Uptown Automotive Hobby Shop
The Biggest Little New and Used Car Showroom in Central New York

Things You Should Know

June 2023

The Same Thing...Only Different
A Tale of Two Talladegas

Often a model company will reissue a model kit that it had released previously. In many cases it's all the same parts and pieces, wrapped in updated box art, or in a "nostalgic" original issue appearance box. Conversely, in some instances the kit may have been altered by newer tooling, or may contain additional or different parts, such as more recent wheels, or decals.
Also somewhat common is that two different manufacturers may each offer a model kit of the same vehicle. Modelers may select a preferred kit based on brand loyalty, scale preference, parts offered,
building options, or any other factor including box art.
While most recognize that the Talladega was Ford's weapon in the NASCAR "Aero Wars", what follows are some facts that by now most may be aware of and /or familiar with, but for the few who may not, I present the 1969 Ford Torino Talladega "Twins". They are fraternal, and not identical, twins. In 1968, and again in 1969, AMT offered the Torino GT Sportsroof (fastback). Later AMT offered the '69 Torino Cobra. Then in 1990, AMT offered the 1969 Torino Talladega. Coincidentally, or perhaps intentionally, also in 1990, Monogram offered the 1969 Torino Talladega. There the similarity ends.
The most obvious difference, instinctively known to serious model builders is that AMT produced in a scale of 1/25 actual size, while Monogram produced in the scale of 1/24 actual size. There are those among us who prefer one size over the other and/or one brand over the other, so they may automatically purchase their preference without realizing the differences between the two Talladegas is more than just the scale in which they were produced.
The Monogram model, kit # 2912, represents the majority of the limited production Talladegas which Ford sold to the public. Those cars were offered in only three colors: Wimbledon white (as shown on the Monogram box cover), Royal Maroon, or Presidential Blue. Regardless of body color selected, all had black interiors, a bench seat in the front, and a column shifted C6 (automatic) transmission.
The AMT model, kit #6889, depicts a yellow car on the box cover, and shows a white, bucket seat interior. The box art depicts an accurate, but one of a kind, '69 Talladega which was specially built exclusively for the (then) president of the Ford Motor Company, Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen. Bunkie's car was the only '69 Talladega to be so equipped: Yellow exterior, white interior with bucket seats and console, yet retaining the column shift for the automatic transmission. NOTE that the AMT kit has a 4 speed manual transmission attached to the engine. Fine if one wants to build a NASCAR or muscle car street version, but inaccurate for "Bunkie's car" which the box art represents.

Thus, for any who may seek to do so, the two different models would allow the accurate assembly of legitimate variations, each with historical accuracy.

Jim Amado

The Best Little Show No One Knows About

That is how Gary Wallace describes the model show which is more commonly called the Fulton model car show. For those who may not know, Fulton is located in northern NY State, approximately one hour above Syracuse. But don’t go there to find this show, because it isn’t there. “The best little show no one knows about” grew so big that it had to be moved to larger quarters, so perhaps Mr. Wallace is wrong in his assessment.
Who is Gary Wallace? Truck modelers may recognize him as GW Trucks, a producer of high quality resin products for their hobby. What many may not know is that he has been an amateur race car builder and driver, and a long time scale model builder himself, having fared very well in model contests, especially the truck classes, for many years.

The Fulton Model Show, having enjoyed its twentieth birthday in November 2011, is his brainchild, and his baby. It seemed to many that model contests sponsored by some model clubs tended to favor their own members. Contestants not affiliated with the club which put on a show, didn’t appear to be considered or judged according to their model’s merits. Throughout the years this observation had been made by, and became a complaint of, several modelers at various shows.

Gary decided to do something about it. Teaming up with his brother-in-law, Dan, and a fellow model builder and friend, Jan, they began holding a show which they intended would welcome all modelers and treat each fairly and equally. The show includes a contest, display area for models not competing for awards, and a large vendor area. From the beginning, it was, and has remained, a fun show, bringing together talented modelers from Quebec, and Ontario, Canada, and several areas of New York State. In recent years, “the… show no one knows about”, has drawn modelers from Vermont, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, and Ohio. OOPS! Somehow, apparently people DO know about it!

