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AdamC

Modeling Family Cars: 1970s Chevrolets

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I'm looking for some knowledge/advice on modeling the cars my parents owned during the '70s. They traded the first one the year I was born so I'm not 100% sure I ever rode in it, but photos exist somewhere so I should have references for all of these post Thanksgiving. 

First: 1970 Chevy Nova (not an SS though). I'm assuming I should start with a Revell or AMT kit. Is one a better option? How hard will it be to "downgrade" it to a non SS model?

Next: 1974 Chevy Impala. Does anyone make a model of this and/or is it possible to model with another model year kit?

And finally: 1978 Chevy Cheyenne Pickup. I saw this morning Revell is issuing a '78 GMC pickup in December. Would that be the best place to start? 

All help and comments welcome!

 

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I'm looking for some knowledge/advice on modeling the cars my parents owned during the '70s. They traded the first one the year I was born so I'm not 100% sure I ever rode in it, but photos exist somewhere so I should have references for all of these post Thanksgiving. 

First: 1970 Chevy Nova (not an SS though). I'm assuming I should start with a Revell or AMT kit. Is one a better option? How hard will it be to "downgrade" it to a non SS model?

Start with the Revell '69 Nova SS Special Edition kit-- much better than the AMT kit. The kit has the "SS" molded to the grille, so removing that will be a challenge, or just paint the center black and call it good.

 

Next: 1974 Chevy Impala. Does anyone make a model of this and/or is it possible to model with another model year kit?

MPC released a kit of the '74 Chevy Caprice, but they are long out of production and getting pricey:

s-l1600.jpg

The (most recent version in the line) MPC '76 Caprice is still semi-easy to find and cheaper, but the nose looks different, so that may make even more work for you.

 

And finally: 1978 Chevy Cheyenne Pickup. I saw this morning Revell is issuing a '78 GMC pickup in December. Would that be the best place to start? 

The 1/25 MPC '78 Chevy Stepside pickup is probably your best starting point as it was the only 2WD kit (all the rest were 4WD), but was your parents' truck a Fleetside?

 

 

 

 

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Casey, thanks for the info. My knowledge of cars in general is pretty shallow so I appreciate your help. I'll keep my eyes open for a '74 Caprice. I'm also willing to wait and hope it's reissued at some point. 

Regarding the truck (after googling what a fleetside is), yes it was a fleetside. This is probably the first vehicle I can say I have memories of, and I'm almost sure my dad let me "drive" it once between our house and my grandparent's house; a whole 200' down what was more or less a gravel driveway. According to my mom it was 2-tone tan w/ burgundy side panels, and she had my dad get the side panels repainted to light blue when she started driving it as her primary vehicle. 

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The Chevy Caprice kit was updated each(?) year, and the '75-'76 "nose" of the car is more squared off compared to the '71-'74 model years, if that makes sense. If you want to minimize the amount of work, seek out an original MPC '74 kit, as the '76 is all that remains of those annual updates. Here's the most recently reissued version of the MPC 1/25 '76 Chevy Caprice kit:

mpc-1976-chevy-caprice-with-trailer.jpg

 

For the truck, you're probably looking for something like this, at least as far as the color scheme and side panel area are concerned?:

1979-chevrolet-k30-cheyenne-front-three-

 

There were no kits made with the long eight-foot Fleetside bed, only the shorter (6.5'?) Fleetside bed, which comes in the Revell/Monogram 1/24 scale GMC kit. No kits had the trim which divides the panel area from the rest of the body, though, so that would need to be carefully added with some styrene strip.

Again, not sure how deep you want to get into this, so maybe re-painting a die-cast model would be an option, too?

