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'65 Plymouth Satellite...The One That Got Away


Greg Pugh

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I’m going to first start off by apologizing for this long-winded story you’re about to get but I’ve waited for this kit for a long time!

I was raised by a hard core Chevy guy. My dad owned and street raced Chevrolet’s since he got his driver’s license. Being a baby boomer, he grew up right in the middle of the muscle car era. I was also bitten by the car bug and by default, I was also a Chevy guy. I mowed lawns, saved my money, and bought my first car, a 1964 Impala Super Sport at the age of 11. In fact, I kept mowing lawns and when I had enough money, I’d buy another car. Now, of course, these were all project cars mind you, but by the time I was in high school, I had amassed a pretty impressive collection of cars!

Meanwhile, it was during my Junior year of high school, a guy in the class ahead of me showed up to school one day in a ’65 Plymouth Satellite. I’d never seen one before. The car was maroon in color, it had Cragar SS wheels, and it had the wickedest idle I’d ever heard. It was love at first sight! He backed out of his parking spot, dropped it in gear, and lit up the tires all the way down the street! Oh my! Lol.

I was so impressed by this car that I got bit by the MOPAR bug. So much so, I started searching around and ended up finding and purchasing a ’69 Dodge Coronet 2 door hardtop. It was just a 318 automatic car but I drove that car through the end of my Junior year and all of my senior year.

Then, one day on my way to work, I happened to see a “For Sale” sign in the window of that wicked Satellite. He wanted $2900 for the car! I was working at the local grocery store and was making a whopping $4.75 an hour. So to me, that was a heck of a lot of money! Basically, I didn’t have any. But, I did have a whole back yard full of classic cars and graduation was coming, that had to mean some money, right? So I started off by selling cars and every time I’d sell one, I’d take the money over to the guy. He’d cut me a receipt and then I’d sell another one. I was basically chiseling down the price with every car I’d sell. Even though this was only 20 years ago, I can’t believe what cars I sold and what they were sold for. If I still had them, it’d bring a heck of a lot more money than it did back then! Lol. Anyways, I got to where I was within $400 of having it paid off when the graduation money started rolling in. I finally was able to go over, pay the car off, and drive it home.

Now a little about the car, it was originally a basic 318, automatic, cream colored car with two-tone gold interior. The guy before the guy I bought it from, painted the car maroon. The gold interior stayed. He also installed a BUILT 440 in it backed by a 727 Torqueflite. It had a DANA 60 Sure-grip rearend in it with 3.90 gears. The car was very fast. Probably way too fast for an 18 year old kid. I did a lot of street racing with it and have a lot of great memories of the car. Unfortunately, after moving out and trying to be an adult, I ran into some money problems and sold the car about a year and a half after purchasing it. The car is still owned by the guy I sold it to and we’ve stayed in touch. I recently just went and visited my old baby. He has completely restored the car.

This model will be built to look like what the car would look like if I still owned it and had done to it what I had always wanted to, the vision I had for it way back when. It will be maroon, with a black interior. It will be running a 440-6 pack, 4 speed, DANA 60 rear end, Cragar SS wheels, with white-lettered BFG Radial T/A’s.

Now, although I’m excited beyond words to have this kit (THANK YOU MOEBIUS!!!), it does have some issues that will need to addressed. Some I’ve seen discussed here on this forum and some I’ve not seen discussed but I’ve noticed looking at my kit. We’ll be addressing those as we go, as well as doing some modifying/customizing to make this car the car I always dreamed of. Also, because there haven’t been many documented builds done of this kit, I’ll try to over-show what I’m doing with this one as we bump along. Although this won't be built stock, there might be some things along the way that are helpful for anyone about to build this kit.

Anyways, sorry for the crazy long story and thank you for checking out what we do here. Now, let’s build my dream car…the one that got away!

 

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Edited by gpugh1976
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We'll start by getting rid of the molded in lettering on the chassis plate. I may have been able to sand it off but to prevent a bunch of extra work and the risk of the letters ghosting later, I just cut it out and replaced it with sheet styrene.

