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    Jim Forte

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  1. Not sure how many of you subscribe to Vintage Motorsport magazine, but it is an excellent read and a great source of information. That was the source of a 1/18 scale custom BTC Chevy II I did about a year ago.Anyway, the cover featured Salon car for the September/October issue was one of the Roush Racing Merkurs, incorrectly referred to as an XR4Ti (in which the "4" refers to the number of cylinders in the engine, the "T" stands for Turbocharged, and the "i" stands for fuel injected.In reality, the cover car is one that Roush prepared as a "back up" that was prepared for the 1988 IMSA endurance season, for reliability. The turbocharged four cylinder had a reputation of being a hand grenade when stressed, so a 355 cubic inch V8 with a Holley four barrel carburetor was installed in one of the chassis (hence, XR8Na - "Na" standing for Normally aspirated).For all intents and purposes, and purists can surely debate the subtleties, a Roush chassis was a Roush chassis, whether used in Trans Am or IMSA, and whether badged as a Mustang, Capri, or Merkur.With this in mind, and with hours of researching the VM article from the magazine stash in my "library" (if you know what I mean), I thought I might try to create a custom XR8Na.The parts sources are out there. I had a spare GMP IMSA Mustang on the shelf, along with a couple of AutoArt Ford Sierra bodies.So, alone out here on 1/18 Scale Island (accompanied by Swede70 on occasion), I'm going to give it a shot.Here are some initial comparison pictures of the two donor bodies.What I will need to do, at least in my world, is graft the Merkur nose, tail, and roof/greenhouse onto the Mustang body, and merge features from the Merkur hood and rear deck lid into their Mustang counterparts.I have previously, for one of my other fantasy customs, grafted a '69 Camaro Z28 hood scoop onto a '71 Mustang hood.Will probably use a similar Dremel cutting tool-based technique on this one.Stay Tuned!
  2. Been thinking about trying something like that in 1/18 scale. Autoworld makes a Torino Cobra. s-l1600 by Jim Forte, on Flickr And they also produced this Petty Roadrunner. 1-18-Richard-Petty-STP-Diecast-1972-Plymouth-Roadrunner by Jim Forte, on Flickr Got the Roadrunner, about to buy a Torino.
  3. The location of the pumps at TIS/TWS was right outside the tech inspection portal in the garage area, actually between the hot pit entrance and the garages. Drivers, owners, and crew chiefs almost all had to walk by at one time or another. We had a U-Haul truck that Union 76 would drive in that was loaded with all the oil and lubricants parked right next to the pump island. That served as our "office" during the weekend. This is a picture of me at the pump island. I'm in all white, with my back to the camera. Me and the #6 - TWS by Jim Forte, on Flickr We watched from there as Richard Petty and Andy Granatelli filmed an STP commercial one year. Of course, behind the cameras were all the other drivers and crew, trying to distract them. It was pretty funny to watch the interaction between and among them. Marty Robbins had a guy hanging out with him one year that had one of those empty collar dog leash things, and the guy wouldn't put it down. Every time you saw Robbins you saw this guy, with the leash and collar, pretending there was a real dog, including hunching around on other guy's legs with the collar part. Back then, Buddy Parrott was just another crew member for Harry Hyde, and he'd come over and hang around the pumps during his breaks. Bill Broderick, "The Hat Man", was my point of contact. He'd arrive, and almost seemed like he ran the show. Wow, those were the days. Of course, I spent so much time out at the track that I was put on scholastic probation at the end of the first semester of my Junior year at Texas A&M. Had to sit out a year before they would let me back in.
  4. Thanks for the compliments everyone! I didn't have a great deal of time to get to know Wendell Scott (he was preparing his race car and I was pumping gas). When you saw him in the garage area, he was as proud of his efforts as anyone else. As many know from the literature, he had a determination to succeed, in spite of the obstacles that confronted him.
