Lots of red lines below my copy when I wrote this blog entry about the Open Rekord. It kept wanting to change it to “Record”. You know me and odd ball cars. I was actually running through eBay looking at promo models when I came across a Record, oops, Rekord. More about the promo model in a minute but first I needed to find our more about the real deal since I’d never heard of the car. This car was no one-hit wonder as there were approximately ten million sold between 1953 and 1986. It was produced by GM’s Opel brand and was the second best-selling brand in Europe behind the Volkswagen Beetle. Check out the spot but brush up on your German. Continue reading For the Rekord→
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 car 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!
Just the other day I was “just looking” on eBay and came across another early car I had that 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.
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.
I love American Motors’ products. Part of my sickness comes from my dad working for the company. Sure they had the clunkers but also had some cool cars. Dad brought home tons of stuff and now it’s time to thin things out a bit.
My collection includes full-line catalogues mostly from the 70’s and 80’s. Dad would bring them home, I’d page through them and throw them in a box. I even have some super-rare Press Kits.
My promo model collects has a little bit of everything. What I’m offering up are a couple of Javelins, AMX’s, and an Ambassador still with the hood ornament on it. Rare. So check out this micro site I put up and then let’s talk.
While the Mustang was pretty much the king of the pony cars it was about to get some competition and in 1967, the Mustang saw its first major redesign. For the first time since its launch, the car faced some serious competition. This resulted in Ford evaluating the Mustang’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the Pontiac’s Firebird, Mercury’s Cougar, and Plymouth’s Barracuda, Chevrolet had plans to roll out their new Chevy Camaro muscle car. This resulted in Ford duking it out with its competition by creating a more muscular and powerful Ford Mustang. Sound familiar? More power is back! Hear the roar of the engine in this YouTube video!
OK, how much?
Well that depends on how much cash you have. According to Hagerty the average price is now to around 50 grand up from 35 grand a few years back. How many of your investments were growing like that? There, I gave you a good case to sell your wife on getting one.
Forget it, you won’t be able to sell your wife on getting one of these
As with any classic car, the rarer the more the price goes up. Are you ready for this one? A 1967 Ford Mustang used during filming of 2000’s hit movie Gone in 60 Seconds has sold at auction for a staggering $1 million. Can’t swing a cool mil? Well then check out this one I found on Auto Trader. An ultra rare, 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 C.S.S. This car was licensed by Carroll Shelby and it comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by both Carroll Shelby and Barry Smith (president of Legendary G.T. Continuation Cars.) This Shelby is number 014 of the Snake 3 continuation cars built and has just 206 miles on it. Yours for $650,000. Boy if you can swing something like that I will be your new best friend.
The promo model, a smaller, cheaper alternative
You never have to worry about rust, changing the oil, or putting a new set of tires on it. You can find “OK” promo models on the auction sites priced around 50 bucks but if you want a cherry example be prepared to pay more. I found this one with no cracked posts and the chrome is all good. This classic example went for $350. Now if you could add a chip to get that engine sound, maybe with bluetooth, and run it through your home stereo, that would be totally AWESOME. I can see it now. Speakers cranked and your wife just rolls her eyes.
Up until this point, all of the promo models I have written about have been plastic but there are a segment of collectors who concentrate those made of metal, most of them banks. Produced mostly in the 40’s by Banthrico Company in Chicago, IL. Banthrico models painted in authentic Big Three colors and used as “paint chips” so dealers could gauge the upcoming colors on real models. These primitive promotionals included Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Packards, DeSotos, Chryslers, Dodges, Ramblers and, of course, the more common Chevrolets and Fords. Today these cars are sought after, and in mint condition can garner several hundred dollars.
I have two examples to share with you both near and dear to my heart this 49 Nash and a 50 Chevy. This Nash pictured was available only to the Nash dealer as a bonus for ordering a car. Original dealer cost for the carton of 12 promos was $12.50. What a deal. Think about it if you had bought a case or two. Bingo, lots of cash.
This other example, a 1950 Chevrolet 2 door and also close to my heart as my grandfather had one, maybe a Skyline Custom. I think it was that drab green like this one I found. They were huge sellers for Chevy, in the millions. This model is pot metal and has rubber tires, it has some paint missing but overall good.
These banks can go anywhere from$50 to several hundred dollars depending on the shape they are in. Since I have lots of the plastic promo models, I might move into the bank cars. For the good ones, it is certainly something you can bank on giving you a return. Sorry, had to throw that pun in there.
I 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 replacing 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
Since 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.
