Tag Archives: promotional car models

Promo model: 63 Rambler Classic

English: 1963 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wago...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though I was only 9 in 1963…there, I blew the cover on my age, I still remember a lot about that year, the Kennedy assassination for sure. The Beatle’s U.S. TV concert, Route 66, and we had just moved from Madison to Milwaukee when dad got a job at….wait for it…American Motors. And to think he almost took the job at the chicken factory. It was also the year we had traded our 58 Rambler for the 63. It was white with a red interior. I’ve been looking for a promo car like that for a long time.

The 1963 Classic was the first all-new cars developed by AMC since 1956. Keeping the philosophy of the company,  they were more compact – shorter and narrower by one inch, as well as over two inches lower than the preceding models. Even though they were smaller, they lost none of their “family-sized” passenger room or luggage capacity featuring a longer 112-inch wheelbase. Now does that sound familiar today in cars?

Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerFor the 1963 model year, the Rambler Classic line was completely redesigned with subtle body sculpturing. Outgoing design director, Edmund E. Anderson, shaped the Classic that was named Motor Trend magazine’s 1963 “Car of the Year.” These were also the first AMC models that were influenced by Richard A. Teague, the company’s new principal designer.

Throughout its life in the AMC model line-up, the Classic was the high-volume seller for the independent automaker. In 1963 mostly because of that car, many times the company was listed by some as part of the Big 4, outselling other brands such as Buick, Dodge, Mercury Chrysler, and Cadillac.

So here’s my 63 Rambler. Dad might have brought some home but most likely they were victims of car bombs Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerSavageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital manager(firecrackers) or car fires, or ???? I bought this one at a car show. Not sure how much I paid for it but it wasn’t a lot. Maybe $50-$70. All the parts are on this one. There is some minor warping on the right front quarter panel and the bumpers could probably need a re-chroming but otherwise in pretty good shape. I’m still looking for the white body, red interior one. If you’re not an AMC geek like me it could be for an entire Car of the Year collection. Good luck on finding the other AMC COTY in a promo model. It was the Renault Alliance.

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: 1965 Chrysler 300

OK, cue the music! ” got me a car, it’s as big as a whale and we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack. I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20 so come on and bring your jukebox money….”. Those lyrics sound familiar? How about a clue? It was the B52’s biggest hit. Right, Love Shack. If you go to the music video you will see a 1965 Chrysler 300 L which was the last year of the traditional letter series. It was as big as a whale with a 124 inch wheelbase.

Chrysler letter series, Chrysler 300L, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 300 convertible, Chrysler 300 promotional model cars, Savageonwheels.comThe Chrysler 300 “letter series” were high-performance luxury cars built in very limited numbers by the Chrysler Corporation in the U.S. from 1955-1965. You could identify a 300 by the special logo placed on the car on the grill and rear quarter. Each year’s model used a new letter of the alphabet as a suffix (skipping “i”), reaching 300L by 1965, after which the traditional letter series was dropped until coming back a couple of years ago. Chrysler said it best “It’s The Most Beautiful Chrysler Ever Built”. The base engine was 315 horsepower. The 390 horsepower 413ci engine was no longer available though any three hundred could be ordered with a floor Chrysler letter series, Chrysler 300L, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 300 convertible, Chrysler 300 promotional model cars, Savageonwheels.comshifting four speed manual gearbox. Fronm what I read from owners, it’s a great cruising car car but makes turn as wide as an aircraft carrier and is tough to parallel park. Well duh! I had a tough enough time learning that with my dad’s 1967 Rebel wagon! But how can you not love a convertible? I can see myself in it. Add a nice loud sound system and I’d be good to go. That would be a blast in the warm weather. BTW, up here in Wisconsin, we consider warm weather 60 and above although I’ve ridden my motorcycle down to 40 degrees. Hey, the season in short.

