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Arnie Beswik's '64 GTO FX

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  • Member since
    April 2012
Arnie Beswik's '64 GTO FX
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 11:33 AM

I've been accumulating parts, decals and Revell's 1/24 '64 GTO coupe with the intent of modeling Arnie Beswick's "Mystery Tornado", a supercharged FX match racer that was one of the first 1/4 mile door slammers to get into the high 8 second range. 

 

Here’s the kit and Slixx decals (http://www.slixx.com/1956.htm?id=3197) that I'm I’m starting with:

 

 

First step is to remove the molded-in battery and radiator water reservoir features on the inside front of the engine bay bulkhead:

 

I filled in the openings with Evergreen .040” styrene sheet stock:

 

 

 

Next step involves bonding 1/4” OD styrene tubing spacers between the front chassis and front axle to kick up the front end for that ‘64 super stock “look”.  Coil springs would look better but I've decded to go simple with these underside mods and airbush the finished chassis in semi-gloss black to minimize visability:

 

 

I extended the heights of the two engine mounts on the one-piece front axle piece using more .040" styrene sheet to maintain the stock engine block position relative to the body/ chassis: 

 

 

I’ll leave the rear end “as is” for now and reassess the stance once I have the final wheels and tires that I can dry fit with the body and chassis.

 

I thought about cutting out the rear seat and filling it in with styrene sheet but the rear of the interior tub would turn it into swiss cheese. I think just bonding a styrene sheet directly over the existing rear seat might be nearly as effective in terms what you will be able to see of the finished interior when everything is assembled - I welcome your thoughts/ suggesions.

 

 

Big question for my fellow early 60's drag car modelers: What should I do about these horrid molded-in windshield wipers????:

 

 

If it were a '63 or older super stocker, I would leave them in but I have yet to see a picture of a '64 FX SS with wipers left in place.  Removing them and trying to clean this up could also lead to disaster/ regret. Thoughts?

 

Thanks for looking! John

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 11:58 AM

As a rabid juvenile drag-race fan living in Illinois in the '60s, there was no bigger name than Arnie 'the Farmer' Beswick! I had the honor to meet the gentleman several times in that decade..he was very gracious and approachable...and once got the thrill of listening to him and my father talk Pontiacs amidst a sea of the the Ford and Mopar cars that seemed to rule the sport at that time.

Needless to say, I will be following your build with great interest!

(And the wipers definitely should go. It's actually a pretty easy cleanup with something like a micro-chisel, then carefully rescribing the grill area. And the 'sheet metal' blank for the back seat looks fine. If you wanted to get tricky, you could curve it slightly to 'suggest' the rear wheel well structure...but as you pointed out, not much will be that visible. Yes)

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 3:31 PM

Super cool project.  I did his comet a bit ago.  

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 3:32 PM

Hey Greg,

Thanks for your comments and wiper suggestio. I told my dog to "hold my beer" and went to work with an X-acto, mini chiesel and sand paper:

 I'm happy with the resulting window frame but re-engraving the vents proved to be less then successful:

Thinking of either A) filling in the vents or B) looking for a scrap of vent-like grating in my scrap PE box that I could cut and bond over this vent detail.  No regrets cutting out these wipers, I'll do better next time.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 3:42 PM

nearsightedjohn
Thinking of either A) filling in the vents or B) looking for a scrap of vent-like grating in my scrap PE box that I could cut and bond over this vent detail. No regrets cutting out these wipers, I'll do better next time.

Something worth trying:

Cut a piece of aluminum foil the width of the vents, and use the rounded end of a toothpick to gently emboss it over a 'good' section of the vents and trim to the needed length. You should be able to hide trimmed ends in the 'valleys'...then just slip that over the damaged section. White glue or the like should be enough to adhere it.

Carefully done, under paint it should be virtually invisible. (I've done it on larger corrugated a/c skin...think Ford Trimotor or Ju52...and it works really well.)

Just a suggestion.

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Friday, January 29, 2021 5:43 PM

A brief update on my slow progress (my man cave in S. CA has been COLD this week!)...

Thanks Greg for the suggestion on the foil fix for my butchered vents.  Knowing my limitations (which are many), I'm going to take the easy way out and just fill up the vents with putty (Vallejo vinyl-based stuff):

This putty takes a few days to fully harden so I've redirected my attention on a few of the other issues that need addressing before priming and painting.

