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Life in the Fair Lane

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    1/25; F&F

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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Jason Houston

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  1. Copyrights, patents and trademarks are as varied as insects. As both a civil arbitrator and one who actively collects cars and writes and publishes books and music, the subject of intellectual property is very close to me. Some items are copyrightable with certain modifications, other are not. Some copyrights expire, and if someone uses them w/o permission, and the owner neglects take remedial action within a prescribed statute, they become public domain. Others expire by default, if not used for the purpose for which intended, usually interstate commerce, within a prescribed time. Intellectual property laws can vary from state to state and country to country. Back in the early 1980s domestic auto manufacturers went to great lengths to warn the public, with huge, full-page newspaper ads, that ALL of their car names were protected by copyright or trademark. My research proved the majority of these were outright lies. Ford, for example, claimed such names as Model T, Pinto, Ranger, Edsel and Ranchero were protected, when in fact they had expired years ago. The only names I was able to find actively protected were the names they were using for current models in production. On the flip side of this coin, many owners of protected properties actively encourage use of their work, since it promotes goodwill for their products. For the best information on this very sticky subject, contact an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights.
  2. For 1963, 14" wire wheel covers were optional on all Ford 300/Galaxie 500/Galaxie 500/XL/station wagon models. Hub caps were standard on all except XL models. Spinners were standard equipment on XL, including XL Squire, models. Non-spinners were optional on everything but XL. I know... it's a muddy subject, but I hope this helps clear it up.
  3. Frank, years ago I made a master of the instrument panel for use in a Vac form machine. It's made to fit the AMT '56 Vic interior. If I can find some left-overs, I'd be happy to send you one.
  4. I feel your (and everyone else's pain), Paul. Been there, done that. I've had my stuff (cars, ideas and publications) ripped off, too. The problem is, legally there is no copy right to such things as car design. Everyone who casts in resin has copied somebody else's stuff, or they would never have been in business. It doesn't matter if it's a resin 1967 Chevrolet they copied from Modelhaus or a real car they borrowed and pantographed, there are no copyrights to car styling, unfortunately. For more information on this very delicate subject, consult a patent attorney or an IP practitioner for the latest information. Hope this helps.
  5. To my knowledge, no one has ever made a '63 hub cap. As a side note, all XLs from 1962 through 1968 came factory with XL wheel covers. By 1969, Ford trashed the XL by making a six cylinder, hub caps, b/s/w tires and bench seat standard equipment. Some "Extra Lively!" performance car that turned out to be... Hope this helps.
  6. Hendrix resin cars should have a FB&G unit. Several years ago I made the body details for many of his 1950's Fords, and one was a complete, 100% perfect FB&G from a '55 promo. Hope this helps.
  7. There was an identical 1981 Mustang Cobra promo, molded in black with tampo decals. I'm not sure it was identified, but it looks like the Lindberg car in the kit box photo. There are usually a few on eBay in the $20 - $30 range. Hope this helps.
  8. I'd start with an AMT friction 1968 XL Fastback. The Cycolac plastic is far more stable than styrene to work with and the painting results with Cycolac throw rocks at styrene. Your grille and body are all finished, you'll just need to acquire the roof and forward portion of the deck lid panel. I still have my Candyapple Red '68 XL convertible I built when the '68s first appeared.
  9. The last TKM project I bought was a 1947 Chevrolet station wagon, which cost $35 plus postage. After months of trying to make it look like a car, I sold it on eBay for $7.00. Someone once described this flotsam as "ground out of a piece of cheese". A more accurate description will be hard to find.
  10. It's tragic this stuff happens, but this has been ongoing in the toy industry since toys were invented. I've found companies in Mexico and Hong Kong that have replicated 1/25 promos with discerning accuracy. A die-cast company called Renwal made knock-off forgeries of F&F's first plastic Fords and Mercurys. A company in China made clones of the old Matchbox yellow 1956 Ford station wagon, # 31, in polyethylene. A company in Germany reproduced the original AMT 1953 Studebaker promo, with junk bumpers and grille. From a legal perspective, automobile styling is not copyrightable and never has been. It was only in the late 1980s that auto manufacturers began getting greedy for royalties whenever someone asked for blueprints for their products. I've had creeps photocopy pictures from my books and used them in their marketing efforts, without so much as an acknowledgement, much less a request for permission. We can either sue these penniless bottom-feeders or consider their attention the sincerest form of flattery.
  11. That's the BEST advice. I've been burned too many times by middlemen who are way too busy hauling checks to the bank, to engage in any dumb, old customer service. Another sneak you'll want to watch your food stamps around is an eBay seller who calls himself "mitey-mouse". Everything this guy sells is boot-legged trash from someone else. His creative photography and less-than-honest descriptions make everything out to be Modelhaus-quality. What you get is largely junk that needs so much retro work, it isn't worth the trouble. He has a mean temper and an attitude that dares you to question his integrity over his misrepresented stuff. He'll show a picture of a '54 Mercury, but what you receive is a badly modified '56 Ford, as one example. If you push for a refund, he'll make one, but not before he's read you the Riot Act and called you every vulgar name in the book.
  12. All series of '57 Fords come in sedans. The car you're suggesting is actually the Custom/Custom 300/wagons. The longer wheelbase Fairlanes and Fairlane 500s will not work on the smaller series, including wagons/Rancheros. Hope this clarifies.
  13. Fill a large pot with tap water as hot as you can get it. Dip the warped area into that for a few seconds, straighten it as you wish, then plunge it into an ice cold bath immediately while it's still hot. If you have several areas that need work, start in the center of the car and work outward. You may have to use a serving spoon to baste a small area. When placing in cold water, allow it to sit for a minute or two. Be sure to keep adding ice, as the water warms up quickly. Never heat water from the stove; resins softens at a much lower temperature than butyrate plastic does, and it can get out of hand in less than a second. Once it assumes the fetal position, it's toast. When you're finished, it should hold its shape indefinitely. Hope this helps.
  14. Sadly, if it was still a sure thing, Modelhaus wouldn't have jumped ship. They held on as long as they could. The missing element here is a market. Postwar modeling interests have always been supported by baby boomers. That market first stumbled around 2000, when producers ceased producing plastic model kits, as boomers began dying off in noticeable numbers. By 2006 prices of high-end promos began falling like rocks from a cliff. All the plastic producers closed up shop. The final bell rang when Revell went to sleep last year. Now that everything's gone, there is no market left. Unfortunately, all the promotion, quality, nice folks, low prices, goodwill and business skills aren't going to bring back something that's already died. Just walk into any department store and see how many car toys you see. Besides the usual Matchbox/Hot Wheels and battery-op riff-raff, there's nothing.
  15. I'm confused... Your box shows a 1972 car. But someone wrote, "71' (sic) Galaxie". What gives?
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