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Clone the Past

The Hot 150 list and Clone the Past
Two Important Museum Programs
by Mark S. Gustavson

January 2011

As part of our effort to educate the model car public about the history of our hobby, the Museum has identified the most influential models in the model car hobby through 1968, and has created a chart to identify those models, their builders, and the magazines in which those models appeared (after all, a model can't be influential if it was never covered in the hobby media or exposed to the public!)

Our goal is to either acquire, by donation or purchase, or replicate if the models are not otherwise available, the most influential models in the history of our hobby, and to display these models in a special display case so that visitors can trace, chronologically, the technological and styling developments of model car builders.

Presently, these cloned models are underway in shops across the United States:

Smith & Bates' "Way Out GT", by Mark Budniewski


This wild custom helped define the early years of our hobby.


Mark has a great start on this surprisingly difficult build. 

Don Emmons' replica of Bill Neumann's '32 Ford roadster, by Paul Mendoza

Don built a great replica of Neumann's iconic roadster.


APaul discovered that building the replica is an involved process. Here's an early image of a seriously modified '32 Ford frame. Paul has a great start on this great model.

Lonn Stern's "Astrodan," by Mike Good and Mark S. Gustavson


Cloned 10Stern's model was first entered in Revell-Pactra I contest, where it was a regional winner. Then, it was rebuilt and repainted.


After its reconstruction, it was prominently featured in a two-page Car Model article.


Mike Good beautifully sculpted the wild body, and Mark S. Gustavson laid down the candy green paint.

Jim Keeler's "MCS X-1" Corvette, by Mark S. Gustavson

Jim wrote two articles in the early Model Car Science to build his wild, concept-car like '63 Corvette convertible.


When purchased from Jim, Mark S Gustavson had his work cut out – the model had been damaged since 1963, and had been painted at least three time. Check out the restoration article at http://www.themodelcarmuseum .org/Models/Keeler/MCSXI/mcsxi.html

Chuck Jones' mid-engine custom, by Chuck Jones and Alan Raab (See article by Alan Raab).

Budd Anderson's "car pickups," by Carl Moore

Jack Herndon's "Missile," started by Bob Paeth (RIP); needs new builder to finish


Jack's wild, paint-fogged roadster was a show rod that appeared in a full feature article in Car Model magazine.


Because of his final illness, Bob Paeth was only able to rough in the body. We need a skilled builder to take over this project – but the body is rough.

Harry Auffinger's '57 Thunderbird, started by Rick Wright (RIP), now with Tim Burkhardt


Harry's Thunderbird was a really remarkable, and sophisticated, restyled '57 AMT Thunderbird. It was featured on the cover of Car Model magazine, as well as in several cameo features in the magazine.


Check out the opened doors and trunk, and Bertone-esque side-of-front fender vents. Tim has ably picked up on Rick's start on this epochal model.

Dave Shuklis' "Fordillac," by Tim Burkhardt


Though not as well known as other models he built, Dave's '59 Ford was a tour de force, and combined the '59 Ford with the '57 Ford. It's a wild, and utterly realistic design.


Tim has done a great job with this project. Here's the combo interior/frame all ready to go.

Doug Dempsey's "The Great One," by Bill Barrett


Bill Barrett convinced the Museum of the great quality of Dempsey's GTO drag car. It should be finished soon. \

Jerry Kropp's "Playboy," by Mark S. Gustavson (body work/paint), and Tim Burkhardt (interior, chassis)


Distinguished by its utterly weird styline and protruding Hemi motor, the Playboy was one of the first feature models in the small-size Car Model magazine. With Gordon Clark's supplied parts, this model is now underway.


Can you think of any rear quarter panels on a '57 Bird could be less attractive? Still, this is a great example of early Sixties "Cool." 

Charles' Bryant's Sting Ray, by Dave Best (see the article elsewhere by Dave Best on this model).

ISoon we will survey the many models either cloned, restored, or acquired for the Hot 150 program.

In the meantime read about these other new projects:

Bryant's Sting Ray

Chuck Jones' Remarkable '61 Pontiac?

Our thanks once again to all of the dedicated builders who have made these significant contributions to the Museum's "Clone the Past" project.





Since the inception of the Museum, one of our chief goals has been to identify and either locate or replicate the models that have most influenced the development of our hobby.  As this Museum project progresses, we'll have the ability to portray the development of model car craftsmanship in the hobby by presenting either the original models -- or clones of models -- that appear on our Hot 150 list.  Additionally, we'll also prepare a large display chart that will contain images of the notable models that appear on the Hot 150 list. 

Of course, the first task is to identify the most important models in the history of our hobby. The definition of an historically significant model is crucial to this Museum program: the model has to have appeared in a major publication (or its "influence" may be very limited by definition), it must have pioneered a new technique/style of building, and it must have exhibited very high standards of craftsmanship (adjusted for the time the model was constructed). 

