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alan barton

Mickey Thompson 69 Mustang Mach 1 Funnycar x 2!

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Hi guys, I thought I would post this project here as it is fairly ambitious and I suspect I will need some assistance from some of your guys at some stage of the build.

Back in June at our annual Hot Rod and Street Machine Spectacular I was stunned to see this car on display way out here in Perth, Western Australia.  It turns out that not was it restored here, I have known the owner for over forty five years.  Here's what I saw as I walked into the show.

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I got talking to Greg and he explained that he found the body in the U.S on one of his regular visits and managed to secure it just before the previous owners, two partners in crime, were about to saw it in half down the middle to make a garage wall art installation.  On top of that it had already been lengthened to form the mold for a nostalgia funny car and was now painted white.  Greg was able to confirm that it was indeed the original M/T car Mustang from '69 so he organised to have it shipped to Perth.

Now before anyone jumps in and questions the accuracy of Greg's build, he is quick to point out that this is not a concours winning perfect restoration of its 1969 form.  Greg said he could have organised to have a new Buttera frame built and collected all the parts for an era perfect resto but then he would have had a museum piece, not a racecar.  Australia, just like America and Canada, has racing regs that make it virtually impossible to race historic drag cars.  Instead, Greg hunted down the last chassis Lil John ever built.  Fortunately it had never been raced so it was in perfect nick.  Of course, it had to have a SOHC!

So what you see here is an evolution of the original M/T car.  Hopefully it will get to do its first full noise pass sometime this season.

The car is absolutely stunning and the workmanship has to be seen to be believed.  Greg has a long history in Australian hot rodding.  In the early eighties, he built a 350 Chevy powered Model A coupe, won every award he could at the Perth show before driving it across Australia ( that's over 3,000 miles in mostly isolated single lane country roads) and then repeated the wins at the Melbourne show, then the biggest in the country.  On his return to Perth he worked the motor a bit more and soon had it running 12 second passes.  This car could do everything.

So we get talking and Greg asks  "How hard would it be to build a model of my car?"  Now I should have turned around at that point and run to the exit but before you know it I hear myself saying "OH, you should be able to get most of the bits pretty easy".  Next thing, Greg hands me a handful of cash and asks " Can you make two, I want to give one to Danny Thompson, Mickey's son who just Broke the world land speed record for wheel driven cars.

So then I got an order off to Slixx for their decal sheets and a pair of Competition Resins bodies and fished around locally to find a pair of Revell Jungle Jim Vega funnycar kits.  Here's what I started with.

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Here's the start of the chassis mods.  I had to cut off the front crossmember and stretch the frame, pinning the sections of Evergreen I had to add to the front.  The challenge here is to try to keep everything straight and parallel. The car has an unusual leading arm torsion bar setup with trailing radius rods. The axle is dead straight so I cut the ends off the Vega axle and pinned them to a piece of Evergreen rod.

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I have decided to use the SOHC motors out of the Ohio George Willys kits, simply because I had two of them!  I cut the trans off and trimmed the rear of the block to accept the Vega firewall.  The SOHC front cover also needs some corrections and I have to fabricate a new front  motor plate.  I will be using the Vega headers ( I think) manifold and blower because they are very close to to items on the real car.

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I must confess to not taking nearly enough photos during the reworking of the frame but I promise to take more when I start on the second frame.  I must have been hiding under a rock but I had no idea that Revell had completely retooled the old multi piece Buttera frame from the sixties into a magnificent 21st century version!  This has saved me hours of frustration.  I have built at least four of the original nightmares so I was over the moon to open the new Jungle Jim box and find a pristine, STRAIGHT frame.  I got some primer on today and I am heading for Greg's workshop tomorrow to check my progress against the real car and also to take more photos - it doesn't matter how many you take there are never enough.  This car also has a rather unusual rear end arrangement so that is one thing I must photograph tomorrow.  I will also be picking up the two bodies - Greg had his painter finish them in the same paint used on the real car.  What a  relief - that is a huge weight off my mind.  The phone photos I've seen of the paint look amazing!

I have changed the rollcage to a six point design, installed the torsion bar crossmember, removed the original fuel tank mounts and added the front weight bar brackets as well as a start on the rear end location.

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VERY impressive work and  amazing story! DO keep us posted on your progress and Drive On! B)

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Great story and nice work on the FC so far. Looking forward to following along.

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Posted (edited)

Very nice and I like your jig

Edited by vintagercr

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Hey Alan, glad to see your back on this project. The Ohio George Willys SOHC engines are a good version. Looks great so far.

