GTO probably spent time and money purposely burning the three resources, and with gas costing only 32 cents a gallon, who cared.

Huge engines, nice investment

Courtesy RK Motors Collector Car Auctions
Courtesy RK Motors Collector Car Auctions

V8’s anywhere between a 389 to a 400! What’s not to like? These were fast street racers and the public knew it and still do. Daily drivers run about $20,000 to $50,000. Not too bad for all that fun. These are a favorite collector car of the Baby Boomers. On the high end, I found this ’71 GTO Judge which was sold for, wait for it, $232,500. What makes this special is that of the 357 GTO Judges that Pontiac sold in ’71, only 17 convertibles were made. You can click on the image to read more about it at Hemmings.

Promo model GTO’s can be a bit pricey too.

While you won’t be dropping the kind of cash I mentioned above, good GTO promo model examples will cost a couple of hundred dollars. I found this hard to find MPC ’71 Quezal Gold Hardtop which sold for $245. While this MPC ’70 Cardinal Red GTO Hardtop sold for $245. Sure you can find lower cost ones for around $20 but there is nothing like having a pristine model of one car that inspired so many songs.

$T2eC16ZHJIkE9qU3k6hdBQzLJyKpZ!~~60_57

$T2eC16N,!)sE9swmYktfBRU)6DDFqQ~~60_57

1957-59 Plymouth Belevedere: Restored to better than new

A car built in the big fin era

59plymIMGP7260I love big fins as mentioned in my previous post on another Chrysler product, the Imperial. For me it’s as much a piece of art as it is an automobile. Think about it, what car stands out for you now? Sure some do like the Corvette for me or the Mustang or Camero but outside of that, not much. Quick, tell me what was the last car you saw drive by? Now if a ’57 Plymouth Belevedere drove by, you’d really notice that, wouldn’t you?

America loved the car

For the third generation of  cars from Chrysler Corporation and completely changed its car lines, dropping the bodies that had been brought out for 1955 and replaciPlymouth_Fury_1959__adng them with the designs heralded as Virgil Exner’s best 1957 would be a banner year for the Chrysler Corporation, and Plymouth as its design was so revolutionary that Chrysler used the slogan “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” to promote the new car. Belevederes were loaded and positioned as a top of the line Plymouth. Unfortunately, the cars were rushed into production (argh!), and while they sold extremely well, they also ticked off customers, and destroyed Chrysler’s reputation for quality and reliability. Rust was everywhere and parts broke off. Gee there is a surprise. The car did have its claim to fame later on as a ’58 appearing as the star in the movie Christine. After 33 years, this car still lives as you can see in this video.

Collectors love the car now but have their work cut out for them

59-plymouthSince the cars were pretty much rust buckets at the end of their lives restoring one will require lots of time and deep pockets. Here’s a video of a ’59 which is rare and boy does it look good. On ClassicCars.com I found this ’59 for sale for $45,000 which is about the going rate for a restored model. Look closely in the first picture. This guy is into Mopar. A Dodge sits right next to it while in the background is I believe a ’59 or ’60 Rambler. Sorry, had to get that in.

And now for the promo model

So think about that promo model of the Plymouth that your dad gave you as a kid. If you haven’t blown it up or burned it (which by the way does look cool) it is probably sitting in a box somewhere. Occasionally you look at it and say to yourself, maybe one day. Well check out this professionally rebuilt model I recently found on eBay and it sold for 898 bucks! Now you ready to start? I have featured this builder before and he does off the charts restorations. If you don’t look to long at the background, this Plymouth looks like the real deal. Everything is better than like new. Check out the chrome where it looks like it just came out of the box. Look at the fins and spare tire on the trunk. Don’t forget to gaze at the finish to and it doesn’t take too much to imagine your reflection on it. And he always goes the extra mile with the underside where the exhaust and bottom of the engine are painted the correct colors. Cherry, cherry, cherry is what I say about this restoration job. Doesn’t it inspire you? Now go find that car you have and get going.

Aviary ebay-com 59 p;ymouth 1Aviary ebay-com plyouth 2

Aviary ebay-com plymouth 3

Plymouth Ruster….err Duster

1972 Plymouth Duster photographed in College P...

It carried a bad nickname for some owners, Ruster.

