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PMC LOWLIGHT KARMANN GHIA VW

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, PMCs main rivals in promotional vehicle models were Banthrico, National Products, AMT, SMP, and Jo-Han. PMC's vehicle products were called "Tru Miniatures". PMC introduced its first models about 1947, around the same time as Ideal Models, which later changed its name to Jo-Han. Though Banthrico and the similar National Products models were metal, PMC, along with Jo-Han, were the first promotional companies to introduce plastic models to dealerships, both beating AMT by a year or so. Models were first molded in cellulose acetate, which tended to warp over time. Among automotive promotional model makers, PMC and SMP were the only promotional companies that produced nearly all of their products through the lines of their companies (the 1950s) in warping cellulose acetate, as they were largely defunct by the time non-warping styrene was introduced. In the early 1960s, PMC did produce some commercial toys in styrene. It's easy to tell them apart, because the styrene has a duller look, like an unpainted model kit, when compared to the cellulose acetate cars.

This is a promotional model of a 1955-59 Lowlight Karmann Ghia VW that was produced by Product Miniature Company, or PMC and only available in the USA. PMC was a promo company, and these toys are often referred to as promotional, but there is no evidence they were ever actually used as promos per se. It's unclear whether or not PMC ever had a contract with Volkswagen and were given away, or whether they were simply speculative. The PMC promos were mainly sold through dime stores of the time.

They were produced in Regular and Deluxe model versions in 1959 and 1960. The Deluxe model came with an interior and clear plastic windows and had no friction motor (because of the room needed for the interior). The Regular model version of course came with a friction motor and was already assembled. The body was made out of plastic (styrene) and represented the silhouette of the Lowlight Karmann Ghia quite well. Detailed included cut out windows, seam lines for the doors, front hood, rear hood with air grilles. The taillights were part of the body mold and the front air louvers with the two louvered grilles. Silver plastic headlights, turn signals, front and rear bumpers. There was a VW emblem molded in the front nose section. Rubber tires (most had white wall tires) with hubcaps mounted on steel axles were attached to the chassis. Early chassis were made out of stamped steel plate and later changed to plastic. The chassis hooks to the rear body and then is secured with two screws on the front behind the front bumper.  The scale was 1/24 or 173mm in length.

There is also a seldom found and very unusual two-Volkswagen set, with both the PMC VW Beetle and the Karmann Ghia. What's interesting about them are they are in unusual colors, made of styrene, and have features of both the fancy and plain versions. They came in an original two-window box, which had cutout road signs that could be displayed with plastic posts that came in the box.

Just to note the spelling of Karmen Ghia on the original packing label.

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer: PMC
  • Scale: 1/24
  • Length: 173mm
  • Production Era: 1959-1960
  • Country: USA
  • Materials: Plastic (Styrene)
  • Color: Green, Yellow, Red, Salmon, White, Turquoise
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