During the 1970s, subtlety in all forms went out the window. Music, clothes, cars, house décor… it all just kind of blew up after the sexual revolution went head-to-head with the grisly reality that was a losing war in Vietnam. The end result was a was an unapologetic hedonism tinged at the edges with a simmering mix of anger and almost out-of-control sexual aggression. Everything was bigger, louder and, perhaps unsurprisingly, more unabashedly obnoxious.
Cars were a perfect example. While the power of the muscle cars had waned, the remaining “performance” cars sported every-gaudier flare and striping packages, and only a few (namely the Trans Am and Camaro) had any right to be putting on such airs. But airs weren’t looked down upon; rather, it seems like they were expected, almost demanded! Like a society of cracked-out peacocks, everything was about appearance, and the more ostentatious and outrageous things looked or were, the better they were assumed to be.
This permeated everything, and when combined with the proven “sex sells” mantra, it was no surprise that there were a lot of shirtless men and scantily-clad women featured in all forms of media advertisements, as well as on TV. This was the era of TV programming sometimes derisively given the appellation “jiggle vision”, and even if you didn’t live in the era, I’m sure you can figure out why it was called that. Sitting atop that genre of largely-lascivious, fluff programming was Charlie’s Angels, a show that most certainly needs to introduction from me.
One thing Charlie’s Angels established was the star power of one of the decade’s most popular “sweethearts”: Farrah Fawcett. At the time, you could find her image on all kinds of things, and perhaps most surprisingly, she even graced the box top of an AMT Corvette kit! Now, if you’re thinking that this was just a cheap gimmick, a cynical ploy on the part of AMT executives to use the sexy selling power of this media darling to shift a few more of the “same old” Vettes… well, you’d be right! However, it wasn’t quite as transparent as that. Not quite, but close.
For, you see, there was a real-world tie in between Farrah and Corvette! Like famous stars of Hollywood always have, she had a custom-made car. This one-of-a-kind set of wheels was created by a star himself: George Barris (of Batmobile, Munster Koach and so-many-others fame). The result of Barris’ efforts to create a suitable car for Farrah Fawcett was the appropriately-named “Foxy Vette”. This sparkling green machine, with custom bodywork and paint/striping, was less outlandish than some of Barris’ other work, but it was certainly a product of its time.
No surprise then, that AMT glommed onto the idea of a sales tie in. You can hear the sales pitch in the boardroom now:
“Who builds our kits?”
“Mostly teen-aged boys… I think.”
“Hmm… what do they like these days? I’ve heard Rocking and Rolling is big, and there’s something like disk-o or some such… some kind of jitterbuggy-dance thing.”
“They do like those things, yeah. Oh, and they still like girls!”
“What about Corvettes, are they still a big deal?”
“Yeah, they are. Oh, you know what, there’s this really popular girl who has a Corvette, and…”
“Perfect! Can we throw an old kit at the issue, reuse most of what we have in house and do a tie in? A pretty girl and a fast car… that should sell some kits!”
“Yessir, right away! We can do that, but it might require some work…”
“Well, don’t put too much into it. Just get that Vette and girl on the box, and let it sell itself.”
Thus, the world was treated to AMT’s 1/25 “Farrah’s Foxy Vette”, a kit that, despite the star power of both Farrah Fawcett and George Barris, doesn’t seem to have stood the test of time. It’s very hard to find now, and that’s either because everyone built theirs back in the day, or it didn’t sell as well as hoped. Regardless, thanks to the tireless efforts of my brother, I now have this rare bird in my stash. So, let’s turn the UHF dials back to the mid-70s and get ready to see what happens when sex appeal and modelling meet!
