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AMT's Horizon TC3- Loser from the past, out of box!

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Loser cars. If there’s one thing I love to get kits of, it’s loser cars. Most people like muscle cars, Ferraris and other exotics or classic cruisers. Not me. If you’ve seen anything else I’ve built or reviewed, you know I love to hate to love my loser cars.

What’s more amazing that having a great selection of these things as kits? Finding out there’s a model of a loser car I didn’t even know about! Recently, it was brought to my attention that there was a kit of a Plymouth Horizon TC3. AWESOME! I knew about, and have several, of the Omni 024, it’s Dodge stablemate, but I was amazed and intrigued to learn of the Horizon. I hoped to find one, one day.

Then, thanks to the power of the internet, I was contacted by someone with one, and I was able to swiftly acquire one of these gems! It’s rare to have such a short turn around between discovery and purchase, at least for me, since I try to always avoid ebay! 

I was very excited to get it, so I had to review it quickly. So here, then, is an out of box review for a long-forgotten leader among the losers, the almost kinda cool, but still intrinsically lame, Horizon TC3. Many thanks to F-J for his help and passing this one on to me. You rock, man!

Check it out to see how bad things got; don’t forget, there were MULTIPLE companies kitting this thing!

https://adamrehorn.wordpress.com/model-kits/out-of-box-reviews/amt-125-plymouth-horizon-tc3-oob/

tc3-oob-002.jpg?w=350

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Ah, the L-Body. I always wondered why Chrysler went to the trouble of developing the K platform when they already had this, and by the time the K car rolled around, the L platform already had three years of real-world reputation built up. Was the K just cheaper to produce and easier to adapt? Personally, I think the L was the superior design. It was a more advanced design than anything Chrysler had done to that point, and you could even call it refined, by the standards American compacts of the era. Then again, Chrysler borrowed heavily from their European operations for this design, so maybe that's part of it. 

I have quite a bit of experience with the MPC L-body kits (Dodge Omni/Charger) but for whatever reason I've never nabbed one of these. From the looks of your photos and what you say in your review this looks to be about on par with those. No optional wild flares or scoops though... AMT didn't seem to have the same affinity for IMSA-nightmare body kits that MPC did during this period of time! 

Lame as some think these cars are, I'm actually bummed that nobody ever kitted the 4-door Horizon/Omni version. I remember those things being all over the place as a kid. My uncle actually had two of them at one point- an orange '78 and a two-tone blue '81. 

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I think I'll have to do a comparison sometime of the MPC and the AMT, just to see what's what.

You're right, that AMT didn't have the IMSA madness as bad, but the Sirocco and Capri II both have a pretty horrible "custom" version! They're nice kits too. 

I think the cars are lame, in the context of their day. They definitely had, and still have, their merits. They're much cooler now than when they were made; the rose-coloured glasses work wonders on cars, eh? 

Man, if there was a K, or even a normal L kit, I would be ALL OVER that. Fresh Cherries did make a die cast L hatchback (2 door, I think) in a couple of scales, including a big one, maybe 1/24? My brother has one. Wish I had one to gut and kit!

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Motormax did an L 4-door as a Horizon. They look OK as shelf models but I can't comment on how the interior or engine bays look, though going by other Motor Max products I'd guess the engine is little more than a plastic "pancake". It also kind of floors me that the only K car we got in kit form was the Dodge Daytona. Yeah, they were lame-o, boring, cheap transportation boxes, but the things were everywhere, and I think they would have done reasonably well. Then again, I'm one of about 12 people on earth who find muscle cars lame-o and boring, so what do I know? :lol:

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Being a big time FWD Mopar fan since they were new, let me throw some insight having owned a couple when new. The L body, GLH (Goes like hot car) was a great little car. One of the best of its era. The Omni's evolved into the Shelby Charger. With the TI motor it was equal to many V-8 cars that had become bloated barges. The Daytona/Lasers were G bodies. While they may seem derived from K cars (a platform large enough to be a four or five seat passenger car, unlike the L Body which was a two plus small children car, few suspension parts were shared. The G bodies were first offered with a similar TI motor but were offered with TIIs in the 1987 model year with a very nice Gretag five speed. With just a little work (mercy those cars loved a 2.5 or 2.75 inch exhaust), those cars could haul. Several state police departments had unmarked versions for highway patrol. They were the fastest American cars sold in 1987-88. The years just prior to that the fastest American car was a big block pick up truck. The Daytonas were a very nice car, equal to a nice Trans Am or Camaro but with the ability to average 80 on the freeway at 30mph. This was in 1987! On a side note, I remember racing a Viper in my warmed over Laser (exhaust, larger injectors, large intercooler and the like) up to 100. Had a blast. At 100, the Viper driver waved and I watched his tailights. I'd love to have another Shelby Daytona or Laser XT with a five speed.

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Oddly it looks like the original post was posted 3 times.   I picked up this kit unbuilt about 10 years ago...haven't built it yet, but enjoy building stock kits of this era.

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I borrowed a Horizon from a friend of mine to take my driving test back in the 80's! Crazy little car, but it got the job done!! Even then the poor little car felt extremely dated.

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I had an '85 Shelby Charger. I remember the car was pretty crude and unrefined. The car was however easy to work on... which was good... because it always needed worked on. 

Edited by RT6PK

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I'm sorry if it posted three times. I only see it once, but if someone edited it for me, thank you!

Chuck: I know how you feel. I was so excited when I found out about this one that I was in 7th Heaven to get my hands on one! 

Yeah, I'm not surprised they needed a lot of work, That was kinda standard for Chryslers of the era, and Fords, and Chevys and...

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Love the review!  I had a '79 Omni that had a broom-in-a-barrel transmission.  The ignition lock had been knocked off, so you just needed your thumb to push a little nub to start it, the grille was missing, and a lot of other things were wrong with it.  I got it for free, and loved it!  My wife wouldn't let me get the tie rod ends replaced for aesthetic reasons, and I had to let it go.  It always started right up, ran pretty smooth, and drove real nice.  All of my complaints would have been for the care it did not receive from previous owners.

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Because the Dodge and Plymouth versions were almost exactly the same looking.......we dubbed them Omnirizon 024TC3!!! 

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Aha!  You've discovered that the Horizon is much scarcer than the Omni kit!   Still, when found they can be had at a reasonable price. I have a few of them bought right.

Note that the 4 door as actually a pretty close clone to the VW Rabbit down to the engine.  I always had planned on taking one of the Rabbit kits and converting it to a 4 door Omni or Horizon.  Now I need to get one of the Motormax diecast to see how close they are scale wise. Maybe that Rabbit chassis and drivetrain would fit under it?

For the 24 Hour Build I chose another loser car,  the Dodge D50 pickup.  Again, typical of MPC new cars of that era it's a nice little kit.  Very good engine, drivetrain and chassis detail. I'm very pleased with my $5 purchase.  

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In case anyone is wondering what a built-up TC3 might look like, here's a built-up I acquired in a collection a few years ago,  It has the typical Lesney-AMT mirror engraved to the windshield, but overall they achieved the right look.

To anyone considering seeking out a Fresh Cherries Omni/Horizon; don't believe the "1/24 scale" label...those things are HUGE for 1/24 scale. 

   

AMT Plymouth Horizon TC-3.JPG

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For an alleged crapbox, that's a pretty cool looking little car. If I happen to run across one, I'll bet I could do something with it....

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I have one of those TC-3 models, built in the early 80's. I had a real one, brand new in 1979. Bright orange with black interior. They had VW engines, I believe, 1.7 liters. Mine was a 4-speed stick. Good little car!

Sam

Edited by Sixties Sam

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I won't say they were 'loser' cars. Many of these cheaper cars from the 1980's wound up as cheap race cars in SCCA IT racing (Improved Touring). I have a few Rabbit's, Scirocco's, and a Citation X-11. Some cars (RX-7's, BMW M3's, etc) do make better race cars than others. A TC-3 or an 024 would make great additions to an IT line up. 

