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AMT/SMP history lesson wanted

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I know there are some very knowledgeable model car historians on this forum - Art Anderson certainly comes to mind - and the real history and relationship of AMT to SMP has never been clear to me. I looked at the Wikipedia article and some of it didn't add up to me (go ahead, act surprised!). I was around back in the day when AMT and SMP kits were out there and I don't think there was any difference at the time. If their selection of kits wasn't the same it sure overlapped a lot. The boxes looked the same except for the letters on the logo. So who came out the 3-in-1 kit first or was it at the same time and were AMT and SMP already the same company, why did they market under both names, etc.?

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Welllllllll, it's kina like dis . S M P , ( Scale Model products ) had a few contracts with General Motors to do Promotional cars . Aluminum Model Toys , ( A M T ) had a great distribution system . By allowing A M T the use of the S M P Logo, A M T sold the kits via their network of wholesale distributors in through 1961. Similar situations occurred between A M T and cross town rival Model Products Corporation . One such example was the 1928 Ford Model A tudor which was the basis for the Ford Model A roadster truck and the Ford wagon , ( Woody ). Johan also stepped in with their Olsmobile Toronado kit in 1970.

Edited by Eshaver

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Did AMT take over SMP? I don't remember seeing the SMP logo too much after 61 or so.

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I agree that SMP seems to have disappeared after 1961 and I believe it was fully absorbed by AMT at that point if it hadn't been before.

My favorite example of what Ed was talking about is the "AMT" 1965 Dodge Coronet. It was really an MPC tool but I didn't know that at the time. I just knew I liked that kit and built three of them. A few years later I bought an MPC Dodge Charger and was surprised to find that many of the parts were interchangeable!

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George , I do think A M T absorbed S M P . The factory was in a very close proximity to the A M T Troy factory. seems likely they did ..........

Edited by Eshaver

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Who knows exactly what went on then---50 years ago! I do have a few kits in my stash w/ SMP boxes, '59s and '60s IIRC.

I recall reading something about SMP in SAE or MCM years ago that SMP didn't actually make kits--they just marketed AMT product under their brand.

Edited by Rob Hall

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Bender lists the last SMP kits, and the last SMP Promo (a Corvette) for 1961. So the company was either absorbed by AMT, or it folded and AMT bought some of the assets.

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AMT's 28 Ford sedan was an MPC tool. It was only released ONCE an that was in 64 or 65. I didn't get it then, an it became my "Holy Grail" Now I've got three of them an have only built one! :D:rolleyes:;)

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I heard because Ford was AMT's biggest contract for promo's, Ford

didn't want AMT selling "other brands" in AMT boxes. So SMP was

a division created to sell the non Ford cars.

I don't know if it's truth or smoke though.

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Believe it or don't Don, S M P was it's own company with a poor wholesale network . Yes , they shared patent designs with A M T to do one piece bodies . In exchange , A M T distributed all the Chevrolet s and I THINK the 61 Buick Special wagon ............

Edited by Eshaver

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I have a 1958 Imperial promo with a metal bottom. On the bottom is stamped SMP Mt Clemens Mich. The box is identical to the AMT boxes of that era except SMP is written were AMT would have been. Mt. Clemens is a ways east of Troy.

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Yes, I too was very confused about the AMT/SMP connection. When I was doing research for the CorvettePromo.com website, a noted promo historian emailed this information to me. Here's what he wrote:

"The AMT/SMP connection can get rather complicated. Technically, they were two separate companies, but more in name only (most price lists I have from the time list both AMT and SMP kits, under the AMT banner). In 1980 I received a letter from Erik Erickson (Director of Operations for Lesney AMT Corp. at the time). Eric started SMP (Scale Model Products), "as a supplier to G.M. Photographic to fill their needs in their dealer promotion in 1956." SMP was a subsidiary of Detroit Plastic Products in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. SMP was sold to AMT, effective July 18, 1961. Trademark and all tooling sold for $225,000 ($100,000 in cash and $125,000 in AMT Common Stock). It is strange, but until they were written up in an issue of Model Car Journal, I had never seen a SMP kit for the 1962 annuals. Those 1962 SMP annuals did exist. As far as I know, the AMT and SMP kits were produced side by side. I know before the boxes were printed with the car shown on it, some SMP kits came in AMT boxes. Interesting, the first SMP kits came out in 1957. These were just unassembled promos (molded in acetate plastic) in a promo-size box, but made for rack display. No Corvettes were offered, just hardtop and convertible versions of the Pontiac and Chevy. I wrote an article on them for the December 1980 issue of Car Exchange."

