60 Vette Gasser--and Some Random Thoughts....
The Toyota 2000 GT build was box stock and I'm tired of box stock. Let's build a custom.....When building a custom I have found you first have to "engineer" the build--work exclusively in white plastic and bare metal, without unnecessary attention paid to parts finish or paint. Failure to plan out the entire build means I waste time finishing, painting, and detailing parts that end up not fitting. Or getting ruined in the process of trying to glue them into place. Or just not looking good. Or all of the above!
My mini-model-manifesto: From about 3 years of trial and error, the following items/systems/assemblies need to be picked out, fabricated, test fitted, and otherwise "engineered" before any real finish work can be done:
- Which chassis, chassis tub, frame, and front and rear suspensions to use?
- Which body to use (resin? Plastic? Chopped top? Stretched? Channeled?
- How will the body mount to the chassis and frame?
- How will the wheels/tires and rear tire mounts (inner wheels) attach to the front and rear suspension?
- Figure out how the wheels/tires will clear the wheel wells (if surgery needs to be done to get them to fit, do it before paint!!)
- Choose an engine block, oil pan, and transmission (then assemble this subsystem to gauge size and fit)
- Determine how the engine block and transmission will mount to the chassis--fabricate motor mounts if necessary....
- Choose a cooling system; determine how the radiator will fit into the engine compartment or body....
- Choose an exhaust system, determine how it will attach to the engine, how it will attach to the frame, and how exhaust will exit the car....
- How will the suspension parts (front and rear axles/springs/shocks) mount to the frame?
- Assuming front engine/rear wheel drive, determine the driveshaft length and fabricate or kitbash a driveshaft....
- Choose the body trim (grill, bumpers, headlights, glass components, headlights, taillights, etc)....
- Determine how the trim will attach to the body (i.e., how you'll modify the body to accommodate the trim)?
- How will the windshield attach to the body?
- Figure out which interior tub or interior panels to use and modify the body/tub/dash/frame if needed....
- Which dashboard to use, and how will the dashboard mount into the interior or under the body?
- How will the steering wheel/steering column will connect to the dashboard?
- Kitbash or scratch build a firewall, then determine how the firewall will attach to the frame/body/interior....
- For the firewall, how will all components (exhaust, transmission, anything else penetrating the firewall) fit through?
- Figure out the overall stance of the build (height/rake)....
If there is a roll cage figure out how it will fit into the interior and clear the body
- Pick out seats and make sure they fit in the interior and under the roof.
So this time around I am building a 1960 Vette gasser. I started to build this about 3 years ago but because I didn't follow the steps above the build was a failure....Being that I had just returned to the hobby I had no concept of "engineering" a build and following the necessary steps I mention above; I figured I'd pick out some cool parts and prep and finish each one before final assembly--but it didn't work! Nothing fit and I had to throw it all away!
The ten thousand dollar question! Can I learn from my mistakes?
This time: to start, I kitbashed the frame. It's a combination of an old AMT '53 Vette (#T310601) frame and chassis and the tube frame from Revell/Model King's 50 Austin Gasser 85-2090.
This was combined to form a gasser/drag frame.....here I test fitted the front axle from the Austin kit (and found the tie rod would need to be flipped so as not to bang into the motor--glad I am engineering all of this!!!). I also set the rear springs and shocks from the 53 vette in place along with the quick change rear end from the AMT Double Dragster #AMT 646.
So far, it's looking pretty good....I used a stack of playing cards to prop up the frame and tape to put the wheels in place.
The frame now has motor mounts...the engine block/tranny is a Pontiac V8 from an AMT parts Pack. The exhaust system (far right) is entirely scratch built, for me, a first trying to do this with tube styrene and solder stock...it didn't come out too well but I am not done with the finish work yet (on any of this).....some sanding and putty work might save the headers....I have not yet begun to engineer!