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Aha!  You've discovered that the Horizon is much scarcer than the Omni kit!   Still, when found they can be had at a reasonable price. I have a few of them bought right.

Note that the 4 door as actually a pretty close clone to the VW Rabbit down to the engine.  I always had planned on taking one of the Rabbit kits and converting it to a 4 door Omni or Horizon.  Now I need to get one of the Motormax diecast to see how close they are scale wise. Maybe that Rabbit chassis and drivetrain would fit under it?

For the 24 Hour Build I chose another loser car,  the Dodge D50 pickup.  Again, typical of MPC new cars of that era it's a nice little kit.  Very good engine, drivetrain and chassis detail. I'm very pleased with my $5 purchase.  

It's amazing how I could have gone through life not knowing about this one for a while. Many thanks to F-J for the hookup on this one. 

I believe the Omnis were direct ports of the Talbot Horizon in France, among other things. the TC3 body looks a lot better than the boxy one, I think. 

Oh  man, you have a D-50 too? I love that kit! I wish it had the right decals, because it is one of the D-50 Sport editions (or whatever they were called) as far as I can tell. Still, I agree, it's a nice little kit!

 

I won't say they were 'loser' cars. Many of these cheaper cars from the 1980's wound up as cheap race cars in SCCA IT racing (Improved Touring). I have a few Rabbit's, Scirocco's, and a Citation X-11. Some cars (RX-7's, BMW M3's, etc) do make better race cars than others. A TC-3 or an 024 would make great additions to an IT line up. 

I see what you're saying, for sure. However, when you compare them to the all-out performance machines that came before them, and the nice roomy cars as well, they seemed pretty cheap, tinny and gutless. Now, that having been said, we all know muscle cars don't handle well (or stop well, for that matter), so in a lot of ways these light little nimble cars would be superior.

However, I can't not call them losers. Really? A two-figure HP number? God... I always find it interesting to compare cars of this era to my personal benchmark, which is my Turbo T/A. While the 301T might be reviled, it's pretty good overall, at least on paper. Whereas this "sporty coupe" was bringing 75 hp and 90 lbf torque, My T/A brought 210hp and 345 lbf. Uh... even though my car weighs almost double, it's got like, 3x hp and 4x the torque. You can't really be sporty if you're that weak. That's loser territory. :)

I have an O24 that I did as a "Super Bee" custom a while ago. I've not yet posted it, but I should some day. With tinted windows and nice wheels/flares, the 024 looks good. Seriously!

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The engraving and overall crispness of the AMT kit far better than the MPC dodge Omni. The MPC engine has more separate parts. I haven't actually built either one, just looked at the parts. 

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Loser cars are bloody ace!

We need a lot more of them.
I'd love to see a K car, or a GM J body.
Or how about a Chevy Spectrum?

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Another kit I'd buy, if Round 2 reissued it. I always thought the early versions of this car were a little ugly. I liked the looks of the later four headlamp versions wat better. Despite that, I'd love to own and build a copy of the one shown above. 

Scott

 

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I'd really like to have one of these.  :)  I wish they'd release a regular Horizon or Omni as well, especially an Omni GLH. 

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I'd like to see a model of the pickup truck version of the TC3. The Scamp. A friend of mine use to own one. It was a pretty nice little car/truck. In fact, from I remember of all of the Omni/Horizons, they weren't bad vehicles at all. I also had another friend who bought a new Omni GLH back in the day. In fact, we took on a trip to Dyersville, Iowa to visit the Ertl/AMT plant at the time. The thing was a blast to drive. And got very good gas mileage on that trip as well. I was impressed by the car. A bright spot when there were few to talk about. 

Scott

 

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Oh man, that's a great idea, Scott. If the boys at Round 2 could find the Omni mould and clone it to a Rampage/Scamp that would be fantastic! A great counter-point to the MPC El Camino I have, too!

I saw a Rampage at a cruise night a year or so ago. I couldn't believe how small it was. It looked so thin and frail and small compared to today's "compact" cars, even like a Yaris!

 

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