• Announcements

    • General Usage   05/10/2017

      If someone is acting badly, either in a forum or a private message, please report it. There are conveniently located buttons for sending the post to the moderators. 

Information on Monogram's Exotics Series

46 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

 

Wow! I emailed Monogram last night with a request for information on their late 70s series of easy to build exotic cars.  Some of you may have seen my build of their Porsche 924. Well, I have since gotten the MB 450 and just ordered the BMW 635, the Ferrari 308 and the Porsche 911 Carrera. I am attempting to recapture my youth one model kit at a time. Lol.
I like to try to find the history behind anything I do and this was no exception. I was hoping to get maybe a little information on these kits in order to do a post on the them.
Anyway, I just opened my email and guess what I found? I want to thank Ed Sexton and Bob Johnson. These guys are amazing! Mr. Johnson wrote it so much better than I possibly could, so I have posted the email below for your enjoyment. If anyone has pictures of these kits they would like to post, feel free. I want to thank these great guys again!
       Hi Gary....
I received your email from Ed.....   This will require blowing the cobwebs out of brain, but, that cleaning is long overdue. I was hired in December of 1974 by Roger Harney.. he was a dedicated (and i do mean "DEDICATED" !!) Corvette guy...  I was a "Ford guy" and drove a Porsche 914... Rog and I "jelled" quickly....
 
  Monogram was known for classic and hot rods. The first project I worked on was the Mack Stake Truck with George Baskys.. He was the lead designer.. I was a "gearshift guy" as we referred to new designers..
The next project was the 1934 734 Packard Speedster designed by Genevieve Grisetta. She was a GREAT classic car designer!!  Mario Falconi was completing the rear-engine Snake / Mongoose dragsters... that was where Roger taught me a "trick""...  make the engine larger by 5% - 10% so that they look "huge".. the blown "hemi" in that dragster (kits #7528 and 7529) are still SUPERB!!  I used that "trick" designing the die-cast Revell Collection and Team Caliber Top Fuel dragsters in the 1990's..
 
  We had a tooling budget of about $750K and big projects like the 1/48th B-17G, B-24D/J, and B-29 took about 1/3rd of that number each year in 1976, 1977, and 1978...   Rog and I used to discuss about how we could get into the "regular car business" and compete with MPC and AMT. We simply could NOT do it with one highly-detailed 1/24th scale model. We HAD to develop a PRODUCT LINE that would appear to be a new category and be bought in large numbers by the mass merchants like K-Mart....   Roger collected promo models of Corvettes and had a nice silver 1964 Coupe sitting on his desk (he eventually had a "real one" just like it..)   He and I were looking at it and we began to think about a model car with a really nice body, pan chassis, an simple interior.. one new 4-piece tire mold that would work on all models to hold down the cost..  no engine or multi-piece chassis.. and at least four model types......  we would add extra parts for a rally version and road race version... even if we had to create them in the design department..
 
  We were just beginning to develop contacts in GM Design and Ford Design, plus MPC and AMT had the standard Mustang / Corvette / Camaro / Firebird models "covered"... we needed a new category that no competitor was working in...    I had just bought a new 1976 Mercury (Ford) Capri II..  Bob Reder who was one of the Founders of Monogram had a Silver 450SL with a blue removable hardtop.... the Datsun 280Z had a real following and who could say "NO!" to a "G Series" Porsche 911 Coupe???  So, we had our four subjects.. add rally and road race parts and we had 12 releases from 4 mold sets all using one tire style..   
 
    Items were:     2101   Porsche 911 Carrera
                          2102    Mercedes 450 SL
                          2103    '76 Midnight Capri II
                          2014    Datsun 280S
 
     These were known as "2100-series cars" and I think the original wholesale price was $2.25 and that gave them a $5.00 retail price...
You arrive at a selling price by what is called 50/10 pricing.. pick a retail, say, $5.00 and divide by 2.. take 90% of that sum and you have the "A" price or price that the manufacture charges a wholesale customer.. They get additional discounts of 1% - 12% (old days) and then sell to retail customers at a 15% markup..  Typical price to a mass market customer was SRP (suggested retail price) less 50%..  For years, a woman who was in charge of sales set the retail price in "nice numbers.. $4.50, $6.25) and multipled "up" to get stupid retails like $12.37... they still don't know how to do pricing so that it "works" at retail..
 
    BTW, the Capre was molded in Black with gold stripes.. those wre the days when Black with Gold trim and shark's mouths would sell ANYTHING!!
 