Most of the AMT kits released in the late ‘70s had actual art on the box top. The usual scheme was a front-three-quarters view of the subject on a white background. However, for something as special as Farrah Fawcett’s car, the entire box-top was a photo of the car with Farrah leaning up against it. This makes the box visually very distinctive, even now, since the picture goes right to the edges of the box, with no framing of any kind to distract from the “stars” of the show. (One can’t help wonder if anyone cut out the box top and stuck it in a school locker at the time…)
Other than the AMT logo, and a bit of writing at the bottom right, the only thing breaking up the picture is a wide, white, angled banner that proclaims that this is indeed “Farrah’s Foxy Vette”. The “Farrah’s” is done in light green, to match the car’s striping, and is written cursively. It is a stylized version of her signature, often seen on posters and the like, although the heart embellishment is non-standard. The “Foxy Vette” though, is written in a very blocky, yellow-gold lettering that’s very much more edgy than anything else on the box!
The star of the kit is, ostensibly, the Corvette; this dark green monster spans most of the box. At first glance, you wouldn’t even really think it was anything special. It’s very reminiscent of the heavily flared Eckler/Greenwood Corvettes of the day. It does, however, ooze ‘70s Kar Kraftiness from every opening. To start with, the paint is a decidedly non-standard looking dark metallic/iridescent green. Starting at the front, the Foxy Vette has the de rigeur recessed headlamps behind green-tinted aero-covers, and the traditional “crossed flags” have been replaced by a behearted “F”. Immediately apparent are the large fender flares, front and back, that widen and toughen the Vette’s normally salmon-like lines.
Within these flares are lurking what are likely my favourite features – a set of green-painted turbine (American Vector) wheels. These are in a lighter green than the car, but they do match some of the striping and the rear louvres. These wheels look stunning, with the turbine ribs in bare polished aluminum, they add class and muscle at the same time. I’m not really a wheel guy, but these make the car! Of course, there are gigantic side pipes in polished chrome (leg burners if they were active) and chrome mirrors. There’s also something weird going on at the back, but you can’t tell what just from the front box illustration.
Posed coquettishly on the rear fender is Farrah herself, adding legitimate star power to this particular kit. The background is a large stone mansion, but it looks… odd. The background is far over-exposed compared to the car, and while this is likely to make the car stand out, it definitely adds visual dissonance. In fact, a less-than-super-close inspection gives one the impression that the background is just that; a photo (or large printed fabric screen) against which the shot was taken. This level of “artistic license” is a bad bit of foreshadowing, let me warn you now…
The one side of the box has a direct side view of the car. This is not like an MPC “actual size” picture, though. I can’t help but think that was the impression that was supposed to be given, but it’s actually a bit bigger than the finished kit. It never openly purports to be such a shot, but it’s a bit cheeky, if you ask me. On this panel, you’re told that this custom dream machine was both designed and built by George Barris, and you get a rundown of some key features. It mentions it has a 454 under the hood, but the real car only had a 350 (according to the Barret-Jackson folks who sold the real one in 2016). The side view also seems to airbrush out the stock dual exhaust that was on the real car. Sex sells… the truth, less so.
From the side, you now get a feeling for what’s really weird about this car. The back end has a totally different shape than a traditional Vette. It’s smoother, rounder, and it has little triangular wrap-around tail lights. This really does change the look of the car, and the fastback lines of the roof/backlight complete the transformation. This panel also gives you painting tips, calling out both Pactra and Testors paint codes. That’s rather helpful, although I don’t know how correct the colours are. The lighter green is called out as a metallic paint, but the real car doesn’t seem to bear that out, and the interior is called out as “flat Desert Tan”, which is just wrong. The interior is much more peach-tinged than that. So, as always, let the internet be your friend; do your research!
The other side of the box shows two close ups of the car, each of course with Farrah appropriately draped against the car, but behind it. The first shows the deeply green-tinted covers for the headlights and the new nose decal. The second, though, finally reveals the extend of the customization that Barris dropped onto this Vette’s rear end! Gone are the trade mark “four round” tail lights and their heavily pocketed recesses. In their place is a new set of tail lamps that are flush-mounted, and wrap around the body. They’re unlike anything seen on a Vette, and they change the look completely. They’re sexy, or at least they are until you realize they come from… a Monza!! Yep, the King of Kustoms used MONZA tail lights to customize a Vette! Just… Wow. That’s gotta hurt the Vette fans out there!! It still looks okay, but it really seems like the kind of parts-bin-grabbing, badge-engineering trick that GM itself would have pulled if it had thought of it!