I added the styrene sheet rear seat panel and built up a roll bar assemble (seats not yet bonded, will go with semi-gloss black for the interior):

I removed the side window wing vent frames (no sweat) and cut the wing window features out using a micro saw.  Unfortunately, a small crack appeared on one side - I'll either live with this or just make replacement front and rear windows using .005" clear styrene sheet which should work on this flat nearly flat windowed Pontiac.  I should have known better, the clear styrene used on car models is about as ductile as CD case styrene - crack-happy stuff.

I rummaged thru my spares box for candidate exhaust headers but was unable to find anything adaptable.  I've decided to take a crack at making my own using solder wire and have ordered some 2 mm solder which should be about right. In the few photos I can find for this race care, the headers appear to be completely individual pipes from the heads to the outlets (no collector) similar to FED's so this may be ambitious on my part. 

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Monday, February 1, 2021 5:14 PM

Scratch building exhaust headers using 2 mm OD solder has been a humbling experience. After several attempts at prototyping one side, here's my best result so far:

I had to drill out 2 mm insertion holes in the underside of each head on the assembled block and made a header plate out of .030" styrene sheet to group the pipes at the engine end. A thin strip of .030" styrene will be bonded across the four pipes near the outlet end to stablize the assembly (not unlike some actual dragster exhausts). My next step is to make a fresh right and mirror image left exhaust header assemblies based on this rough prototype, hopefully avoiding the extra bends and divits I put into these soft solder rods. Here's what the exhaust prototype looks like primered:

It's a balmy 70F this afternoon in my back yard (sorry New England modelers) so I took advantage and sprayed primer on the kit parts (rattle can Tamiya fine grey and white lacquer).

If the weather stays this nice, I hope to spray the body and hood with Tamiya Bright White lacquer and black lacquer for a few parts I dechromed for Alclad (blower, resin butterfly injector scoop, front resin wheels). I use mostly Tamiya airbrushed acrylics for the chassis, engine and interior which I can do indoors even if it gets colder again.

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 6:12 PM

Made a little more progress today.  I fabicated two fresh sets of exhaust headers using the 2 mm solder and .030" sheet styrene.  These are long wild looking exhaust headers but appear to me from old photos to be what Mr. Beswick did on his Mystery Tornado.  I've left them long and will trim and drill out the ends once the chassis/ engine/ body are completed and test assembled.

I'm adapting some unused Moebius 1/25 steelies for the rear wheels by cutting out and bonding the inner wheel female bearings from the GTO kit.  These are Mopar steelies and I thought about raiding a '62 Bel Air kit for more correct GM steelies but I'd like to keep those to build a period correct '62 Bel Air super stock.  I found some nice resin Halibrand wheels for the front from speedcityresin.com which I'll adapt as well.

I did a quick dry fit of the body + chassis + kit wheels/ tires to check the stance - I think it look's about right relative to period photos - what do you think?

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 6:55 PM

Excellent work on those headers, John! She's coming along nicely, and the stance looks just right.

YesYesYes

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 6:15 PM

Painting progress today. Hope to paint the body + hood with Tamiya Pure White rattle can lacquer if warming trend continues (forecast is 73F on Sat!).

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Sunday, February 7, 2021 7:59 PM

Photos below of latest progress on the interior, engine, rear suspension and wheels. White gloss paint and clear coat on the body and hood was successful due to good weather/ temp/ no wind. Never thought weather (particularly temp and humidity) could be such an important factor in scale modeling. When it's good, I try to break out the rattle can lacquers and paint as many car model bodies as possible. Thinking of painting one or two (or three?) more 1/25 mid-60's super stock bodies in my queue tomorrow before a cold front comes in this coming week. I find spraying Tamiya primer or air brushing acrylics works fine in the garage, even if it's in the fiftees outside.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, February 8, 2021 6:57 AM

Oh MY!

 I gotta say those wheels are looking good! Interior is quite realistic looking as well. I especially like your attention to the Dash!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, February 8, 2021 7:01 AM

Hi again!

 I went back to the point where you cracked a window. Keep some Woodland Scenics or Evergreen, Clear Sheet Styrene handy for replacement. The clear is optically perfect and at .010 it's easy to work on those style windows!

