The Truth About Cars » Model Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:00:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Model Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com My First and Most Recent Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/first-recent-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/first-recent-cars/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 23:09:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1014778 Not long ago my mother moved into an assisted living facility and I’ve been cleaning through her house. After observing her, my daughters, my sisters, and my maternal aunts I’ve figured out that there’s likely an OCD gene on one of their X chromosomes. Of course, my daughters got that bit of genetic material from […]

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Not long ago my mother moved into an assisted living facility and I’ve been cleaning through her house. After observing her, my daughters, my sisters, and my maternal aunts I’ve figured out that there’s likely an OCD gene on one of their X chromosomes. Of course, my daughters got that bit of genetic material from their dear old dad. Hey, just because I have 60+ egg crates filled with about 15 years worth of automotive press kits doesn’t mean that I hoard things. Anyhow, while cleaning I came across a box that looked like it hadn’t been touched since January of 1966, when we moved to the house that I’m now going through. Most of the things in the box were detritus, stuff that could have been thrown away before the move. However, as I was rifling through the fabric scraps and what have you, something bright red caught my eye.

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It was a pressed steel toy car, looking very much like an early 1960s Rambler station wagon. Something about it seemed very familiar and then it came to me: it was my first toy car. I remembered playing with it on the living floor of our house on Ward in northwest Detroit. One wheel was bent up into the body and another was completely missing, but it was mostly intact and in pretty nice shape considering it was more than a half century old. By the time we moved from that house I was already eleven years old so I probably hadn’t played with it in years by then, but mom does save things, which explains how it survived to make the move.

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My dad had a 1961 Rambler American two door in white. I would have been about six years old at the time and I’m guessing that maybe my parents got me a toy to match one of the family cars. I also remember from that same general time the larger, very detailed plastic scale car models that my brother and I got when our parents bought a ’61 Pontiac Catalina and our grandfather got his latest Olds 98, but this wasn’t one of those dealer models, just an inexpensive pressed steel toy, perhaps made in Japan, though I can’t find any maker’s mark.

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It so happens that I also just got a new toy car at the Henry Ford Museum when I was there to do a story on their Engines Exposed exhibition. The HFM is one of the tourist attractions around the country that still has vintage Mold-A-Rama machines. Developed in the 1950s by an inventor named J.H. “Tike” Miller, working with a coin operated vending company that is now the large foodservice firm known as Aramark, Mold-A-Ramas are small *injection molding machines that produce waxy plastic souvenirs while you watch them operate. They caught on big at the 1964 New York World’s Fair where there were at least 150 of the machines making everything from Sinclair Oil dinosaurs to coin banks.

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To people jaded by 3D printers, Mold-A-Ramas may not seem like much, but in the jet age they fascinated adults and children alike. The machines must have been well engineered because a couple of family owned businesses still operate a number of the 50 year old machines at tourist attractions in Florida and the midwest. As with just about everything that predates the digital age, there are folks who collect new and vintage Mold-A-Rama toys. If, like musician Jack White, you want your very own Mold-A-Rama unit, a reconditioned one will cost you about $15,000, custom molds extra.

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At the Ford museum you can get Mold A Rama statuettes of Henry Ford and plastic busts of Abraham Lincoln along with models of some of the museum’s more notable vehicles, like the Kennedy assassination presidential limousine. While the museum is independent of the Ford Motor Company, the firm and the Ford family are important patrons of the institution. Perhaps that’s why near the museum’s entrance a couple of the molding machines made miniature Ford products, a recent F-150 and a 1965 Mustang. I’m not much of a pickup truck fan, so I opted for the pony car, which was molded in a bright red, matching my first toy car. When I retrieved it from the hopper, I noticed that one side of the base reads “Ford Rouge Factory Tour”. I took the current Rouge plant tour soon after it was restarted a few years ago and I don’t recall seeing a Mold-A-Rama machine in the reception center so that may be a vintage mold from when the tour walked right next to the assembly line and visitors watched hot steel being poured from the vantage of the steel plant’s catwalk.

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Regular readers will know that I check out ease of child car seat use in my reviews because I regularly babysit my grandson, who will be three years old in a couple of months. He makes “vroom vroom” and “pshew” noises with the “fast cars” in the box of toys I keep for him here. I guess playing with cars is something that we car guys never grow out of. I can’t think of any adult car enthusiasts that I know that don’t have at least one scale model of a car or some other kind of toy car. I bet you can remember your first toy car and I’m also willing to bet that you’ve bought some kind of toy car for yourself or for someone else in recent memory. Please tell us about them.

