Title:
Scale model collectible dash replica device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A scale model collectible dash replica device, wherein authentic dashboard designs are replicated in miniature form from high quality materials that simulate authentic vehicle interiors, wherein features are included that operationally simulate actual component functionality, and wherein an onboard business card holder and stand with dash logo identifier enhance model recognition and device usefulness.



Inventors:
Sanderson, Mark (Winder, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/011271
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
01/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H17/26
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
JUNGE, KRISTINA N S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Najafi Law, P.A. (PO Box 551339, Jacksonville, FL, 32255-1339, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A dash replica device comprising, a miniaturized dashboard simulating an authentic vehicle dashboard design; and a support base for said miniaturized dashboard, wherein said miniaturized dashboard further comprises a plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality.

2. The dash replica device of claim 1, further comprising a business card holder carried by said support base.

3. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein the vehicle dashboard design simulated is derived from a vehicle selected from the group including a truck, boat, airplane, helicopter, motorcycle, or tank.

4. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein said miniaturized dashboard is a ⅙th scale model.

5. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein said dash replica device is approximately nine (9) inches wide and six (6) inches high.

6. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein said miniaturized dashboard has a front face and a rear face, wherein said front face carries said plurality of features, at least a portion thereof adapted for visually interactive functionality, and at least a portion thereof adapted for audibly interactive functionality, and wherein said rear face carries a logo.

7. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is an ignition and a key mate therefor.

8. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein said key mate is adapted for insertion and rotation within said ignition, and wherein rotation of said key mate within said ignition generates a sound.

9. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is a glove box.

10. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is an ash tray.

11. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is a steering wheel.

12. The dash replica device of claim 11, wherein said steering wheel further comprises a functional lever arm, and wherein said lever arm operates lighted turn signal indicators displayed on said miniaturized dashboard.

13. The dash replica device of claim 11, wherein said steering wheel further comprises a functional horn, and wherein said horn operates to generate a sound.

14. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is a pull switch, and wherein said pull switch operates lights in said miniaturized dashboard.

15. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of features that operationally simulate actual component functionality is a radio.

16. The dash replica device of claim 1, wherein said support base further comprises an identification plate.

17. A method of encouraging business card distribution, comprising the steps of: obtaining a scale model dashboard replica device comprising visibly, tactilely, and audibly interactive features and a business card holder; placing business cards in said holder; engaging an observer with said interactive features; and drawing attention to said business cards.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to collectible scale model devices, and more particularly, to a scale model collectible dash replica device, wherein authentic dashboard designs are replicated in miniature form from materials that simulate authentic vehicle interiors, wherein features are included that operationally simulate actual component functionality, and wherein an onboard business card holder and stand with dash logo identifier enhance model recognition and device usefulness.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sporty, stylish and high-performance automobiles have always enjoyed popularity. Some new body styles engender so much interest that first release vehicle models are subject to a waiting list. Others maintain popularity, effectively becoming consistently sought-after classics. Still others develop significance to their owners, essentially representing a way of life, with participation in car clubs, shows and events as dominant personal and/or hobby activities. More than a few vehicle models achieve status across several of the aforementioned categories.

As a result, most individual vehicle owners have at least one particular make, model and even year that holds particular meaning, whether as a favorite past car, an existing showpiece, or as a dream car. It is this personal connection that largely drives the vehicle accessory and collectible marketplace. For example, clothing, hats, belt buckles, and jewelry have all been created and have realized great popularity as a means of display of popular vehicle logos and insignia. Collectible scale models, too, have offered a popular means of displaying a favorite vehicle.

Typical scale model vehicles replicate the exterior detail of a particular make and model year. In such manner, the vehicle design is recognizable in its display. However, for the vehicle owner, the interior of the vehicle is also a recognizable and familiar design, frequently triggering fond memories. In fact, some interior dash model designs are so unique that a car enthusiast could identify the vehicle just based upon the dash, even without inclusion of any identifying logos or insignias.