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Sounds like a great project - I'm in.

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Thanks for all the support, guys.  I got a coat of paint on the fuel tank before heading out to Greg's workshop this morning.  It is made of 13 pieces of styrene sheet and tube and I am very happy with how it came out - just got to build a second one now.

Greg's painter did a magnificent job on the two resin bodies.  He is taking the Slixx decal sheet to his signwriter to see if he can retouch the name - all Greg's research indicates the shading on the name was in bright yellow while the decal sheet shows a very soft pastel pinky orange.

Got a heap more photos, spotted a few corrections I need to make but overall progress is good and Greg is very happy with what he sees so far.

Cheers

Alan

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Kool project. I saw this car run in Dallas and win the event in 1969. Looking forward to more updates.

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Great progress so far!  Looking forward to watching this one.

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Neat story and project(s).  Can't wait to see you next update.  cheers

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This looks great. What a plus...having the actual paint on the bodies. Keep going.....

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You're right there, Goatguy, I couldn't get the smile off my face when I saw them.  It takes a lot of stress out of the build.  There is still a lot to do but I am very happy with the chassis - front and rear axles are the next bit of scratchbuilding to contend with.  The engine is going to look after itself but I made need to scratchbuild the injectors - I have a found a few parts that are close in shape but too small.

I heard a few more interesting stories from Greg on the weekend.  One of the ways that he was able to identify that the sandblasted and generally neglected body was in fact the Mickey Thompson car was by the rear marker lights.  Ford supplied crates and crates of parts for this effort in order to promote the then new Mach 1 Mustang.  Somehow they inadvertently sent Mercury marker lights instead of Mustang ones - that is what went on the car and the spacing of the holes helped confirm it!  You can also still see evidence of damage to the right hand windshield pillar (underneath) that occurred during an accident.  

Once I get the front and rear axles sorted and the frame sitting on wheels I think it will start to build itself.  Hopefuly I will have more photos by the weekend.

And Codi, thanks for your comments.  It is your approach to scratchbuilding simply everything that has inspired me to tackle this project.  I wont meet your levels of metal mastery, even in plastic,  but I will try to use your approach to keep me on track.

Cheers

Alan

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Hi everyone, I know there has been a long wait but I really did lose my way on this one.

I had begun by modifying a Revell Jungle Jim Vega chassis . Things seemed to be going well until I tried to position the front and rear axles. No matter what I did, it looked like it was going to ahve the stance of a monster truck, and that simply wouldn't do.  I have been working on other projects on and off for a while but this thing needs to get finished so last night I made a new front axle, reworked the rear end and still it was hopeless.

 

Then I started looking at the frame again and decided I was going to have to lose some height out of the chassis and rollcage if I was ever going to get this thing packaged.  SO today, I grabbed a spare frame and cut away some of the bars in the cockpit area, plus cut a chunk out of the rollcage uprights and I 'found" about 10mm.  Suddenly the fit was a whole lot better.

Problem was, the rear axle was still going to be tough to get accurate .  While looking for some more parts, I stumbled upon a "late model Revellogram chassis, the Mongoose 57 Chevy actually, and I couldn't believe my eyes, it was a hundred times more accurate than what I had already achieved..  Sure, it will still need some more reworking but it has dawned on me that as I said at the start of this thread, the car was built with John Buttera's first funnycar chassis and the restoration was completed with his LAST chassis.  I had completely overlooked the significance of that fact.

So, I have had to go quite a way backwards to go forwards but overall this is the first time I have felt positive about this build for quite a while.  I should ahve some new photos soon!

 

Cheers

Alan

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So here's what went wrong. The rollcage rested on my cardboard rear window long before the bottom of the frame got close to the rocker panels.  In turn, that meant the engine and exhausts would be miles away and the injectors would never have reached the hood.

I then cut the rear uprights of the frame and trimmed the legs of the rollcage and gained close to 10mm over my first one.  I then started to look at the changes I needed to the side intrusion bars alongside the seat, something I hadn't looked at on the first frame.  I would also need to modify and lengthen the frame at the front, once again.

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As I was thinking about all the work ahead of me, I came across this assembled frame and and realised it could be a better fit with less work, but still work!  First step was to shorten the frame until it fitted inside the Mustang body.  First mockup looks like I am on the right track.

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Really like your solution you came up with.  Certainly better to catch it now than later.  Ready for some new pics though.  hint-hint............

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