In the final year there were just  2,405 coupes (rare) and 440 convertibles (even rarer) were sold. OK, so I got really excited to see Gilles is currently the President and CEO of the SRT Brand and Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler Group LLCwhat a good example of the real dear might cost. Thinking they were made in such small numbers, what, $50K? $110K. Not even close. Right now coupes go for around $10K and the convertibles in the $25K range. Convertibles, I found out are a good deal, as the 300 isn’t as sought after as the muscle cars that defined the era. The new on is cool. I have seen some convertibles but they were made by the aftermarket shops. I met the car’s designer, Ralph Gilles, at Road American this summer. Gilles is currently the President and CEO of the SRT Brand and Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler Group LLC Really nice guy. So much passion for cars and funny too. I could see myself in that too especially in some place warm, with palm trees. Sweet.

OK, now for the promo models. Same deal. The coupes can go for around 100 bucks while like the big guys, the convertibles, about twice as much. I found this super mint ’65 300 L convertible on ebay recently. Now these are the cars I get excited about. Something you might see in a lot of collections. Solid body, good chrome, no scratches and both windshield posts. This is a car if one were to buy would go in a special case, maybe near a sound system where the B52’s could be heard singing, ” got me a car, it’s as big as a whale and we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack. I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20 so come on and bring your jukebox money….”.

Chrysler letter series, Chrysler 300L, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 300 convertible, Chrysler 300 promotional model cars, Savageonwheels.com
Photo: ebay
Chrysler letter series, Chrysler 300L, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 300 convertible, Chrysler 300 promotional model cars, Savageonwheels.com
Photo: ebay

Promo model: Studebakers

1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk
1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk (Photo credit: aldenjewell)

Let’s start with a bit of trivia first. What TV show did Studebaker sponsor? I’ll start singing the theme. Ooops, forgot you wouldn’t be able to hear me. By the way, I do know all the words. One clue. Alan Young f was the star, at least the two legged one. Give up? It was one of my favorite old shows, Mr. Ed. You know, a horse is a course of course of course. Ok, I’ll stop now. Do go and check out this commercial I found. I like Studebakers, maybe because like AMC, their cars are now orphans. Again like AMC, they had to compete against the Big 3 with limited assets. Also like AMC, their collectors are total geek about their cars as they should be. Their reputation was one of well-built cars but ran into trouble trying to go up against the Big 3 in a pricing war in the early 50’s. The independents only hope was seen as a merger of Studebaker, PackardHudson, and Nash into a third giant combine. This had been unsuccessfully attempted by George W. Mason. In this scheme, Studebaker had the disadvantage that its South Bend location would make centralization difficult and its labor costs were also the highest in the industry. What eventually happened was a merger with Packard but it made no difference. The last cars rolled out of the South Bend plant in 1964 and two years later at their Canadian operations.

They had one car in the hopper for 1964, this cool looking Spectre prototype was built in metal by Sibona-Bassano of Torino, Italy. It was a 2-door, 5- place coupe and destined to be the pattern for a 4 door family sedan and a 8-passenger station wagon. Brooks Stevens had been hired to do design work for Studebaker in its waning days and even though the company had few resources to devote to product development, Stevens managed to come up with some extremely innovative concepts.  The Sceptre could have been Studebaker’s flagship car had it been introduced in 1966 as Stevens envisioned.  It boasted a bevy of advanced features including full-width lighting in front using a system developed by Sylvania and fully adjustable instrumentation that could be configured almost any way the driver wished.

1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo prototype, studebaker gt, studebaker avanti, studebaker lark, savageonwheels.com
1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo prototype

Some of the cars which did make it off the line were cool. My favorite is the Avanti, which is still being made by another company, the Gran Turismo Hawk, and the later Hawks which were designed by Brooks Stevens. I’ve seen 1963 Avantis going for $30,000. I found a Grand Turismo Hawk on eBay for $37,000  The sedan Larks are much more affordable, under $20,000, except for the convertibles.

English: Category:Images of automobiles

1962 Studebaker GT Hawk

1963 Studebaker Avanti in a non-standard blue ...

Because of those prices, which are out of reach for a lot of us, there are the promo models. The ones that I found, a couple of Hawks, and a Lark Convertible,  were all very affordable. You will find the later models have little or no warp so it’s going to be difficult finding an older one in perfect shape. These are great little gems from a time gone by. After you buy a promo model, all you need is a Mr. Ed model standing right next to it.