While open to all types of scale model vehicles and equipment, and with 200 models entered in the “twentieth anniversary” show, and all types represented, this show has nonetheless become heavily truck oriented. I dare say it has become “holy ground” for model truck fans, and enjoys one of, if not THE, largest model truck attendance of any model show in the northeast. Notice the use of the word “fans”, rather than “builders”; this because even those who may not actually construct truck models, will certainly find much to enjoy both on the contest tables, and the display tables.

The quality of the models is among the best one is likely to see. ‘50s era custom cars from Syracuse builders, huge off road work trucks from our Canadian neighbors, first time entries from young builders, and every other imaginable vehicle on the tables leave an observer thinking that he or she is walking through a museum.
In an adjacent room, there were approximately forty tables of vendors offering old model kits, parts, aftermarket details, accessories, and other model car and truck related “goodies”.

For this, the “twentieth anniversary” show, in addition to the usual 1st through 3rd place awards in the seventeen categories, and the many special awards given annually, the team decided to do something which they hadn’t done before. As was explained at the end of the awards presentations: with three judges, each may not always agree with the other two. Despite the usual consensus which results in a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place award, there are times when one of the judges feels that a particular model “speaks” to him for a reason known only to himself. So this year, (adding to the fun factor previously mentioned) they handed out three unique prizes, each selected by only one judge himself: The “Gary Award”, the “Dan Award”, and the “Jan Award”, each went to a deserving modeler, based on what the judge saw in the particular model he had chosen. This unexpected twist was well-received by everyone in attendance, and a good time was had by all!

Gary credits his brother-in-law Dan for much of the show’s success, as a result of the hard work and effort he has invested throughout the years.

So where will this “best little show no one knows about” be found? Not far from Fulton, At the “Volney Fire Department Barn”, in Volney, NY. Which, by the way, isn’t a barn at all; it is a large, modern structure with two huge areas devoted to the Fulton Model Show, on the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, every November.

Get building! Then get out your GPS Navigation and find your way to “The best little show no one knows about”…see you there!

Jim Amado          


September 2022

Comments On "Scale"

I agree, as many do, that 1/25 is the preferred "scale" - though what we commonly use to describe models is not actually scale, but size. "1/25" simply means that a model is 1/25 the actual size...or, 1/25 of the size of the actual vehicle...or, one inch on the model equals twenty five on the actual vehicle. Although 1/25 was long ago determined to be the common size of automotive models, it is actually an odd scale. For example, the size that many of us do not like, 1/24, actually makes more sense. Otherwise known as "half inch scale", it translates to: one inch on the model equals 24 inches on the actual vehicle. Note that it is a nice even number; no fractions or decimals involved.

Early Model Kits

After WW II most models were made of wood, and were commonly in "1/2 inch scale" (1/24), or "3/4 inch scale" (1/16) [one inch on the model equals sixteen inches on the actual vehicle]; later, in plastic, "3/8 inch scale" (1/32) [one inch on the model equals thirty two inches on the actual vehicle] became popular. The early postwar kits of current and recent automobiles, and (mostly military) trucks were in 1/24 actual size. Models of antique vehicles were in both 3/8" and 3/4" scales.


Promotional model cars ("promos") were used to promote the sale of new cars, and actually predate model kits (which required assembly) by many years, the first having appeared around 1934.[It should be noted that prior to this, there were pressed steel "toy" replicas of cars and trucks, some of which were very detailed and used by auto manufacturers to advertise the vehicles they sold, as well as being intended as children's playthings.] However, the early promos were made of pot metal, and while painted in colors the actual vehicles were available in, in regard to their size, they were all over the place.

