The International Model Car Builders' Museum

Welcome Contest Cars 2017 Readers!
As noted in his article in Contest Cars 2017, Mark S. Gustavson suggested that readers could come here to learn more about the some of the most historic models in our hobby that were featured in that article. The Museum extends its greatest appreciation to new Scale Auto editor Mark Savage for his foresightedness and commitment to this history of the model car. Please go here for this specially-prepared article.

The International Model Car Builders' Museum was founded with a simple goal: Preserve the memories of this great hobby for all hobbyists - old and new – and promote and support contemporary contests and displays which encourage current builders. The mission of the Museum is multifaceted. Our initial effort has been to gather and chronicle the history of the model car hobby from the perspective of the builder. The Museum isn't about collecting kits, though we have a modest collection of rare items. Instead, our goal has been to collect as much information and as many artifacts about services and supplies offered to hobbyists, and to focus on those individuals who have expressed their craftsmanship and creativity by constructing scale miniature automobiles. The Museum has several display cases filled with the models of the famous and the obscure alike, each divided into topical displays: street rod, customs, replica stock and competition. We have a large library, display cabinets dedicated to the major kit manufacturers, and we collect memorabilia from contests and displays from around the world.

As part of the effort to chronicle and celebrate the history of our hobby, we have created the Hot 150/Clone the Past program with its accompanying display case that identifies the most influential models in the history of our hobby, and then to either acquire/restore the original model, or replicate and present the same in a chronological display. This program is an essential "core" effort because there needs to be a way of acknowledging, and understanding, the history of the technological development of model car construction since the hobby first emerged. Click to learn more about the Clone the Past and Hot 150 programs.

Additionally, we have created the Scan the Past program which focuses on the goal of digitalizing significant model car magazines and related publications that have chronicled the history of our hobby. Said another way, we need to preserve the written history of our hobby while the original magazines are available to us. This Scan the Past program is based upon the burgeoning collection of magazines that we've been collecting since 1988.

Another goal is to participate in current activities in the hobby. For years, the Museum has been the chief sponsor of the GSL International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention which has, since 1979, sought out the best builders in today's hobby and provided them a venue in which craftsmanship would be rewarded. The Museum now presents publications in each Championship, including the most recent, when two books were created. As recently, the Museum has realized a long-term goal by reaching out to local contests, and the famed NNL events, and local/regional contests around the United States and Canada: Museum Trustee Jim "Hollywood" Fernandez has most ably taken on the task of creating a large data base of competitive events and NNL displays, and offering those events Museum support while working with promoters to distribute Museum brochures and gathering donations to support our efforts. Our ever-garrulous Jim has very successfully contacted many dozens of clubs and offered our support. In the next year, we hope that Jim's efforts can be extended to get these many organizations to assist the Museum with our several programs.

We're always looking for volunteers and people who want to be actively involved in the Museum. Please contact us to find out what we need, or to assist in any way. 


The Museum owns all of the remaining models from Dave Shuklis. Acquired years ago with the great help of Norm Veber and Oscar Koveleski, the models were cleaned up (in some cases, restored) by a great group of builders across the United States. Check out the story here:


The Museum has collected a considerable quantity of artifacts from the Revell-Pactra and Revell-Testor contest series from the Sixties. This trophy, used in all but the first contest, was modeled after Mike Johnson's Pegasus that won the first Revell-Pactra Contest.




Thanks to Tony Mucaro, the Museum acquired in 2016 the original master resin model for Craig Breedlove's Spirit of American (circa 1964). This model was reproduced with one being given to each major commercial sponsor of Breedlove's record run. This model was built by Art Russell and bears the patina of more than 50 years: the model will not be restored. Read more about other restoration projects.


The Museum recently acquired the entire remaining collection of Bob Nordberg who shared, with Augie Hiscano, the top Adult award from the Revell-Pactra II contest in 1964. This Ford COE is depicted here as received – it merely came apart with no damage. When restored, the Museum will have both of the Adult winners from that contest together with the special "bubble" display cases that Revell commissioned. Bob's son, Steve, also donated more than a dozen other models that his father built – many of which appeared in Car Model magazine in the Sixties.



A key Museum program ("Clone the Past") is the replica of famous and influential models in model car history. Under this auspices of this program, Len Woodruff has skillfully and authentically reproduced the Sty Ray originally built by Charles Gibilterra who entered it in Revell-Pactra I contest (the original model was featured in "Model Champions."  The Museum proudly displays more than a dozen recreated famous models created by some of the hobby's greatest builders.


The Museum also collects key information on historic figures in the hobby. Pictured here is Ed Soltis who was, for nearly thirty years, a major builder on the East Coast of the United States. In the Sixties and Seventies, Ed carried out extensive correspondence with "pen pals" throughout the United States while becoming famous for his construction of 1/8 scale models, a slot track and other hobby activities. 


More than 20 years ago, Ken Hamilton built an exquisite 1/25 scale diorama of the Oakland Roadster Show Diorama (ORSD) that was populated by vehicle builders from the United States, Canada and New Zealand. This diorama is prominently displayed in the Museum today along with the dozens of replicated historic customs and hot rods circa 1964 now a permanent part of that diorama. The ORSD diorama was the first major project that the Museum sponsored.

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Site updated April 09, 2017 by Identity Design LLC