Among some of the WIPs presently on my assembly line are three GM vehicles:
A Revellogram '59 Impala HT
A Revellogram '60 Impala HT
A Trumpeter '60 Bonneville HT
There has been a lot of discussion here about the problems with the roofs of the '59 Impala and Trumpeter kits; basically, that they are inaccurate. All three of these cars shared the same roof sheet metal so they should be identical in all aspects. I'll concede that the Bonneville is inaccurate.........to a point. The main issue with the Bonneville roof is that it is 2 mm shorter than it's supposed to be, which is 51 mm measured front-to rear. Also, the A pillars don't have the distinctive, graceful and noticeable curve as they meet the forward edge of the roof. This is error is shared with the RM '59 Impala. What I want to do here is dispel the theory that the roofs of all three kit bodies vary in shape, contour and overall accuracy.
The '59 Impala was the first that I tweaked. Using reference photos, I saw what was required. I shaved off the outermost trim at the edge of the A pillars, leaving the second and third trim sections. The upper part of the pillars was filed and shaped to match the contours of the 1:1 car. It's that simple. No hacking off the roof of a '60 Impala and having to go through the process of grafting it onto the '59.
Now, I'll explain what was done to the Bonneville.
As I stated, The main issue with the Bonneville is that the length of the roof is 2 mm too short. This makes the tulip panel wide enough to park a car on. To correct this glaring error, I sawed the roof 5 mm from the rear window trim, made a cut 12 mm from the front edge of the trunk opening and a cut 2 mm in front of the base of the C pillars. 2 mm of styrene was added to the roof, the cut roof section was reattached and everything was filled and smoothed in. The piece of trim on the C pillars which is closest to the rear glass was shaved off and worked to match the shape of the pillars on the Revellogram bodies. The A pillars were next. The frontmost piece of trim was removed all the way to the roof joint, leaving the second and third pieces intact. I then used a diamond burr bit to form the curve as found on the '60 Impala. Finally, .025 styrene rod was glued to the front of the A pillars and the lower portion of the rod was blended into the lower windshield trim/cowl panel.
This beats the heck out of the hack and graft for three reasons. First, I consider decapitating a perfectly good model car body an unnecessary and extravagant waste. You're destroying one kit to enhance another. Secondly, the work involved is extremely time consuming and labor intensive.You have to worry about cutting the cowl off the sacrificial donor body and that the area removed from the recipient body matches within very close tolerance. Unless you can make the cuts absolutely perfect, you'll end up spending a lot of time and effort filling and sanding around the entire perimeter of the upper body to blend everything seamlessly. For the average schmo, that means you're guaranteed to screw up somewhere along the process and the results will look like a U.S.D.A. Grade A turd and you'll only end up with two useless and destroyed bodies. Third reason, and one that should be of major importance to rivet counting builders who want absolute accuracy, is that you won't get that picture perfect, on-the-money-just-like-the-real-car-only-smaller 100% replication by grafting the '60 Impala roof onto the poor, allegedly inaccurate '59. Why, you may ask? Because the cowl on the '60 Impala is completely different.There are three vents and the wiper arms are located on the grilles of the outer ones, whereas, there is only one vent grille running across the '59's cowl and the wiper arms are located on the outside of the vent, on the cowl itself. You couldn't use the '60 roof on the Bonneville for the same reason because the Bonneville and '59 Impala cowls are identical.
Now, let me bring up the contentious subject of the roofs on these three kit bodies. I had discussions regarding the shape and accuracy of the '59 Impala and the Trumpeter Bonneville. I always said that, aside from the shape of the '59 Impala's A pillars, its roof, and that of the '60, were 100% identical in every respect. Now, I'll prove my assertion. Thanks to the posts on fiberglass replacement parts by the inimitable resident automotive expert nonpareil, Bill Engwer, I was prompted to prove my point that there is no difference. So, I made a fiberglass mold of the '60 Impala roof
This is the mold fitted on the '60 Impala
Notice the fit along the roofline above and the C pillars in the photo below
Next, I placed the mold on the '59 Impala
Now, please observe that the fit is exactly as seen on the '60 roof, including the the fit on the windshield and backlight and both the A and C pillars. It lays perfectly flat. with no rocking front-to-rear or side-to-side. Zero difference. All contours match. Pictures don't lie; and, neither does the mold. If anyone still believes that there is a difference, what can I tell you? One might perceive something which is or isn't there and that is the case with the roofs of these two kits.
I also checked the accuracy of the corrective surgery performed on Bonny. I slapped the mold on it
and the fit was 100% identical to the '59 and '60 Impalas.
Dead on match on all three cars. I'll pat myself on the back for getting this right the first time.
I hope I was able to provide convincing evidence which changes any perception of difference or inaccuracy in the '59 Impala roof.
I'll post more updates on these three as work progresses. If you feel like posting comments, criticisms, critiques, care to dispute my findings and/or methods or tell me you want to bust my beak for being a smartass wiseguy, feel free to do so.