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frizzen 11-18-2017 01:54 AM

1972 AMC Matador Police
Due to some interest of this over in my ambulance thread, i present another build already in progress... drink from the fire hose.

This is a 1972 AMC Matador sedan black & white 'Adam 12'.
Originally built by Cox as a gas powered free run car with interchangable steering cams that made it drive patterns.

Stripped chassis

She may not be the new Bluesmobile, but i think it's going to work out ok. Missing 2 headlight lenses, and a lightbar lens. I think i can work aound that...

I wasn't around when these were, so i'm going to need some help on lighting patterns. I grew up mostly with CrownVics with a red/blue lightbar up to the current lumen-wars nightblindness causing dangerous walls of light.
Headlights, tail lights, marker lights are easy. May even do turnsignals.

Roof lights do i want wig-wag or both on independant flashers?
Do i want headlight high beams to wigwag opposite roof, or were they not doing that yet?
Do i want tail lights to wigwag, or was that not happening yet either?

Powering the back is my one issue i haven't figured out. Original axle is plastic 1/4" hex between the wheels, and had a huge tooth spiralcut gear


The white paints pretty well shot, so i'm gonna have to rework the roof and back doors, i don't want to touch the front doors much since there are no fresh decals.

Roof lights Front has Red lens. Rear is amber. Front is steady on. Rear alternates.

I did learn that the old gas schmoo the cox engine spit over everything can be cleaned with electrical contact cleaner.

Any and all reference material and knowlege is appriceated!


Original roof light lens OD is 0.275", the OD on the chrome light housing is 0.430". I'm not sure if i'll just go 3mm or try to punch them up to 5mm leds.

Headlight lenses are also at 0.430", i'm going to go 5mm leds, or maybe go 10mm if i can find them.


Learned some more.

Tail lights are wrong. 1972 should have 9 segments each, 4 red, 1 white, 4 red. I have 7 segment all red, so i guess probably 3-1-3. Or leave it all red and pretend it's not all wrong.

No front turnsignals under bumper, might have to just drop a mostly recessed led under bumper or ignore it. Not sure if i *need* signals, but i saw a neat magnet / reed switch setup i kinda want to try. Plus how can i bust ya for failure to signal if i can't do it...

Roof lights are chrome version of either: Trio sales T-2, S&M lamp 757, Highway Safety 1757.

Siren is a Federal Signal PA20A, through a Federal Signal CP-25 speaker


Doing some really important work on this... No, not ordering servos, a speed control, an rx, a battery, a rear end, or a sound thing, not even buying paint. Your priorities are weird man!

Bore lens mount into passthrough holes for led, make intersecting tiny hole from base into light base. Grab magnet wire, (mine came from a stock jeep speaker) scrape ends and tin. Poke through tiny hole and out a big hole.

Grab a red and yellow 3mm LED, file off the rim at base, trim short - leads for approx 1/2" oal. Solder short leads together. Take long leads + trim shorter, then put around 45 deg angle. Tack onto magnet wire, mark car side of wire with sharpie or something. I did Black to ground, red to red light, no mark for yellow.

Test. Put new LED pokey-bit assembly into the modified pokey-bit receptical. Test again. Don't be like me and not test the red side until it's assembled, then realize its bad.

By now it works, and you fully remember why you don't like magnet wire, and try to hype yourself up for round 2.


Magnet wire is pretty hateful to work with if you aren't careful, i think i'm up to round 3 or 4 of redoing the first light. But i want the hidden wire, it's about the only way to make it fit without showing.

I'm about to over size the hole a little more, hopefully it stops catching and breaking wires on install. If it's not pretty, i should be able to hide with a lens.

Gentlemen, i have exhausted the swear words i know. I need to learn more languages... thus both are installed and working.

Let's back up to how i could have gotten what actually worked 'the easy way'. I pulled the lens out, turned the lens pin mount into a through-hole, then up sized it to fit a 3mm Led with the flange filed off. Then one side got up-sized again to about 2/3 or 3/4 depth so it's past the next hole we drill. I drilled a 0.028" hole up through the base intersecting the through hole for leds, then passed 3 strands of 0.005 magnet wire in tiny hole base, and used a stick to push wire out the big side of through hole. Then scrape some enamel and tim end of wire, attach, test, install, test.

Red has the oversize holes, not too awful, but looks like i'll probably need to do a lens


Copy that, 1 adam 12 rolling code 3

And lo there was light.

I'm not sure if i need to put in High beam headlights instead of the stock lenses so it all matches

Or should i try to make a filler lens that sorta looks like the inboard ones

Yeah, i'm gonna need more leds before much more progress.
Tail lights are getting 3 per side, then side markers, probably front turns.


Eventually i want to run some type of sound system, but that's probably way on down the road. Also depends on finding something that sounds right or pretty close. Also I know next to nothing about sound modules. This definately needs a siren, but V8 gas engine and horn would be pretty nice to have too.

My aim is just 'better that the original toy'. Right now the plan is going for:
Roof lights*
Head/Tail/Marker lights
- Horn


High beam headlights are OUT of the question now. I drilled the grill for it, snapped it back together, and that's too close to the body mount for me to feel comfortable modding the body. I don't want to risk the body cracking just for a gimmic. Inboard lens glued back in.


More lights

Shake that.

The round lens of the LEDs were filed down to fit in blind holes behind the body lenses. I smoked several leds trying to get it all working, ran out. Hope i don't get pulled over for that bulb...

I think i might have enough lights now. Next up is going to be building light controls.


...and now you're up to speed. But you need to watch your speed, this is a nice quiet town.

2redrovers 11-18-2017 05:15 AM

Lovin it 👍 do these builds get followed up by a ladder truck and a wrecker to have the full complement of flashing lights?

