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Menards is most likely immune to the cost of licensing agreements. They are a huge retailer and sell a lot of the products that were advertised on those MPC reefers which gives them leverage during negotiations.  Not everyone scans eBay or goes to train shows, so these billboard reefers would be new to those folks, plus have you seen the price of the more desirable pieces lately.  Those MPC cars represented a fun time in Lionel’s history and I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of them brand new on the shelves at my local store.

I thought those billboard reefers were wonderful.  Very colorful and not road specific.  Lionel marketing hit the jackpot by coming up with different series; beer, liquor, candy, restaurants, even the first factory weathered cars.  I myself fell prey to collecting two of the series.  I believe many of those licensing agreements were made possible because of the advertising appeal to the brands.  I don't know if that appeal exists today making those agreements more costly.  If anyone would do it it would be Menards they have shown a penchant for traditional size rolling stock.  I would like to see them brought back, however, with my current roster I don't know if I would be in the market for more.

I don't know all the ins and outs of using a company's name such as Bazooka, Oreo, Gerber, Hills Brothers And etc. but Menards could contact the different companies for their approval. I would think some of the companies wouldn't want anything. Those are the companies they would make. It doesn't cost anything to ask. To me having your name on a model railroad freight car is a all win situation. When my wife and I had our store we had Weaver make custom run cars. The cars we made with companies names were more than glad to have us do them. The only thing they asked of us to was to give them a couple of the cars.

The above three cars were ones we made were the companies asked for a couple.

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Last edited by jim sutter
@jim sutter posted:

When my wife and I had our store we had Weaver make custom run cars. The cars we made with companies names were more than glad to have us do them. The only thing they asked of us to was to give them a couple of the cars.

Was that before or after MTH's lawyers slapped UP's lawyers into line?

I will never forgive UP for trying to extort money from toy train manufacturers. Greedy lawyers.

@jim sutter posted:

I don't know all the ins and outs of using a company's name such as Bazooka, Oreo, Gerber, Hills Brothers And etc. but Menards could contact the different companies for their approval. I would think some of the companies wouldn't want anything. Those are the companies they would make. It doesn't cost anything to ask. To me having your name on a model railroad freight car is a all win situation. When my wife and I had our store we had Weaver make custom run cars. The cars we made with companies names were more than glad to have us do them. The only thing they asked of us to was to give them a couple of the cars.

The above three cars were ones we made were the companies asked for a couple.

I always wanted to get one of those Heinz Field cars, Jim.  I thought they were really nice!   (Didn't know you were responsible it.)    

@RoyBoy posted:

Was that before or after MTH's lawyers slapped UP's lawyers into line?

I will never forgive UP for trying to extort money from toy train manufacturers. Greedy lawyers.

The UP's lawyers had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to bring an action against the toy train manufacturers! They couldn't have cared less. The decision would have been made entirely by UP management as a busness decision. The lawyers, probably all in-house, were just directed to do what UP management told them to do.

The MPC billboard reefers were (and remain) wonderful cars. I still have a bunch of them. Fantastic graphics. Real attention grabbers for visitors, too.

As Coach Joe intimated above, the licensing these days is significantly more problematic than it was 40 plus years ago. Companies seem less willing to let their names be used on other company's products, and if they do, it isn't cheap.

Also, referring to someone else's post, just because Menards may be selling Hershey chocolate bars in their stores (as an example) doesn't mean Hershey's is going to give them a license discount, let alone let them use the Hershey's name on Menard's products at all.

@ZWPOWER13 posted:

I have them all from the MPC era, and they are still readily available for low prices. Some do command a higher premium, Like the Cheerios car....I am sure if they were reissued they would sell.

Those Cheerios cars still command pretty high prices. The cheapest on the Bay now is $79 plus shipping, on to well north of $100 in new condition. That case of Cheerios cars Jim got was quite a find. These were high dollar back in those days, too.

Another of my favorites is the Nabisco Oreo reefer, but there are a lot of great cars in this series.

I have 15 of the woodside ones.

"What item (s) would you just have to have when you see it?"

yes, I think I may have that bug as well... I just passed on re-painting an engine for the purchase of post war lot of cars..... it's like i just forgot i was going to save $ for paint... oh and a repair manual, oh and another gi-raffe car..... oh, and...... Woodside Cars!!  (oh my! Be still my heart)

@breezinup posted:

The UP's lawyers had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to bring an action against the toy train manufacturers! They couldn't have cared less. The decision would have been made entirely by UP management as a busness decision. The lawyers, probably all in-house, were just directed to do what UP management told them to do.

You are probably right. Still, it was the UP organization.

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