AMT, "Official Model Makers To The Industry"

For many years AMT (Aluminum Model Toys) touted their status as the "official model makers to the (auto) industry". Ironically, only their first offering, a somewhat generic '47/'48 Ford Fordor, was produced in aluminum; by 1949 plastic became the medium. While others continued to produce promos in pot metal until the mid '50s, AMT and PMC (Product Miniatures Corporation) began the plastic promotional model industry, and 1/25 became the "standard" size. PMC initially offered as great a variety of Chevrolet scale models, as GM offered full size Chevies! A lone offering from Cruver Manufacturing, an exceptional model of the '49 Olds, and in the mid fifties, several offerings from JoHan models all claimed to be 1/25 in size. Long time collectors will have observed that apparently different companies used different slide rules to arrive at the alleged "1/25" size. JoHan was particularly noticeable in varying size, some being smaller than 1/25, while others being larger, yet all listed as 1/25.

The Return Of 1/24

In the early 1960s, Monogram Models, a venerable company that had been producing model kits of various subjects, began offering car model kits, first of '30s era Fords, '55 Chevy hardtop and convertible, and later on various muscle cars and street rods in 1/24 actual size. While the subject matter was desirable, the proportions were not always pleasing to the eye. So, given the common acceptance of 1/25 "scale", and the sometimes disappointing appearance of the 1/24 "scale" models, as well as the abundance of subject matter in 1/25, it's understandable why many prefer it. However, sometimes if one likes a specific vehicle, and it is available only in 1/24 - or even a more obscure scale - a modeler will want it regardless, and will make it look great. Again, that "slide rule" thing exists; some times 1/24 and 1/25 parts will interchange, while other times there is a glaring, obvious, noticeable difference. We all have our preferences, and our reasons for those preferences. As we've all heard said: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Jim Amado

July 2022

Real? Or Imitation?

Indy pace cars are often duplicated in limited numbers to be sold to interested members of the public, through the respective manufacturer's dealerships. Sometimes the pace car replicas closely resemble the actual pace car, while other times, if the actual pace car is modified to lead the pack on race day, the replicas sold by dealers may be somewhat different, either the engine, the body, or sometimes both.

For example, the '67 and '69 Camaro pace car replicas looked identical to the cars that actually paced the race in their respective years. The '76 Buick Pace car had a domed hood, while the "replicas", did not, and in '75 and '76 (Buick paced the race both years) the engines of the replicas were (understandably) not as potent as the actual pace car. In various years, Oldsmobile pace cars had their roofs opened up, or removed all together, while the replicas retained their closed steel "sedan" roofs. The 1990 Chevy Beretta Pace car shared the same fate.

Ford Motor Company supplied the 1979 Indy Pace Car, the then new Mustang. The actual pace car had T-Tops, while the replicas at Ford dealerships carried pace car graphics, they all had sunroofs.

Interestingly, other than the roof, the visual body mods worn by the actual pace cars were also shared by the replicas one could purchase from a Ford dealer.

The 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car was represented in model form by both MPC in 1/25 scale (kit #0785), and Monogram in 1/24 scale (kit #2250). The MPC kit depicted the actual t-top pace car, while the Monogram depicted the sun roof equipped pace car replica.

Monogram also offered kit # 2260, which was the '79 Mustang Cobra with sunroof, and MPC offered the '79 Mustang which could be built as simply a hatchback, or as a Cobra, either one with the solid "steel' roof. The Monogram Cobra kit had "cast aluminum wheels"; the three other kits all had the optional TRX wheels.

Jim Amado

May 2022

To Pace, or Not To Pace?

As we know, American auto manufacturers are honored to have one of their vehicles chosen to pace the famed Indianapolis 500 mile race. However, 1991's choice caused some controversy. Dodge was selected as the car company to provide the pace car. As is the practice, the company chosen, also supplies "official" cars and trucks for use in support of the race. While the support vehicles also represent the chosen manufacturer, the actual pace car is usually a top of the line performance car, or sometimes a uniquely modified vehicle.

For 1991, Dodge offered their then new Stealth R/T twin turbo, all wheel drive, 300 horsepower coupe, which was certainly adequate to bring the pack of Indy racers up to speed on race day. However, that choice caused consternation among the United Auto Workers Union, because the Dodge Stealth was in actuality a Japanese car, having been based on the Mitsubishi 3000 GT vr4.