 

 

Edited by Casey

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The Chevy Caprice kit was updated each(?) year, and the '75-'76 "nose" of the car is more squared off compared to the '71-'74 model years, if that makes sense. If you want to minimize the amount of work, seek out an original MPC '74 kit, as the '76 is all that remains of those annual updates. Here's the most recently reissued version of the MPC 1/25 '76 Chevy Caprice kit:

mpc-1976-chevy-caprice-with-trailer.jpg

 

For the truck, you're probably looking for something like this, at least as far as the color scheme and side panel area are concerned?:

1979-chevrolet-k30-cheyenne-front-three-

 

There were no kits made with the long eight-foot Fleetside bed, only the shorter (6.5'?) Fleetside bed, which comes in the Revell/Monogram 1/24 scale GMC kit. No kits had the trim which divides the panel area from the rest of the body, though, so that would need to be carefully added with some styrene strip.

Again, not sure how deep you want to get into this, so maybe re-painting a die-cast model would be an option, too?

 

 

MPC, as you wrote, did produce a '78 Chevy Stepside pickup.  But, MPC also did the "Fall Guy"  early 80's GMC short fleetside pickup, which box can be used to replicate a 73-later Fleetside.  If making a long bed from this one, it will take two beds and two chassis, due to the longer overall length and wheelbase.  The dimensional differences are very easy, and not at all hard to replicate:

The short bed (78 Chevy) is 6' 6" long in scale, as is the GMC Fleetside short box.  To stretch the Fleetside to 8' (standard Chevy/GMC  long bed,  that box (and the chassis underneath) is 12" longer,  with a rear overhang that is 6" inches longer.  That accounts for the 18" difference in overall length, and the 12" longer wheelbase.  As the bed sides on the Fleetside are parallel, it's a very easy conversion to make, been there, done that, won the Tee-Shirt, when I was doing cast resin kits and conversions under the All American Models name back in the 1990's.

Art

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I agree that the Revell Nova kit would be the best base for that build. This kit has been reissued several times in various configurations. The one I would suggest is the Nova COPO edition with the green colored model on the box. This will give you a standard body and grill without any SS trim. It includes the bench seat and steel wheels and base hub caps that you may want. The only issue you will have is replacing the Big Block with  a Small Block or 6 Cylinder depending. Those engines are easy to find and you have a very nice Big Block for another project.

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Although the AMT 72 Nova kit isn't nearly as good as the Revell 69, it is more accurate foe building a 70 as it has the correct lights all around.

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For the truck, you're probably looking for something like this, at least as far as the color scheme and side panel area are concerned?:

1979-chevrolet-k30-cheyenne-front-three-

If memory serves me correctly that's what it looked like. It sounds like, based on your comments and Art's comments that it's possible to make a model of this truck, but it's going to take a bit of work. Sounds like it could be a fun challenge. 

I'll have to just wait I guess and keep an eye out for the '74 Caprice model. If one shows up and doesn't cost an arm and a leg I'll grab it. 

Based on all the comments it looks like the '70 Nova will be the easiest to try to replicate. I guess I'll start with that one!

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MPC, as you wrote, did produce a '78 Chevy Stepside pickup.  But, MPC also did the "Fall Guy"  early 80's GMC short fleetside pickup, which box can be used to replicate a 73-later Fleetside.  If making a long bed from this one, it will take two beds and two chassis, due to the longer overall length and wheelbase.  The dimensional differences are very easy, and not at all hard to replicate:

The short bed (78 Chevy) is 6' 6" long in scale, as is the GMC Fleetside short box.  To stretch the Fleetside to 8' (standard Chevy/GMC  long bed,  that box (and the chassis underneath) is 12" longer,  with a rear overhang that is 6" inches longer.  That accounts for the 18" difference in overall length, and the 12" longer wheelbase.  As the bed sides on the Fleetside are parallel, it's a very easy conversion to make, been there, done that, won the Tee-Shirt, when I was doing cast resin kits and conversions under the All American Models name back in the 1990's.

Art

Art, I found this while looking around online. Would this aftermarket bed work for what I need it for?

Chevy Long Bed - madmodeling.com

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Adam, don't count out these 2 pickups. They have the exact same grille [and most of the rest of the kit's the same also] as the 2 wheel drive kit and may be easier to find. 