Popping the top of the box, one is greeted by a typical “bag o’ parts” as most American car kits are wont to be. Yes, mine was still bagged. I can’t leave that alone, though, so shaking it all out showed me what I was up against.
There are 8 small racks of whitish parts, along with the body shell, interior bucket, chassis, some loose bits and of course, tires, glass and tail lights. There are a lot of parts in this kit, actually, and it’s no surprise that, after 43 years, some of them have come off the racks. There’s also a chrome rack that was individually packaged, and it is in perfect shape, with nothing having fallen off of it! Thankfully, the glass and the tires have stayed appropriately “socially distanced” in the intervening decades, and there is no sign of tire melt. While this is usually an MPC specialty, make no mistakes; any old car tire will melt into a window if given the chance!
Overall, the detail is about what you’d expect on an AMT of this age. The interior bucket is carpeted, and the little storage compartments are present in the decking right behind the seats. Sadly, there are prominent ejector pin marks in the trunk floor right near the back. With the louvres on, though, they won’t show too much. The door panels are fairly soft on detail, and the centre console is nothing to write home about. There is some carpeting detail, though, which should come up with some pastelling and dry-rubbing with pencil crayon. The detail on the dash is also soft.
The engine doesn’t fare much better; it’s not the best Chevy mill out there, but it does have a good number of separate parts, and in addition it does have some texture on the block, which always looks nice with a wash. The heads and valve covers are separate pieces too, so overall this will likely build up to a pretty good looking engine. I can’t tell if it’s a 350 or a 454; I’m not a Chevy engine guy, but whatever it is, it’ll get painted red and look right at home.
The amazing part is the suspension! Whereas a lot of car kits of this age have simple one-or-two piece suspensions, the Vette’s is all kinds of separate bits. It gives the initial impression of being steerable, however, I don’t think that’s actually the case. In fact, with so many small parts, it seems only smart to make sure they’re well and truly glued down. I’m thinking that a test fit and gluing of the individual components together ahead of time (before painting) may be the best bet to ensure a solid support.
The tires seem nice, with raised letters, even though these are not very crisp. The glass is very nice, too, and the tail lights, while simple, are effective. Painting them will likely require the use of Bare Metal Foil over the lights themselves, and then a bit of Clear Red over that for the red part. The backup lights can then be done with a light white wash over the foil that remains.
Looking at the big bits, like body and chassis, I was struck by the amount of flash. On the chassis, there is a big “web” of it, and of course the seams on the chassis are just as pronounced as you’d expect. The body, though… man, that thing is a travesty. It has more than just flash, it has actual daggers of material sticking out of it in both front fenders! Even more pronounced, though, was the “Dorito” of plastic still attached to the right-hand B-pillar! I’ve never seen such an artifact on a kit of this age. If this was a repop, I’d understand. But it isn’t.
Sadly, that isn’t all that this kit “isn’t”.
What Isn’t this kit?
Amazingly, this kit is NOT the Foxy Vette! Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking:
“Duh… it says ‘Farrah’s Foxy Vette’ right on the lid!”
True. But WWI was supposed to be over by Christmas too. (I guess it was, since they never specified a year, but I digress…) This kit may be the ultimate example of “Product and colours may vary”, or it might just be a tremendous cash grab with minimal effort. I’m going with the latter one. Why?
Because this kit is just the AMT Eckler Corvette with a new tail. That’s right; the only thing that is actually correct for this kit is the fancy tail piece with the Monza lights. Nothing else accurately reflects the real Foxy Vette. Here’s a quick rundown of the major issues:
- The flares may be the wrong shape. It’s hard to tell. Let’s say they’re okay in outline, though, and give them a pass.