Scale model vehicles have been created with authentic scale interiors, including simulated instrument panels. These devices do offer an appealing presentation of the overall vehicle, interior and exterior; however, the viewing and appreciation of the interior is necessarily limited by vehicle windows and doors. Moreover, other than opening and closing of doors, hood and trunk, typically no hands-on appreciation of features is enabled.

Children's toys have been offered that focus on interactive, hands-on dash features, in general. These toys do typically offer a rotatable steering wheel, and slidable and turnable buttons and the like, in order to simulate real action and effect activities of a driver. However, not only are such toys not intended to replicate a particular make or model, none are intended or appropriate for adult display or use.

One attempt at an adult-appropriate, essentially full-size interactive dash has been developed as a combination desk and dashboard. This device enables a car enthusiast to have functional dashboard features, such as a glove box, lighting, and air/heat vents, incorporated into a full size desk. Such a device does provide an opportunity for essentially life-size simulation of sitting in a vehicle interior while sitting at a work desk; however, for environments that would not be suitable for such grandiose display, such as in a conservative business office, or in rooms wherein a desk is unnecessary or inappropriate, such a desk dashboard would be disadvantageous.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a scale model collectible replica dash device, wherein miniaturized simulation of authentic vehicle dashboards with visually and audibly functional dash features enable the enjoyment and sensory experience of a vehicle interior, and wherein an incorporated dash stand with on-board business card holder facilitates utilization and display of the device in essentially any environment as a functional display accessory, thereby avoiding the above-discussed disadvantages.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a scale model collectible dash replica device, wherein authentic dashboard designs are replicated in miniature form from high quality materials that simulate authentic vehicle interiors, wherein features are included that operationally simulate actual component functionality, and wherein an onboard business card holder and stand with dash logo identifier enhance model recognition and device usefulness.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, in its preferred form, the present invention is a collectible scale dashboard model that offers a miniaturized reproduction of an authentic and recognizable vehicle dashboard, such as, for exemplary purposes only, the dashboard of a 1957 CHEVROLET BELAIR, a 1965 FORD MUSTANG, a 1967 CHEVROLET CORVETTE, a 2007 FERRARI ENZO, or any other desired vehicle dashboard, wherein an incorporated display base facilitates convenient support and exhibition on essentially any surface, wherein functional dash features operate according to traditional in-car techniques, such as functional light switches, turn signals, horn and radio controls, for example, as well as opening glove boxes, ash trays, and the like, as were provided in the original vehicle, and wherein an on-board business card holder imparts a notable functionality.

More specifically, the device of the present invention in its preferred form is a scale replica dashboard formed from metal and other quality vehicle reproduction materials and mounted on stainless steel rods that extend to a support base bearing an identifying plate. The rear, or hood-directed face of the dashboard replica device bears the vehicle logo and includes a business card holder. The front, or passenger compartment-directed face of the dashboard replica device is a scale replica of a particular make, model, and year vehicle dashboard.

Miniaturized dash features offer the collector the opportunity to essentially “operate” the vehicle, with visual and audible feedback. For example, turning the key in the ignition results in an operational vehicle start and idle sound. Glove boxes open and close according to traditionally hinged arrangement. Similarly, ash trays slidably open, with hinged lids as appropriate in keeping the model in true form with the original vehicle. Other functional features may include operational dash and/or headlights, activated by pull switch or lever arm, again as appropriate in keeping with the original vehicle, and also operational turn signals and horn. Another feature that may be rendered operational according to traditional controls is the vehicle radio or sound system, wherein the collector could utilize the model as a source of musical entertainment.

Thus, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be displayed and used at a plurality of locations in a plurality of environments.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to adapt to virtually any make, model or year vehicle, automobile, truck, boat, airplane, or the like.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide adult interaction and entertainment by operation of authentic, miniaturized features.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to offer a new manner for a collector to exhibit a personally significant or otherwise desirable vehicle make, model, and year.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a new vehicle-related genre for collectors.

