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Need history and details of 1961 Pontiac Bonneville kit

8 posts in this topic


I of course got into model car building as a kid in the 80s because my father spent most of his childhood building models. We still have a good handful of his built cars, including this 1961 Bonneville. I had a guy offer me a chunk of change for about 10 built cars, I knew it was pretty far off...but it got me to looking into some of them on ebay and the internet in general. Questions I would love to have an answer to:

1. Is this a promo or an annual...or are they the same thing?

2. There is no trademark or company name stamped on the chassis...who would have made this?

3. Would the "kit" have been marketed as a convertible (I have seen some hardtops on ebay, but nothing with the roof this one has)?

4. Would some of the custom parts on this car be from the kit or just misc. pieces from other kits...so would it have been something like a 3n1 kit?

5. Any idea on the rarity of this kit?







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Posted (edited)

1&2) Looks to me like an AMT annual. The white plastic was the norm. 3) Yes. 4) The rear skirts were in the kit as custom parts (which really look like AMT stuff as well) and the spotlights and odd rear side-pipes, probably. Not sure about the hood scoop things. 5) No idea, but probably fairly rare in gluebomb shape and extremely rare in virgin, in-box shape.

The valve covers and the air cleaner look very much like the optional Pontiac engine parts in the AMT '36 Ford kits. I don't know if these came in the Bonneville or not.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Thanks again Ace. Cool box art, definitely helps.

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Wow, didn't realize I could check completed auctions. Learn something new every day.

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Posted (edited)

You can tell a Promo from the Kit by looking at the chassis.

A Promo of that Bonneville would not have open space around the engine

There was a separate insert of the lower engine detail.

It fills the area side to side, only having a little open space between it and the lower front suspension

also the hood would not open, and the only outside detail parts would be the fender ornaments.

No side mirrors, Custom grill inserts, or the top. That is a Convertible Up top.

I have both a restorable though incomplete built, and a promo, so I can help tell the difference

Edited by Edsel-Dan

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Thanks Dan, great info on the promo vs. annual. Was never sure what the difference was, seemed to me some have used the terms interchangeably.

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Sellers on the 'bay are not always builders/collectors of Models.

They Just sell them.

Promo's were available through Car dealers are advertising. You could get

them Free for a Test drive, (Or even by just asking if you were a Regular Customer)

or Buy them for less that $2.oo most of the time.

As such, they were not kits, but already assembled and painted (2 tones had the second color painted.

Some had the Aluminum/Stainless painted silver.

None of them had exterior trim parts other than Fender or Hood ornaments.

Side mirrors, fender skirts like on your Bonney, the Side Pipes too, and anything else

like that were added to the tooling for the Kits.

As for why they tend to be called both interchangeably, look at the chassis of your Bonneville.

Notice the 4 screws that connect the chassis to the body.

Almost all promo's Still use those, so a seller who does not Know Models like we do will

presume that he had a promo and not an Old Kit.

Especially if the kit does not have an opening hood and engine

(Which None of AMT's had till 1960--and then Not all got them)

Look at the re-issue 61 Ford Galaxie, No engine. Many will call it a Promo if found built

even if it has a Custom grill, etc

MPC still used the screws on Annuals to the 72 year. My Chevy Cheyenne Pickup had 2

through the front of the chassis into mounts that were part of the radiator wall.

I believe my 72 Impala still had 2 at the rear of the chassis.

I am not sure if my 73 Caprice still had them, but I can check.

Checked---- They are not there, but the mounts are still inside the body, the depressions

are in the gas tank on the chassis with pins on the inside of it to into those screw bosses.

I am not sure what year AMT dropped the screw assembly from Annual kits.

But if you look at some of the older re-issues, like the 62 Buick Electra, 64 Comet Caliente, 70 Pontiac Bonneville,

The screw assemble is still there.

Most likely since these were never re-issued during the time AMT & MPC stopped using them in kits.

If all you see is a Body picture of a model, and want to know if it is a kit or promo, just look at the shape.

Older Promos will shrink due to the Acetate plastic used for its high gloss shine without painting.

AMT changed around 61, but it was not as glossy, so they had to paint the primary color, which lead to

them changing again within the year.

The Shrinkage is what leads to their Warping. The plastic shrinks more on one side or surface than another

and twists,sags, "Smiles", etc show up.

I have a Nearly perfect straight 59 Ford wagon promo, that though it has shrunk, it is still Very straight. The interior

though is Twisted. Here:


After 62 or 63, Promo's will only Warp if Melted. ie left in a clear show case outside in the Bright sun too long

or subject to some other heat source hot enough. Kits will too!!!

I have Both is that condition (The Mustang promo I bought that way)

There is a lot of information about kits versus promo's out there.

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