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To serve the hobby and preserve the past to properly honor the thousands of dedicated hobbyists, magazine editors, manufacturers and others, the Museum has underway several major programs:

Clone the Past
Our Clone the Past program seeks to identify the most influential scale models in the history of scale vehicle building. So far, we have identified a great number of models, publicized in Car Modeler, Model Car Science and other regularly-published magazines, that impacted building styles, levels of detailing and encouraged other builders through their excellence. In some cases, we have been fortunate enough to acquire some of those models from the original builders or later caretakers. In other cases, talented builders have been replicating those famous models. Please visit our Hot 150/Clone the Past area and maybe you could join in the fun to replicate an historic model that we aren't able to locate and either borrow or acquire.

Scan the Past
Not everything survives, and some of the Museum's most vulnerable historic items are the vintage magazines that were most often printed on the least expensive and least durable paper available. Meant for quick consumption with high anticipated discard rates, early issues of Model Car Science and Car Model magazines – among others – have started to significantly deteriorate even in the very hospitable Salt Lake climate.

The history and information contained in those early issues of model car magazines cannot be lost. Coverage of the early events in the hobby, together with the great models created by early craftsmen, would be lost forever if each magazine crumbled into dust. Clearly, that isn't acceptable, and the Museum decided a few years ago that it couldn't tolerate that inevitable result.

The only viable thing to do was to digitize the back issues. After Trustee Mark Benton created the original scanning protocol, I started to troll around for dedicated modelers who would laboriously scan back issues and then transfer those images to CDs, and a great bunch of guys jumped on board and started scanning.

As each disk is received from our dedicated scanners, we breathe a little easier knowing that the information on one more historic magazine is saved from oblivion.

A special thanks again to the following guys who have worked so hard: Terry Rollins, Dave Cura and Andy Kellock, Roger Yu, Elmore Craig, John Sharisky, Claes Ericsson, Jim Olson, Lindley Ruddick, Dave Mikrut, Dean Eubanks and Mike Swan. And, given his prior hard work for the Museum, we expect great productivity from Tim Burkhardt as well. We also want to acknowledge the great help extended by new member Frank Cura (father to scanner Dave Cura) who has a large collection of Model Car Science magazines that Dave is scanning for the Museum.

If you have a good scanner, the capability to scan and transfer images to a CD, and if you care about helping us preserve the past before it is lost forever, please contact me. You can also read more about the program by visiting that part of the Museum's web site that describes the Scan the Past program.

Upcoming Publications
We are also writing two major books on the history of historic contests. Through the help of a lot of hobbyists, these two books are coming along well.

As it Used to Be...
And, then what about building models, right now, using techniques and materials from the past? Check out the Museum's As It Used to Be project. . .

The Masters Challenge Invitational
by Bob Wick, Trustee, International Model Car Builders' Museum

The International Model Car Builders' Museum's primary focus has been acquiring and documenting the history of our hobby. Historically-significant models and collections, built and unbuilt kits and parts packs, tools and supplies, magazines and manufacturers' advertisements, awards and contest histories, memorabilia, and the like make up the majority of the Museum's collections and exhibits. In addition to being the largest repository for these artifacts, the Museum makes them available as resources for research and historical documentation, chronicling the hobby as it was "in the good old days." The Museum has also taken a proactive approach to our hobby's history. When frustrated in attempts to acquire the most influential models that have defined our hobby (which appear on our Hot 150 list), typically because they are lost or no longer exist, the Museum initiated and sponsors a program to reproduce – clone – those models). And, faced with the inevitable deterioration of vintage magazines that document our history (and still influence the hobby nearly a half-century after they were published), those magazines are being digitalized and added to the Museum collection. All of these activities are critical parts of the mission to preserve the rich history and heritage of the model car hobby.

The Museum is also involved in the current state of the hobby as the primary sponsor, since 1990, of the GSL International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention. Since that time, the Utah Miniature Automotive Guild, a Region 10 IPMS/USA chapter has joined as another sponsor. The Museum's active involvement in GSL has done much to promote and advance scale vehicle building, and has fostered a universally-recognized tradition of excellence that has greatly influenced the hobby as we know it today. 

Competitive building over the last several decades for events such as the GSL Championship brought tremendous advances in quality, craftsmanship, and finish. Refinement of techniques, increased complexity of subjects, and levels of detail have reached often-stunning levels. Photo-etched and machined parts, electronics, aftermarket components and services, and ever-more-sophisticated tools have contributed as well. Ultra-detailing, inclusion of authentic mechanical, brake and fuel systems, scale panel thickness and flawless paint are now de rigeur on the best models.

In discussions of the Museum's overall programs and functions, we've come to realize we also have a responsibility to the future of our hobby. 

The Museum is taking a proactive approach to this responsibility by creating a forum to push forward and expand the scope of what scale vehicle building can, and should, be. 

To this end, the Museum has conceptualized and planned The Masters Challenge Invitational. The Museum is the initiating sponsor of this fresh competitive event that will invite highly-accomplished builders to create and present models that push forward the boundaries of scale vehicle construction by challenging each builder to conceptualize and create an ultra-realistic model. In addition, each builder will be required to make a presentation of his or her model to explain the choice of subject matter, the details and the technological features in their entry, how they solved construction problems, what personal goals were met to expand their skills, and how they achieved those goals.

Best of all, the entrants will also be the judges.

The entries in The Challenge will, of course, reflect current standards found in the very best of the current contest-winning scale vehicles. But they will also address the question: "What's next?" Power windows, door locks and convertible tops? Operating electric windshield wipers? Fully-operational hinges, handles and latches on all opening panels? Projector headlights and LED taillights? Working hydraulic systems on a bulldozer or crane? Articulated and fully-functional throttle linkage, fan speed and a tachometer that respond to pressure on the gas pedal? Running engines? Every switch in the interior or on a control panel operating every fully-functioning component on the vehicle?

How will current technologies affect construction? Will CAD and CAM programs be used to design and build ultra-realistic and innovative design features? Will high-tech and miniaturized electronic components replace mechanical switches, cables and contacts? How will audio, liquid crystal displays and lighting be incorporated in the design and function of those "next generation" models? We don't know, but expect all these possibilities and more. 

The Masters Challenge Invitational is ultimately about the top competitive builders addressing, and answering, the challenge: "What's next?"

Dan Baker and I have been asked by the Museum to administer The Masters Challenge Invitational, which will be held in the Phoenix, Arizona area in October 2010.

Please go here to learn more about the Masters Challenge


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