Image result for mpc 78 chevy shortbed

Image result for mpc 78 chevy shortbed

 

IF you need the 2 wheel drive front suspension, someone makes a copy in resin or you can use the front suspension from one of the mid '60s Revell Chevy pickups. 

Edited by Can-Con

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Adam, don't count out these 2 pickups. They have the exact same grille [and most of the rest of the kit's the same also] as the 2 wheel drive kit and may be easier to find. 

Image result for mpc 78 chevy shortbed

Image result for mpc 78 chevy shortbed

 

IF you need the 2 wheel drive front suspension, someone makes a copy in resin or you can use the front suspension from one of the mid '60s Revell Chevy pickups. 

I wonder what happened to the tooling for the above MPC Chevy truck? Was it converted into the Fall Guy GMC? I'd love to see that one reissued.

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Although the AMT 72 Nova kit isn't nearly as good as the Revell 69, it is more accurate foe building a 70 as it has the correct lights all around.

Correct lights all around? Don't all '69 - '72 Novas have the same lights? I know there some minor grille changes after the first year, 1968. And some years/versions did not include the fake front fender vents. But, I don't recall any exterior light changes after 1968. I maybe wrong on this?

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Casey, thanks for the info. My knowledge of cars in general is pretty shallow so I appreciate your help. I'll keep my eyes open for a '74 Caprice. I'm also willing to wait and hope it's reissued at some point. 

Regarding the truck (after googling what a fleetside is), yes it was a fleetside. This is probably the first vehicle I can say I have memories of, and I'm almost sure my dad let me "drive" it once between our house and my grandparent's house; a whole 200' down what was more or less a gravel driveway. According to my mom it was 2-tone tan w/ burgundy side panels, and she had my dad get the side panels repainted to light blue when she started driving it as her primary vehicle. 

As far as hoping for the '74 Caprice to someday be reissued. Sorry to say the molds were modified to produce the '75, and then the '76 Caprice. So don't hold your breath on waiting for that one to be reissued. This is true with several of the old kits back in the day. They would be modified to produce the next year's model. Since '76 was the last year for that generation full-size Chevy, the dies were not modified after that. Hence Round 2 is able to reissue the '76.

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Correct lights all around? Don't all '69 - '72 Novas have the same lights? I know there some minor grille changes after the first year, 1968. And some years/versions did not include the fake front fender vents. But, I don't recall any exterior light changes after 1968. I maybe wrong on this?

Front parking lights, side marker lights and tail lights all grew bigger in 1970.

 

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Blue 69, dark 70. On the dark 70 you can also see the larger side marker light with the  engine size call out above it. The 68 and 69's had the engine call out included in the bezel.

 

69 nova front.jpg

70 nova front.jpg

Edited by Craig Irwin

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I wonder what happened to the tooling for the above MPC Chevy truck? Was it converted into the Fall Guy GMC? I'd love to see that one reissued.

Yes, it was. ,, and the "Fall Guy" truck is out now as "The Deserter" , just with the Hardcastle and McCormick" truck's grille.

Edited by Can-Con

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I wanted to post a quick update. I've got the Revell '69 Nova to start that project. I went with the COPO boxing suggested by @espo. I didn't have time at Thanksgiving to go through old photos, but I should be able to do it this weekend. I'll bring them home and scan them and share a few when I start a build log. 

As for the '78 Chevy pickup, I bought the Dust Devil kit that @Can-Con suggested so I think I have the correct front half of the truck. I'll still have to find a bench seat somewhere. I also found out my parent's truck was a short bed. Would the MPC Deserter kit give me the bed I need? 

Thanks again everyone for the help.

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AMT had a kit of a 1976 Caprice coupe that has been reissued a few times. This kit would give you the general body style to make an Impala. The kit includes a Big Block engine but that can be changed if your parents had the more common 350 cu. in. engine. The one I have is an RC2 issue from 2006. The kit also happens to have a single axle car trailer as a bonus. Hope that will help you tp make the Impala.

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