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Holy Grail In the House - GMC Astro 95 Turbine


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#1 Danno

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:51 PM

Didn't actually get it today, but recently and I haven't posted anything about it.  BUT . . .

 

I scored a holy grail a couple of weeks ago for an outrageously generous bargain price.  Out of respect for the usual pricing most people pay, I'm not even going to say how little I paid.  But, I digress.

 

The important thing is ... I've yearned for one of these for decades.  The kit was issued once.  Once.  In 1972.  Only.  (In this configuration.) 

 

AMT T-510.  The GMC Astro 95 TURBINE tractor. 

GMC_Astro_95_AMT_T510.jpg

 

{Image borrowed from IPMS Archives.}

 

Mine is in mint condition, all parts present in sealed bags.  Even the one-time-only decal sheet is perfect and useable. 

 

There's a story behind this kit.  If any of the acknowledged experts or historians know differently, please chime in.  But from what I understand, it goes like this:

 

In the early to mid '70s, GM was experimenting with gas turbine engines as motive power for buses and OTR semi tractors, in an effort to develop a more fuel efficient power source for big trucks.  They built a fleet of turbine-powered semi-tractors that GM used for new car and parts delivery vehicles, as well as test mules.  AMT tooled up the Chevrolet Titan 90 and GMC Astro 95 kits in 1972, and included a replica of the turbine engine in the T-510 GMC kit (It also included the Detroit Diesel, so you could build the truck either way). 

 

It didn't take more than a couple of years for GM to realize the gas turbines were not showing big gains in fuel economy, so they bailed out of the much-ballyhooed program.  I believe they immediately cancelled AMT's licensing agreement for the Turbine engine and GM Experimental Truck markings (included on the decal sheet).    

 

So, by the time any subsequent reissues of the kits were marketed, the turbine engines, decals, and references were gone.  The one and only time the turbines were marketed was 1972. 

 

When you see this rare kit available, it usually goes for BIG bucks. 

 

I am happy, happy, happy!  B)

 



#2 kilrathy10

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 04:21 PM

Now, that's a sweet score!!!! No way I'd have known about it....I was only 4 in 1972.... :rolleyes:



#3 Chuck Most

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:37 PM

When you see this rare kit available, it usually goes for BIG bucks. 

Or the turbine engine is long gone, which is the case whenever I've been able to track down an unbuilt example.



#4 Ben

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:47 PM

I just gave a factory sealed one to a freind in England. He wanted it as much as you and said it was the only kit he never had.



#5 Mike Kucaba

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:46 PM

So where does the "Challenge Mixer" Ready mix truck/tractor figure in this grail list? I have one still sealed.



#6 Ben

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

So where does the "Challenge Mixer" Ready mix truck/tractor figure in this grail list? I have one still sealed

The Kenworth/Challenge mixer is by far the rarest of all 1/25 truck kits. That kit usually fetches a minimum of 300-400 on Ebay. Especially if it's sealed. This Turbine Astro can be found for 100.00 still sealed but it is fairly hard to find.



#7 Mr mopar

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:21 AM

There are guys out there that resin cast that Turbine engine ,so I can build one much more cheeper .



#8 olsbooks

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:29 AM

That is going to be sweet.  Look forward to seeing it on the workbench.  Great score! 



#9 Danno

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:02 AM

There are guys out there that resin cast that Turbine engine ,so I can build one much more cheeper .

 

 

Congratulations.

 

But ~

 

  1. It won't be an original.
  2. And I'll bet no one casting a turbine engine will sell it cheaper than I paid for this kit ... and you'll still have to acquire the basic Astro kit, which will cost you more than I paid for this kit.   

B)


Edited by Danno, 06 November 2013 - 05:03 AM.


#10 Mr mopar

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:36 AM

 

 

Congratulations.

 

But ~

 

  1. It won't be an original.
  2. And I'll bet no one casting a turbine engine will sell it cheaper than I paid for this kit ... and you'll still have to acquire the basic Astro kit, which will cost you more than I paid for this kit.   

B)

I'm sorry if I stepped on any toes ,you did score an awesome kit, all I was stating was if someone wanted an turbine engine

and had the basic kit they could make one .



#11 Jim Whalen

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:33 PM

Hi, a good find, hope you do a great job with this one!  Show us how you get on.



#12 Danno

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:23 PM

I'm sorry if I stepped on any toes ,you did score an awesome kit, all I was stating was if someone wanted an turbine engine

and had the basic kit they could make one .

 

 

 

No problem.  I didn't mean to sound mean, either. 

 

Who does the turbine in resin?



#13 mistermodel

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:03 PM

 

 

 

No problem.  I didn't mean to sound mean, either. 

 

Who does the turbine in resin?

some one does it.I don't know who though.I was on the site and remember that there was all kinds of engines .The turbine was at the bottom of the page in the "other " category .I wish I could remember



#14 Mr mopar

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:29 PM

this guy makes the turbine in resin  escort500xl@inbox.com

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#15 Ben

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:07 PM

Look at this previous thread. This is the most accurate build of this kit I have ever seen. Every detail is covered! Notice the bigger grill intake. http://www.modelcars...showtopic=18837


The real Astro turbine.

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#16 Truck parts

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 03:42 PM

Sweet find. I had one many years ago. I build it with the reg motor.

#17 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 05:52 PM

What about the other Turbine Specific parts?

Steps, Intake/Exhaust, etc?

I remember my dad complained when he built this, that he wished he had 

built it with the Turbine, as it used fewer accessories!

 

I started resto on it Years ago.

Believe it or not, I still have the assembled Turbine engine too!



#18 Apriliadan

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:47 AM

Have you gotten started, on this yet, I have been hoping to luck into one of these trucks, I have some pictures of this model assembled if you would be interested

#19 Danno

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 06:37 AM

Another unique item about this kit:  It has the "bus" style mirrors that mount on the front corners of the cab, as shown in the cover art.  A knowledgeable friend tells me those mirrors disappeared from the kit with the turbine engine, as the production Astros used more common (and cheaper) conventional mirrors. 

 

I hadn't thought about that, but he's right . . . I have second issue and third issue Chevy Astro 90 kits and they have the conventional mirrors, not the "bus" style mirrors of the 'turbine kit.'



#20 Mr mopar

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:55 AM

Another unique item about this kit:  It has the "bus" style mirrors that mount on the front corners of the cab, as shown in the cover art.  A knowledgeable friend tells me those mirrors disappeared from the kit with the turbine engine, as the production Astros used more common (and cheaper) conventional mirrors. 

 

I hadn't thought about that, but he's right . . . I have second issue and third issue Chevy Astro 90 kits and they have the conventional mirrors, not the "bus" style mirrors of the 'turbine kit.'

The Bus style mirrors came on the Chevy Titan 90 first, then the GMC astro 95 (Turbine).