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*The Mold-A-Rama process seems to me to be a cross between injection and blow molding since a blast of compressed air is used to hollow out the part.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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1984 Chevy Citation Immortalized By Modelmaker With Eye For Hooptie-Correctness http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/1984-chevy-citation-immortalized-by-modelmaker-with-eye-for-hooptie-correctness/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/1984-chevy-citation-immortalized-by-modelmaker-with-eye-for-hooptie-correctness/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 17:30:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445890 Plenty of builders of plastic car models do a pretty good job doing “weathered” kits, but most focus on romantic images of Route 66-drivin’ classics rusting beautifully behind a wholesome-looking 1951 service station. I think what we really need is more super-accurate models of iconic American hoopties, and I don’t just talk the talk! So, […]

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Plenty of builders of plastic car models do a pretty good job doing “weathered” kits, but most focus on romantic images of Route 66-drivin’ classics rusting beautifully behind a wholesome-looking 1951 service station. I think what we really need is more super-accurate models of iconic American hoopties, and I don’t just talk the talk! So, it brings joy to my heart to see that a professional modelmaker truly understands proper hooptieness.
Etsy seller Classic Wrecks has quite a selection of 1:24-scale wretched beaters, hoopties, and the aforementioned Route-66-drivin’-classics in his online store. He also does custom work to order, which means I’m going to start scouring eBay for a Ford Tempo kit to be used as the centerpiece of a Shake-N-Bake meth lab diorama, set in a Muncie, Indiana vacant lot.
I may need to hand over the 65 bucks that will make the Hooptie Citation mine. After all, the Citation is a cherished piece of American automotive history.

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When Embarrassing Presidential Relatives Got Model Kits: Billy Carter’s Redneck Power Pickup! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-embarrassing-presidential-relatives-got-model-kits-billy-carters-redneck-power-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-embarrassing-presidential-relatives-got-model-kits-billy-carters-redneck-power-pickup/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2012 19:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427357 Last month, while I was judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, a team with a Billy Carter-themed Ford Fairmont Futura handed me something I’ve been trying to find for years: a gen-yoo-wine Malaise Era 1:25 scale Revell model kit of Billy Carter‘s customized Chevy Stepside. I am so happy! I was 10 […]

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Last month, while I was judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, a team with a Billy Carter-themed Ford Fairmont Futura handed me something I’ve been trying to find for years: a gen-yoo-wine Malaise Era 1:25 scale Revell model kit of Billy Carter‘s customized Chevy Stepside. I am so happy!
I was 10 years old when Billy’s big brother, Jimmy, was elected President of the United States, and the beer-swilling, quasi-street-smart Billy made quite a positive impression on me and my peers (remember, Northern California in the mid-70s was all about the celebration of dissipation and substance abuse, preferably involving a Chevrolet truck). Billy posed in a suit of chainmail made from beer-can pull tabs and scammed the Libyans out of a half-million bucks while his wholesome, atomic-scientist, turn-the-other-cheek-Christian big brother dropped a big wet blanket on America by telling us we couldn’t have everything we wanted all the time. Yes, chronic screwup Billy was a big embarrassment to straight-arrow Jimmy, and I’m sure there was some head-clutching in the White House when Jimmy learned that Revell was going to turn a generation of American model-building boys into Southern-fried drunken gearheads in the Curtis Turner mold. Hell, Revell might as well have included a couple of Lynyrd Skynyrd 8-tracks, a church key, and a pack of Zig-Zags in every kit.
Some of the younger racers at Buttonwillow had no idea who Billy Carter was. “He was sort of like the Roger Clinton of the 70s, only more flamboyant,” I told them. Anyway, when the Redneck Power Pickup model came out, I was more into building models of sissified, moral-backbone-weakening European cars like the BMW E24 and never did pick up Billy’s truck at Alameda Hobbycraft (I would have ended up blowing it up with an M-80, fate of most of my kits, so it was just as well). I haven’t built a model kit since Max Tork’s Hooptie-Ass ’70 Impala 20 years ago, but I’m definitely going to assemble the Redneck Power truck real proper-like.
The Redneck Power Fairmont Futura of Team Billy Beer Malaise Forever Re-Election Racing looked great on the race track, and its million-mile 200-cubic-inch L6 engine lasted longer under race abuse (12 hours) than anyone expected.
The guys on Team Billy Beer Malaise Forever Re-Election Racing scanned the decal sheet from the Revell kit and had full-size versions made for their race car. Now that’s historical accuracy!
Check out the custom features included with the Redneck Power kit. It’s like a laundry list of truck fashion trends from Plains, Georgia, circa 1978.
I’m pretty sure the real Billy Carter wouldn’t have had cases of “soft drink can” in his truck bed. Maybe I’ll modify this kit to include a few dozen Pabst empties instead.
Perhaps Revell could revive this concept with a full line of Embarrassing Presidential Relatives scale models. How about a 1:25 kit of Onyango Obama’s Mitsubishi Montero, for starters? Jenna Bush’s college-student car (I’m picturing an Explorer, but maybe it was something Infiniti J30-grade cool) and the luxury machine Donald Nixon probably bought when Howard Hughes “loaned” him all that cash for his “Nixonburger” operation?
I’ll definitely be a big cheerleader for the Embarrassing Presidential Relatives Series, but for now I’ll be content to have a Redneck Power Stepside parked next to the collection of weird diecast cars that fills my office.

Ford Fairmont Futura at 24 Hour of LeMons - Picture Courtesy of Nick 'Still Tippin' Pon 02- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 03- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 04- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 05- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 06- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 07- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 08- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 09- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 10- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 11- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Phillip Greden 12- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of BrooklynGrowler.com Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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