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Country Girl funny car build


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Posting my 1st build here...

I belong to a group where we drag race with slot cars using model car kits. Hope it's ok to post here. It is drag racing...:D

We've had a couple meets at a place called Sassy Racing Engines, where they make full blown Hemi engines for modified pulling tractors and drag racers.
Back in the 70's, the owner of the shop, John Knox was into drag racing himself. He had a Plymouth Duster funny car that was driven by his wife Rodalyn, and it was called the Country Girl. After moving onto another funny car, and then into Modified pulling tractors, the Duster was sold off and had gotten split up, with the chassis going one place, and the body another. As it worked out later on, John was able to locate both the body and the chassis and was able to reunite them and restore the car to it's former glory...

Since John was kind enough to let us set up a drag strip and run our cars in his heated shop in the dead of winter, I thought it'd be cool to make the Country Girl funny car so he could race with us the next time we go there. John and I started looking for a Duster funny car, and we came across one that was driven by Tom McEwen.

So I ordered it up from Model Roundup, and got it in a few days. After a week or so, I was able to start work on it. I use the kit provided chassis as a guide, and made a brass chassis.

The kit chassis can now sit inside the brass chassis, which makes look pretty cool, IMO.

When I mounted the body, I saw some issues that I felt needed to be addressed. Look at the real car above. See how the engine is sticking out pretty good? And also notice the humps for the front tires, which allows the the front to sit really low. Now compare this to the initial mockup...

As you can see the body sits quite high compared to the Country Girl, and there are no humps for the front tires molded into the body. Also note that the location for the motor is not anywhere close to sticking up. It's actually tucked inside the windshield.
The motor wasn't to big a deal. Simply moving it ahead in the chassis makes it appear to be sticking up pretty good.
I had to get away from the kit body mounts and fabricate my own in order to lower the back half of the body.
Stock rear mount..

New rear mount...

The wheel humps turned out to be quite a challenge for me. First I had to get brave enough to take a dremel to the body to make the holes where the tires would be. Believe me, I was quite hesitant to do so. After getting over that "hump" (pun intended  :D ) and making the holes, I glued in a couple of small pieces of sheet styrene to make the humps.

Once the glued dried, I then used Bondo that comes in a tube to fill the holes and to blend them into the body.

After several rounds of sanding and adding more bondo and more sanding, I now have this.

Not the best work, and I may do more sanding to try and make it look better. But it's good enough for another mock up, and I think it looks much better. The body is lower, the motor is more prominent, and the humps are there. In this pic, the headers are holding the front of the body up, so I'll need to adjust those to get the body lower.

That's as far as I've gotten at this time. Will update as I progress...

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Love the project ,also a very ambitious project ,good luck with it can't wait to see it completed. Also I don't know if u know or not but the polar lights funny cars have very convincing rims for this era .

Edited by Metaldrumm
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Thanks for the kind comments guys. And yeah Gasser56, I'd like to see it run also...:lol:

Was able to work on it more this morning before heading off to work. If you may have noticed in the previous pics, the model kit has a full spoiler across the back. The car I'm replicating did not...

So this meant more work with the dremel... This is what I ended up with. I think it'll work out ok. The bondo you see is me hoping to fill the seam where the rear body panel meets the actual body. I'm hoping to give it a seamless look when it's done...

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Managed to get a little progress the past couple days...

Made notches in the body for the headers...

Mounted some functional wheelie bars...

Fabricated a drop arm for the guide. This will allow the front end to come up, yet the guide will stay in contact with the track...

Had put a couple light coats of white on the body, then realized I have some sanding to do on account of the flashing...

I learned last night we're racing this weekend. So I'm gonna stick a motor in it, wire it up and give it some shakedown runs and see where she's at before continuing on.