- The flares have the “Corvette scoop” behind the front wheels. This is true for an Eckler, but not for the Foxy Vette. Pics on the net show this as smooth.
- The side pipes are functional. They were not on the Foxy Vette. Shots show two standard exhausts at the back end (as mentioned earlier).
- The lift back is a lift back. There’s no proof that this was the case on the Foxy Vette, but it was the case on Ecklers.
- The lift back has a gas cap embossed in it. The Foxy does not have any gas cap, as you can see from the rear-end box shot.
- The trunk shape may be wrong. I’ll have to build it to see.
- The front end is all kinds of wrong. The Foxy has the standard Corvette grilles with lights in them, the Eckler, and this kit, do not.
- There is an air dam with extra air intake and two round openings that look like fog lights or brake breathers on the Eckler, and this kit. This is not present on the Foxy.
- The interior is totally wrong. The Eckler has a fairly standard interior. The Foxy has a totally custom interior, including mink fur on most surfaces, as well as a phone on the dash and a TV on the “glove box”. No such details are present here. The patterning on the seats is wrong too.
- The louvres on the Foxy round at the top, but the Eckler’s, and the kit’s, are squared.
Conclusion: This kit is just the AMT Eckler with a new tail piece. That means the box, tail piece, tail lights and decals are all that is actually unique about this kit. They are the few bits that drive the price. If you could cast a new rear end and duplicate the decals, you could turn any Eckler into this thing’s depiction of the Foxy Vette.
Instructions and Decals:
The instructions are typical of car kits of the period. They are on a single piece of paper, which is folded in half and then in thirds, in order to make it take up negligible box space. Once opened, the instructions are not very big, and they are pretty jam-packed with info and images. Amazingly, they are for “Farrah’s Foxy Vette”, and aren’t just left with Eckler branding!
The front page has a breakdown of the parts in the kit, and a few warning messages. It also commits what I consider to be one of the worst linguistic crimes imaginable – the misuse of apostrophes!! It’s “Farrah s” Foxy Vette, apparently. They for got to print the bloody apostrophe, although they got it everywhere else… makes you wonder, doesn’t it? The main part of the instructions is on the back, but you can see the final assembly steps including the installation of the custom back and its associated tail lights. The “Eckler”-ness of the rear gate is also immediately apparent.
The main assembly instructions, on the reverse side, are more or less typical, I guess, but they don’t seem as good to me as others, somehow. I guess the fact that the bodyshell has a huge hole for the hood and glass makes the steps with it in them look weird. The whole thing is just a bit messy and “almost done” looking. The chassis is called out entirely in one shot, and it would have been a lot better to have done it in two steps, I think, to reduce the number of crisscrossing lines. It reminds me of a hydraulic diagram for a flowformer… and that’s never a good thing. As an example, the drive shaft is shown going into the differential, but it never shows where to put the front. I know it sounds stupid, but back in the day, there’s a good chance the builder might have been a complete tyro, and not marking out such basic things is pretty lazy.
The decals are rather lazy too. This is where AMT really had a chance to turn it around, and give car really nice decals to make up for the fact that it’s almost totally inaccurate and just a clone of a pre-existing kit. The striping on the Foxy Vette is very unique, both in shape and colour. If you look at pictures of the real car online, you can see that the striping has a pale colour to it. Upon close inspection, it could be yellowish-green or it could be gold. I personally think the gold makes sense, to match the interior’s beige/tan/peach, but it could just as easily be non-metallic. It’s hard to say, because images of the car in original condition are harder to come by than you might think.
The point is, though, that the decals aren’t just white stripes on the real car. However, that’s precisely what you get from AMT. They give you a sheet with a series of plain, white stripes. Yes, the “Farrah” and “Foxy Vette” are given in green with the right heart symbol, and that one for the nose is given too, but there’s no colour at all to be seen on the stripes proper. Even worse, the decals are very hard to see on the sheet, since it’s off-white, and they aren’t numbered! With insult piling atop insult, there’s also no decal plan in the instructions! I guess you’re supposed to figure it out from the box? That is some weak, weak effort there AMT.
