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randyc

Monogram Lotus Esprit Turbo US version

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This is a new build for me.  Thought I'd try to document the build for future searches.  When  searched for more information, I didn't get a lot of hits for this particular kit.   I read a LOT about how this is a hard one to build and nothing fits all that well.  I'm building this for someone else, so hopefully it will all come together and we can find the pitfalls and others can avoid them in future builds.  the guy I'm building for keep sending me kits he wants and many are challenging.   Johan 31 Cadillac coming.   MPC 32 Chrysler as well.  

Dann Tier has a thread somewhere that I need to find next again to review how he put the dash in after separating from body.  Lots of good stuff on his build as well.  I won't do everything he did.  He goes into more detail than I do.  Mine is a build for someone who wants it built nicely, but superdetailing not necessary.

I started by spending a few hours trying to clean up parts.  Lots of mold lines and ejector pin marks.  I always start this way and then move to gluing up whatever subassemblies possible.   I'm finding on exotic cars that starting by gluing the major frame parts is a good start to a solid flat foundation.   I glued the tunnel onto the spine and front bulkhead first with liquid cement.  Let it dry, making sure it was flat and not warped.  I also cut some lead fishing weights in half and shoved them in the tunnel to give it a little weight to help sit flat.  I buy the little round ones at a big box for about a buck a bag and try to put as many in a car as possible to make it feel more substantial - like a diecast.   Before I painted, I also put the pieces on the rear of frame, making sure they line up with the body.  I put body and interior together to  use to test fit all of this as I go.

I painted the frame parts with some Duplicolor silver I had on hand,  Matches up with a powder coated frame I found on the net. Wanted to use a paint that would standup to a lot of handling.  

I Somewhere I saw a tip on painting coil overs.   I painted the shaft with Molotow and the shock body with brass.   then wrapped wire in the coils and then painted the coils black.  Remove wire - basically using wire as a masking agent. This worked pretty good EXCEPT... Problem was that I was trying to hold the fronts with a pair of hemastats.  One flew off into space to never be found again.  I heard it ricochet about 3 times before it settled somewhere.   Ok, not a critical part to the foundation of the car.  Just there for appearances

See photos.  this is the simplest, crudest coil over known to man.  Plastic rod tapered on one end cut long.    Drill a small hole near one end where you want coil to start.  I wrapped some Radio shack wire I use for plug wires around a wood screw about an inch long.  Unscrewed the screw from wire and had a coil.   Hooked one end in the hole I drilled and left other end floating.  Glued tapered end into the lower control arm.  Coils were way long, but when I put the front half of bulkhead on, I compressed the wire to fit and it tightened up the coils.   they are uneven.  This was quick, ugly fix.  Then I cut excess from top of coilovers.  This will work for a quick look under car.   There are coils under there in the place where they should be.  the kit parts are pretty crude as well, so no huge deal.  If I had a big chunk of plastic I could mill one I guess.  I have a drill and moto tool for lathes... lol

You can see that the front part of front bulkhead does not fit well already.  However, this is not a particularly crucial part of assembly.  It will be cosmetic for the most part.  It holds the coilovers in and mounts the front framepiece and rack and pinion.  Fits into underbody without interference.  The rear side pieces are more crucial in making this thing go together correctly.  You could finish this up more if you desire.  I don't think I'm going to use the removeable chassis feature on this one.

I have also assembled the engine block (with more lead weights in it) and every part I can that can be cleaned up and painted.   Probably go back to engine next.  

I'll keep documenting as I go.  I don't have a photo set up so you get to see my dirty workbench.  And I forget to take photos as I go.  

 

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Looks like a cool project. Are you starting with the Monogram Sport 300 kit?

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4 hours ago, Bainford said:

Looks like a cool project. Are you starting with the Monogram Sport 300 kit?

No.  The turbo us version.  Gray box with white/silver car on it.  

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, NOBLNG said:

Yep.  I replied to Dann so maybe he will share more tips on building this one.  Lots of net chatter about how these kits are so fiddly and hard to build.  Trying to document the build so more can be completed.  Sad when plastic doesn't get built.  😄

Edited by randyc
Dang tiny keyboard

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2 hours ago, randyc said:

Yep.  I replied to Dann so maybe he will share more tips on building this one.  Lots of net chatter about how these kits are so fiddly and hard to build.  Trying to document the build so more can be completed.  Sad when plastic doesn't get built.  😄

Hey, Randy, i will be starting up my Lotus again on Monday. If you wanna talk about them, i'm here!

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Cool, I am also building a Monogram Esprit so I am following this with interest.