Still yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to function as a limited edition collectible investment.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to accurately display a specific vehicle interior in a manner that facilitates detailed inspection and viewing thereof.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be utilized and displayed in virtually any room, wherein the business card holder may be alternately utilized for other functions, such as a recipe card, affirmation card, photo, postcard, or note holder.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a rear view of a scale model dash replica collectible device, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the hood-directed face of an exemplary 1957 CHEVROLET BELAIR;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a scale model dash replica collectible device, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the passenger compartment-directed face of an exemplary 1967 CHEVROLET CORVETTE;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective of a scale model dash replica collectible device, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the passenger compartment-directed face of an exemplary 1965 FORD MUSTANG with the glove compartment in an open position;

FIG. 4 is a front partial perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, showing the ashtray in an open position

FIG. 5 is a front partial view of the device of FIG. 1, showing the steering wheel and associated lever arm;

FIG. 6 is a front partial view of the device of FIG. 3, showing the keys in the ignition;

FIG. 7A is a front partial view of the device of FIG. 2, showing the instrument panel in lighted state;

FIG. 7B is a front partial view of the device of FIG. 3, showing the instrument panel in lighted state;

FIG. 8 is a rear partial perspective view of a scale model dash replica collectible device, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the business card holder;

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of the device of FIG. 3, according to an alternate embodiment, showing an absence of a business card holder; and

FIG. 10 is an overhead partial perspective view of the device of FIG. 3, showing an identification plate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in the figures and/or described herein, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, the present invention in the preferred embodiment is scale model collectible replica dash device 10, comprising authentically recreated vehicle dashboard 12 and dash stand 14. Each scale model collectible replica dash device is preferably a miniaturized reproduction of a recognizable vehicle dashboard 12, such as, for exemplary purposes only, the dashboard of a 1957 CHEVROLET BELAIR (depicted in FIGS. 1, 4, 5), a 1965 FORD MUSTANG (depicted in FIGS. 3, 6, 7B, 10), a 1967 CHEVROLET CORVETTE (depicted in FIGS. 2, 7A), a 2007 FERRARI ENZO (not shown), or any other suitable or desirable dashboard. Although automobiles are the preferred subject matter for scale model collectible replica dash device 10, it is envisioned that other types of vehicle dash interiors could be similarly utilized, such as trucks, boats, airplanes, or the like.

Each scale model collectible replica dash device 10 is preferably constructed from high quality materials that are either the same or very similar materials as those utilized in the original full-size vehicle, or otherwise effectively simulate the appearance of the authentic vehicle interior construction. Such materials may include, by way of example and not limitation, metal, stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, leather, wood, and/or plastics. Preferably, the scale of each device 10 is ⅙th, wherein the preferred dimensions are approximately nine (9) inches wide and six (6) inches high. Of course, other dimensions and scales, both higher and lower, could alternately be utilized; however, the preferred scale and approximate dimensions best suit the intended usefulness of the present invention, facilitating display in a diverse selection of settings and environments, and coincide with traditional scale model collectible proportions.

The front, or passenger compartment-directed face 16 of dashboard 12 is thus preferably a detailed scale replica of a particular make, model, and year vehicle dashboard, wherein visually and audibly functional dash features enable the enjoyment and sensory experience of “sitting behind the wheel” of the vehicle. That is, miniaturized dash features offer the collector the opportunity to essentially “operate” dash replica device 10, with visual and audible feedback.

One such dash feature is ignition 18. As shown in FIGS. 2, 4, and 6, ignition 18 is preferably a key-receptor positioned on dashboard 12 according to the location appropriate for the targeted make, model and year configuration. That is, although depicted on dashboard 12, as appropriate, ignition 18 could also be defined on the steering wheel column for such vehicles that were originally so constructed. Preferably, key 20 is configured to fit into ignition 18, wherein ignition 18 is rotatable according to interaction with key 20 in order to realistically simulate the action of starting a vehicle. In order to further enhance the sensory interaction provided by dash replica device 10, a sound generator may be included, preferably housed within dashboard 12, and preferably activated by the action of turning key 20 in ignition 18 such that an operation vehicle start and idle sound will be generated. One skilled in the art will recognize that the sound generator could be any appropriate type known in the art, such as, for exemplary purposes only, a microchip sound generator.

