Starbird was the custom car consultant for Monogram starting in 1961. In 1964, Monogram exec Bob Reder contacted Starbird and offered the buy the Predicta and suggested that they car be freshened, and
painted candy red, in anticipation of a kit that Monogram would issue (Monogram had previously offered models of Starbird's Big Deuce, Futurista, and had offered kits with Starbird custom design elements: the 1958 Thunderbird, the '40 Ford
pickup, and the 1955 Chevy kit). Later, Monogram offered a model kit of Starbird's Ultra Truck (renamed the Orange Hauler when Monogram issued the kit). Starbird agreed and the rest is history. Here's a brief photo essay on
the history of the kit - more info will be contained in the book
When a model kit is made, the vehicle is meticulously measured and then highly-skilled kit engineers (such as Monogram's legendary Roger Harney) create such drawings that the model makers use to make scale
reproductions of the part (usually in 1/10 scale) after which the die makers transfer those dimensions and shapes to the two-part injection tools. Here is a tantilizing look at a few Predicta kit engineering drawings - many more will
be presented in the Predicta book.
Many years ago, Roger Harney loaned me the original Monogram Predicta kit engineering documents. With permission, I copied the same and returned the originals
to Mr. Harney to whom I extend my heartfelt appreciation. This drawing shows the body , the bubble top ring, and the Chrysler engine block. Drawing Copyright Monogram Models.
For ease of production and assembly, Monogram offered the hood only with a central snap-in hinge rather than the correct dual outboard hinges. Note the date on this drawing. Drawing Copyright Monogram Models.
Monogram created a wonderful kit in 1964 of Starbird's creation. Here is a sample of those kits:
This is the first kit version. This flat box was probably derived from the early "PC"-prefix vintage hot rod kits (1930 Ford coupe, 1930 Ford Phaeton, 1936 Ford
Coupe/Phaeton, 1940 Ford Pickup, Yellow Jacket and others) and was ideally suited to the relatively flat body of the Predicta model. I am greatly pleased that
Darryl Starbird autographed this box lid. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
In this box, two versions of the kit were issued: the very common solid red plastic version and this exceptionally rare pearl red plastic version that was quickly
discontinued because of production problems in getting the metallic powder to distribute evenly. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
While there is no authoritative information available, this version was probably the first one and less than 1,000 of this version were issued before being withdrawn and discontinued. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
The far more common kit was this solid red version of the kit. Everyone enjoyed the incredible smooth and shiny plastic. Each kit came with the instruction sheet,
decals, the then-current Monogram catalog and . . Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
Starbird's really cool "From cArbs to customiZing" booklet that featured a lively text by Darryl . . . This boolet is available here
in its entirety. Beware, each page is
over 100K... Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
. . . and six pages of photographs of his cars printed over the top of a glossary. Go here
for a readable scan of the several pages of this remarkable brochure. As mentioned above, each page is large and may take some time to download. Photos: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
By 1965, the kit was reboxed as part of an overall corporate design change. This first version of the new more 'square' box is very unusual presently. The photo on
the cover was reputedly taken at the 1964 New York auto show. The color printing portrayed the car as having almost a candy cinnamon paint job which was certainly
inaccurate. This version of the kit contains the solid red plastic model. the Starbird booklet was gone as was the Monogram catalog. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
By 1967, the box art was tweaked a bit. Essentially a section of the artwork from the 1965 version, the box art contained the white border design of the fresh
Monogram design. The copyright on the box showed 1965 and 1967. There was no difference in the plastic of the model; as in the 1965 copyright kit, the Starbird
booklet was gone as was the Monogram catalog. Again, only the shiny red plastic version was offered. After being on the market through 1968 or so, the kit was
withdrawn from domestic production. The same original kit number - PC 150 - remained, and the kit price was $1.50 at this point - one cent more than the first
(1964) version! Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
At about the same time as the issuance of the third version of the box art, the kit was apparently issued for distribution in New Zealand. The kit had no lid, and
opened from two end panels on the long side of the box, and was originally shrink wrapped. The side panel copyright notice - identical to the United States version
except for the copyright notice - contained the interesting notation found in next photo caption. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
"Copyright 1965 & 1967 Monogram Models Inc. Morton Grove. All rights reserved. Made, printed and packed in New Zealand by E. Allan Brooker Ltd. Auckland" This
text seems to suggest that the dies were shipped to New Zealand for production. The box art portrayed the car in a much deeper cinnamon color - the image of the
car continued to degrade. The instruction sheet, bearing the original 1964 copyright date, was a very poor reproduction. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
The kit was not different from the domestic model though the plastic was in a slightly darker color and wasn't as shiny as the domestic kit, lending credence to
the assumption that the dies were shipped to New Zealand. I am fortunate enough to have two of these impossibly rare kit. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
After the New Zealand kit, the model went out of production for nearly 23 years. Then, in 1990, I received a great call from Monogram exec Ed Sexton who asked if I
would like to assist with a reissue of the Predicta kit. I quickly and enthusiastically told him I love to help. In the process of working on the reissue, Ed sent me parts
for roughly two Predicta kits shot in a milky, matte white plastic. I looked the stuff over and everything appeared to be in great shot -- the tool's trip back from New
Zealand had been uneventful. These parts may be the most rare of all Predicta memorabilia. Photos: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
Ed also asked me if I would build the box art model - Wow! I called Darryl Starbird for the lacquer formula and then duplicated it on this model. This model now sits in
Darryl's Rod & Custom Hall of Fame and sits in a case, next to the real car.