 

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Edited by gpugh1976
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There are three holes in the transmission tunnel. The two to the outside are for the location pins on the underside of the console. The center one....beats me. I have no idea why its there. My first assumption was for a 4-speed shifter on the upcoming Belvedere but I hope that they don't put it in the center of the hump as it should be over to the left a bit. Anyways, they all gots-ta-go! I wanted to still use the location pins for the center console so all I did here was shorten the pins on the underside of the console, tape the console in place, then use spot putty on the underside. Once the putty was almost dry, I carefully and slowly removed the tape and the console so that the putty was not pulled or disturbed. Once the holes were sanded smooth, the chassis plate was ready for primer.

 

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I always knew that if I got ahold of another Satellite, I would be painting it Ford's Dark Toreador Red. It's just a gorgeous maroon in my opinion. Steve Goldman did a fantastic build and article on building the Satellite in the last issue of MCM. Much like Steve, I painted and masked off the fuel tank before spraying the maroon. However, Steve assembled the firewall, inner fender wells, and core support prior to painting. I instead only installed the firewall and then painted the inner fender wells and core support separately. I felt I could get better accessibility while painting and also felt it would be easier to detail paint the pieces while they were apart and then assemble afterward.

I used Dupli-Color for the paint, decanted it and sprayed it through an airbrush. The paint is a base coat/clear coat system so I covered it with Testor's Wet Look clear, also decanted and shot through an airbrush.

 

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Greg, we're a lot alike, I too grew up in a GM family, anything made by Ford or Chrysler was garbage. Then I joined the USAF, and bought a pristine '72 Charger...it was all over for me, I was in love with the Beast! When she finally had to be laid to rest, I replace her with a '71 Road Runner, but we don't talk about that car, it was possessed and wanted me dead!

Love the color choice (I just used it myself!), and I'll enjoy watching you build your car...maybe one day I'll actually build my Charger!

Edited by Custom Mike
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Hi Greg,just wanted to say WOW. I absolutely love a back story on a build and yours was exellent. I really look forward to watching you here and what a beauty of a car you had. I definitely can relate to your story, brings back lots of memories for me. Thanks Greg and I look forward to this one.      Jeff 

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Do you have any pictures of the car in its current state?

Charlie Larkin

I do but I'll wait until the end to show them. The guy did a complete color change inside and out and it might detract from what I'm building and what the car was.

I also have a video of me drag racing my buddy in his '71 Chevelle Super Sport that I've gotta try to figure out how to post here. It's on VHS and it's about 20 years old!

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Ok, so last night I played with the K-member. Overall, it's a pretty nice piece. The only thing lacking in my opinion was the lack of depth to the recessed areas/pockets under the cross member. First I'll show what the 1:1 looks like, followed by the kit piece and you'll see what I mean.

 

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Edited by gpugh1976
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The funny thing is, if you look at the first picture, they got it right on the piece that lays over the top of the cross member and it has holes there, which will never be seen. So I decided to open up the recessed areas (see second pic) and then trimmed them to where they both matched.

 

 

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Edited by gpugh1976
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I then layed down some .010" sheet styrene on the top of the top piece (that has the torsion springs attached)(see first pic). When all is reassembled, it now has depth and looks much more realistic.

 

 

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Edited by gpugh1976
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Moving onto the rearend, the DANA 60 from the Super Bee was just a bit narrow in comparison to the 8 3/4 from the Satellite. Originally, I was just going to use the rear end and the leaf springs from the Super Bee. When I discovered that it was just a tad too narrow, I came up with this idea. The axle tubes are the same diameter between the two so I just cut the DANA right before the U-bolt detail and added the axle ends with leaf springs from the Satellite to it. Thank you AMT and Moebius! This ended up being easier in the end anyways because the leaf springs mount right up to the chassis plate and the studs for the lower shock mount are already in place. Score!

 

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