This presented a quandary, because in 1991 the only other Dodge offerings were front wheel drive "econoboxes", none of which would have been suitable as a pace car. In a "stealthy" move, Dodge instead offered the not-yet-in-production VIPER as an alternative. The Viper R/T 10, still in gestation, was "on the shelf", intended to be introduced for sale to the public as a '92 model, and had a V10 engine with 400 horsepower. Thus, the May 1991 Indianapolis 500 race was paced by a Doge Viper, a vehicle which was not available for purchase to the car buying public until January 1992. The Viper pace car was truly an American car through and through, and was driven by an American "icon", Carroll Shelby, who was instrumental in its design and DNA.

How does all of this relate to we "model citizens"? Actually, with similar intrigue (though not an Oldsmobile). The Stealth being a new car in 1991, Dodge contracted to have promotional scale models made and in Dodge dealer's hands when the actual cars hit the showrooms. The plastic promotional models were available in red, with black roof, and in solid black.

Here's where it gets interesting. Since it was initially thought that the stealth was to be the Indy Pace car, the initial run of the promos [I don't know exact numbers] included Indy Pace Car decals (stickers, actually), while later ones did not (see accompanying photos comparing promo box ends).

When the plastic kits of Stealth models came out, kit #6956, "New '91 Dodge Stealth..." with the box art showing a red car with black roof, then later kit #6806, Indy 500 "official car," (not official "pace" car), depicted a yellow car with black roof on the box cover.

In '92, Stealth models were available as snap together kits, glue together kits, and promotional models. 1992 also saw models of the Viper: first the promo, then the kit (#6808). Sometime thereafter, the 1991 Indy pace car Viper promotional model became available.

As if to reinforce its American ethnicity, the pace car promo wore a subtle reminder, in a small American flag on each side of the targa bar (see photos).

Jim Amado

July 2021


Atlantis (Model Company) continues to release some former Revell, and now former Monogram, kits under their own (Atlantis) label. In addition to the 1/48 scale (former Revell) White tanker and Chevy stake, there's the 1/25 scale (former Revell) '57 Cadillac El Dorado Brougham, and more recently in 1/32 scale the (former Monogram) '69 Chevrolet Nova, and '82 Camaro Z-28. Presumably these 1/32 models would be the same great kits they were in their previous lives, with detailed engines, opening hoods, and detailed chassis. They were, and are expected to be, quality, top level kits, despite their smaller size.

In addition, Atlantis now offers heretofore unavailable and non existent window glass for the 1/48 scale White and 1/48 scale Chevy truck kits. While "glass" is included in the Chevy stake truck kit, it was not in the White tanker kit, which was released before the Chevy. Apparently window glass for either kit is now available separately. Atlantis also suggests more vehicle kits are planned for future release.

Jim Amado           

February 2021

Deceit Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

I have long maintained that box art can either make or break the sale of a model kit. Some of us have walked away and not purchased a kit because of the box art; others of us have purchased a kit and been disappointed upon opening the box. Misrepresentations, in my opinion, are inexcusable. There is enough reference material available that it should be no problem to provide an accurate depiction of the vehicle that the model within the box represents.

The most recent model box I take issue with is the 2020 Atlantis (model company) re-release of the former Revell 1/48 scale 1955 Chevrolet 2 ton stake truck. Were I unaware of happenings within the model industry, and had I seen the model on a store shelf, I may have immediately been drawn to it, and considered purchasing the kit. At first glance, not only a new company, but possibly a new kit? Why might one have thought that? Because the illustration on the cover misrepresents the model within the box! Depicted on the cover is a'55 Chevy LCF (low cab forward) truck which, as the name implies, has its cab moved forward, in order to accommodate a longer, thus larger capacity, cargo bed on the same length chassis.