Another preferably functional feature is glove compartment or glove box 22. As shown FIGS. 2-4, each glove box 22 is positioned and configured within each dashboard 12 according to the original vehicle design, wherein each glove box 22 is preferably hingedly secured to dashboard 12 to facilitate opening and closing according to traditional glove compartment movements. Similarly, ash tray 24, if provided for in an original vehicle, is preferably included in scale model replica device 10, as shown in FIG. 4. Ash tray 24 is preferably slidably related to dashboard 12, and is provided with hinged lid 26, in keeping the model in true form with the original vehicle by facilitating slide-action access to ash tray 24.

Steering wheel 26 is further designed according to original ornamental specifications, and is preferably secured to dashboard 12 in a manner that enables rotational turning of steering wheel 26 to simulate the driving experience. Lever arms 28a, 28b, such as those depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6, not only enhance the visual reality of scale model replica device 10, but preferably function according to original vehicle operational parameters. For example, movement of lever arm 28a may operate lighted turn signal indicators on dashboard 12. An additional interactive feature that offers sensory feedback is horn 30, preferably adapted with a sound generator, wherein horn 30 is preferably installed into steering wheel 26 in a manner that allows activation of a horn sound by traditional pushing or pressing on horn 30. It is preferred that the horn sound of each scale model replica device 10 simulate the recognizable original horn sound of the authentic automobile.

In the preferred embodiment, dash pull switch 32 is configured and positioned to replicate the original headlight switch of the featured authentic automobile, and is preferably adapted to activate dash lights installed within dashboard 12 in order to backlight displays 34, such as gauges, speedometers, and the like, as depicted in FIGS. 7A-7B. Vehicle radio 36 is preferably equipped with rotational knobs 38 and/or push buttons, according to original vehicle design, wherein vehicle radio 36 may be adapted as a control for an on-board radio or other music source. One skilled in the art should recognize that any desirable sound source could be utilized, such as, for exemplary purposes only, radio transmitter, sound generator, MP3 player, or any other suitable sound source capable of providing actual or simulated musical entertainment. It should further be recognized that scale model dash replica device 10 could include other functional features in addition to those described herein, such as operation clocks, adjustable mirrors, headlights, windshield wipers, or the like, without departing from the intended scope of the present invention.

The rear, or hood-directed face 40 of dashboard 12 is preferably smooth and/or generally flat, wherein vehicle logo 42 is displayed thereon. Such preferred placement of logo 42 allows for display away from view of the collector and toward the view of a third-party observer, thereby enabling the third-party observer to quickly and easily identify the vehicle.

Display base 14 is preferably cast aluminum, although other materials may be utilized. Rods 44 extend between dashboard 12 and base 14, decoratively supporting dashboard 12 at a desirable height above base 14. It is preferred that rods 44 are stainless steel, although other materials may be utilized. Base 14 preferably also serves as a carrier for identifying plate 46 and for business card holder 48. Identifying plate 46 may provide information such as, and without limitation, specifics of the vehicle dash replicated, collectible number and series, vehicle owner identification, or the like.

In an alternate embodiment, as shown in FIG. 9, although business card holder 48 enhances device usefulness and imparts a notable functionality, device 10 could be configured without business card holder 48.

In the preferred use, device 10 is placed upon a desktop, table, or other display surface and desired cards are placed in business card holder 48. As desired, cards may be observed and removed, and operational features of dashboard 12 may be enjoyed. For example, steering wheel 26 may be rotated, horn 30 may be honked, keys 20 may be turned in ignition 18 in order to generate a start and idle sound, and so on. In such manner, the offer of entertaining engagement with dashboard 12 may serve to entice an observer to the business cards in holder 48, thereby serving as an effective marketing/advertising card distribution tool.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.