1961 was the year that most automakers improved the style and size of their cars. For those who remember, New car introductions were like an Hollywood event. They covered the cars coming in and the showroom windows. On introduction night many would go out just to see the new models. We did. Every year the look and many features were brand new. This change also drove model kit sales. For 1961 The annuals were better than ever. More kits, More with engines, More customizing and for the first time stylizing parts. AMT/SMP Convertibles were the first out Followed by hardtops . JoHan only released hardtop models and Hubley released 1961 versions of the 2 Fords in 1/24th scale. Interesting note. The Hubley kits all had 1960 hubcaps, even though 61’s were shown on the box.

1961 AMT SMP convertible kits
1961 AMT Convertible kits
1961 Hardtop Ad Image courtesy of Claes Ericsson
1961 Ad cont. Image courtesy of Claes Ericsson
1961 Compact kits

All AMT/SMP kits came in different group box styles with and end sticker that identified the make. At first they were just like the 1960 kits, but then changed to a picture of the car. Toward the end of the 1961 run they went to the white tape used for the next few years.

Sealed Lincoln kit showing end sticker
Many of the 1961 Box styles. Note: 2 styles of stickers on the Ford kits.

The Chevrolet Apache pickup gained a stake bed option. The Corvette featured a removable top and opening trunk. Some of the convertible kits had an uptop option. Many came with billboards for displaying with the car. The Lincoln and Imperial kits came with a parade version to keep them 3N1 kits. Someone figured out racing versions of these cars was just plain silly. A Buick special wagon was introduced with its own box and many features including and engine hoist and trailer. The Corvair came with a removable hardtop and a convertible body like the Corvette kit. It is most likely that Chevrolet planned on a 1961 Corvair Convertible, but it didn’t show up until 1962. The 1960 El Camino kit was reissued with only a number change. A Ranchero kit was added to the compacts as well as a 4 Door Pontiac Tempest. Kits without engines were $1.39, With engines $1.49. People must have gotten over the sticker shock of the 1960 Truck kits as more kits were added to the $2.00 price range. The $2.00 kits did come with many features.

Hobby Shop 1961. You might recognize some of the people shown

JoHan and Styline kits plus kit list in Continued tab.