However, the model kit is actually the same conventional cab Chevy model that Revell produced in 1955, and a few more times since then. Note the illustrations of the trucks in the accompanying photos. The green (Revell) illustration shows the cab with the door lines parallel to each other, opening behind the fenders, and the engine hood is lower and longer than the blue (Atlantis) illustration. The Atlantis cab doors are arched at the front edge to (give the erroneous appearance of) opening around the rear of the fender, and an LCF would (correctly) appear to have a taller hood, because it is shorter than a Conventional truck's hood; but the model is not an LCF.

Again, if one were not aware that the Revell kit has been reissued by Atlantis, the misleading box art may cause one to presume that it is a new model kit, representing a truck which had not previously been available in scale form...until or unless one looked at the accurate depiction on the side of the box.

Interestingly, the new Atlantis model employs the same kit number as the original Revell kit: # H-1401. In spite of its misleading box cover illustration, '50s era "technology", and multi piece body, it's a nice kit, and a good representation of the '55 Chevrolet conventional 6409, two ton stake truck.

Jim Amado           

August 2020

Scale Auto Drives Off

Printed magazines continue to cease production as more of them become available on line or on electronic devices. Kalmbach Publishing has recently announced that the final issue of Scale Auto Magazine will be the August 2020 issue. Kalmbach offers assurance that model car fans will soon find a section for them included in Fine Scale Modeler Magazine.

Presumably, since it covers various types of modeling, there is hope that Fine Scale Modeler itself may endure for some time, though the duration, like the future, is unknown.

Uptown Automotive has a vast inventory of back issues of several automotive model magazines. Send us your wants.

Jim Amado           

July 2020

Now available, resin three piece tailgate conversion kit, to replace double doors on Revell '66 Chevy Suburban kit. Includes inner and outer panels.

Mastered by Jim Amado, refined by Joe Shaffer, cast by Joe Koonrad, marketed by J and J Resins. Find them on Facebook.

April 2019

The "new" MPC '78 Dodge pickup from Round 2 is available. It is touted as "first time released". That's a qualified statement. MPC did offer a '78 Dodge pickup kit in 1978. Then, kit # 7809 was a long wheelbase sweptline 100 Power Wagon. Yep, it was four wheel drive. It also had Adventurer exterior trim on the body: a thin chrome strip just below the belt line, and a wider chrome band above the rocker panels, which would have had a black insert, or on some models faux wood grain.

The "new" 2019 issued '78 pickup is also a long wheelbase sweptline, but it's a two wheel drive stripper. If you remember the MPC Dodge pulling truck, "Thunders Truck", with the exhaust stacks sticking through the hood? It had a long wheelbase, sweptline body, with plain sides - no chrome. The new '78 kit apparently uses the same body. In addition, Round 2 has included open steel wheels with chrome hub caps - not full wheel covers, and - for some reason - thin line whitewall tires. The engine is a big block V8. The annual '78 kit included an off road motorcycle. The new kit includes a mini bike. Decal sheet includes lawn service, and motorcycle repair, among other items. Nice kit! Good job, Round 2! A superfluous part included in the new 2 wheel drive kit is the 4 wheel drive transfer case; always good to have extra parts

Also, in a repeat performance, the '60 Chevrolet short wheelbase Custom Fleetside pickup from Round 2 under the AMT label. Includes venerable six cylinder engine, and a go kart. Another nice kit. Optional free useless information: The 2019 issue of this pickup, like its prior release, has the small back window cab. The 1960 annual kit, a long wheelbase fleetside Apache, had the large back light.

Jim Amado           

(Breaking news!) December 2018

BEWARE of the newly released Revell Cadillac Escalade! Don't be fooled; it is not a new kit! The box cover photo depicts the Esclade ESV (Suburban size), while the box side depicts the Esclade SUV (Tahoe size). The kit is a reissue of the previously released Escalade SUV. NOT the longer ESV, as the misleading box art would have us believe.

Jim Amado          


Annual Spring Thaw Model Show

Scale Model Vehicle Display - Judged Contest - Vendors
Offering new and old model kits, aftermarket parts, detail accessories

Located in Utica, NY, the geographical center of New York State (check your map), the show is the work of
four young gentlemen, each of whom is a talented model builder specializing in trucks (though fully capable of other types of vehicles also).