    MPC and AMT (and Revell) had auto kit lines created in 1/25th scale...  that scale came from AMT obtaining 1/10th scale four-view car drawings from the "Big 3" and them making a 1/10th scale pattern model. That would yield tooling casts in the same size taken from the
1/10th pattern model.. set the reducing pantograph to "2.5" and you get "1/25th scale"...
 
   1/24th is an engineering scale.. 1" = 24".... create a 1/12th scale model and reduce it by setting the pantograph at "2.0"... instant
1/24th scale..  so, we created these in 1/24th scale...  done right, it is hard to tel the difference between 1/24th and 1/25th...
 
   The initial four sold REALLY WELL!!  the model car pundits bashed them for the "slim detail" before they bought into "curbside models"..
The first year sales were 86K pieces for the 911, 63K for the 450SL,
59K for the Capri, and 73K for the 280Z.. those numbers did not include assortments of all 4 in one carton.. I don't have those numbers..
 
That totals 281K kits at $632.25K.. at a 55% gross margin, that yielded $347.73K....  guessing that each mold set was about $50K, we had a profit of $147K on a $200K investment....  who needs multi-piece chassis and engine detail???
 
   In the following year, 1977, we introduced four additional versions:
 
                 #2107    Porsche Carrera RSR
                 #2108    '76 Capri Group II
                 #2109    Mercedes 450 Rally
                 #2110    Datsun SCCA Rally
 
   We also created 2 new items;  2105, Triumph TR-7 and 2016, Porsche 924..
 
   What else did we "learn"... our designers had to "learn" to capture the shapes of modern cars.. the contours of the TR-7 and 924 are much better than the first four bodies..  I photoed a 924 Coupe at Scala O'Brian Porsche in Chicago..(also known as "SOB Motors").. it had a
dent in the lower front air BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH... the fellow who carved the 2X pattern model, Joe Sojka, put the dent on the pattern.. because it was "in the
pictures".. we had it filled in..   The 924 was done through noted Porsche Journalist and Author Bill Oursler who was working for Volkwagen of America at the time..
 
    We also did a race version of each...  #2111 for the TR-7 racer
and #2112 for the Porsche 924 group 2...
 
     The 450SL, Capri, TR-7, and 924 are the only 1/24 / 1/25th
scale models I know of for those subjects...
 
   So, say we produced 60K of the new TR-7 and 924 and 50K of
each of the 6 race versions...  that is another 320K kits at $2.25
for a total of $720,000....   The two new items were about $50K
each, so the end result was a profit of $620K in year 2, or almost 80% of our annual tooling budget...
 
  That is how Monogram got started in the current model car business..
 

Bob Johnson
Edited by oldcarfan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Cool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

An interesting lesson in the model "business".  No surveys or focus groups in those days, just "gut feelings" on what might sell in the market.  Thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Wow! Thanks for posting the above letter Gary. It was very interesting to read. The only one I had in that series was 2102, the Mercedes SL. I loved the kit. And wish I had it today. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Great post! Very interesting insight into the hobby industry. I've never paid attention to these particular kits, but now I've got to check them out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Awesome response from Bob. Pretty fun insight into kits that are similar in nature to the snaps of the '15 Mustang, Ford, GT, Raptor, etc. 

Have to pay the bills, and the investors. 

The 308 GTB was in same time frame, it was molded as an early carbureted pre-S car. The plastic axles but decent interiors and looks were awesome. 

Great post, thanks for sharing that. Nice of him to take the time to recall and write it up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Here's a built 308 by Eric Cole from another board. Pretty nice kit, and I had a 1:1 to compare. URL]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Fascinating...I have a few of those from childhood--the yellow Porsche 911, the red Ferrari 308 and the stock Mercedes..I also built a couple of the Revell exotics from the same era-- their Ferrari 308 (molded in black) and Maserati Bora (molded in blue), but that's another story.   I also enjoyed building the mid 80s to mid 90s Monogram Exotics..that would be a good thread of discussion also.

Edited by Rob Hall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Very, Very good stuff. Absolutely love to read about this history of the model company's and various kit manufacturer's. Thanks for sharing this with us, I very much appreciate it. 

Jeff 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for sharing that with us, Gary, really makes you look at these kits in a whole new light. I think I am going to start looking for the rest of them at the kit shows. 

I have the TR-7. Yellow Z, Rally 924 and the White 924. Looks like I have some catching up to do! 

Trades anyone? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

They are fun to build, I will say that!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It was so much fun corresponding with this man. I got a short followup from Mr. Johnson. "It has always been fun.. if you have the original 450 SL, the Illinois license plate is probably Bob Reder's.  Enjoy, it has been a great trip and the enjoyment is seeing and writing to fellow builders who have a good time building..

