Various forms of promotional models started to appear at motoring dealership around the early 1950s. These ‘dealership’ models as they became to be known are not to be confused with the component model kits which were built and stuck together, like Airfix, Tamiya or Revell. These dealership models were prefabricated and distributed to the motor company dealerships. They were to promote forthcoming vehicles and give a three dimensional representation of the new cars being introduced by the various manufacturers. This gave the potential customer a much better experience of what they are going to buy, rather than just flicking through a printed catalogue. With these dealership models you got to appreciate the dimensions of the car from any angle.
I will try to sum up the information that is out there from the likes of Wikipedia and other model based sites, concentrating on the dealership cars side of the business.
What we do know is that these quite fragile models are highly collectable as memorabilia especially for important cars from the manufacturers, not just Ford. As for the numbers actually produced I haven’t been able to quantify, but they limited in number and not a mass produced item. The actual numbers produced will obviously vary from various motor manufacturers, and the number of dealers actually selling the cars of course. These models were not for commercial retail, they were just a promotional item that was going to binned when that model is no longer produced. Logic would dictate that they were then taken home by the salesmen and given to their children to play with as toys, or even worse binned. Hence many of the cars that appear for sale now days are pretty battered. Over time they have become to be recognised for what they are now, collectable items from an bygone era.
The costs for these models production has been reported at the time as anything between $50,000 ($650,000 in todays money), to $250,000 ($3,000,000 in todays money). Either way that is not an insignificant amount of money for a launch of a car with no idea of how it will actually sell, thus recoup some of the promotional money back at the time. A big advantage that Ford had was on 17th April 1964 at the New York World’s Trade Fair, the Mustang was launched to the public to critical acclaim. This was backed up by selling over 680,000 Mustangs in the first year, which is still a record. With that type of response Ford felt the investment would be worthwhile as they couldn’t make the cars quick enough for the public to buy them, with some dealers having lengthy waiting lists. Having an accurate model of the car that could be seen by the customer was a huge bonus at the time.
The History of AMT
In 1948 a company called ‘AMT’ was started up by West Gallogly Sr. in Troy, Michigan USA. ‘Aluminium Model Toys’ was created as a secondary business by Mr. Gallogly. Other manufacturers were already creating dealer models which were mostly zinc based. Gallogly also wanted to make the models out of aluminium, hence the name ‘Aluminium Model Toys’ was given to the company. However, very shortly after the name was chosen, the use of plastics materials rocketed around the world and the name Aluminium Model Toys deemed to be confusing for their plastic models, thus the name was rebranded to a shortened version of the name, ‘AMT’. In 1978 AMT was bought out by Lesney better know for ‘Matchbox Toys’. In 1983 Lesney relocated to Baltimore and sold the AMT company to ERTL, which was then to be known as AMT-ERTL. Later in 2007 the AMT name was no more and the company name was now just ERTL.
In 1958 AMT were producing ‘3 in 1’ kits which allowed three different version of model which could be made; ‘Stock’, ‘Custom’ or ‘Racing’ with numbered decals.
In 1962 AMT were also involved with ‘Slot Car’ industry which started in 1912 which is still hugely popular today. They manufactured various sizes of car such as 1:24, 1:25 and 1:32. The 1:32 scale was adopted as the standard by Scalextric for fun racing at home or the more serious competitive racing scene.
In the mid 60’s Mr. Gallogly went on to use his good connections with the Ford Motor Company to manufacture some highly detailed promotional models for them. What was said, who agreed it and what the actual deals that were struck at the time during those meetings is unclear. But, it must have been pretty good for the Ford Motor Company executives agreeing to the Dealership Promotional Models.
It was recognised during that golden era for the motor manufacturing industry, it was deemed the norm for a new model to be produced every year or two years max. To make people aware of the new vehicle designs which were in coming and in production, these promotional models were distributed to the dealers, often well before the actual cars arrived for demonstration cars or actual stock of cars for sale.
Sadly towards the late 1960’s and certainly before 1970s the dealer models were not a thing anymore and all but faded out from being produced and no longer sat proudly on a salesman’s desk.
Focusing on the first generation 1965 models as those are the ones I have. These models are extremely well detailed, and they were supposed to have been made with the colours that the manufacturers were painting their cars at the time. The colours I have appear to be ‘Rangoon Red’ and ‘Wimbledon White’.
The models are manufactured to the scale of 1:25, that converts to a measurement on model of 1cm will convert to 25cm on the real thing.
Photographing the dimensions against a tape measure is a little distorted perspective by the camera, so I have taken a few variations. But, the stated measurements are correct with the photo taken directly above the line of sight to the tape measure.
The length of the models are 183mm long or 7.20 inches or 7 3/16″
The Width of the models are 70mm or 2.75 inches or 2 3/4″
The Height of the models are 50mm or 1.96 inches or 1 31/32″
The whole model weighs in at just 105grams or 3.7oz
The construction is very fragile and light weight brittle plastic which is easily marked or dented especially on the leading edge of the hood which narrows to almost nothing.
The single piece floor pan forms details of the underside of the car, suspension, engine, gearbox, all the jig points, grommets, bolts, fuel tank, brake lines for the emergency brake cable, and a single exhaust system which comes from a V8 (I will elaborate on this below under The Details heading), as there are two exhaust manifold pipes, going to a single pipe, and on to a single muffler box. There are four screws in total two at each end that hold the model together. The exhaust tip is missing on the right side (passenger) as the one of the screw points cuts it off.