Check it out on Facebook: Spring Thaw Scale Model Show

The show's website: http://daveski25.Wix.com/springthawmodelshow

Know Your Terms

The term "scale" has become commonly misused, though we all have come to recognize it as describing the approximate size of a particular model car or truck. In the eary '50s, model kits were described more accurately in fractions such as "3/8 inch scale" (which we now call 1/32), "3/4 inch scale" ( 1/16), "1/2 inch scale" (1/24), etc. The fractions we now use to describe a model are easier to understand. For example, 1/24 means one inch on the model equals twenty four inches on the actual vehicle. Thus a 1/2" scale model would be one twenty fourth (1/24) the size of the actual vehicle.

Jim Amado           

Chrome Spears?

The Monogram '59 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz and El Dorado Seville kits, and the Gunze Sangyo 1/32 '59 El Dorado kits have chrome taillight spears. This is inaccurate. The only 1959 Cadillac which had the chrome spears was the Fleetwood Sixty Special. To assemble the scale model El Dorado kits correctly, the chrome should be stripped, and the spears painted the same color as the body.

Jim Amado           

Large or Small?

Revell's '56 Ford pickup, in it's first release, kit #H1283, issued in 1962, had the small rear window in the cab. Later releases, such as kit #7384, issued in 1983, had the large back window.

Jim Amado           

Stake Bed

Several, but not all, issues of the AMT, and later Lindberg, '34 Ford pickup kits included a stake bed option. Interestingly, Ford did not offer this option until 1936 when disc wheels, stronger than the earlier wire wheels, became standard. However, the parts included in the '34 pickup kits reasonably represent the 6 1/2 foot stake bed option offered from Ford from 1936 up through 1956! Thus, conversion possibilities exist for the Monogram '50, AMT '53, and Revell '56 Ford Pickup kits. Obviously the stake bed could be used on other makes as well.

Jim Amado           


Pot Metal scale model Jeep forward control trucks have long been somewhat mysterious. Some of the mystery no doubt caused - or contributed to - inaccurate information. The FC 170 stake truck model was often listed as 1/20. Measuring the model's wheelbase, however, one finds that particular dimension to be closer to 1/23. The FC 170 pickup, commonly said to be 1/25, is more accurately 1/28.

Jim Amado           

Liquid Chrome

When a distributor told me that they tested a product that simulates chrome, and that it was "amazing", I doubted.

How many times in decades of modeling had I heard of similar products? I requested a sample. No sample. So I ordered one and paid for it. I tried it. It works! I BELIEVE! It's called Liquid Chrome, and is similar to a felt tip paint marker, comes in either of three tip sizes, is easy to use, and looks great when it dries.

I tried it on plastic, resin, and pot metal. It works! Far superior to silver paint, less aggravating and tedious than Bare Metal Foil, and unlike All Clad, requires no undercoat nor buffing. I recommend this product, not because I sell it, but because I use it...and it works!

Jim Amado          

Vehicle Nomenclature

Body styles of vehicles were given names which reflected their intended usage. Auto manufacturers also gave names to the various vehicles within their product ranges. Somewhere along the line, our society has deteriorated into a “close enough is good enough”, or “whatever” attitude regarding many things, and wrong information is disseminated routinely even by “experts” who should know better. Why?

How difficult is it, especially in this age of the computer where all sorts of information is available literally at one’s fingertips, to determine the correct name for a vehicle’s body style, or a specific model of a given make?

One would logically presume that a car magazine, a model car magazine, or an author therein, and/or a company producing scale model vehicles, would be knowledgeable about the subject matter which they are presenting, and both know and use the correct nomenclature for that subject.