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Short and quick.   Engine details.  As nice as the front of the engine is with all the belts and pulleys, it all gets hidden when installed.   Only issue I encountered with engine is that the cam cover with oil cap is shown incorrectly in my instructions.   Instructions show the cap going to the front.  Photos of real show it at back and the cap has to go to back for the gear mounting pin to be at front for the cam drive belt.   Might be a good idea to use a slower setting adhesive than I did - one is crooked.  I painted all the red parts red and then went back with detail paints.  And will hit the aluminum ribs again so they look better.  Lots of mold lines on these parts to be cleaned.  Have fun - they keep showing up after paint as well.  

 Also the vacuum pump part is a little vague.  No pin as shown in instructions.   Starter can be painted most any way you want - no consistent photos on the net.  But it's more than just black.  

I was going to wire the plugs, but the gap between the covers is so small it won't be seen.  I only dull coated the chrome parts.  It will give a little contrast to the painted parts.  

Next up will be installing the rear wheels and I think the chassis will be mostly done.   Then to body and interior which I have done very little with so far.  I have done the seats and dash gluing and sanding.   That's covered better in Dann Tier's post.   

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On 6/24/2019 at 8:43 AM, randyc said:

Short and quick.   Engine details.  As nice as the front of the engine is with all the belts and pulleys, it all gets hidden when installed.   Only issue I encountered with engine is that the cam cover with oil cap is shown incorrectly in my instructions.   Instructions show the cap going to the front.  Photos of real show it at back and the cap has to go to back for the gear mounting pin to be at front for the cam drive belt.   Might be a good idea to use a slower setting adhesive than I did - one is crooked.  I painted all the red parts red and then went back with detail paints.  And will hit the aluminum ribs again so they look better.  Lots of mold lines on these parts to be cleaned.  Have fun - they keep showing up after paint as well.  

 Also the vacuum pump part is a little vague.  No pin as shown in instructions.   Starter can be painted most any way you want - no consistent photos on the net.  But it's more than just black.  

I was going to wire the plugs, but the gap between the covers is so small it won't be seen.  I only dull coated the chrome parts.  It will give a little contrast to the painted parts.  

Next up will be installing the rear wheels and I think the chassis will be mostly done.   Then to body and interior which I have done very little with so far.  I have done the seats and dash gluing and sanding.   That's covered better in Dann Tier's post.   

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It does take a TON of clean-up....the engine bits, but yours is looking GREAT, bud!!!....i've done quite a bit of work on the body, and i will try to post it all tomorrow....its now soooo klose to being painted!!!

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On 6/22/2019 at 4:16 AM, Cpt Tuttle said:

Cool, I am also building a Monogram Esprit so I am following this with interest.

NICE!!!, how is yours going?!

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2 hours ago, Dann Tier said:

It does take a TON of clean-up....the engine bits, but yours is looking GREAT, bud!!!....i've done quite a bit of work on the body, and i will try to post it all tomorrow....its now soooo klose to being painted!!!

Thanks.   I have the chassis on all four wheels, engine in place.   Been working on body clean up, got the dash removed and glued together like you showed in yours.   Console and seats cleaned up.   Been working on something else for a while.   THe guy I'm building this one for decided on teal.  Chezoom teal - there are a couple on the net that are close to this color.   So I have a target color.   Probably go with gray interior at this point.   Have to look up some photos and see what exactly I need to do. 

Here's a builder's tip for others:  I did put the hatch in place because on the box art car, it has some poor fit issues.  And sure enough, the kit parts were the same.   So I put the hatch in place to see what needed to be adjusted. I think I have it pretty even by sanding the edges to match the body.    The rest of the body isn't too wavy.   The front bumper  and hood has some waviness that a sanding stick will smooth out. The panel gasp aren't bad - I pass or two with your favorite tool will clean those up.    

 

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5 hours ago, Dann Tier said:

NICE!!!, how is yours going?!

It has been stalled for a couple of months now but I really should do something on it again...

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22 hours ago, randyc said:

Thanks.   I have the chassis on all four wheels, engine in place.   Been working on body clean up, got the dash removed and glued together like you showed in yours.   Console and seats cleaned up.   Been working on something else for a while.   THe guy I'm building this one for decided on teal.  Chezoom teal - there are a couple on the net that are close to this color.   So I have a target color.   Probably go with gray interior at this point.   Have to look up some photos and see what exactly I need to do. 

Here's a builder's tip for others:  I did put the hatch in place because on the box art car, it has some poor fit issues.  And sure enough, the kit parts were the same.   So I put the hatch in place to see what needed to be adjusted. I think I have it pretty even by sanding the edges to match the body.    The rest of the body isn't too wavy.   The front bumper  and hood has some waviness that a sanding stick will smooth out. The panel gasp aren't bad - I pass or two with your favorite tool will clean those up.    

