Ancient History

 

My earliest exposure to model cars took place around 1951. On of my uncles was a salesman at a Ford dealership, and sold a new car to another uncle. Part of the deal was a promo model which found its way to me. Included in my haul for Christmas of 1953 was a friction model of a '54 Cadillac and a '53 Pontiac sedan with working headlights. Both were 1/25th scale as I recall. But back in those days I wasn't as picky about scale; as long as it was a car, I was interested! There were a number of different cars from back then that I remember fondly:

  • Die cast auto transport truck. These were made in the early to mid 50s, and included the truck with four small cars, each about an inch long. I have no idea home many of these sets I went through!
  • F&F cereal cars. These were plastic, about three inches long and came inside Post Grape Nuts Flakes. They were similar in size and design to the Tootsietoy die cast series from the same era. They depected various Ford vehicles. You could also order sets through the mail, as long as you included the all-important box top. I remember having a bunch of them in 1954, 1955 and 1957. Ken's Cereal Car Collection has some great information and photos about these.
  • I also had a couple of copies of the ITC large scale '53 Corvette. This was one of the first kits I was exposed to.
 

 

The kid was a happy camper in the summer of 1956. That's a remote control AMT '56 Ford Victoria I'm holding. They were really cool, with an electric motor, connected to a control box that had forward and reverse as well as steering controls.

By this time I was also hooked on the Ford promos my uncle supplied from the dealership each year. Let's see...there was a purple & white '55 hardtop, a red '56 convertible, a red '57 T-Bird and a Coral Sand & Corinthian White '57 hardtop...

About this time I also got hooked on some of the kits that were around then, like Revell's Lincoln Futura and '57 Ford Country Squire, both in 1/25th scale. I also built my share of the smaller scale Revell/AMT kits like the '56 Ford, '56 Cadillac, '56 Buick and '56 Chrysler.

 

 

This photo, taken around 1960 is the earliest one I have of my collection. By that time the models had more or less moved from the "toys" category into "hobby" instead.

These were primarily 3-in-1 kits from AMT and JoHan, although there were a few promos and frictions mixed in. I had already developed an interest in showroom stock.

 

 
By 1961 the collection was growing by leaps and bounds. I was still too young for a driver's license, so all my money went into the models.
 

 

This is a display of classics from around 1964. The back row includes a Pyro '48 Continental, Monogram '30 Ford, and two AMT 32 Frods. In front there's an AMT '25 Ford, Monogram '34 Duesenberg and a Hawk 1909 Hupmobile.

In the background is my pride and joy, an AMT Turnpike slot car track, that succumbed to the flood waters of Hurricane Betsy in 1965. I still resist the temptation to try to locate one...

 

 

Over the next ten years, my collection grew to huge proportions. These photos were taken around the time my involvement in the hobby had reached its peak. I continued to build and collect for several more years, but the hobby was beginning to change.

As the late 70's rolled around, the number of new kits had started to dwindle, and interest in the hobby in general had started to wane.

By 1980 had pretty much thrown in the modeling towel. I started selling off the collection, a process that continued for several years. By the late 80s, what was left amounted to about 30% of the original collection.

A second phase of selling in the early 90s reduced the remainder to a couple hundred models, and a couple dozen unbuilt kits. In many ways I regret having sold off what I did, because there were many rare models in the collection.

 

 
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