I remember 1963 for the good stuff. My favorite band, the Beach Boys, were cranking out hits along with a new group from England. Of course I know it’s the Beatles. ’63 was also the year dad packed up the whole family and moved us from Madison, WI., to Milwaukee, WI., where dad went to work for his new employer…..wait for it….American Motors. It was also a good year for AMC since the Rambler Classic was named Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year. I also remember another car, non-AMC, that caught my eye. It was a ’63 Lincoln Continental Convertible with the suicide doors that one of our female neighbors drove. Maybe it was just the person driving the car but I had never ridden in a convertible. Sort of that lust thing happening here?
The ’63 was the fourth generation introduced in ’61. It might not have been because it was originally intended to be the 1961 Ford Thunderbird. The design was enlarged and slightly altered before being switched to the Lincoln line. It was the first postwar four-door convertible from a major U.S. manufacturer.
It was because the marketing guys wanted them, right?
Not exactly. “Suicide doors” date back to horse-drawn carriages and were a purely practical decision. The new Continental rode on a wheelbase of 123 inches, and the doors were hinged from the rear to ease getting in and out. When the Lincoln engineers were examining the back seats that styling had made up, the engineers kept hitting the rear doors with their feet so hinging the doors from the rear solved the problem. The doors were to become the best-known feature of 1960s Lincolns. Suicide doors were especially popular in the gangster era of the 1930s, supposedly due to the ease of pushing passengers out of moving vehicles with the feature, according to Dave Brownell, the former editor of Hemmings Motor News. The last mass-produced car model with independently opening suicide doors was the ’71 Ford Thunderbird four-door sedan. Safety concerns (the lawyers) prevented the subsequent use of such doors and some car companies have used a version when the back door won’t open until the front one is. They don’t use the term anymore. That might be a tough sales pitch. All the Lincoln’s came with huge V8’s since gas was only 29 cents a gallon then.
This generation of Continental is favored by collectors and has appeared in many motion pictures, such as Goldfinger, The Matrix, The Last Action Hero, and the Inspector Gadget films. It has also appeared on TV. Oliver Douglas, (Eddie Albert) in Green Acres owned a Lincoln Continental convertible and it is the vehicle of choice for Michael Chiklis’s character Vincent Savino in the series Vegas. I love both those shows. Watch Vegas for all the older cars in it.
In my research for this blog entry to see what they are going for now, I started out at my favorite place, Hemming’s and found the example on the left at The Auto Collections museum right off the strip in Vegas. You have to go there! Tons of cool cars and they are all for sale. Win big my friend, win big.
While the car is valued around $77 grand by the National Association of Automobile Dealers Association you can find good examples in the $40’s like this California car on the right. Ah, I can see myself in that car. Hawaiian shirt on, shorts, sunglasses and of course a cold beer.
Good examples of the promo model are hard to find and when they do show up at an auction they are not cheap. This ’63 comes from our friends at Wheat’s Nostalgia. If this isn’t a 10, it has to be pretty close. The vent window posts are there and with no cracks. Another item that will knock down the price is a missing hood ornament and this one has it. There were 27 bidders on eBay for this and it eventually sold for $233. I’m thinking if there are kids or grand kids for the new owner, it goes right into the display case. The only thing it’s missing is that female driver.
Talk about a car that was handicapped right out of the gate.
That’s pretty much the story of the Mercury Comet. Why did I pick this car? Well, for two reasons, my uncle had one and I’m partial to orphan brands hence my affection for American Motors. OK, so now here’s the first handicap. Ford had to purchase the name “Comet” from Comet Coach Company, a professional car manufacturer in which the term belonged to a line of funeral coaches, and the second is that it was originally planned as an Edsel model. It was reassigned to Mercury dealerships after the demise of the Edsel brand (Oops), where it was marketed as a standalone product for 1960 and 1961 as the Comet. And lastly, it was developed concurrently with the Ford Falcon, well duh, so which car do you think is going to get more attention? You guessed Ford Falcon, right? Just checking. Continue reading 1963 Mercury Comet Convertible: The Falcon’s step-sister→
I saw this ’64 Chevy Impala promo model and it brought back so many memories I just had to blog about it. My grandpa was a big Chevy guy and I think it was every Sunday night, we would go over to his house to watch the Dina Shore Show. She sang the song beginning in 1952,and it became something of a signature song for her. Later the song was also sung by male spokesman Pat Boone on his Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom (ABC) from 1957 through 1960. This was not just a 30 second jingle, it was an actual song. Continue reading 1964 Chevy Impala Convertible: See the USA….→
G’day mates! Travel towards the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne and as you skirt Geelong on the new bypass you’ll cross the Moorabool River on the Lewis Bandt Bridge. It’s a name with great automotive significance. Bandt is credited with inventing the ute.
The story goes that in the early 1930s Ford received a letter from a woman wondering if there could be a vehicle in which her husband could take pigs to market during the week, and her to church on Sundays. Rough and ready trucks existed but Bandt, who worked for Ford’s design department, took a two-door 1933 Ford V8 coupe and grafted on to it a cargo-carrying tray. Ford released the Coupe Utility the next year and that’s how it all started.
