Jim Keeler Bio

We are so excited to be working with Jim on the exclusive Atlantis Keelers Kustom's line of 1/25 scale car kits. Jim has submitted to us his bio we hope you enjoy!

As a teenager I presented model contests at San Diego hobby shops. Winners of the contests would then be brought to the full size custom car show to be judged for winning trophies.

At age fifteen I met Ed Roth and followed him around to car shows. It established a friendship

That lasted until Roth’s death in 2001. When I was hired by Revell at age eighteen to design and develop 1/25 scale car kits I suggested that Revell do model kits of Ed Roth’s amazing custom built cars and Roth’s “monsters” and worked from his drawings and with a sculptor to create the clay originals for the model kits. The Roth models and monsters sold millions and established a fan base that still continues. At age nineteen I created the famous Revell Custom Car Parts kits which allowed model car builders to customize their models without using up their model car kits. We did Roth’s “Outlaw”, Mickey Thompson’s Challenger I 406 mph land speed record car. I also designed the first model car pickup truck, the famous 56 Ford f-100 kit which was sold in Revell’s lineup until it was recently retooled.

Roth’s “Outlaw” was the first “show car” model kit and was followed by many famous dragsters, hot rods and custom and competition car model kits. I also was involved in the Revell slot racing program. After five years at Revell I decided to attend Utah State University and continued to write for Car Model Magazine, Model car Science and full size car publications. In November 1969 I contacted Aurora Products and suggested they needed help in creating new model kits. I flew to New York and was shown several

projects they had underway. My ideas were implemented in hobby kits they were creating and they utilized my cost saving ideas into their newest Model Motoring car chassis which I eventually named “AFX”. I was subsequently hired by Aurora to be Product manager of Hobby kits, but could not move to New York as I still had seven months of school to finish. I flew back and forth from Utah to NY and worked on new projects for Aurora and to finish my degree at Utah State University. When I moved to New York and began full time I was subsequently appointed as Product Manager of AFX Racing, in addition to being Product Manager of Hobby kits. I hired creative stylists from the Art Center in LA to design the AFX cars and establish AFC cars as the best and most detailed HO slot racing cars. I also created Snap Track to make it easier for racers to build tracks, and added several new track pieces to allow even more creative HO slot racing tracks. I took AFX Racing from Model Motorings 6.5 million in sales my first year to over twenty million in sales in 1975.

In hobby kits I brought in top model designers and hired the best automotive and aircraft illustrators to create new exciting hobby kit packages.

I was instrumental in creating the Aurora Prehistoric Scenes, the best dinosaur model kits ever made. Two dinosaur model kits from the lineup were chosen by “Pixar” to be included in the popular “Toy Story” movies.

After I left Aurora I was invited to join Monogram Models but decided to move back to Utah where I was in the retail hobby and toy store business until I went into the wholesale toy and hobby business where I was the top salesman for seven years. I then established Utah Models, a professional model making business where I produced architectural and product prototype models. I continued to build and win National Model contests in Model Railroading and model car building. I have continued to build hobby kits of all types and was recently hired (at age eighty) to design model kits for a large plastic model kit company.

Apr 9th 2022 Peter Vetri, Jim Keeler

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