Promos of Protos Are Rare, Here Are the Ones I Know About

Steve Engeman, aka Litre7, is a hobbyDB Advisory Council member and veteran collector of promo model cars for more than 30 years.

I got one of these the other day and thought how rare protos are as promos, here are the nine that I am aware of  –

1959 Levacar Mach I from Ford

Ford introduced the Levacar Mach I in 1959 and was featured at the Ford Rotunda.  This was a single-seat hovercraft concept car.   Ford offered an unassembled/unpainted kit of the Mach I, sometimes with the all-new Falcon in 1960 and can be considered a promotional item.  They also created painted and assembled promo versions that were available at the Ford Rotunda and perhaps elsewhere.  The Mach I promotional kit is scarce and the assembled promo models are very rarely seen today.  This photo is a promo version made by AMT.

1996 Viper GTS Concept Car

There were actually 4 different promo models made of the new Viper GTS in 1996.  AMT/Ertl made traditional plastic promo models of the production model and the Indy Pace car.  Brookfield Collectors Guild made two different promos of the Viper GTS coupe concept car rather than the production car.  The concept car was very much like the production car, the easiest difference to spot was the concept car had side exhausts while the production car had rear exhausts.  The first version is a typical curbside model made of plastic.

The second version was a very detailed version with opening doors, hatch, and hood with a very detailed and wired engine.  This detailed version was made of a composite material that I am told is similar to the real car.  When Brookfield went out of business their remaining inventory was sold to Danbury Mint and they were marketed as Danbury Mint cars.  This photo shows the standard plastic Brookfield concept car promo on the left, the detailed Brookfield concept promo in the rear and the AMT production Indy pace car on the right.

Plymouth Prowler

Plymouth’s last promotional model was a promo of the Prowler concept car.  Made by AMT/Ertl it was modeled after the concept car.  The owner of a real Prowler expressed some disappointment at some accuracy issues that do not match his production car.  I explained that it is not a model of production car like his but of the concept car.  It all made sense then.


1963 Chrysler Turbine Car

From 1963 to 1964 Chrysler had 55 Turbine car bodies produced by Ghia of Italy, shipped to Detroit where Chrysler added the turbine powertrains to the bodies.  They had Johan make promo models (packaged in special photo boxes).   The promo models were produced in 1964.  They also re-issued the Chrysler Turbinepromo models in the 80’s and 90’s.  There issue Turbine cars can be identified as such as they have plastic tabs holding the body to the chassis and are molded in color rather than painted in the authentic paint like the originals. This photo is an original promo model in the it’s special photo along with an original Turbine car brochure.


Chrysler Atlantic

Chrysler Atlantic was a striking 1995 concept car with a straight eight made from two inline Neon four-cylinder engines.  Lindbergh produced the promo for Chrysler.


Dodge Copperhead

The V6 Dodge Copperhead was a concept car considered for production with a $30,000 price tag ($40,000 less than the Dodge Viper).  The promo was produced in 1998 by AMT/Ertl.


Ford GT90

The V12 Ford GT90 was a 1995 concept car shown to the public to gauge public reaction to it as a possible halo production car.  It was not well received and a few years later the V8 Ford GT was a huge hit.  AMT/Ertl produced the promo model.


Corvette Sting Ray III

The Sting Ray III was a Corvette styling exercise concept car first shown in 1992.   AMT/Ertl produced the promo that was released in 1997.


Mako Shark I

The Mako Shark I was a concept car shown in 1961 that included a lot of styling that would be seen on the all-new 1963 Corvette.  The promo is ‘retro’ promo produced years after the concept car in 1993 by AMT/Ertl. It is very well detailed for a promo including the paint that imitated the Mako Shark coloration.


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