The other side (inside) of the floor pan forms the seats, dash area and centre console (which would have been an optional extra at the time).
The steering wheel and column looks to be a separate moulding attached to the dash. The interior detailing shows the heater controls, radio, lateral dash instruments, glove box, steering horn and even the markings for the automatic gearbox box selector, but there is no T Handle for the shifter or indicator stalk. Both of which I suspect would have been so delicate they would have broken being removed from the moulds or from just being handled. Looking in the footwell there is a third pedal for the clutch, this would be a contradiction for the automatic gearbox markings. The door cards look to be the ‘Pony’ interior or deluxe option, but there is no running horse embossed on the back of the seats, which are part of the ‘Pony’ interior package. The front seats are the bucket style and not the rarer bench seat option (around 2.5% of total Mustangs made) which was available at the time.
The four wheels are attached to a bar rested in locators on the floor pan mould (unseen) and spin freely. The wheels are shown with the hub caps and white wall tyres which also show some details as radial grooved. The hub caps will cover the wheels bolts, which would have been four lugs for the inline six cylinder or five lugs for the v8s.
The ‘glass’ or windscreen is a single moulded part which covers the front screen, the two small door quarter lights and the rear screen. It’s not uncommon to see one or both of the door quarter lights broken as they are quite fragile. The clear plastic is susceptible to easy scratches and marking. If you look on the inside (below) where the headliner would have been, you can see where the clear plastic has been attached to the top part of the model. You can’t quite see it on the picture, but the centre of the ‘glass’ is missing, obviously to save some costs on the clear plastic used.
The chromed parts of the models such as the bumpers, bumper overriders (front and rear), headlights, rear light bezels and grill are high quality with a good reflection, not just cheaper silver paint. These look to be separate components attached after the assembled model. On my models the red car has a little wear and tear on the hood leading edge. I suspect that picking them up and putting them back on the salesman’s desk a few times would contribute to that, or being raced around the furniture at home.
Starting at the front there are the headlights and the cross bar coral grill, the grill itself shows a honeycombed effect. The Coral and Pony logo are crisp mouldings. The licence plate just shows the Mustang brand. The hood leading edge shows the ‘F O R D’ lettering but not in chrome.
The side of the car shows the Mustang ‘Tribar’ emblems and ‘Mustang’ font wording behind the front wheels near the bottom. On the actual cars there is an engine option emblem that sits above the front bumper and below the waist line of the car, a few inches back from the headlight. These models don’t have those emblems, even though the underside of the model shows a v8 engine in place. The options would show, 289 (v8 option), 200 sprint (inline 6 cylinder) or HiPo for the GT model etc. Not having individual models made just for a i6 or v8 and more generic would keep the costs down for the models.
The rear quarter panel ornaments are shown as well as the side rocker cover strips, added as an optional extra at the time. The back of the car shows the rear light bezels with red plastic for the lenses. There are also back up lamps which were also an optional extra. The bumper has the overriders shown, but on my red model they are broken off, a common casualty on these models. This is the only part of the red model that has something broken or missing. The rear licence plate shows the Mustang branding.
The top down view of the models shows the cowl grill and the wipers. There are no door rear view mirrors on these models, as they were an optional extra at the time fitted by the dealers.
Other colours were made such as Tropical Turquoise (top), Vintage Burgundy Red (middle), and American Blue (bottom). There may have been other colours, but as yet I haven’t seen them, which doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
There were some Fastback models made a little later on in the ’65, other colours are unknown.
The holy grail for many collectors would be the boxes that these models came in, they weren’t any special to look at. I haven’t seen any boxed versions up for sale yet, but I did find this image of one. With the box the models are worth a little more, but as with all things collectable, condition is everything.
There was the trim changes notably to the front grill with the Coral bars removed, the grill now having brushed leading edge horizontal lines. The rear quarter panel ornaments updated to the three pronged style. This model looks to have been in Calypso Coral colour.
1967 – 1968
There was a major body redesign, with the models being Fastback, and not the Coupe style. The minor difference between the ’67 and ’68 were the side markers, which were not shown on these models.
(This image I found of a ’67 shows a broken front bumper.)
This model is showing the performance end of the range. These models didn’t show any emblems on the front fenders that would have been there.
There was another face lift for the 1970 models. But, as I mentioned earlier, by then these plastic dealership models were no longer being made.
I wanted them on display but was having trouble finding a nice case for them. I eventually found one on a large retail site. It wasn’t exactly what I was after, as it was flat packed and slotted together. It was rather flimsy, nothing that a little glue wouldn’t sort out.
The pack was well protected. Each sheet of plastic had a protective film on each side, once peeled away the clear plastic was seen.
Putting the case together was simple and just linked into each slot in the corners. With the top and bottom in place it was fairly sturdy. I wanted the top to be removable in a single cover, rather than mess around with the lose sides once the top sheet was removed.
Once the cars were inside everything looks much better.
The models will now be found a suitable place in my garage along with the other memorabilia.
I hope I have covered everything and not missed out some important facts. If you have any additional information I can add, or maybe need to correct me, then please drop me a comment and let me know in the comments. I will update the page and of course acknowledge your input.