1965 Chevrolet Corvette World’s Fair display car.
By Michael Pederick, aka Mr Casual.
Where to start, I guess the beginning would be a good place, so here goes.
So, this one started because I was really enjoying one eighth scale models, like with all my Jaguar models, which are of course one eighth scale, so when I saw this part kit for sale I figured eh why not, I should be able to cobble something together with this, so I bit the bullet and bought it.
Obviously, the kit was incomplete, no biggy, knew that, but there was a lot less of the kit than I thought and it was a lot more damaged than I first thought, bummer. So what to do, well I decided at this point to smooth the front and rear pans, bumper delete, and generally make it into a racer of some sort, after a while I needed a bit of inspiration and pics to maybe follow, so went to my best little buddy, Mr & Mrs Interweb’s young fella, Google, ah google, the old farts saviour. So anyhoo, came across pics and info on this display Corvette, ‘65 of course so that was it, I was now going to build a representation of the 1965 Corvette display car, so now I’m all fired up to do this and then, POO. Being an old kit like the 1/8 Jag kits, they are very basic, bugger all detail and a few inaccuracies for good measure, so of course this is when I realized that I would have to completely build the entire chassis, part of the floor pan, most of the suspension and a whole boatload of “other” stuff, to build a half decent model. Then it was yeah, no too hard, yeah but it would look pretty cool, no still too hard, hands are getting worse etc., followed by oh to hell with it, it’s either build the thing or be a pussy, I ain’t no pussy, it was a go. There was a butt load of things to be worked out, measurements taken, drawings made and photo’s tooked, oh and then I realized that there would have to be a very careful and strict order to the different processes, especially with regards to paint and final assembly. Was it too late to back out, YES, so this thing will be built, hopefully in my lifetime, which is rapidly running out.
So, I started by building the entire chassis, and with the help of an actual boat load of pics, (well a hell of a lot anyway), and general info through the helping hand, and the Prince of Darkness, the seer of all, Google. With the help of the afore mentioned pics I was able to work out where to put all the holes in the right places, body mounts, engine mounts, oh and cut the steering box off and make another one for the correct hand drive side, also had to make most of the cross members, particularly the rear suspension mounts and such, so yeah there was a BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH load of scratch building, but hey that’s what this hobby is all about, well I think so, anyway. Then the firewall was not going to look anywhere near good enough, so I cut it out and built up a new one to suit correct hand drive, and while I was in that neck of the woods I scratch built the inner guards, radiator mount, rebuilt a big part of the interior tub, and then I had to alter the steering linkages, make ball joints, scratch up a sway bar and mounts, and make a battery with a battery tray, on the opposite side, along with a hold down clamp for the batt. So now I have to scratch build the entire exhaust system including mufflers, brackets and mounts, and this took me to the rear suspension where I scratch built the whole shootin’ match, the leaf spring, shocks, all the swing arms, mounts and the rear sway bar with brackets and mounts, at this stage I realized that I would have to make half of the spare tyre cubby hole plus add a bit of detail. Of course I had to scratch build the fuel tank, straps and brackets to suit etc. including filler neck and the spill tray thingy, also, while I was in this area anyway I thought I’d check the exhaust and mufflers for fit clearance and make mounting bracketry, which meant I had to trial fit the spare wheel thingy ‘cause the muff’s run very close, so with lackey bands, string and a bit of balsa with some sticky tape I got that nightmare taken care of. Another few parts I wasn’t looking forward to making was the drive shaft and the two half shafts, just too many uni joints to think about, thank all that is great and right for Shapeways who make a real nice bit of kit, that went well. OK, now to have a look at the actual drive line, hoboy what a can of worms got opened up here, starting at the top we have the weird looking early GM fuel injection box kinda thingy, which is ok in itself, it’s just that there is no detail, at all, none, so a big swan dive into the parts, spares, junk collected for just in case, and general bits and bobs that ya tend to collect over the (far too many) years, found some wire of different sizes and started bending cutting, throwing in the bin getting another piece and bending and cutting, etc etc, I managed to get reasonably close, close of course is a relative term, so with some paint and a bit of bluff and bluster it should look half ok.
Another thing I did with this model, I “opened” a closed part, and it was my first attempt so I’m a bit scared, but I’ve opened the correct hand side door, wow did this open a giant can of worms, it meant I had to fabricate the inner panels of the door, and the door opening, hinges, (that turned out to be a lot, a huge lot harder than I could have imagined, had swing open and shut without catching, binding or dropping, holy BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH on a cracker, finally got done but man it was a struggle, I contemplated gluing the door back shut quite a few times. While I was contemplating the demise of the car I noticed that the fuel filler was bleh, so I drilled out the opening, modified the emblem/fuel cap to suit and put a hinge on it so it works too. Sometime later, (this can mean anything from a few minutes to a couple of months), I thought, well the whole point of this thing was to display everything to Joe public, so I realized that just having the chassis laying there not doing or showing anything I’d better add a couple of pretties or something, so I made all the fuel lines, brake lines and the hand brake cables with lever and return spring, then I had to work out where to put receiver tube blocks for the columns that are going to hold the body up off the chassis so it is then the display car I’m trying to copy. It’s around about here that I realized all the body mounts are just too small, so it was a case of hack them all off and make a whole new set, hopefully the right size this time, as I’m only eyeballing all this from photos I’ve gleaned from the interweb.