OK, so right out of the gate, Mopar fans, I really like the Duster. Easy now. We OK? My personal experience comes from my best friend who owned one. He bought it used and I’m not sure how many miles he had on it. I do remember it had a 3 on the floor, the slant six and was some sort of orangish/yellow. I also remember kicking the rear quarters and it raining rust. It was a solid car though otherwise. Rust wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the cars of this era. They all rusted. He traded it for a Chevy Nova when he had to I think buy a new manifold for his Duster and didn’t fare much better because the Nova he got caught on fire while he was driving it. Good name, Nova. Puffffff! Continue reading Plymouth Ruster….err Duster

Promo model: Pontiac Firebird

1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible. Photo by Us...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pony Car market was red hot in 1967. After seeing what Ford had in the Mustang introduced three years before, the other manufactures jumped into the game big time. General Motors had two entries in the game, the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird which shared the same F-body platforms. There were differences between the two cars. The Firebirds bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end and its rear “slit” taillights were inspired by the Pontiac GTO.

For GM, the Firebird was their Plan B for Pontiac, who had initially wished to produce a two-seat sports car of its own design, based on the original Banshee concept car. However, GM feared such a vehicle would directly compete with Chevrolet’s Corvette. Whoa….can’t do that. Instead, let’s just have it compete with the Camaro. The Banshee was really a cool car and too bad some product manager had his toes stepped on.

1964 Pontiac Banshee Coupe Concept Car
(Photo credit: Motor74)

Back to the Firebird which was not really a bad Plan B. Since Pontiac was the performance division of GM, there were two V8 engines: the 326 CID (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp; the “H.O.” (High Output) engine of the same displacement, but with a four-barrel carburetor and producing 285 hp or the 400 CID (6.6 L) from the GTO with 325 hp.

In 1969, it was off to the races as a $725 optional handling package called the “Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package,”, named after the Trans Am Series, which included a rear spoiler, was introduced. Of these first “Trans Ams,” only 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made.

Click on this image to see the show's open.
Click on this image to see the show’s open.

Of course where were some very famous Firebirds. Starting in 1977, the Firebird, and more specifically the Trans Am, received a number of roles in big movies, most of which starring Burt Reynolds. Later on a Trans Am, named KIT was he star of Knight Rider. What to take a guess on what KIT stood for? Cue the Jeopardy music….. Give up? Knight Industries Two Thousand. “Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.” Sorry, I watched way too much TV.

Promo model prices are on a similar scale with the real deals in that the tougher ones to find cost more to own.   The first generation 1967-1969 Firebird promos were available in coupe and convertible and generally two or three colors for the coupe and one or two colors for the convertible. Many of the first generation promos have become difficult to obtain in presentable condition. This is due to the fact they were given to small children to play with making the attrition rate very high. I can attest to this myself!

67 coupe courtesy FirebirdGallery.com
67 coupe courtesy FirebirdGallery.com
1968 Conv courtesy Firebirdgallery.com
1968 Conv courtesy FirebirdGallery.com

According to John M. Witzke, who writes for the Firebird Gallery website, the 1968 Firebird Convertible is one of the rarest Pontiac promotional models and is considered the most sought after of the first generation models. Value of the first generation Firebird promos in near mint condition generally range from approx. $225.00 for a ’67 coupe to $475.00 for a ’68 convertible. The first gen, 67-68 tend to command the higher prices for collectors.

70 coupe courtesy Firebirdgallery.com
70 coupe courtesy FirebirdGallery.com

When the second generation was introduced in 1970, prices dropped in about half to around $180 until 1974 where they can be found for around $50. The second gen is considered to be a good starting point at collecting.

This was, and still is, a great car. There are several factors on why the Firebird has joined the orphan class, one being simply bad management at Pontiac. Too bad since the Camaro, which was killed with the Firebird and now the Camaro is back. I think there is an after market company which is taking the new Camaro and giving it a look similar to what the real deal could have been.

Promo model: VW Karmann Ghia

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulWhat were you doing in 1967? For me, even though I was a kid, I was pumped because the Green Bay Packers become the first team in the modern era to win their third consecutive NFL Championship, 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys in what became known as “The Ice Bowl”.  It was a great year for cars with lots of new ones coming out.

One I remember is the Karmann Ghia made by Voltswagen originally called the Type 14 which combined the chassis and mechanics of the Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle), styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann. A guy I worked with at one time had one of these, a green one. Tall guy too. Always wondered how he fit into it. The car was a hit with consumers too. Production doubled in Germany so it was exported to America where it was also popularity especially the convertible.

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paul daniel creative digital marketingIt was also a hit on TV too. Trivia time here. In this spy spoof the lead spy talked to his boss on a shoe phone. Not ringing a bell? The agency he worked for was trying to bust up KAOS. OK, one more. His partner was agent 99 (Barbara Feldman). Bingo, Get Smart! The 1967 Type 14 Karmann Ghia convertible was driven by CONTROL Agent 86 Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) in the opening credits of the third and fourth seasons of Get Smart. Agent 86 would be seen in the opening credits screeching to a halt outside of his headquarters. Click on the screenshot and watch the open. Fun stuff.

