For many years the only remaining Auto World Catalog that I had left from my youth was the 1978 Edition that somehow survived my mother's wrath that ensured nothing out of date didn't get thown away in a timely manor. I never actually saw her toss away any of my old magazines and catalogs, they just seemed to "go away".
So in the many years since 1978 when the catalog was new I have had ample time to read, re-read, memorize, and reminisce those awesome days of my childhood. The Auto World Catalog represented all that was good with my youth. I dreamed of all the car kits and goodies I could buy, and toiled over just which one or two items I could buy with my limited income. Oscar always had deals and grab bags to use up those last few pennies of my budget once my major selections had been made.
The model kits of the day were phenominal! Revell, Monogram, MPC and AMT all had outstanding line-ups each and every year. The drag racing scene of the day was still popular among kit manufactures, with Revell even sponsoring many of the popular drivers. Many of the coolest funny cars from the day were not only recreated in 1/25 scale, but in an awesome 1/16 scale as well. Those huge 1/16 scar kits included engine wires, working features, and super-squishy drag slicks! It was a great period for the hobbiest. Auto World made it even better!
HO slot car racing was beginning to dominate over 1/32 scale racing. A/FX was offering all kinds of great little cars and with the new Magna-Traction they were getting faster and faster. But there was a new kid on the block that Aurora introducted that completely changed the HO slot car world as we knew it. The G-Plus, billed as "The Fasted Production Model HO Car Ever Built!", these cars would forever change the way HO slot cars would be designed.
In true Auto World fashion, Oscar made sure we had all kinds of interesting reading to go along with all the goodies he was selling. The 1978 issue featured an article on building your own Watkins Glen in HO scale. Promoting clubs and group racing was the theme throughout, and Auto World always managed to be a part of it all. What other company, in business to sell you something, would take the time or interest to feature their customers and their creations in their annual catalog? Oscar cared. It was about the kids and the interaction of parents and their kids that drove Oscar to make Auto World what it was. It was this that makes Auto World what we remember it as.
The catalog from 1978 also featured a small article on making HO scale bodies from aluminum foil, painting them up like their full sized counterparts, and racing them. The fun in this was that the cars would suffer real damage when the worst happened, offering realistic body damage and exciting short track style racing carnage!
Radio Control Racing was coming into it's own, but hadn't yet overtaken slot car racing. Slot cars were still cheap enough that anyone could host a track in their basement, while even the cheapest quality radio control car was close to $200 for a complete package. The tides were turning though, and it wouldn't be too many years away that radio control would get inexpensive enough that slot cars would no longer hold the interest of kids wanting to race. But this was 1978, and model kits and slot cars ruled the day.
Not only did Auto World offer the best model kits, slot cars, and radio control cars of the day, it also had every accessory, tool, doo-dad, and gizmo of the day. Who can forget the Mini-Men, mini-license plate, and the ever-popular AutoCutter? Not only did we have all the great kits, we had the means to make them truly spectacular. Article included how to open up the doors and trunks (with the AutoCutter, of course), how to paint your models, and how to wire the engines. Auto World had it all. 1978 was a great year for the hobbyist. It was a great year because of the 1978 Auto World Catalog.