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dratomic

Prototype Plas-Tex Aerocar

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Okay, technically a pre-production, not prototype piece, but it makes for a clearer subject line. :)

 

As far as I can tell, this is a first-shot of the Aerocar. It's made of transparent plastic, and never had any headlights or a windshield glued into place. It was likely made to (A) test the molds, (B) test the production process, or (C) create a demonstration/sample piece for in-house use by Plas-Tex. (The latter being the most likely.)

 

IMG_0012.JPG

 

 

It's hard to prove that something's a pre-production piece without some sort of documentation or solid provenance. However, there's some strong circumstantial evidence that, after consulting with experts in plastic toys and pre-production toys (and drawing on my own experience), makes me pretty confident that this is a first-shot. 

 

• Supposedly, this piece was acquired from a collector who got it from a former Plas-Tex employee. I have no way of verifying this, though, so... Taking it with a HUGE grain of salt. :)

 

• The transparent construction. Clear plastic was often used when making first shots as it allowed company execs, engineers, and store buyers to see things about the toy they couldn't normally see. For instance, engineers can tell exactly how the body pieces fit together. Toy buyers get a look at the spring mechanisms in the wheels. Toy execs get something nifty to put on their desks. I know Pez did this, I've seen Marx and Ideal prototypes that did this, and I've seen more modern prototypes (Seventies and later) that do this. 

 

• The toy never had headlines or the windshield attached to it. There is absolutely ZERO glue residue or "weld marks" from where these pieces would have been attached. I checked my red production version which is missing both headlights and windshield, and you can definitely tell something was originally glued there. But on the transparent version, the headlight cavities and area around the windshield are pristine. It seems to me that the parts were never attached in the first place, and it's highly unlikely Plas-Tex would have released the toy without those parts in place. 

 

• I don't know anyone else who's ever seen another transparent example of the toy, complete or otherwise.

 

So... Not rock-solid evidence, but pretty compelling. It's one of those situations where if it walks like a space duck, quacks like a space duck, and wears a hydrogen-powered rocket pack like a space duck... it's probably a space duck. :)

 

Anyway, I'll continue doing research, but I'm feeling pretty confident (and happy!) about this one. Sorry for the terrible picture! 

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I real nice piece Doc; I was watching it and am glad we weren't bidding against each other.

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Me too! Given what I bid, one of us would have ended up spending a lot of money... ;)

 

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It has an X-Ray look to it, very nice Brian. You do know how to find 'em!

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