In the 2008 film of the same name, a Karmann Ghia once again made an appearance driven by Smart, along with its two sister cars, though the car in the film was a model from 1970. On the 1970s sitcom Good Times an orange Karmann Ghia convertible is seen briefly during the intro. The Karmann Ghia is also the subject of a secret pass phrase in the 2011 movie Cars 2. Love that movie.

The Karmann Ghia’s last year of production was 1974 and replaced by the Volkswagen Rabbit in the U.S market. But the car’s lengthy production run, reliable underpinnings, and striking styling ensure the Karmann Ghia can be recognized in virtually every town in America. It also means it enjoys strong appreciation amongst collectors. With an original list price of $2,395 restored ones can go from around 8 grand to up to $22K for a convertible.

VW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulVW Karmann Ghia, get smart, don adams, promotional model cars, promo model cars, savageonwheels.com, paulThe promo car can be hard to find, as I can attest but are very affordable. You will have to do some looking beyond eBay to the sites that specialize in selling promo models such as Wheat’s Nostalgia and Bob’s Promotional Cars. This example I did find on eBay and is in pretty good shape. It’s so darn cute. Sorry, can’t say that with guys in the room. Nice detail on the floor pan too. It ended up finding a new home for around $150. Not bad for a good memory from 1967. Pardon me while I get my shoe phone.

Promo model: AMC Hornet

Amc hornet, american motors association, promotional model cars, promo model cars savageonwheels.com, james bond, 007, man with the golden gun
Screen grab from YouTube. Bond jumps an AMC Hornet

Who doesn’t love a good car chase? Show of hands. Yup, that’s everybody. Good car chases are a big part of a movie. Perhaps the first one that comes to mind is the classic chase in Bullitt. Now think Bond, James Bond. Super awesome car chases in those movies but because, as you all know, I have this sick love affair for AMC cars, I remember the 1974 AMC Hornet in The Man with the Golden Gun. The action begins as secret agent 007 commandeers the Hornet from a dealership in Bangkok with a vacationer who was looking at the car. The Hornet performs an “airborne pirouette as it makes a hold-your-breath jump across a broken bridge“. Of course the stunt car is significantly modified with a redesigned chassis to place the steering wheel in the center and a lower stance, as well as larger wheel wells compared to the stock Hornet used in all the other movie shots.

OK, now lets back up a bit for a history of the Hornet which was a compact automobile made by the American Motors Corporationamc hornet, american motors, 1970 amc hornet. savageonwheels.com(AMC) in one generation beginning with the 1970 model year and continuing through the 1977 model year. The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets. Hornets were also marketed in foreign markets, as well as assembled under license agreements with AMC that included Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos (VAM), Australian Motor Industries (AMI), and by Toyota S.A. Ltd. in South Africa.

The Hornet name plate goes back to the mid-1950s. The name originated from the merger of Hudson Motor Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation in 1954. Hudson introduced the first Hudson Hornet in 1951. The new Hornet became an important vehicle and platform for AMC. It served the company in one form or another for eighteen years, until the 1988 model year. It would outlast all other compact platforms from the competition that included the Chevrolet Nova, Ford Maverick, and Plymouth Valiant. The Hornet marked the return of AMC to its original role as a “niche” marketer specializing in small cars.  It also became one of AMCs best sellers.

Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, amc hornetWe had a 73, like this one, the first year they made the Hornet in a hatchback. It was green so of course we could call it the green Hornet. Our’s had AMC’s 258 4.2 liter in it and that 170 horse power engine moved it around nicely. OK now promise me you won’t tell my dad but it was really easy to lay rubber with. I really liked that car. Now the real deal can be had for around 4 grand. More if you want the 1970 SC with the 360 in it. Now that laid rubber even if you looked at the accelerator.

For the promo models, they are very affordable to plus, they don’t have the usual rust found on AMC cars in the 70’s. I have a couple of Hornets, a 1970 2-door and a 73 fastback. Mine are both in mint Amc hornet, american motors association, promotional model cars, promo model cars savageonwheels.comAmc hornet, american motors association, promotional model cars, promo model cars savageonwheels.comcondition although I’m not sure if I have the boxes for them. My bad. I might have another 73 around somewhere to. Nope, these were not freebies, I actually bought these at one of those car model swap shows since I most likely blew up/burned up/smashed the ones dad brought home for me. Hey, I was a kid. You know, living for the moment. These are pretty inexpensive to too. I think around 30-50 bucks.

Hey look, I got my 73 to do the Bond stunt. Fishing line,what fishing line?

Amc hornet, american motors association, promotional model cars, promo model cars savageonwheels.com
My Hornet doing the jump