  5. I met Wendell at the inaugural Nascar Winston Cup race that was held on December 7, 1969, at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas.I had been hired by Union 76 to man the fuel pumps and distribute oil and lubricants to the Nascar teams.I always admired the courage and diligence of Wendell, and have gone on to not only collect a considerable amount of memorabilia, but to also create (or have created) a number of custom 1/18 scale diecast models of the various paint schemes he used during his career.Apparently, Wendell Scott had wrecked his usual Ford at the race immediately prior to the 1970 Falstaff 400, held at Riverside, California on June 14, 1970.George Wiltshire was a black journeyman Nascar West owner/driver, not noted for much success. He had a 1969 Dodge Charger prepared to Nascar Winston cup regulations. He used either #39 or #139 depending on the venue.Nascar Hall of Famer Scott, of course, is iconic. He was also a died-in-the-wool Ford associate, with reports of “backdoor” contributions of used parts from the Ford factory teams.Not sure about the details, but Scott ended up in Wiltshire's Dodge for the race, qualifying 28th, but finishing a dismal 35th when the Hemi in Wiltshire's Dodge overheated.There are not a lot of pictures of Wiltshire’s Charger. I have attached the two that I have been able to find on the Internet. The photo quality is not great, and it is difficult to tell if they are color photos or black and white. There is also only one picture I have found to document Scott in Wiltshire’s Dodge, a picture in a newspaper the day after the race.There is some video of the 1970 Falstaff 400 available on YouTube. If you look at 0:11, you see a purple Charger with what appears to be a lime green rear bumper on the outside. The outside line was the even-numbered starters for the race (at the start of the video you can see Richard Petty’s pole-sitting Plymouth Superbird leading the inside line), so it would be appropriate for Scott to be in that line following the green flag.Based on the video, I chose Mopar Plumb Crazy as a paint color. To me it made sense that a low budget racer would use a factory paint, especially with Wiltshire carrying Star Dodge as a sponsor. I used SubLime Green for the rear bumper.My donor model for this is the Paul Goldsmith driven Ray Nichels prepared Dodge Charger 500 distributed by Merchandising Incentives Corporation (MIC). This model was part of the Winged Warrior Series, and appears to be based on an Ertl mold.Working with a very talented artist and decal maker, Sam Lopez with Three Amigos Decals (https://switchlinedecals.com/3-amigos-decals/), we have been able to produce, to the best of my ability, as close of a factual model of the Charger as humanly possible.I’ve attached some comparison shots of the donor and final paint.The finished model.Enjoy!
  6. 20200328_221525 by Jim Forte, on Flickr Here's the build album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmM6vwLH
  7. Thanks, took me a while. I don't paint too many by myself, or decal to that point. Had to take the Ram by the horns on this one.
  8. The neat thing is the debate about whether there were two (#76 for Posey and #77 for guest drivers Ronnie Bucknam and Tony AtoZ), or three! 1970 Trans Am Dodge Challenger # 77 - Page 2 (theroaringseason.com) Autodynamics (race car manufacturer) - Wikipedia
  9. This is a fantasy build, and a fantasy story.Enjoy!Ray Caldwell’s Autodynamics (reportedly) built three factory backed Dodge Challenger T/As for the 1970 SCCA Trans Am series. The series was at its heyday and landing this contract was a boon to Autodynamics. This was all-out factory war between Detroit's big 4.In 1971, Detroit suddenly withdrew their open support of motor racing.The political atmosphere had changed and the horsepower race that bred the 60’s muscle and pony cars was suddenly over.Dodge canceled Autodynamics’ Trans Am contract.Autodynamics had expected to run the Dodge Challenger factory Trans-Am Team for at least two more years but Caldwell had seen the handwriting on the wall with respect to Detroit-based auto racing.It was clear that, if there were to be factory money available, the Nascar Winston Cup Series was where you needed to be.Even with their existing association with Dodge, there were no more Dodge Daytona’s being constructed, and the existing ones were prohibitively expensive.Secretly, Caldwell secured a spare 1970 Nascar Plymouth Superbird from Petty Enterprises.The “spare” had only been raced once, by Dan Gurney, at the 1970 Riverside 500. Gurney took the pole for the race, and finished 6th.Fully paid for by Plymouth, the car sat in the Petty garages. Plymouth never asked for it back.The resources (especially time) required to build a Daytona from scratch would seriously hamper a full Nascar program.Caldwell planned on placing Sam Posey in the Superbird for the 1971 season-opening race at Riverside on January 10.With the Petty