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Monday, February 8, 2021 10:03 AM

Hey TB, thanks for the window tip. I had to replace all the windows using your suggested method on a Fujimi Porsche 356 build last year due to a crack from stem to stern (used eBay kit risk...) - it worked great!

This GTO has relatively flat windows so I may do all four sides instead of just the two sides as I was planning. I wicked a small application of Tamiya extra thin solvent along the inside edges to get the clear styrene sheet to stick if I recall - adhesion was nearly instant. If I make a mistake, I can just pop the window out and make another, it also looks much more in scale than thick injection molded clear windows.

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Friday, February 12, 2021 9:53 AM

Today's update, I completed paint on the stainless trim on the body, airbrushing Alclad Chrome over gloss black enamel. Lots of masking!

I then masked and airbrushed semi-gloss black Tamiya acrylic over the front fender wells and underside of the hood:

The engine is nearly completed. Even though there is a scale mismatch (1/25 fly catcher scoop on a 1/24 scale engine), I love this resin Hilborn injector I got from Speedcity Resin.

I'm struggling with whether to use the stock fuel pump or scratch build a racing type fuel pump that would extend off of the front of the block. Same thing with the radiator - do I include it or assume Beswick ran an uncooled block (short run time, cooling from alcohol or nitro)? I can find no pictures of under the hood of this race car and many of these match racers in '64-'65 deviated from super stock rules and started to evolve into "funny cars" (i.e., Jack Chrisman's wild match racer '64 Comet). I did remove the molded-in battery assuming it would have been moved to the trunk. I welcome opinions!

Hope to wrap this build up in the next few days.....John

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 12:27 PM

I finished this build yesterday and took some cell phone camera shots this morning.  This was a fun and pretty easy project. I posted a few questions about the original car but since then found an archieve article from Hot Rod magazine online that answered my questions.  This car did have a radiator but no fan (I think...based on one photo), no info on the fuel pump so I went with the stock pump molded into the block, the interior was stripped down to minimal racing seats and I went with stock seats and center console and it was configured with a GM auto trans (I left the manual from the kit in place).  I included the molded front/ rear window (with small crack at front right corner) but cut side windows using .010" thick clear styrene sheet to simulate the Plexiglass that they used on FX'ers.  Also the hood fit on the front left got a little cocked which I need to finish debugging. I'm sure there are other inaccuracies I missed but I'm probably 75% there and it looks good to me from a few feet away so I'm satisfied.

This build was the first time I ever scratch built exhaust headers using thick solder and it was easier than I thought it would be.  Slixx decals are super thin and I lost a few applying them but Slixx included the spares I needed so its all good.  I also usually apply a mix of white glue and Solu-Set decal setting solution under decals to try to mitigate ghosting but I didn't need to on this car due to the gloss white finish (note-to-self: build more white race cars...) 

I scratch built a pair of ladder traction bars for the rear end but they look a little big to me so I haven't finished and mounted them yet - see pics at the end of this post.  Let me know if you think its worth proceeding with these or if I should replace with smaller ones or leave them off all together.

Thanks for looking, John.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 3:08 PM

Wow that turned out great.  Headers look cool and the interior is beautiful.  Nice job!

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Nashville, TN area
Posted by bobbaily on Thursday, February 18, 2021 4:20 PM

Very nice build indeed-great subject and a reminder of how drag racing has evolved.

And thanks for sharing your build in detail-I've got it bookmarked in case I can find a 64' GTO on the cheap...or at least reasonable....

Bob

 

  • Member since
    April 2012
Posted by nearsightedjohn on Friday, February 19, 2021 3:52 PM

Thank you keavdog & bobbaily!

I finished and painted the ladder bars semi-gloss black, they look smaller and more realistic to me now.

This one's done. I started three more mid-60's super stock builds yesterday, one is the horrid AMT '65 Mustang AWB "funny car". This kit is so toy-like and I am going to see if I can turn it into a half decent FX cammer. I'll post it if/as I make progress if it's not too embarrassing!

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, February 19, 2021 4:05 PM

John, that's an absolutely gorgeous result! Really captures the pugnacious 'growly' look of the best of that era's cars.

Arnie would be proud!

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
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