 

Thats GREAT to hear, bud!!!, thought i would have been able to post my updates yesterday, but it will have to wait til later today......looking forward to more of your updates though!!

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20 hours ago, Cpt Tuttle said:

It has been stalled for a couple of months now but I really should do something on it again...

....You should, bud!!!, i'd love to see it!!!

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On ‎01‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 9:21 AM, randyc said:

 

Here's a builder's tip for others:  I did put the hatch in place because on the box art car, it has some poor fit issues.  And sure enough, the kit parts were the same.   So I put the hatch in place to see what needed to be adjusted. I think I have it pretty even by sanding the edges to match the body.    The rest of the body isn't too wavy.   The front bumper  and hood has some waviness that a sanding stick will smooth out. The panel gasp aren't bad - I pass or two with your favorite tool will clean those up.    

 

Don't fettle those panel gaps too well. It IS a Lotus, after all.

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1 hour ago, Bainford said:

Don't fettle those panel gaps too well. It IS a Lotus, after all.

:lol:  I'll remember that when I get it done if anyone asks...

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ok, so I'm back on this one.  I didn't realize I haven't posted a photo of the chassis.   I assembled it according to instructions and it looks great as a model on it own.   I had test fit the interior platform and body over that with no nose or rear caps glued in place and everything looked REASONABLE.   

After reading Dann Tier's post, I glued the nose and rear cap on.  Let them dry.   Last night I was going to finish up the rear suspension with the shock towers and rear links.   The links went on well, and couldn't exactly see how the shock tower loop went in place.   So I put the interior platform on and nothing was fitting right.   The engine room panels were not snugging up to the chassis side panels.  I had been very careful to make sure this all fit when gluing up.  So no shock towers for now.  Snaded top of transaxle to allow the platform to sit lower.   At this point I don't have the body on the interior platform.  

I decided I better put the interior up in the body.  So I did and tried it again.  That's when everything went sideways.   With the nose and rear bumper in place, it changed the fit of the interior to body.    I put the body on there.  I now see why everyone says it sits too high in the front.  OMG that is awful!  And the driver's rear wheel is all wrong in the wheel well.  Too far inboard and too far back.   VERY IMPORTANT TO GLUE THOSE ENDCAPS TO THE BODY AND TEST FIT A LOT!!!!  You should do the endcaps first thing so you aren't misled through any early test fits of the chassis to body parts.  

So lots of issues to tackle.   I sorta started messing and should have taken a more methodical approach.  First thing I did was to elongate the holes in top of spine so the wheels would slide back a little in the openings.  This may bite me later.Trying to figure out all the fit issues that are happening here.  And the frame does not locate securely without gluing.  I was able to clamp the front in place to look at the back.  

I did not see an easy proper way to put in new lowered front mounting spindles.  The upright tapers and I didn't want to drill for new.  The front wheels don't attach in any secure way and it seems to me as if the holes the spindles go in are crooked from the factory.  If I put the wheels on a rod and spin the rod, the wheels wobble.   So I made an executive decision to just drill the holes lower in the wheels/rotors and hopefully get them to mount straight.  I clamped them in the vise and drilled carefully.  Glued them back in place and that seems to be better. 

Next issue is the rear wheels.  I ended up breaking the glue joint loose where the big control arm goes to frame.   There is a pin to mount with.  I cut it off and filed the mount flat.  With the body ON the chassis, clamped in place, I CA'd the control arm and lower locating arm into what seems to be correct placement and alignment.   And then I put it down to let it cure.  I will go back and drill the arm and frame for a pin to strengthen the joint.  

So... I am learning that all the problems I've read about are probably true.  This thing is pretty poorly engineered.   What seems like some interesting engineering and kit construction is just awful when you try to put all the subassemblies together.  I can't imagine some young or inexperienced modeler trying to build this thing.   Especially without folks like Dann Tier trying to guide us all to successful completion.  And here I thought all was well and I was about ready to paint the body parts.  

In my photos, I think the rear of the pan has slid too far up in the body as well.   I'll get back to it this evening maybe.   I really want this thing done and off my bench.  If it were mine, I'd just chunk the whole thing.   But this is a build for a friend.  So I'm trying to get it together as nicely as possible.  I think it will end up being TWO nice models.  A chassis with a beautiful engine.  And a nice body/interior.   But will those two go together to make ONE nice model?  We'll see....

