AMT 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline


Reviewed by:
On August 1, 2012
Last modified:October 21, 2014


GM’s fastback Fleetline body style, shared among all their car divisions in the late 1940s and early 1950s, is a favorite of restorers and customizers alike, not to mention us modelers. This kit debuted in 1977-78, just at the edge of AMT’s takeover by Lesney of the UK (as in Matchbox cars). It was reissued in the early ‘90s by AMT/Ertl, and again in 2000 as part of the “Millennium Collection” under Ertl’s ownership by Racing Champions (later RC2 Corporation). This kit shares much componentry with AMT’s ’51 Bel Air coupe and convertible kits, which explains the separate package shelf in all three. One kitbash I can think of right off the bat is to swap in the Powerglide automatic from AMT’s ‘53 Corvette for a simple variant of the existing kit. Those wanting a custom canvas will do well with this kit, as its slab-sided contours are just the ticket for restyling, and parts-swappers will have a field day with this kit. The inclusion of the chrome foil is a plus, as is the nostalgic booklet. It’s good to have this one back, even as a limited production item.

VERSIONS: Stock, Custom
MOLDED COLORS: White, Clear, Chrome Plated
SCALE: 1/25 MSRP: $44.95 USD

The old faithful Stovebolt Six is represented here by a 22-piece assembly with a two-piece three-speed manual at the back end. Engraving is generally good throughout and the detail is crisp and clean. The only part not separate from the engine block is the starter motor. The stock version features a single downdraft carburetor with two piece air cleaner, one-piece exhaust manifold, a two-piece distributor, and the stock Blue Flame-style valve cover, while the custom version has a finned chrome valve cover, dual downdraft carbs on a log manifold with small acorn-style air cleaners, a two-piece magneto, and two- piece tubular exhaust headers. Note that this engine correctly has both upper and lower radiator hoses, something of a rarity when this kit was designed in the mid-1970s!

The one-piece frame has a separate front splash pan and center X-member. The rear portion of the wheel housings and trunk lowers are attached to the frame, while the interior bottom has underbody detail to match. Front suspension is an eleven-piece assembly with optional lowered kingpins. Though poseable steering was not a design goal of this kit, it can be made to happen with a little ingenuity. The rear suspension is a nine-piece assembly with separate shocks and a correct torque tube driveshaft. There is no brake detail, but let’s face it, that was rare on mid-1970s American model car kits to begin with. There is a choice of stock single or custom dual exhaust systems, both separate, and both needing to have the tips drilled out for realism. The underhood area is reasonably well attended to, with separate inner fenders and air ducts, battery, and radiator.

Stock wheels are shallow steelies with plated Bowtie dog dish hub caps shod with vintage AMT Firestone Supreme skinnies. The custom option is chromed deep dish reversed rims with integral Baby Moon hub caps shod with vintage AMT Goodyear Polyglas GT L60-15 wide ovals. INTERIOR: The platform style interior has no items molded in place except for carpet texturing (note that the package shelf is separately molded). The separate side panels have nicely done upholstery engraving and good three dimensional details (door handles, window cranks, and ash trays). Upholstery engraving on the two-piece front bench seat and one-piece rear set is a tad deep but very acceptable. Engraving on the dash is excellent and just begs for some chrome foil treatment to stand out. There is a choice of two steering wheels–stock and plated Eelco-style custom–on a stock steering column with “ball and rod” shifter.

AMT’s ’51 Chevy kits are some of their best toolings of the 1970s. The one-piece body is clean and crisp, with the chrome side spears as well as the fluted rear fender trim molded in place. The stock headlight assembly and the optional custom tunneled headlight units are separate plated bezels with clear lenses. Not so with the taillights–these are chrome parts and will need a touch of your favorite clear red paint. The separate hood has a separate plated hood ornament and good underside engraving; however, there are several circular mold marks marring this that stick out like a sore thumb and need to be eradicated. Shared options include chrome exhaust tips and period-correct fender skirts. Custom-only options include front and rear roll pans with optional bumpers and a chromed “wide mouth” grille. DECALS: The new decal sheet only contains six custom scallop designs in silver-gray with blue edging. As seems usual for Round2’s current crop, the decals are matte printed. That’s all, folks.

Included in the collectable tin is a small sheet of chrome foil to help you make all that Fifties glitz stand out, however, there are no instructions on how to use the stuff as in their 100th Anniversary ’57 Chevy Bel Air (see review below.) There is also an excellent 18-page booklet with photos and advertising artwork from the GM archives, done in nostalgic style.