chassis, all Autodynamics had to do was repaint the car in their classic Sublime Green used on the Trans Am Challengers, and they easily would be ready.As Chrysler downsized their racing support, Caldwell picked up a used ramp-back hauler, similar to those used by the factory Nascar teams.Circumstances wouldn’t allow the truck to be painted to match the Superbird.Politics caught Ray Caldwell out again as Nascar implemented rules for the 1971 season that would place a severe weight penalty on the Mopar “aero cars” if they ran the 426 cubic inch Hemi.Even with an inventory of a dozen Keith Black Trans Am 305 cubic inch engines, their questionable reliability was sufficient to scuttle the planned Nascar program.The car never saw the light of day.Until now.This is my fantasy version of what an Autodynamics Nascar Plymouth Superbird could have looked like.This is a repaint of the Ertl/American Muscle ToysRUs Superbird model, with nose and tail from another Ertl/American Muscle Subline Green Superbird.The decals are a mixture of an old Pattos Place Challenger set, with some Plymouth’s and some Nascar contingency decals from my spares inventory.Here are some photos from the build.I originally thought about swapping the body from the factory green one to the chassis of the race version, but the more I looked (and worked) at it, the less convinced I was that was a good idea.Even though they appear to be based on the same basic molds, there was enough of a difference to make me change course.So I harvested the nose and rear wing off the green one, and grafted them onto the race body. Sold the green one on eBay as a "barn find".I then had my stripper take the paint off the race version, primed it, and painted it with OEM Sublime Green, with two layers of clear. IMG_3758 by Jim Forte, on FlickrIMG_3842 by Jim Forte, on FlickrThen added the decals.
  10. Following the creation of a cardstock template, and then two or three prototypes in the self-adhesive aluminum sheet, we're making progress.I agreed with the idea that it needed to be painted. To make sure that I accommodated the countouring, I bent the cover first over the body, but didn't remove the adhesive back.From the cardstock template, I also located the holes for the "snaps", so that I could pre-drill both the cover and the body.The bad news is that when you are working with diecast models, the manufacturing process is not necessarily your best friend. The molding/casting process requires thickened areas, as opposed to (no offense to the majority of you guys) plastic or resin, where the thickness is pretty consistent throughout.However, I have a solution, so I have pre-drilled all the holes. You will see in some of the following pictures that some go all the way through, where others are into very dense areas of diecast.To support the tonneau cover at the front, I fabricated and installed a piece of styrene angle, to ensure that the front of the cover didn't droop.Here's a detail of a sewing pin that I have cut to length, and inserted through the cover into a pre-drilled hole. In this case, the hole goes all the way through, so I will cut off the excess from the inside of the body. For those that don't penetrate, I will need to cut them to the precise depth of the pre-drilled hole.Once I have all the pins cut to length, I will remove the protective cover, and expose the self-adhesive and fully install.
  11. Or . . .I went looking for some thinner styrene, since the current one is almost 1/16" thick. Then I found some of the resources I have on my shelves from prior builds.Now whether I paint it, or leave it natural.
  12. Getting back on this one after a hiatus of sorts.After I mocked up the tonneau cover, I had to figure out both a way to install it, and how to replicate how they were installed on the real racers.You can see from these pictures (of which there are few in sufficient detail), it looks like they may have attached them with snap-type fasteners.I searched all over for something I could use. I thought about photoetch, but couldn't find anything in 1/18 scale, plus attaching them was going to be a PITA.Then, one night, it hit me! Sewing pins!So, I drilled a pattern of holes in a final cover, and since my workbench also doubles as a bar stool, I proceeded to use it as a pin cushion.The question then becomes how to install the cover onto the car. The convertible top is attached to the model with two screws.So, in lieu of drilling a couple dozen little bitty holes for the pins, I'm fabricating a mounting plate that I will glue to the tonneau cover, and use shortened screws to attach.My plan is to then paint it Gloss Black and stick the pins through, hoping they will be captured by the paint. Then turn it over and trim the ends of the pins flush. Then I can get back to the body/chassis mounting.
  13. Just watched the three videos. I am speechless! Absolutely amazing. Congratulations!
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