Sadly, I don’t think anyone makes proper decals for the Foxy Vette, and I’m not surprised, since I’ve not been able to find any built as the Foxy Vette online anywhere!
The use of sexy star power to help sell a model kit is pretty smart, really. Most builders back then were adolescent boys, so putting a hot blonde and a custom Vette together on one box must surely have seemed like sales gold to AMT. I can’t say it wasn’t, but then again, this kit is rare for a reason, so perhaps it wasn’t the stroke of marketing genius it seemed. After all, boys like girls and cars, but they didn’t often like “girly” cars, and it doesn’t get much more girly than a Vette with a mink interior! Maybe this was something modellers of the day were unlikely to pick up lest the were teased? One can’t help but wonder at the possibility.
In all honesty, this kit is really a weak effort on AMT’s part. The Eckler is a decent, if highly pedestrian and unspectacular, kit of a Corvette. However, there were, are, and will be so many others that there’s no reason to build this one vs. any of the others. If this were actually a model of the real Foxy Vette, then I can’t help but think it would have done better, and might even be sought after a bit more today.
I want be clear about this: I am very glad I have this kit. I love the box, the ktischiness, and, I will admit, the challenge of trying to make this as close to the real car as possible. However, I’m not sure it’s doable, since AMT cut corners on so many features. As a Corvette, it’s maybe an okay kit, but this issue is rife with flash and I’m sure fit will be something dreamed about but not really seen. The detail is okay, and the chassis is finicky but possibly nice, but that’s all I can say that’s really positive.
In truth, the kit will be immensely off-putting to most. Why? Because it’s a lie, and nobody likes to be lied to. It is a complete, bold-faced and unabashed smack-in-the-face to the people who buy it. It is really misrepresentation in the worst, most cynical way. The shapes are wrong, the decklid is wrong and the interior is completely stock, and totally wrong. It takes the idea of “badge engineering”, for which GM is so often reviled, and applies it to a model kit. It is nothing more than an existing product with a few new parts being touted as something it’s not. AMT should have been ashamed, and really, should have been held legally accountable for its clear abuse of the consumer’s confidence. One-of-a-kind customs belonging to famous people are usually subjects of great interest, but this kit does the whole concept an utter disservice.
Sadly, this kit can be fairly expensive, it seems, and it just isn’t worth it. If you’re a Farrah Fawcett fan, and you want a weird collectible, then this kit’s box is a nice touch. Whether the kit is inside it or not, you’re no worse off. As a kit, I’d say it’s not one for the uninitiated; it looks like it will need a bus-tonne of work just to make it into an Eckler, let-alone into something approaching the Foxy Vette. You can get any of a billion (give or take) issues of the Eckler much cheaper, and all you’ll be missing is the Foxy’s Monza-esque hindquarters. If you can live with that, then there’s no reason to pay out for this one.
It’s not going to be a kit for beginners, that’s for sure. The pieces are flashy and rough, and a lot of cleanup is going to be needed. Getting the flares nicely integrated will be painful, I’m sure, and a lot of talent is going to be needed to fair the nose and tail in. Heck, as a pretty veteran builder, and even one with a goodly number of cars under his belt, I worry about making this kit look right.
Overall, this kit is more interesting and valuable as nostalgia, than as an actual model kit. On a scale of Academy Stuka to Seamaster, this particular kit is somewhere around a Farpro Norm. That’s only a recommendation for a select few crazies like me. The rest should likely avoid this kit if building is your only intention.
Sadly, AMT had a great opportunity to provide a truly unique subject to modellers, and blew it totally. Whether you want to add it to your stash is something that is entirely up to you and how you feel about what the kit represents. Of course, if you’re crazy enough, you might want it just for the challenge of it all!