Studebaker Indy Pace Car promo model, Studebaker, studebaker promo models, savageonwheel.com

Studebaker hawk promo model, studebaker hawk, studebaker. savageonwheels.com

Studebaker promo models, studebaker golden hawk, savageonwheels.com

Promo model: 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible

The rarest of the rare for both the real deal and the promo model

1969 Dodge Coronet Convertible , dodge convertibles, promo models, savageonwheels.com, paul danielI track a lot of auctions both on eBay and some of the others specific to promo models. This weekend, on eBay, I was watching a ’69 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible with bidding in 4 figures, something I have not seen in a long time. While waiting for the auction to end, I started checking into the real deal as I get excited about rare cars.

In 1949, Dodge introduced the Dodge Coronet, a full-size car. The Dodge Coronet was initially Dodge’s highest trim line car although from 1955, but then became the lowest trim line. During the 1960s, Dodge Coronet name was moved to Dodge’s mid-size entry. Dodge made eight generations of the Dodge Coronet which ran from 1949 to 1976. It was placed just above the Plymouth line in the Chrysler lineup. Continue reading Promo model: 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible

Promo model: Nash Metropolitan

Title: Nash car dealership Creator: Adolph B. ...
Nash car dealership Creator: Adolph B. Rice Studio  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the early 50’s most of the car manufacturers were going the “bigger is better” route.  Nash Motor Company executives were examining the market to offer American buyers an economical transportation alternative. In came the Nash Metropolitan. Wait a minute, isn’t the all coming around again with cars like the Fiat 500 and Smart Car? Same concept, small car, good gas milage and fun to drive. The “Met” as it is called sometimes was first introduced in 1953 and was a partnership between Nash, here in the US, and Austin Motor Company, and Fisher and Ludlow in England to become the first American-designed car, that was to be exclusively marketed in North America, had been entirely built in Europe. It was also the first American car that was marketed specifically to women.

English: Metropolitan automobile car club meet...
Metropolitan automobile car club meet, Kenosha, WI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s not to love about this car? It’s wheelbase was just 85 inches, smaller than a VW, got great gas mileage, 40-47 mpg, and it was fun to drive. By the time of the end of the production run, there were 94,986 sold in the US and Canada with 1959 being the best sales year where 22,209 were sold. Today this car has a cult-like following with several car clubs.

For those of you who don’t have the cash or garage space there are the Met promo models. These were made mostly by Hubley Manufacturing both as promo model and a kit. The one way to tell them apart is that the promo was friction and the kit was not. When the Met came out, a dealer could order a box of them for 18 bucks. These are actually pretty easy to find.

I believe the one I have here was my dad’s. The detail on this is pretty good and they only thing keeping this one from being a Nash Metropolitan dealer promo model, nash, metropolitan, savageonwheels.comNash Metropolitan promo model, nash, nash metropolitanperfect 10 would be the missing post on the passenger side. It has very little warp in it. I do not have the box with it which also would knock it down some. I have seen ones with boxes going in the neighborhood of around $200. I almost had the real deal but for some reason couldn’t hook up with the buyer and it was the same color as this one.

Promo Model: Chevy Corvair

1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Coupe
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Coupe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is one of my favorite cars, the Chevy Corvair. The compact automobile was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1960–1969 model years. It was the only American-made,mass-produced passenger car to feature a rear-mounted air-cooled engine.

It was General Motors’ response to the growing popularity of small, lightweight imported cars such as the original VW Beetle, as well as to compete with domestic-built compact cars, the Rambler American and Studebaker Lark. The “compact” term was coined by George W. Romney as a euphemism for small cars with a wheelbase of 110 inches (2,794 mm) or less. You didn’t think I’d leave that out, would you?