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No work on the car since the last post, but hope you don't mind if I "brag" a bit :D

In the race last night on the SPE drag strip, in a field of 28 entries, it qualified 5th with a .703 run (TQ was .680).
I was quite happy with the build at this point. But against a stout field of cars, it worked it's way thru and into the final and won the race!!  B)
So yes, I'm really happy with how the build is going so far. This week, I hope to work on the final preps on the body to get it ready for paint and decals.
Driveline components consist of using a H&R Lightning motor (40k) running a 10/30 gear ratio. Tires are homemade urethanes using kit tires as a mold.

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Not a whole lot done since last week, but am moving along slowly...
Sanded off the flashing that was on the body. Much cleaner appearance, and should allow a better surface for the decals

Since I had moved the motor ahead and lowered the body, that meant the kit supplied fire wall/interior didn't fit right anymore. So had to modify it some, and make a new piece for the flat area behind the motor. I can tell you it was a bit of a pain, cuz not only does it have to fit around the scoop and blower, but I also have to contend with the windshield. I think I have it though...

I think that's my last hurdle before I can start laying decals on it (fingers crossed)...

Now I have to tell you this "funny" (read annoying!) story...

When I had painted the chassis, I also painted the roll cage. When they dried, I brought them over to the work bench. Now, I recall specifically thinking to myself..."I don't need the roll cage yet, so I'll just set it aside 'over here' "...

You know where this is going right?

A couple days later, I went to get the roll cage, and I couldn't remember where "over here" was.... :blink:

For over a week, I couldn't find it. Talk about being a little frustrated with oneself. Fortunately, I was able to continue the build, and my thinking was I'll come across it along the way (at least I hoped so).

Couple days ago, I had put some white paint on the body, so while waiting for it to dry, I worked on another car. I was working on a wheel assembly, and dropped the insert. Well, you know how round things go when you drop them, and how they stay right where it dropped, right? WRONG!!! I swear these things have a mind of their own when they hit the floor, and will roll incredible distances. Even further than if you threw them!!!  :o
So yeah, that meant me crawling around on the floor looking for a stupid wheel insert. And wouldn't you know it, I found the roll cage on the floor BEHIND the chair. Now I KNOW this wasn't where "over here" was, but I will tell you I was quite happy at this point  :D  I was even happy I dropped the BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH wheel insert  :D  Oh, that insert, you won't believe it, but about 20 minutes later, I found it....in a box of parts!!! Yeah, it never made it to the floor, but landed in a box under the work bench....  :lol:

You may have noticed in the pic above, that the roll cage is now glued to the chassis... :)

So it's true, all is well when it ends well (or something like that  :lol: )

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Progress has been a little on the slow side, but did manage to get some silver on the body...

Around the motor

Rear bumper painted on...

Also removed the chrome off the rear wheels and painted those silver. You can also see silver along the bottom of the body as the real car has.

Got some front wheel inserts from a Polar Lights kit that match the car. There a little darker color than I was aiming for, but they'll work.

Next is the part where I'm really nervous...laying the decals on. It's now time to bring this all together... :blink:

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Well, I think I got it done...  :D
First though, I'd like to say a big thank to Jeff of Firebird Designs for making the special custom decals for me.
The decals went on pretty easy, much easier though I had thought they would for such large pieces.

A side view of the real car...

A side view of the my car...

A front view of the real car...

A front view of my car...

And a few more...

Is it perfect? Nope, nothing I make ever is... 

But for the effort I put into it, I'm very happy with how it came out

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That turned out super, and I know she'll run as good as she looks. I remember when we had a local hobby store with a "Drag strip" and a buddy made a Little red wagon and would pull wheelies all the way down the quarter mile, looked real cool. good luck on your next project. Also do you know if Jeff has any more decals, I'm in a Drag car building mood right now and those decale look real nice, would like to buy a set if he still has the "program" to print those, Thanks, Rick

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Thanks Rick.

We also had a guy build the Li'l Red Wagon, and he got his to do a wheelie the whole way as well. Guess it's just a popular thing to do with that model...lol


As for decals, here's Jeff's website, click on "categories" to see his line up.


Contact him if you want any custom work done. I did send him the Duster body so he could make the decals fit better for this project.

All in all, I'm very happy with how the project turned out, and the decals were a big part of it.

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