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Life in the Fair Lane

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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?
  16. Beautiful work, Paul! I have a resin '65 Custom 500 4-door I've never built. If I can get a body & guts from you, I can build my 1965 Caspian Blue Custom Ranch Wagon.
  17. The price of junk promos has slid into the basement. Robert Shibelski still does excellent chrome work and I've been pleased with his service and quality for years. Beyond that, it's back to salvaging greeting card boxes for glass, modern kits for roof pillars, w/s frames, tires, etc. As for hood and fender ornaments, wheel covers, and unique odds & ends, you're own your own!
  18. If it's going to be sold as is, with no instruction, it's going to be a tough sell. The only likely buyer would be another baby boomer - or someone around 70+ years of age. Most of those folks have retired, died, dying, moving or quitting the hobby. Most gen-Xr's or millennials have no interest in anything older than a 1990 Subaru pickup.
  19. No '65 Continental hardtop was produced in 1/25-scale. AMT made the 4-door Sedan in a promo and that and the convertible in kits. That goofy wagon option came with the convertible kit. It has been reissued several times. Hope this helps.
  20. Back in 1968 there was a polyethylene '68 Country Sedan made by Gay Toys. It was a half-scale smaller than 1/25 and had the Squire grill instead of the proper one. They came mostly in bright yellow with a cheesy white interior and no glass. The major drawback is a silly, clumsy roof rack that looks more like a sandbox frame. I see them every now and then at car swap meets. Because you can't paint polyethylene, you'd have to do the body work, then cast it in resin to have a workable Country Sedan. This is the same company that made the excellent poly '66 Bronco for Ford Dealers.
  21. I'd be careful of any resin casters who don't show the entire model. Example: That 1958 Edsel Villager wagon looks good, but the back end is 100% completely phony - unless you want to build an Amblewagon. Since he could have used any 57-58 Ford lift gate, you have to wonder why was he so lazy he couldn't do better than a quick slap-job on it? Notice, also, he didn't bother adding the fender scripts, door handles, etc. Easy to have added, but a PITA to go out and buy expensive kits just to get those parts! I see way too much of this expensive cost-cutting with way too many resin models. Another half-baked effort is the 52-53-54 Ford Country Squire body someone is selling. It, too, is missing every single detail that wouldn't have taken a half hour to include, but now cost a fortune to obtain. With Hobby Lobby one of the few retailers left, and charging $40 for a $15 kit, these greedy mistakes can cost the builder a ton. And if you have to redesign something - like the back end of the Squire that was never finished properly to begin with - it can dampen one's enthusiasm pretty quickly.
  22. Their answer is a typical back-handed way of saying "Forget it!" without really saying it. Evasive, rude, insulting!
  23. They tried selling the outfit, but there were no takers. For a brief time, they tried to get their kids to take over, but that ended in failure. After thirty years and thousands of dollars, I began to see the effects of the hours and years of what must have become back-breaking work, taking a toll on their love for the hobby. Both Don and Carol became testy in their communications. They refused to acknowledge compliments. They made excuses and shifted blame for parts that were defective. Occasionally I accepted wrong parts just to avoid a confrontation. A very large check I had sent was never cashed and vanished without a trace. I never heard anyone whimper about the constant price increases. Then they announced they were shutting down, and would not be accepting orders after December of 2016. But the coupe de' grace came when they suddenly shut down in June, without so much as a whisper. It was a cruel blow to the hobby that supported the Holthaus's throughout the many years they were in business. If there had been any goodwill left in the business, it's sure been snuffed out now. But above all, thank you both, Carol and Don, for all the wonderful products and ideas you provided hundreds of hobbyists throughout those lean years. I hope you are doing well, the stresses behind you, and you can enjoy your retirement now. I'm sure you have earned it.
  24. How delicately you nudge the sleeping giant Paypal iceberg! I have not heard someone from Paypal was wanted in other countries. It's no secret eBay has been sanctioned millions of dollars for fakes, frauds, forgeries, shill bidding and phony knock-off products around the globe, and they haven't paid out one thin dime yet. Several years ago they p'd off Australia with their Paypal-only baloney, and in 2008 they masked bidders and sellers names and began seductively promoting shill bidding. They also dropped their prohibitions against defamatory materials, smut and child pornography. There's an excellent 'how-to' book written by a disbarred California attorney, about how he scammed millions of dollars in fake artwork using eBay shill accounts, and how eBay knew about it all along, yet did nothing ("Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay" by Kenneth Walton). Like you, I've been waiting for the other boot to drop, and see these crooks go under the guillotine. But as long as there's no official oversight of the Internet, nothing is ever going to change. eBay and Paypal are proof of that already.
  25. Nothing political here at all. Just passing along settled facts that are already in the public domain. I've been shadowing these ^*&%# since they impregnated eBay with their toxic venom and ruined the eBay experience for millions of people. I haven't gone into the cold-hosing they stuck me for, and have no plans to. It is what it is. I'm just the messenger.
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