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AMT/Ertl Classic 1932 Ford Coupe

February 2006
Classic 1932 Ford Coupe
AMT/Ertl No. 38280
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $11.99
Pros: Impressive number of building options for the parts count; a venerable kit
Cons: Sectioned body; simplification heavy in spots
One of AMT/Ertl's seminal "Trophy Series" kits, this five-window '32 Ford is a bit more than a window into model kit technology circa 1959; it's a survivor with its own story to tell.

The tooling was damaged after its first few years of production; it was repaired and rereleased around 1976, with some parts changed and others omitted. A subsequent version, released roughly 15 years ago, restored the external headers from the original release, and that's essentially the version you see here.

So this time, AMT/Ertl's box cover gives you a pleasant surprise: although it features only a nicely finished stock model, all the necessary parts are there for a 1970s-style hot rod, and a channeled custom too.

Original options such as the chrome reversed drag wheels, shortened hood, and cycle fenders may be gone, but the kit still has an optional Chevy small-block with a six-carb intake and two complete exhaust systems (depending on the version you use it in) along with body-colored steel wheels and chrome hubcaps, custom taillights, and a tow bar. A passable flathead V-8 and separate horn and spare-tire mount parts are provided for the stock version.

The age of the design is telling in details such as engine simplification or the molded-on stock exhaust and rear suspension, there's still plenty of cleverness here to be admired - particularly in the ease with which the kit allows you to do a channeled version.

As with its '32 roadster companion of the same age, there are two sets of mounting bosses for the radiator shell. To do the stock version, use the one-piece fender set, with its rear mounting tab and the firewall as locators. To do the channeled version, leave the fenders off and let the body drop over the frame; the instructions call for omitting the firewall, but you can cut it down to fit with little trouble. Aside from the headlight bar, which AMT/Ertl has you cut in two and reorient for this version, that's the only modified part on the photo car.

The rest is exactly as it came from the kit. Most of what you need for a channeled rust-runner is right there in the box, in addition to everything necessary for the stock version and for the full-fendered hot rod in between.

Assembly caveats are limited mostly to the high-riding position of the separate front axle, the alignment of the body on the frame without fenders to lock it in, and the general cleanup you'd expect with a kit of this age; but it's a pretty easy build, all things considered.

General accuracy is good enough, but you have to bear in mind that AMT/Ertl fudged the lower body contours a bit, visibly sectioning the lower half (especially towards the cowl) in order to facilitate the channeled version.

Kitbashers might consider AMT/Ertl's later '32 Ford kits such as the Victoria, which offer separate exhausts and rear suspensions, as well as optional engines and other straightforward swaps.

Or you might look at Revell-Monogram's '29 Ford Pickup or '31 Tudor for their newly-tooled wide-whites and steelies and separate suspension components. R-M's recent Deuces and AMT/Ertl's Phantom Vicky offer intriguing possibilities.

As with many unique AMT reissues we're seeing these days, this '32 Coupe is a fascinating, functional piece of car modeling history - and many will find that alone worth the price of admission.


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