Revell has recently rereleased their ‘53/’54 Chevrolet sedan delivery model kit. Why do they mislabel it as a “panel”? Certainly they know better! A panel truck is truck based, and has double loading doors at the rear. A sedan delivery is passenger car based and, with few exceptions, has a single loading door.  Examples of panel trucks are Revell’s ’37 Ford, kit #4930 (and prior releases), and the ’55 Ford which had been done in various guises under the Monogram label. Examples of sedan deliveries are the ’31 Ford, formerly done by Revell, and the ’39 Chevy, formerly done under the Monogram label. So, it’s not like Revell is unfamiliar with both body types; which makes it all the more confusing as to why they couldn’t or didn’t call the newly released model by its correct name.

Some who write about real cars are also guilty of misnomers, which again is unnecessary and irritating. To them I say: “Know your subject matter! Do your homework!” we who read magazines do so not only for entertainment, but also to gain or enhance knowledge. Fords, for example, are often mislabeled in articles. It’s really not that difficult to follow Ford’s nomenclature lineage; especially if the author is writing about Fords, a reader would presume said author to be knowledgeable about Fords, and know the facts he or she is relating.

Herewith is an attempt to clarify some Ford facts. Beginning in 1951, Ford called their two door hardtops “Victorias”. In 1954 they offered a two door hardtop with a plexiglas roof section over the front seat; this was called a “Skyliner”. Ford convertibles were called “Sunliners”. In 1955 Ford offered the Victoria (two door hardtop), a “Crown Victoria” which, though not a true hardtop, had a chrome B pillar, and targa bar, or tiara, which went over the roof and connected to the B pillar on the other side. A third offering was the Crown Victoria with the Plexiglas roof option; this was called a Crown Victoria Skyliner. All three versions were also offered in 1956, as well as the Sunliner convertible, and a new body style: a four door hardtop. The four door hardtop was called a Town Victoria.

 In 1957 the Plexiglas roof option was no longer offered, yet the Skyliner name was continued, now being applied to the then new retractable hardtop. So the ’57 line included two and four door Victorias, a Sunliner convertible, and a Skyliner retractable hardtop.

The Skyliner, with its folding steel roof, was continued into 1958 and 1959. In 1959 there were also two models of fixed roof two door hardtops in the Ford line. The Fairlane 500 had a thin C pillar, and the later released Galaxie (first year for that name) had a “formal roof”, with a more squared C pillar, like that of the then current Thunderbird. Interestingly, the Skyliner had used that similar C pillar since its inception in 1957.

In 1960 the retractable hardtop, and the Skyliner name, were gone. Ford two door hardtops had a new thin pillar design, and were called “Starliners” (a name which Studebaker had used in 1953), while the four door hardtops retained the Thunderbird roof line. Convertibles were still called Sunliners.

In ’61 a “formal roof” Galaxie two door hardtop, called a Club Victoria, shared the roof line of the four door Town Victoria, and both were joined by a thin pillar two door hardtop, similar to the ’60 Starliner, and carrying the same name.

For 1962 the only two door hardtop roof was the squared T-Bird style, which was found to be less than ideal for NASCAR competition, so Ford went into their bag of tricks, and pulled out a fiberglass lift off hardtop which could be attached to their convertible bodies. This roof line was virtually identical to the ’60 & ’61 Starliners, and was called the “Starlifter option”. Ingenious, but soon declared illegal by NASCAR.

Free useless information: The U.S. Air Force had a cargo plane, the C-141, which was also called a Starlifter. Probably capable of carrying the entire starting grid of NASCAR cars…

Jim Amado          

Black Widow? Which One?

There were two model car kits with the same name, which may be confusing.

The first "Black Widow" was actually the second. That is, the original Monogram scale model of a modified Model T Ford hot rod (which would be called a street rod now), and which was made in the early 1960s, predated the Revell scale model of the '57 Chevy 150 Utility Sedan, which was released in 2009.

The real 1957 Chevrolet 150 Utility Sedan made, not surprisingly, in 1957, was the entry level, or least costly model in the Chevrolet line up that year. It was a vehicle descended from the business coupe , which as the name implies, was intended for businessmen and salesmen to transport sample cases, or whatever tools and/or work related items they used in their craft. In my youth, a great uncle who was a building contractor drove a '57 150 Utility Sedan, with a thrifty six cylinder engine under the hood, and his tools behind the front seat.