Chevrolet Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corvair variants  included a two-door coupe and a convertible, a four-door sedan, and four-door station wagon configurations, and also the more powerful Monza model; and a passenger van, commercial van, and pickup derivatives. My favorite, if I could only have one would be a Monza convertible. The best thing about collecting these cars is that they have to cost a ton of money to acquire on. I found plenty of decent ones for around $10K.

corvair promo model, chevy corvair, general motors, chevy, rear engine cars, compact cars
Photo courtesy Wheat’s Nostalgia

The promo models are also reasonably prices. I found this 60 on Joe Wheat’s site for $70 keeping in mind it is not perfect but not in bad shape for being over 50 years old.

corvair promo model, chevy corvair, general motors, chevy, rear engine cars, compact cars
Photo courtesy Wheat’s Nostalgia

I really like this convertible but to acquire this one costs quite a bit more at $275. Again, like the real cars, the more you pay, the better shape the car is in. I had a promo model a long time ago and writing this blog entry reminds me I should start looking at getting another one.

Do you have a promo model or the real deal to share? We would love to see them.

Promo Model: 62 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

1962 Buick Electra 225 conv, buick electra 225, buick, general motorsBuick‘s duce and a quarter is what car guys called the Electra 225. My best friend’s dad owned several of these. They were big with lots of power, they were, well, a Buick. The Electra was a full-size premium automobile built by the Buick division of General Motors. The Electra name (in various manners) was used by Buick between 1959 and 1990. It was a big car and with a 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 had more than enough power to move it around. It used the C body platform which is shared with Cadillac and Oldsmobile. One in decent condition can start at 20K. I saw one in super great shape on Hemmings.com which was going for 60K.

62 BUICK ELECTRA 225 CONV, Wheat's nostalgia, 1/25th scale dealer promotional model cars62 BUICK ELECTRA 225 CONV, Wheat's nostalgia, 1/25th scale dealer promotional model cars

The promo models can fetch a hunk of change. I found this one on WheatsNestalga.com going for $600. Continue reading Promo Model: 62 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

Promo model: 1958 Pontiac Bonneville

English: Photographed at the International Old...
English: Photographed at the International Oldtimer Fly-In, Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always like Pontiacs, maybe because one of my grandfathers owned a dealership. Even though I was just a kid, I remember going to visit and there was always something new in the driveway. This model though comes from my wires side of the family as they bought one in 1958 and were given the car I’ll talk about soon. Maybe it’s also because like AMC, they are now an orphan brand after GM killed the brand in 2005.

The first generation, produced in 1958, came as a coupe or a convertible and paced the Indy 500. Not only great styling but also lots of get up and go. It came with a 300 horsepower, 370 cubic inch V8 with a four-barrel carb and dual exhausts. They also offered fuel injection as an option but it wasn’t ever popular because it was a high-price option at $500. Tell me how many options you could get nowadays for that?

1958 Pontiac Bonneville Promo Model, Pontiac, Bonneville, dealer promo models1958 Pontiac Bonneville Promo Model, Pontiac, Bonneville, dealer promo models, general motors1958 Pontiac Bonneville Promo Model, Pontiac, Bonneville, dealer promo models, general motors1958 Pontiac Bonneville Promo Model, Pontiac, Bonneville, dealer promo models, general motors

My promo model has seen better days. There’s only a little bit of warp in the body and all the chrome is there along with some scratches on the hood, however the big minus is that the steering rim is broken. I’ve seen much better ones on eBay going for around $110. That’s not a bad price to hold a piece of history in your hands and never have to worry about rust or engine problems.

Promo models: AMC AMX’s

promotional model cars, AMX, AMC, American MotorsThis is by far my most favorite car AMC ever made. If I had the cash, and good ones go for about 25 grand, I would go out and get one. Looks and power in a small package. I did own one, once, and it was a disaster for me. Hellbent on getting one of these, I found one for $2,500. That should have been my first clue of impending disaster. When I jambed the throttle, it pinned me to the seat, I laughed and the tires screamed! What a hoot. Then the engine blew up. A 390 which would not be easy to find. I found a 360 and actually tried to install it myself which would be about the same if I tried doing open heart surgery. I know where all the stuff is and what it does but was in way over my head. Continue reading Promo models: AMC AMX’s