Best regards,

Bob Johnson

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Here's a built 308 by Eric Cole from another board. Pretty nice kit, and I had a 1:1 to compare. URL]

100_0901.jpg

Beautiful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like Monogram reissued the Porsche Carrera in 1989, but it appears to be the only one from the series which was reissued:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I built and still have the 450SL

Would love to get that one again

Sorry No pics right now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Wow, that should be published someplace where it can be archived. That's a very thorough story from an important source, complete with facts, figures, formulas and human interest.

Mighty big-o'-ya to share that Gary.

Edited by Lunajammer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like Monogram reissued the Porsche Carrera in 1989, but it appears to be the only one from the series which was reissued:

MonoPorscheCarreraWorkshop.jpg

Only other one I can think of that was reissued is the stock version of the Ferrari 308, but that one was released by Revell-Germany.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I loved the way they responded to my question. It made me feel like they were not just working a job but also enjoyed what they did. They came across as genuine. They are good people. I would really love to see whatever info we can collect about these companies gathered somewhere for posterity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

Frankly put, those kits DID not sell worth a darn!   I was there, in the hobby shop business and those  kits laid an egg.   Part of the reason Bob Johnson was let go at Revell-Monogram.

Art

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

Frankly put, those kits DID not sell worth a darn!   I was there, in the hobby shop business and those  kits laid an egg.   Part of the reason Bob Johnson was let go at Revell-Monogram.

Art

So are you calling him a liar then? Or is it possible life exists outside of your frame of reference in Western Indiana?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I had and built the sl and TR7 and still have the 635 bimmer in the stash!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

Wow! I emailed Monogram last night with a request for information on their late 70s series of easy to build exotic cars.  Some of you may have seen my build of their Porsche 924. Well, I have since gotten the MB 450 and just ordered the BMW 635, the Ferrari 308 and the Porsche 911 Carrera. I am attempting to recapture my youth one model kit at a time. Lol.
I like to try to find the history behind anything I do and this was no exception. I was hoping to get maybe a little information on these kits in order to do a post on the them.
Anyway, I just opened my email and guess what I found? I want to thank Ed Sexton and Bob Johnson. These guys are amazing! Mr. Johnson wrote it so much better than I possibly could, so I have posted the email below for your enjoyment. If anyone has pictures of these kits they would like to post, feel free. I want to thank these great guys again!
       Hi Gary....
I received your email from Ed.....   This will require blowing the cobwebs out of brain, but, that cleaning is long overdue. I was hired in December of 1974 by Roger Harney.. he was a dedicated (and i do mean "DEDICATED" !!) Corvette guy...  I was a "Ford guy" and drove a Porsche 914... Rog and I "jelled" quickly....
 
  Monogram was known for classic and hot rods. The first project I worked on was the Mack Stake Truck with George Baskys.. He was the lead designer.. I was a "gearshift guy" as we referred to new designers..
The next project was the 1934 734 Packard Speedster designed by Genevieve Grisetta. She was a GREAT classic car designer!!  Mario Falconi was completing the rear-engine Snake / Mongoose dragsters... that was where Roger taught me a "trick""...  make the engine larger by 5% - 10% so that they look "huge".. the blown "hemi" in that dragster (kits #7528 and 7529) are still SUPERB!!  I used that "trick" designing the die-cast Revell Collection and Team Caliber Top Fuel dragsters in the 1990's..
 
  We had a tooling budget of about $750K and big projects like the 1/48th B-17G, B-24D/J, and B-29 took about 1/3rd of that number each year in 1976, 1977, and 1978...   Rog and I used to discuss about how we could get into the "regular car business" and compete with MPC and AMT. We simply could NOT do it with one highly-detailed 1/24th scale model. We HAD to develop a PRODUCT LINE that would appear to be a new category and be bought in large numbers by the mass merchants like K-Mart....   Roger collected promo models of Corvettes and had a nice silver 1964 Coupe sitting on his desk (he eventually had a "real one" just like it..)   He and I were looking at it and we began to think about a model car with a really nice body, pan chassis, an simple interior.. one new 4-piece tire mold that would work on all models to hold down the cost..  no engine or multi-piece chassis.. and at least four model types......  we would add extra parts for a rally version and road race version... even if we had to create them in the design department..
 
  We were just beginning to develop contacts in GM Design and Ford Design, plus MPC and AMT had the standard Mustang / Corvette / Camaro / Firebird models "covered"... we needed a new category that no competitor was working in...    I had just bought a new 1976 Mercury (Ford) Capri II..  Bob Reder who was one of the Founders of Monogram had a Silver 450SL with a blue removable hardtop.... the Datsun 280Z had a real following and who could say "NO!" to a "G Series" Porsche 911 Coupe???  So, we had our four subjects.. add rally and road race parts and we had 12 releases from 4 mold sets all using one tire style..   
 
