This Predicta Project would not be possible without the help of a cadre of dedicated enthusiasts who have “enabled” my obsession and share it with me. They understand, as I do, that the Predicta is a talisman of a different, more innocent time in the larger American culture where an increasingly elegant/revised custom T-Bird could capture the imagination of the media, many interested enthusiasts and tens of thousands of young men – when the future was wholly accessible to a self-taught, irrepressible automotive artist living and practicing his art in center of the American heartland. This is the stuff of a great American tale!
Of course, my greatest appreciation is extended to decades-old friends Darryl and Donna Starbird whose gracious help, and enthusiasm for this great car, is certainly infectious. Without their generous and patient assistance The Predicta Project would not be possible. They’ve tolerated many dozens of letters and calls from me (and recently, emails!), shared their entire Predicta photo library with me, answered a great number of questions, and just generally just put up with me! And all of this is secondary to their famous geniality, and inestimable contributions to the custom car hobby.
I also express my great thanks to Mark Benton for his design work and management of this site for many years. My deep appreciation is also extended, of course, to Bob Wick — a tremendous friend — who’s preparing sophisticated mechanical illustrations of the unique aspects of the Predicta based upon draft drawings by decades-long friend Mike Smith. Bob also created the fresh website logo that appears on the home page, and he’ll also be helping to develop this overall project. With Mark Benton, Bob and I have served as Trustees of the International Model Car Builders’ Museum and the GSL International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention for many years.
My old friend Ed Sexton has been of inestimable value to this Project: Ed generously asked me to build the box art model for the 1990 issue of the kit a photo of which appears on the box in several places (including the box lid), and at the bottom of the instruction sheet. In 1996, I gave this model to Darryl Starbird’s National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum where the model now sits, protected in a case, near the car – what an honor for me! Additionally, when Monogram decided to re-issue the kit in 2000, Ed graciously asked me to prepare the text for a bylined “information card” that was placed inside each kit an expanded version which, in a longer format, appeared at the top of the instruction sheet. Thanks, Ed, for the great honor of participating in the twice re-release of my favorite kit. You’ll never know how pleased I was to be asked to help out! To learn more about the Monogram models, go here.
Roger Harney, of Monogram Models, has also has been of instrumental value to The Predicta Project. Not only a source of key information about how the kit was created and marketed, he also graciously loaned me, decades ago, the original kit engineering drawings so that I could copy them. Those impossibly-rare drawings (literally, one-off) yielded a key insight into the creation of the remarkable Predicta kit and, almost as importantly, revealed a drawing date on each illustration that has helped me understand the time frame for the kit’s development. Roger also gave me several dozen photos taken at Monogram at the time the first version of the car was there to be measured for the kit. Thanks, Roger, for your many decades of assistance with this great project, and for your friendship. Tragically, Roger died in February 2014. Image courtesy of Model Cars Magazine.
Mike Smith has also been really helpful by helping us sort out the mechanical systems on the car and then creating functional sketches that Bob is using to create sophisticated mechanical illustrations. I’m also grateful for Jeremiah Gladstone’s help in digitally cleaning up and re-working several historic photos including rescuing some photos from an old issue of Car Craft magazine. My son, Steven, has also been digitally cleaning up some vintage photos to capture details and erase decades of decay.
Of course, little of this Project would be possible without the help of the many photographers who’ve graciously permitted me to reproduce their photos on this site and in the forthcoming book: Bob Barnett, Larry Bouldin, Don Elliott, Pat Ganahl, Phil Gardinier, Carl Green, Roger Harney, Robert Hegge, Dick “Fuzzy” Fuerholzer, Rik Hoving, Bob Johnson, Bill Johnson, Gary Minor, Monogram Models, Clyde D. Paige, Bob Reder, Frank Rodriguez, Ray Soff, Andy Southard, Frank Swareo, Lee Vitale, and Darrell Zipp have all graciously contributed photographs and accompanying recollections of the car. Thanks, my great friends!
Finally, I express my deepest possible gratitude and appreciation to my ever-helpful wife, Janet, who has, bemusedly, tolerated my life-twisting (but benign) 38-year obsession with the Predicta. She has handled all of the file management tasks and has addressed uncounted numbers of envelopes and has, with good humor, encouraged me to continue with the Predicta Project even when, I’m sure, she was wondering about my sanity! In this matter, as in all others in my life, little would be possible without Jan’s loving support. Thanks, sweetheart!