I'm sure you've seen it but for those like me who hadn't, here's a episode
Looks like the only flashing lights are the ambers on the back of the rooftop. I thought they alternated the rooftop reds as well but guess that was another model.

Keep up the good work... I'll be watching.. from the bushes😎

frizzen 11-18-2017 03:10 PM

Thank you!

Yeah i knew the rooftop was solid red, alternating amber. Apparently Cali law at the time was steady front reds. I'll try to stay accurate to their setup since it's a hero car of the series.

Man, you're stealing all my secrets. A steel 1962 Texaco American LaFrance fire engine with deck monitor might be slowly being planned for 'eventually'.

I like emergency stuff. I'd like to do a wrecker at some point, but that's going to wait on a target of opportunity that trips my "That's cool!!!"

2redrovers 11-19-2017 03:37 AM

Man that fire truck is just gorgeous! Would make for one very sweet conversion. I've got a huge soft spot for tow trucks and would love to put something together one day. I started a steel rat rod (it's buried somewhere in the car section), that was always going to end up as a wrecker of sorts. But these days my hobby time is very limited as I spend my days restoring other people's 1:1 cars. Self employed and still building up but getting there, so maybe I'll get to indulge someday soon. Meanwhile I'll be along for the ride my friend 👍 soon you'll have a tough decision as to which one to drive around 😉

Wombii 11-19-2017 01:11 PM

Looks fun! Surprised that had a cox engine. What's your plan for the light controller?

frizzen 11-19-2017 02:17 PM

That pumper isn't mine, but my trucks in very nearly as good of shape, still with box, fire hydrant, all accessories except original siren crank handle. Touch of rust staining though.

I'll have to see if i can find your rat, that sounds cool.

I already am having trouble deciding what to drive at the meets. The Structo dumptruck, the Nylint Michigan-crane dragline, the Bruder VW bus... then since i like to build there's an in-progress Econoline Ambulance, AMC Police, Pontiac Fiero GT.

Light controller plan so far is quick & dirty. A hacked servo board for body lights, another hacked servo board for roof lights with a 555 timer chip providing the amber wigwag. That way i have independant control without stepping up to big money.

2redrovers 11-19-2017 08:22 PM

When I read your list there, I realised I've been watching your builds from the bushes for quite some time now😁👍

I've still got the rat hanging around in pieces.. Still intend to build it up, just a lack of time mostly.

frizzen 11-24-2017 04:12 AM

Cox also had a nascar version of this, a van, and a couple other cars. It was a step up from control line since it steered itself you didn't get dizzy. This will be electric once i can come up with a suitable rear axle solution.

I might as well go with the sidetrack of this thread.

I like emergency stuff.

Ok the ambulance is a little small.

I haven't done measurements, but this truck is probably worth putting a tamiya semi under.

Mmm fire truck

Not bad looking for 55. It's not the age, it's the milage.

Don't just watch from the bushes, any other thread of mine is fair game to talk about whatever. Makes it seem less like the crazy-man talking to himself about toys.
However, i don't know much about your laws, I believe most legal council would suggest "don't talk to the police'.' So this thread might be questionable

2redrovers 11-24-2017 08:06 PM

Gotta be careful.. If I spend too long hanging around your threads I may get done for loitering 😁

Wombii 11-25-2017 11:11 AM

I haven't tried using servo boards for light control, but I've always liked the idea. The boards are a pretty bulletproof design, and they can handle a lot of current.

Please RC that fire truck!

edit: Just saw that "back of the class" LED tutorial on the other forum that I'm not registered at yet. Very nice work :)

2Beers 11-26-2017 07:03 AM

Great read and interesting subjects.
Super glad I peeked in.
All the lights are going to really bring them to life.
I keep scrolling and drooling.
Their all my favorites..haaa.can't choose just one.

frizzen 11-26-2017 08:34 PM

I guess a slow, over-detailed, 1/14 vehicle doesn't belong with the others it'll play with at RC semi truck / construction / farming meets?

Thanks guys!
That servo light thing 'over there' is just condensed and simplified knowlege taken from here, rc crawler, truck & construction, and a couple other places. It's not magic and doesn't need all the hype people like to put on soldering up remote switched led circuits.

Don't worry, I want to rc my dads' old fire truck, and throw in some hidden meaning easter eggs for me. But i need a solid enough plan to do it right, it's not just an antique store find.

Yeah, when done right lights really help with realism, and the Matador has plenty of them. Thanks 2beers, that means a lot.

I thought i had a pretty simple answer for adam-12s drive axle, but the hex size is wrong. Need a mill or find a hex to hex bushing. Grr.

I'm just doing my part to make toy collectors cry. I mean make cool stuff better, and show you.

2redrovers 11-26-2017 10:53 PM

"I guess a slow, over-detailed, 1/14 vehicle doesn't belong with the others it'll play with at RC semi truck / construction / farming meets? "

Hey, somebody has to round up 1/14 scale drunken hillbillies on their ol' Massey Ferguson tractors.....

*click-psht*..Control to all units.. we have reports of agricultural equipment being driven erratically southbound on Main St, please respond.... *psht*

*click*..Roger control, Adam12 responding..*click*

frizzen 11-27-2017 03:53 PM

Hey, sometimes those tractors shift up into 'road gear' and only barely need to have the slow-traffic triangle on the back...

alaintérieur 11-30-2017 08:20 AM

awesome job on this police car project :nice:
I have the same body but mine is a stocker version and the front grille is missing.
I will try to build an other later with styrene sheet

the wheels are not good but they are the only ones I own !
They come from a nikko 1/16 rc toy,I'm going to look for more realistic ones !!

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