    Items were:     2101   Porsche 911 Carrera
                          2102    Mercedes 450 SL
                          2103    '76 Midnight Capri II
                          2014    Datsun 280S
 
     These were known as "2100-series cars" and I think the original wholesale price was $2.25 and that gave them a $5.00 retail price...
You arrive at a selling price by what is called 50/10 pricing.. pick a retail, say, $5.00 and divide by 2.. take 90% of that sum and you have the "A" price or price that the manufacture charges a wholesale customer.. They get additional discounts of 1% - 12% (old days) and then sell to retail customers at a 15% markup..  Typical price to a mass market customer was SRP (suggested retail price) less 50%..  For years, a woman who was in charge of sales set the retail price in "nice numbers.. $4.50, $6.25) and multipled "up" to get stupid retails like $12.37... they still don't know how to do pricing so that it "works" at retail..
 
    BTW, the Capre was molded in Black with gold stripes.. those wre the days when Black with Gold trim and shark's mouths would sell ANYTHING!!
 
    MPC and AMT (and Revell) had auto kit lines created in 1/25th scale...  that scale came from AMT obtaining 1/10th scale four-view car drawings from the "Big 3" and them making a 1/10th scale pattern model. That would yield tooling casts in the same size taken from the
1/10th pattern model.. set the reducing pantograph to "2.5" and you get "1/25th scale"...
 
   1/24th is an engineering scale.. 1" = 24".... create a 1/12th scale model and reduce it by setting the pantograph at "2.0"... instant
1/24th scale..  so, we created these in 1/24th scale...  done right, it is hard to tel the difference between 1/24th and 1/25th...
 
   The initial four sold REALLY WELL!!  the model car pundits bashed them for the "slim detail" before they bought into "curbside models"..
The first year sales were 86K pieces for the 911, 63K for the 450SL,
59K for the Capri, and 73K for the 280Z.. those numbers did not include assortments of all 4 in one carton.. I don't have those numbers..
 
That totals 281K kits at $632.25K.. at a 55% gross margin, that yielded $347.73K....  guessing that each mold set was about $50K, we had a profit of $147K on a $200K investment....  who needs multi-piece chassis and engine detail???
 
   In the following year, 1977, we introduced four additional versions:
 
                 #2107    Porsche Carrera RSR
                 #2108    '76 Capri Group II
                 #2109    Mercedes 450 Rally
                 #2110    Datsun SCCA Rally
 
   We also created 2 new items;  2105, Triumph TR-7 and 2016, Porsche 924..
 
   What else did we "learn"... our designers had to "learn" to capture the shapes of modern cars.. the contours of the TR-7 and 924 are much better than the first four bodies..  I photoed a 924 Coupe at Scala O'Brian Porsche in Chicago..(also known as "SOB Motors").. it had a
dent in the lower front air BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH... the fellow who carved the 2X pattern model, Joe Sojka, put the dent on the pattern.. because it was "in the
pictures".. we had it filled in..   The 924 was done through noted Porsche Journalist and Author Bill Oursler who was working for Volkwagen of America at the time..
 
    We also did a race version of each...  #2111 for the TR-7 racer
and #2112 for the Porsche 924 group 2...
 
     The 450SL, Capri, TR-7, and 924 are the only 1/24 / 1/25th
scale models I know of for those subjects...
 
   So, say we produced 60K of the new TR-7 and 924 and 50K of
each of the 6 race versions...  that is another 320K kits at $2.25
for a total of $720,000....   The two new items were about $50K
each, so the end result was a profit of $620K in year 2, or almost 80% of our annual tooling budget...
 
  That is how Monogram got started in the current model car business..
 

Bob Johnson

Great story Bob!   Thanks for sharing this info.....TIM 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I think I heard that the RX-7 is going to be released this year. I have plans for a couple of those, and I also plan to hit a big model car show later in the year and the rest of these cars are all on my look-out list! I've already got the MB, the Ferrari and the 924 but I can always use more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for posting the story, great insight into the history of this series. I would love to see these kits return. I've had most of them at one point, however even though I've tried to hang on to most of the kits from my youth these seemed to have slipped through my fingers. I'm excited about the upcoming release of the RX7, although I don't think it was based in this series. Hopefully the powers that be would consider reissuing some kits from this series. I certainly would be an enthusiastic buyer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now