At this point, we have named the models, through 1968 (balloting is going on for later years), that have significantly influenced the development and progress of model car building. This effort is on going as further research continues: in fact, the list for the Second Age has recently been amended to correct an earlier oversight: now, Donald Katz' "Off Beat Beauty" (featured in Car Model, February 1964, pages 22, 27 and the cover; The "Way Out GT Custom", featured in Car Model, March 1964, pgs. 28-32, by R.A. Smith and Mike Baltes (both of Auto World);  and the various passenger car custom pickups by Budd "The Kat" Anderson (check out Car Model, February 1965 ) have all been nominated and appear on the Hot 150 list. 

In order to keep in touch with the great builders who are working on the Clone the Past project, the Museum now publishes a Clone the Past newsletter. Go here to read the current issue and to see additional images of the models that are being replicated.

The amended list for the First and Second Ages of our hobby is available on this site by checking in at our Clone the Past Chart and, while there, you can click on the name of each of the named models to view scanned images of those models.

The second part of this Museum program is to acquire or replicate models that appear on the Hot 150 list. So far, a group of dedicated builders have agreed to replicate several of the models that are named in Ages One and Two. These models have been picked up by Members of our Museum to clone: The "Nervous Nomad" by Paul Sable has been completed by Tim Pentecost. Bill Taylor (God rest his soul) finished his replica of the famous Car Model magazine "Dixie Bee" many years ago. Mike Good has sculpted an exquisite replica of Lonn Stern's Astrodan that is now painted candy green by Mark S. Gustavson; Mike studied the handful of historic pictures to craft the body of this most-famous model - check out these photos of the roughed in body with early coats of block-sanded lacquer primer. Rick Hanmore has finished the bodywork and painting on his replica of Bill Neumann's '60 Ford Starliner. Already, Paul Sable's custom Mercury has been cloned by Rick Wright. Marc Havican is working to duplicate a Jim Yonts dragster, and Bob Paeth is working hard to finish cloning Jack Herndon's radical custom '29 Ford roadster.

Again, view the nominated models for Ages One and Two on our Hot 150 list Of course, other models from Age Two can be seen by going to the Hot 150 chart and then clicking on the name of each nominated model. Three more great builders and Museum members have stepped forward: Jeff Worsham has just signed up to clone Tom Davison's metalflake chartreuse custom Corvette. Terry Rollins decided to build Harry Auffinger's remarkably restrained full custom 57 Chevy, and Carl Moore has stepped forward to build two of Budd "The Kat from AMT" Anderson's legendary passenger car pickups – Budd's '61 Ranchero and '58 Chevy. And , Mitch Capps has signed up to replicate an incredible model from Bob Sifferd – the Telstar; Bob Sifferd is involved in this project and has offered a lot of very helpful information to Mitch to aid in the recreation of the Telstar. To enjoy photos of the Telstar and Golden Nugget, go here. Our thanks to all these great builders!

With the cloning effort underway, it's time to move on to identify the most influential model in the Third Age covering 1969 through 1978. We approached Tim Boyd and Chuck Helppie who contributed their nominations for that era; after that, Mark S. Gustavson added his nominations, and Dennis Doty chipped in his ideas. That list is now is being reviewed by Museum research assistants Rex Barden and Randy Van Draiss) after which that list will be examined again and then submitted here to your review. There are a wide array of terrific, hobby changing models in this era that meet our threshold requirements of having been published in a way that could have affected other modelers, thereby influencing the development of modeling technology and finishing techniques. Check back here for the chart for the Third Age of our hobby which should be uploaded here for your review late in 2008.

New builders have signed up, and the work of builders already working on projects is progressing well. Please check there for an update on the Clone the Past chart for an update on this important effort that will, as replicated models appear, introduce visitors to the history of technological developments in the history of our hobby. A sample of an older Clone the Past newsletter (usually distributed just to "cloners") might be of interest, too: http:/  There are a number of really interesting models that still need to be replicated. How about these models that are being cloned or have been cloned:

Rick Morgan's Revell-Testor II winning dragster

Mark S. Gustavson received a fax at his office from "R.W. Morgan" in early September that described this fellow's recollections of Dave Shuklis. Even though it was ambiguous, Mark responded to the fax, acknowledged the great note (see text below), and asked if the sender was the "Rich Morgan" who won the first Revell-Testor contest in 1965. Read more...

Chuck Jones' Custom

The Museum's Hot 150 list, which supports our Clone the Past program, aims at reproducing the most influential models in the history of our hobby so that model car historians and Museum visitors can appreciate how the leading edge of our hobby has developed since the early Fifties. One of those models from the Second Age of our hobby is Chuck Jones' innovative bubble top, mid-engined custom model that won the International Modelers' Guild in 1963. If you haven't done so already, you should read the article The Early Years: Model Car Contests in America The Chuck Jones Saga, that appeared in Volume 10, No.2 of The Builder. Read more...



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