Ute is believed to be an abbreviation for “utility” or “coupé utility”, a term used originally in Australia and New Zealand, then also South Africa to describe passenger vehicles with a cargo tray in the rear. Well aren’t these just like pick up trucks? Close but not quite. Pick up trucks are built on a truck chassis while the Ute is built on a car chassis. Utes are gone here in the US but are huge in Australia as my daughter will find out this summer when she travels there as a Student Ambassador in the People to People Program. Traveling there for me is high on my bucket list!
Ford vs. Chevy
Ford beat Chevy to the punch with the Ford Ranchero, a coupe utility produced between 1957 and 1979. Unlike a pickup truck, the Ranchero was adapted from a two-door station wagon platform that integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body. A total of 508,355 units were produced during the model’s production run. It was adapted from full-size, compact and intermediate automobiles by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market.
Seeing the success that Ford had going Chevy jumped in with the El Camino built 1959–1960 model years. Production resumed for the 1964–1977 model years based on the Chevelle platform, and continued for the 1978–1987 model years based on the Malibu. Although based on corresponding Chevrolet car lines, the vehicle is classified and titled in North America as a truck. GMC’s badge engineered El Camino variant, the Sprint, was introduced for the 1971 model year. Renamed Caballero in 1978, it was also produced through the 1987 model year. You can get the real deal for around 20 grand. I like the later years because many were essentially muscle cars. Zoom……..
I checked around on the auction sites found the scale El Camino promotional models very affordable. Both this 79 and 82 were priced around $20. The first-generation vehicles were available from SMP and AMT as both promos and kits in 1:25 scale, which continued after 1964, when the El Camino joined the Chevelle lineup. There were no 1973-77 models were not produced in miniature but starting back up in 1978, both promos and kits were once again available from MPC. The promos were done in many popular colors, and were produced until 1983.
Tardy to the party were Chrysler’s two entries the Dodge Rampage and Plymouth Scamp which was a subcompact, unibody coupe utility based on Chrysler’s L platform and manufactured from 1982–1984. First released as a 1982 model, the Rampage was later joined by its rebadged variant, the Plymouth Scamp. The Rampage borrowed the car’s unibody construction and the front fascia from the sporty 024/Charger variant. The market for “car-trucks” was fast drying up in the mid-1980s. The Scamp lasted just one year, 1983 while the Rampage production a year later as one after another was dropped from automakers’ North American product lines. Even the El Camino was not immune and it was also withdrawn from production before the decade was through. Needless to say there were no promotional models made for the Rampage/Scamp. I did find a Matchbox model though.
What could have been
Pontiac played with the idea twice. Once in 1959 and again in 2008. in 1959 GM experimented with a Pontiac coupe-utility based on the full-size Catalina sedan, coupe and wagon platform. Legend has it that Pontiac built two of these 1959 “El Catalina” utes. One was used as a parts-hauler around the factory for many years, but the idea was never OK’d for production.
The last effort by Pontiac to build a pickup was its most serious and over the top cool. It came in 2008 when the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST was introduced to the public at the New York auto show. The G8 sport truck was based on the Holden ute from Australia, where car-based trucks have long been popular. It would have come to market with a 361-horsepower V-8. This is something that gets my heart pumping. It was killed as part of GM’s initial restructuring efforts that caused GM to kill the Pontiac brand all together. I was able to find a Holden ute in HO scale but most of them are diecast in some of the larger scales but you can only get them from Australia. Postage is a killer. Humm, another item I’m going to ask my daughter to bring back with her.
Faced with competition from the Japanese n the early 1970s, American Motors (I know what you’re thinking, anyway to work AMC into the story) was planning a compact coupé utility (pickup) based on the Hornet to compete with the Japanese utes. One prototype called the Cowboy was developed. The prototype vehicle featured a modified AMC Gremlin front design and a cargo box with a Jeep logo on the tailgate. AMC’s I6 engine would be more powerful than the 4-cylinders found in the imported pickups. This is the only surviving prototype which was built using a 1971 Hornet SC360 with the 360 V8 and 4-speed manual transmission. It was used by AMC on their proving grounds for several years before being sold to an employee, who later installed a 1973 Hornet updated front end. I’ve seen this in Kenosha at the American Motors Association 100th Anniversary event. The Cowboy never made it into production because the Hornet was selling well, there wasn’t a 4WD system available at the time and in 1970 AMC bought Jeep.
Well since I had lots of promo Hornets lying around I decided to make my own Cowboy by essentially grafting a 70 Hornet, to the back of the front doors, with the back of an El Camino. I utilized the Hornet tail lights and the rear bumper. The roof line has more of a slant but I kind of like it better than the real deal. This was a fun project and it is a one of a kind promo model, well sort of.