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Phildaupho

Silver Sapphire Little Deuce Coupe - engine fitting - Jan 24

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I am building a model of the "Chili" Catallo Silver Sapphire Little Deuce Coupe for Deuce Days in Scale in Victoria BC Canada July 21/19 image.png.f4da9f6e6fa187f14d6d57f5720abcb2.pngT

This is the Eric Rickman photo that appeared as is on the cover Hot Rod magazine and cropped on the cover of the Beach Boys album. The car owner "Chili"Clarence Catallo is wearing "Big Daddy" Ed Roth's jacket to add some extra color to the photo !!

I was a car crazy teenager in the early sixties and infatuated with the California life style so the Beach Boys were my favorite rock & roll group. I especially loved their car songs and the associated album covers. For their Ed Sullivan performance of their song  “I get around”, there were three hot rods on stage. However I was a little bummed when they used a Model A cab Pickup on their Surfin’ Safari album rather than a Woody. Lately I have focused on the Little Deuce Coupe album. Last year I built a model which more reflects the words of the song. This time I am building a replica of the car that appeared on the album cover which was known as the Silver Sapphire that was owned by Chili Catallo. I was delighted to discover that I would be using parts from kits of two of my favorite cars of the early sixties the Ala Kart and Beatnik Bandit both of which I have never gotten around to building models of – surprisingly enough. I even found a photo of the Silver Sapphire and the Beatnik Bandit at the same show.

BODY 

The well done resin body and custom nose came from Hendrix Mfg. Co. so maybe the most difficult and visible part of this build was already done for me and it did not need much work after clean up, but I would still have to make up lower side wings from sheet styrene, make a firewall and create the rear tube “grill” and taillights. Also required is a complete chassis with appropriate suspension, steering and brakes as well as providing an engine and  full  interior.

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INTERIOR

Interior tub is from the Revell 3-W Coupe and was sectioned.

Foot boxes were recessed between the frame rails.

Made up the square button stuff pattern by scribing and filing styrene sheet. Buttons will be pin heads.

Dash will be modified for extra gauges.

Steering wheel will come from AMT 32 Victoria

Shifter sourced from AMT 25 T

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CHASSIS

Frame from Revell Deuce with floor, front horns and fuel tank removed.

Z’d in back frame height

FRONT SUSPENSION

37 Ford tub axle from AMT 25 T using spring in front of axle so shocks need to be reversed and swapped side to side

Steering will use pieces front Revell 29/30 Ford, AMT 25 T and Replicas & Miniatures

REAR SUSPENSION

Rearend from Revell Deuce with input housing and back cap from the Revell Beatnik Bandit kit to make it look Oldsmobile

Transverse leaf spring, shocks and radius rods added

[Only photo of rear suspension I could find was of Danbury Mint Diecast !!]

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FRONT BRAKES

Kinmont front brakes from Replicas & Miniatures

REAR BRAKES

AMT Ala Kart

FRONT AND REAR WHEELS AND TIRES

White wall front tires and chrome wheels from AMT Ala Kart. Slicks from Revell Tire Set

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DRIVETRAIN

Oldsmobile engine and rearend from the Revell Beatnik Bandit kit

6-71 Blower assembly from Revell Willys Street Rod [Beatnik Bandit had a 4-71]

Carburetors -

TRANSMISSION

La Salle transmission from Replicas & Miniatures

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INCIDENTALS

Background history of Silver Sapphire

This car has a very interesting history and evolution as a hot  rod, there having been 5 distinct versions of the car

-         Clarence “Chili” Catallo bought the ’32 3-W as a fifteen year old in Detroit

-         The first modied version was built by Chili and his friends and family. The body was channelled and ran an Oldsmobile that was initially carburetted and eventually McCulloch supercharged. The rear wheel arch was raised during this time and it got its first set of scallops and lots of chrome

-         When Chili had more money he took it to the Alexander Brothers who sectioned the doors and added the side wings, custom nose and other features. The engine went back to carburetors

-         Chili moved to California the rod & custom mecca where the car spent time at the Barris shop. There it was chopped, the 6-71 GMC supercharger was added and it got the paint job and scallops we are all familiar with from the Beach Boys album cover.

-         Chili eventually sold the car to buy a Porsche. The car was repowered by Chrysler Wedge and got a new frame but that owner kept all the original parts

-         Chili bought the car back in the mid-nineties but died before the restoration was completed. Chili’s son Curt completed the restoration in 2000 and the car remains in family ownership.

Edited by Phildaupho

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Surprised this icon of rock & rod history hasn't turned up in 1/24-25th scale before....at least not that I can recall.  If memory serves...it was rendered in 1/32nd scale by Aurora as The Ram Rod kit...to accompany their other kits like The Wolf Wagon, Shift in Drifter, Beatnik Box, etc.

Edited by styromaniac

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One of the collectible companies offered a built up version some time ago, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.

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Cool! I love to build Rod´n´Custom legends myself, but I didn´t know there was a resin kit of the Lil´ Deuce available. Will follow this build!

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 When checking out how the engine would fit I discovered the blower pulleys and belts would require a minimum of an extra 3mm so to be on the safe side I lengthened the frame 5mm ahead of the engine mounts. Because the wheelbase was reduced by about 3mm due to the axle being located behind the spring I think the result gives the model better proportions.

For its age I must say I am very impressed with the Beatnik Bandit Oldsmobile engine although I used the 6-71 Blower from the Revell Willys.

Everything is currently being held togehter by masking or double faced tape so alignments are not accurate

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This is a very cool build. I love your kit bashing resourcefulness. It looks like you can come back a few scale inches with the radiator /grill. Since the grill is so much thicker than a 32 shell it gives the impression the car is longer. 

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3 hours ago, modelfink said:

This is a very cool build. I love your kit bashing resourcefulness. It looks like you can come back a few scale inches with the radiator /grill. Since the grill is so much thicker than a 32 shell it gives the impression the car is longer. 

Thanks Travis - After lengthening the frame and putting the engine with belts and pulleys in place I considered taking 2mm out but once the axle was in place I noticed the bottom pulley would interfere with the axle. Things don't always work out in scale and when kit bashing as they do in the full scale world.

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1 hour ago, Phildaupho said:

Thanks Travis - After lengthening the frame and putting the engine with belts and pulleys in place I considered taking 2mm out but once the axle was in place I noticed the bottom pulley would interfere with the axle. Things don't always work out in scale and when kit bashing as they do in the full scale world.

Ahh yes. The radiator / engine / axle clearance issue on hot rods is always a challenge. Yours is looking good. Keep up the good work

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