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Burn Up That Quarter Mile…Monogram’s “Forty Niner” Dragster

January 13, 2015 in Cars & Motorcycles

On a visit to my folks house (where I grew up) I came across another piece of my childhood, the remnants of a “Forty Niner” rail dragster. In the early 1960’s Monogram offered a line of 49 cent car kits, aimed at the low end kit market. For a new comer to car building, the forty niners presented an in-expensive way to convert their interest of model building from space rockets to the cool art of custom cars. The kits were molded in bright colorful plastic and ranged from Corvettes, hot rods and foreign sports cars. I built all of them in 1961-62 and were not my “best” car models. The rail dragster was blue plastic and for some reason, I didn’t paint the tires or anything else. I’m sure I slapped it together in one Saturday afternoon. If you look at the forth photo, I didn’t apply any paint to the kit. If you also note, I fabricated all the non-blue parts, but the two front tires came out of the junk parts bin. After assembly I painted the entire model with my airbrush using Tamiya paint and Testors metalizer paints. It sure looks better than my 1961 build, but the most amazing fact is that I found it my foks basement in a work bench drawer. It’s funny, I never thought this model kit would be a personal “artifact” when I paid the 49 cents all those years ago.

8 additional images. Click to enlarge

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17 responses to Burn Up That Quarter Mile…Monogram’s “Forty Niner” Dragster

  1. I had those kits about 4? years ago

  2. I’ve been modeling everything (cars, planes, etc.) since about 1960 as well, and I have to admit, I don’t remember these kits. ‘Course I don’t remember what I did last week, so ya can’t go by that. 🙁
    I’m sure I did these – or at least saw them. Those figures don’t look familiar, either. Anyhow, my memory notwithstanding, you’ve done a nice job on the “restorations”.

    • Craig
      That time period (1960) had so many model kits, of all types being released it’s no wonder it doesn’t jog your memory. I built a lot of rocket and missile models (Revell and Monogram) in that time period, yet I don’t recall Aurora missile kits and they had six or seven kits in their catalog. I only found about them in the past ten years on the computer. Ain’t the internet great?. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Good memories here. Thanks.

  4. Counterintuitively, this is so retro it looks futuristic, like some kind of steampunk machine.

    Very cool.

    • Rob
      I watch “Top Gear” here in the States and from what I gather Drag Racing is not a popular automotive pastime in England. So your observation about the dragster looking “steam punk” is brilliant, it does have a Jules Verne look about it I never noticed before. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Great build looks great

  6. Nice one Mike, I was not born until 61`.
    Looks the part though.

  7. great post as always

  8. Great looking cars, Mike, and a trip down memory lane is always pleasant. By the way, there is a certain amount of drag racing in the UK, especially at Santa Pod raceway, and the bigger events attract entries from the USA. One reason it’s not so popular in England could be the weather!

    • George, do you mean it rains in merry olde England? Can’t have a proper run with a wet dragway. In the States all the drags take place in the dry summer months except in sunny California where it never rains! Thanks for the comments.

  9. Mike, Thanks for this, I’m not a car guy, but I enjoyed it. I vaguely remember these, and now that I’m seeing it, sorry I missed out.
    Is that George Lucas standing by Milners rod?

  10. Bernard, you are so close! Actually it’s the “Wolfman” himself as he looked in the early 1960’s (remember “beatniks”)? The figures are from Revell’s Duce Coupe “tie in” from the movie, one of my favorite all time flicks. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Mike: Wolfman Jack of beloved memory? Yeah, I see the tie in. Wow, man! Beatniks! One of my companions poems from that era:
    The purple cow (bongos)
    Ate the green cheese(bongos)
    And got ingestion(Lots of bongos)
    Cosmic, ain’t it?

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