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This is an interesting attachment as there is no Baseline, Michigan.  Maybe it was a township then.  Today this address is actually part of Warren, Michigan.  Baseline Road (also known as Eight Mile Road) was used as a reference point (geographical boundary) for platting Southeast Michigan.  Early AMT model boxes have an address of an office building in Detroit.  Then an address in Birmingham was used since Troy did not have a post office and was not incorporated as a city at the time.  1960 AMT boxes list an address on Groesbeck Highway in East Detroit.  Starting in 1961, a P.O. box 400 in Troy is used, which was probably the plant at 1225 East Maple Road, which is also referred to as 15 Mile Road. 

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1 hour ago, Motor City said:

This is an interesting attachment as there is no Baseline, Michigan.  Maybe it was a township then.  Today this address is actually part of Warren, Michigan.  Baseline Road (also known as Eight Mile Road) was used as a reference point (geographical boundary) for platting Southeast Michigan.  Early AMT model boxes have an address of an office building in Detroit.  Then an address in Birmingham was used since Troy did not have a post office and was not incorporated as a city at the time.  1960 AMT boxes list an address on Groesbeck Highway in East Detroit.  Starting in 1961, a P.O. box 400 in Troy is used, which was probably the plant at 1225 East Maple Road, which is also referred to as 15 Mile Road. 

 

http://corktownhistory.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-origins-of-eight-mile-road.html

22210972009_4625779151_o.jpg

Edited by Daddyfink

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Very interesting info. More insight available in Tim Boyd' s latest book if you have access to a copy.

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On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2011 at 4:58 PM, Eshaver said:

Believe it or don't Don, S M P was it's own company with a poor wholesale network . Yes , they shared patent designs with A M T to do one piece bodies . In exchange , A M T distributed all the Chevrolet s and I THINK the 61 Buick Special wagon ............ Ed Shaver

Buick kits were all AMT.  SMP did Chevys and Chrysler products (Imperial, Valiant).  A handful of SMP-boxed '62 Imperial convertible kits slipped out, and about half of the Styline '62 Valiant kits are branded "SMP" as well.  The '62 Impala kits have "SMP" engraved on the custom license plate, and the body might have an "smp" logo on the inside as well.

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So, amt was the "model car division" of...SMP?

97738d83-5513-4bed-91bf-e73515410f9c.jpg

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On 7/2/2018 at 10:15 PM, Motor City said:

1960 AMT boxes list an address on Groesbeck Highway in East Detroit.

An SMP "Assembly and Customizing Kit" instruction sheet, which appears to show a '58 GM convertible...:

SMPAssandCustKit1.jpg

 

....and on the last page of the same instruction sheet, this address for Aluminum Model Toys:

SMPAssandCustKit4.jpg

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There was a 58 Chevy convertible made back then (I've got one )

Don't know of it was AMT or SMP.

 

EDIT -  actually . All the ones shown on that paper were avail, The  Impala , Bonneville, Buick, Sunliner , Edsel, and the Imperial. I have all 6 as builders

Edited by gtx6970

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54 minutes ago, gtx6970 said:

There was a 58 Chevy convertible made back then (I've got one )

Don't know of it was AMT or SMP.

SMP.  SMP made all of the Chevrolet and some Chrysler products (Imperial, Valiant) kits through 1961.  The AMT '62 Impala annual kits have "SMP" engraved on the custom license plate on the plated tree. 

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On 7/2/2018 at 9:39 PM, Daddyfink said:

City naming in the Detroit area is a mess. So far as the post office is concerned, it’s all Detroit. However, there are numerous “vanity cities” and don’t you dare list the customer’s address as Detroit. Baseline might well be one of those vanity cities. 

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3 hours ago, Dave Ambrose said:

City naming in the Detroit area is a mess. So far as the post office is concerned, it’s all Detroit. However, there are numerous “vanity cities” and don’t you dare list the customer’s address as Detroit. Baseline might well be one of those vanity cities. 

No, it's not what you refer to as a vanity city, Dave.  On the north side of 8 Mile (also occasionally referred to as Base Line by old timers) are the cities of Southfield, Ferndale and Warren.  The south side of 8 Mile is Detroit, and farther west is Redford, Livonia, Northville.    

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