A DISCUSSION of DETAIL What is right and wrong with the new ERTL AMXs
by Uncle Larry
A number of us AMC enthusiasts have been hounding ERTL to make us some AMC large 1/18th scale diecast cars for at least five years now. When we called the company, we never got past the secretary. When we wrote, we always got back a form letter saying buzz off and die. It was frustrating. Then in late summer of 1999, I got a message on my phone recorder one bright, sunny day and it was from one Dale Peacock from ERTL! My heart beat a mile a minute as I called his personal phone extension direct and got through! Dale said they were going to do the 1968 and 1969 AMX in the large 1/18th scale and he needed cars to photograph to get the proportions of the real car and the detail.
And he wanted the best cars possible and felt the Classic AMX Club, International was the place to go. After I picked myself up from the floor, I rolled out the red carpet for Dale and promised I would go to the ends of the Earth, chop, chop. I told him he could count on me to take the time and effort to provide him with everything he needed and without delay. I would make myself available anytime he needed anything. Wow! was I excited to be a part of a project had only dreamed of for years!
The first thing I provided Dale was over 30 color slides that I would not be using for my new book, the AMC Color Musclecar History for Motorbooks. I assured him the shots were the finest in quality he could ever lay his hands on. Outtakes for a professional book. Dale said he would put his trust in me to help ERTL and the bond was formed. I was stoked, to say the least.
The first thing we worked on was to come up with a couple of National Best of CACI Show AMXs, one a 1968 and the other a 1969. For the 1968 car, Dan Behymer's Matador red 1968 car was picked and when I asked Dan, he immediately said he was willing to take the car to lowa the next day, if that is what ERTL wanted. After all, Minnesota wasn't that far away, a great plus for everyone. Then I called Mark and Mike Knapp in Kenosha for the CACI National Best of Show 1969 1/2 Big Bad Green AMX they have. Both the guys said we could count on them for anything and they were also tickled pink to help and provide their AMX. I knew Dan and the Knapps had the dead stock cars that were needed and would make the cars available for a professional photographer that would come from ERTL to photograph the cars in detail for the project. I also could not be more proud and happy for the guys. They are the solid friends that make car clubs enjoyable. So, ERTL photographed Dan's 68 AMX and then the Knapp brothers. Inside, out and upside down. The ERTL scale model AMXs were patterned after these two CACI National Best of Show AMXs. As club, we should be real proud.
In the next six months, I worked close (from 800 miles away, lowa to Colorado) with Dale Peacock of ERTL and then Tom Haverland. Dale does/did all the basic work on procuring cars to photograph, Tom is in charge of specific details, like the colors of the cars to be produced, the quantities and fine details. From late summer 1999 to early spring, 2000, I worked with both guys to try to ensure the ERTL AMXs were as correct as they could be with some production limitations. To say nothing of the fact ERTL is in lowa and the cars are being manufactured in China, half-way around the world away. I trusted ERTL with some not so rare stuff like color charts, but also with a 1968 and a 1969 original AMC Color and Upholstery Books. I even trusted them with same genuine AMC Engineering Color Standards I have for 1969 to try to make sure the colors of the cars were as close to correct in shade that was possible. Inside and out. I had a lot of insured Fed-X packages going out and took a lot of trust in Dale and Tom. I answered many questions about the AMXs during that time period for both ERTL guys. In the end, I got everything back in fine shape with the exception of one Big Bad Green AMC Color Standard. When Dale Peacock was rifted out of the company along with 90 other employees in June of 2000, the Color Standard has never been found.
In the end, I feel we all did a good job. The 1/18th scale die cast AMX ERTL models are not perfect, but very, very nice. I've got them on display all over the house, though I have been told to get some of them off the dining room table as they don’t belong there. What does a wife know!