Monogram attempted to mimic the 'futuristic' box art of the second issue of the kit. The model shown on the box cover is the model I built for Ed and Monogram.
Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives
In early 2000, good friend Ed Sexton called again and told me that Revell-Monogram LLC would be re-issuing the Predicta kit again as part of its "Monogram
Classics" series. He asked if I could provide a color photo (I didn't have a suitable one, which was quite remarkable to me). The box art essentially replicates the
second box, though the color reproduction of the car is inaccurate by still being too cinnamon in tone (but better than any of the previous boxes!). Photo: Mark S.
Gustavson Photo Archives.
I had the great privilege of writing the text for the Collector Card as well as the introductory text for the instruction sheet. I will always be grateful to Ed for the
privilege of helping out with the reissuance of this kit. Thanks, Ed! If you wish to review a readable scan of the instruction sheet and the insert card, go here
. These files will take a few minutes to download. Photo: Mark S. Gustavson Photo Archives.
Predicta Headquarters have acquired two very rare models from ebay auctions.
Check out this battery powered toy made in Hong Kong and acquired from a collector in the Netherlands:
The box is in remarkably good shape as is the model. Check out the cool box and
the green helmeted driver with a steering wheel. This toy was apparently ripped off directly from the Monogram model - the measurements exactly match the kit!
The bubble top does not rise, and the hood doesn't open. This kit came from a toy vendor in the Netherlands! No date is given anywhere.
This is one of the long sides of the box. Of interest is the distorted illustration of the car with the driver sitting on the right side!
This depicts the end of the box - the same image appears on both sides.
The red toy is battery operated. The long rectangular piece - placed near the
center of the underneath of the model - slides forward and permits the placement of two AA batteries. The switch is the long metal lever at the rear of the model.
The bubble does not operate and the windsplit was clearly placed on the model
after the interior details (dig the green helmet and the silly steering wheel!) have been added.
The yellow colored plastic is very bright and this toy has been used pretty hard
(the tip of one fin is broken off). The interior matches the red battery-powered model.
A child (or an adult here at Predicta Headquarters!) just pushes the model across
the floor to make use of the flywheel action. The underside of this model has been dragged on a hard surface at some place in the past. No box accompanied this
model acquired from Australia! There is not date on the underside, or anywhere!
This comparison reveals that the two toys are virtually clones of one another, and
match the dimensions of the kit. No assembly was required for either toy-- both toys were molded in the indicated colors -- no manufacturer painting. Roger
Harney at Monogram tells me that I was the first to bring these rip off toys to the attention of the company.
In early 2004, a Monogram/Revell insider donated this white plastic test shot of
the 2000 kit to Predicta Headquarters. The white plastic has a faint metallic or pearlescent hue, but was very reflective. The chrome was badly plated - obviously,
the plating was being tested on the tree. Thanks, insider (we know who this person is).
In mid 2004, another person contacted Predicta Headquarters by e-mail, and
offered this black test shot of the 2004 version of the kit. Check out the grey trees
for the chrome and other parts. The black plastic had a mid-gloss finish. We never did find out who this person was, but all we had to do was to pay the shipping
charges (a check was written to a company with which we were unacquainted). Thanks to this anonymous and generous person!