In '57 Chevy also offered optional engines up to and including the fuel injected Corvette 283 V8. A 150 so equipped would likely have been intended for racing, and could have included other competition options such as six lug Chevy truck wheels on beefed up axles. Some of the racing 150s were painted black and white, and thus were referred to as "black widows", due to their "lethal" nature. These could have been said to have been equipped "strictly for business" of another kind.

Interestingly, the Monogram Black Widow scale model kit did not replicate an actual vehicle, but was representative of a type of actual vehicle. It was one of a series of three "hot rods" (street rods) which Monogram offered. The others were another Ford "T", called the "Green Hornet", and a '32 Ford coupe.

Ironically, within the first decade of the new millennium, a gentleman had an actual vehicle constructed to duplicate the Monogram scale model "Black Widow". In 2010 the Monogram Black Widow model kit was once again released in nostalgic Monogram box art, reminiscent of the original, but now issued by Revell (they and Monogram having become one company several years ago).

See Model Cars magazine, issue #155, December 2010, for an in depth article on both the new actual vehicle, and the new scale model.

Jim Amado           


                                        How To Know AMXactly What You’re Looking At

The American Motors two passenger coupe, known as the AMX, was modeled by four different model companies back in the day…sort of. 

Actually, it was made by only three model companies, but marketed by four.  When the car was first introduced in mid 1968, AMT offered a scale model kit in 1/25 scale, and MPC offered a kit in 1/20 scale.  Interestingly, however, AMT did not produce the 1/25 scale model .  JoHan did. It was felt that AMT was the better known company, so it was marketed by them.  The AMT kit number was 2568. According to some sources, JoHan also made promotional models for the AMC dealers in 1968, with and without friction motors.

JoHan  made the ’69 in 1/25 scale, again marketed by AMT, under kit #T294. Promotional models were also offered by JoHan, for the AMC dealers. The ’69 AMX has been reissued by JoHan numerous times. In a kit, as one of their “USA Oldies” series, and  as the “Drag-on Lady” Shirley & H.L. Shahan  Super  Stock drag racing car (kit # C3069), and yet again as the same (drag)car inaccurately  labeled as a “Pro Street” car. This last version was essentially the “Drag-on Lady” kit, without the decals; it lacked the Pro Street characteristic narrowed rear end, and tubbed rear wheel wells.

Revell, in 1/32 scale, kit # H1296, and AMT, in 1/43 scale, (various releases) also modeled the ’69 AMX, but here our focus is on the larger scale renditions.  MPC offered two kits of the ’69 in 1/20 scale: kit #2002, was the stock version, and kit # 2004 was the “Yankee Clipper funny car drag version.

The ’69 AMX has been recycled several times under the JoHan name as a “Promotional” model. The most recent releases were unfortunately inaccurate, in that they had 1970 interiors.  Later releases of the drag car kit (#C3069) also included the incorrect interior.  

For 1970, AMT kit # Y722 was a 1/25 scale AMX, and MPC kit # 3170 was a 1/20 scale kit. Promotional models of the ’70 were done in 1/25 scale by JoHan.

 Here’s how to accurately identify each of the three years. Externally, the 68(1/2), and the ’69 are identical; the exterior of the ’70 differs in hood, grille, taillights, and rocker panel molding. The real key, however , is the seats.  The ’68 bucket seats had low backrests, the ’69 had headrests, and the ’70 had highback (integrated headrests) bucket seats. The upholstery pattern was also different in the 1970.

Unfortunately, though the name JoHan (actually a contraction of the name of the founder, John Hanley) remained, the company changed hands a few times in recent years, and things got a bit confused. The most recent releases of the AMX models, both the kits and the reissued promos, though intended and labeled as 1969s, had ’70 interiors with the high back bucket seats, and incorrect (for ’69) upholstery pattern. 




Jim Amado          

Jim Amado: The plastic surgeon, builder, collector, writer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          page updated 6/7/2023