The Revell Drag Racing Team by ProQuest


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									                                                       The Revell Drag Racing Team
                                                       During the 1970s, Revell Inc. produced detailed model
                                                       kits based on the cars of leading drag racing teams
                                                       and was a major sponsor of those teams

by John Jodauga
requested by Peter Kumble
Amherst, Mass.

     oday’s drag racing teams rely on a

T    wide variety of sources for
     sponsorship, from the U.S. Army to
a sheik in the Middle East. More than
three decades ago, one of the more
visible and prolific drag racing sponsors
was Revell Inc., the then Venice, Calif.-
based firm that had established itself as
the world’s leading manufacturer of
injected-plastic model kits with its
successful line of airplanes, ships,
military armor, automobiles, and a
variety of other subjects.
    While other model companies, such
as Monogram, produced generic hot
rodding models, Revell was the first to
manufacture kits based on actual racers,       Revell Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer Royle Glaser
including Mickey Thompson, Tommy Ivo,          proudly posed with this collection of the Revell 1/16-scale drag racing kits of the top
Tony Nancy, and the Stone, Woods &             cars and stars on the NHRA circuit. Revell had long been known as the world’s leading
Cook team.                                     manufacturer of plastic kits of airplanes, ships, and other subjects, but during the
    When drag racing’s popularity              1970s, the drag racing models became the sales leaders of its product line.
enjoyed a tremendous growth spurt in
the beginning of the 1970s, it caught the          Ernst maintained that the targeted          their public-relations representative,         Zendejas, who was very involved with
attention of Revell, which then decided        market of older teens and adults could          Jim Cook, who also worked with drivers drag racing, to help them pick
to reenter the hot rodding market in an        handle the increased price, which               like Parnelli Jones, Al and Bobby              prominent teams,” said Olson, “and he
even bigger and better way.                    initially was approximately $8 per kit,         Unser, Mario Andretti, and others, if he established our initial contact with
    At the urging of Revell marketing’s        and that the kits would be excellent            could come up with a sponsor for us.           Revell. We were only too happy to be
Dave Fisher and Don Ernst, the company         holiday gifts. He also came up with the         He soon put us in contact with Revell,         involved because they gave us cash up
began to produce kits in 1/16 scale, much      concept of using a generic pair of              and we went from there.”                       front, cases of models to sell, and they
larger than the traditional 1/25-scale kits    chassis designs for Funny Car and Top               It was Revell’s idea to give the subjects did a great job of duplicating the car
of the past that sold for about $2 each.       Fuel models to cut down on the tooling          of their models Revell-related names;          with the model. It was the biggest
This not only required larger and more         costs, which would allow them to put            McCulloch’s Funny Car became known as          sponsor we had by far and the best to
expensive tooling but also the addition of     extra emphasis on the designs of the            the Revellution, Mickey Thompson’s             work with.”
more detail to the kits, such as fuel lines,   various bodies and decals.                      Pontiac Grand Am became the                        In addition to funding, Revell fulfilled
spark-plug wires, and other related items.         After the proposals were approved,          Revelleader, Don Schumacher’s Vega was         all of the other required responsibilities
                                                                  the program began            tagged Revell’s Super Shoe, and so on.         of sponsorship, including the production
                                                                  with the release of the          “We gave each of the teams an              of press kits that promoted the actual
                                                                  Whipple & McCulloch          advance ranging from $5,000                    teams and models.
                                                                  1/16-scale Funny Car         to $10,000 against 2 percent
                                                                  in 1972.                     in royalties, and it worked
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