 

IMG_20190710_183234553.thumb.jpg.062fa4c0de368c087fa7d3895c74275e.jpg

 

 

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IMG_20190710_183315102.jpg

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1 hour ago, randyc said:

ok, so I'm back on this one.  I didn't realize I haven't posted a photo of the chassis.   I assembled it according to instructions and it looks great as a model on it own.   I had test fit the interior platform and body over that with no nose or rear caps glued in place and everything looked REASONABLE.   

After reading Dann Tier's post, I glued the nose and rear cap on.  Let them dry.   Last night I was going to finish up the rear suspension with the shock towers and rear links.   The links went on well, and couldn't exactly see how the shock tower loop went in place.   So I put the interior platform on and nothing was fitting right.   The engine room panels were not snugging up to the chassis side panels.  I had been very careful to make sure this all fit when gluing up.  So no shock towers for now.  Snaded top of transaxle to allow the platform to sit lower.   At this point I don't have the body on the interior platform.  

I decided I better put the interior up in the body.  So I did and tried it again.  That's when everything went sideways.   With the nose and rear bumper in place, it changed the fit of the interior to body.    I put the body on there.  I now see why everyone says it sits too high in the front.  OMG that is awful!  And the driver's rear wheel is all wrong in the wheel well.  Too far inboard and too far back.   VERY IMPORTANT TO GLUE THOSE ENDCAPS TO THE BODY AND TEST FIT A LOT!!!!  You should do the endcaps first thing so you aren't misled through any early test fits of the chassis to body parts.  

So lots of issues to tackle.   I sorta started messing and should have taken a more methodical approach.  First thing I did was to elongate the holes in top of spine so the wheels would slide back a little in the openings.  This may bite me later.Trying to figure out all the fit issues that are happening here.  And the frame does not locate securely without gluing.  I was able to clamp the front in place to look at the back.  

I did not see an easy proper way to put in new lowered front mounting spindles.  The upright tapers and I didn't want to drill for new.  The front wheels don't attach in any secure way and it seems to me as if the holes the spindles go in are crooked from the factory.  If I put the wheels on a rod and spin the rod, the wheels wobble.   So I made an executive decision to just drill the holes lower in the wheels/rotors and hopefully get them to mount straight.  I clamped them in the vise and drilled carefully.  Glued them back in place and that seems to be better. 

Next issue is the rear wheels.  I ended up breaking the glue joint loose where the big control arm goes to frame.   There is a pin to mount with.  I cut it off and filed the mount flat.  With the body ON the chassis, clamped in place, I CA'd the control arm and lower locating arm into what seems to be correct placement and alignment.   And then I put it down to let it cure.  I will go back and drill the arm and frame for a pin to strengthen the joint.  

So... I am learning that all the problems I've read about are probably true.  This thing is pretty poorly engineered.   What seems like some interesting engineering and kit construction is just awful when you try to put all the subassemblies together.  I can't imagine some young or inexperienced modeler trying to build this thing.   Especially without folks like Dann Tier trying to guide us all to successful completion.  And here I thought all was well and I was about ready to paint the body parts.  

In my photos, I think the rear of the pan has slid too far up in the body as well.   I'll get back to it this evening maybe.   I really want this thing done and off my bench.  If it were mine, I'd just chunk the whole thing.   But this is a build for a friend.  So I'm trying to get it together as nicely as possible.  I think it will end up being TWO nice models.  A chassis with a beautiful engine.  And a nice body/interior.   But will those two go together to make ONE nice model?  We'll see....

 

IMG_20190710_183234553.thumb.jpg.062fa4c0de368c087fa7d3895c74275e.jpg

 

 

IMG_20190710_183251057.thumb.jpg.7c0ca49227bffc43972699afd9284ae6.jpg

IMG_20190710_183315102.jpg

Now i feel bad that i havent gotten back to this one.....i will fix the ride height issue today, then post it. Sorry, bud!

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1 minute ago, Dann Tier said:

Now i feel bad that i havent gotten back to this one.....i will fix the ride height issue today, then post it. Sorry, bud!

Eh no big deal.   I guess the next big thing on mine is everything!  LOL.  I need to get the wheels all placed correctly, then see what's up with the fit of chassis to interior platform/body.   I think the most improtant thing for a new build would be to get the body glued together so the interior platform is locked to the body properly for test fitting.  If I ever did it again or end up having to start over on this one...  this is one of those kits where every piece seems to relate to every other piece.  And they all need to work together properly for it to go together correctly.  And from the box, the ride height is going to be wrong.   I may have the rear too low by accident.  The rear shock hoop doesn't want to fit right at all - comparing to your build.  

I may try to make a pivot like the real car would have.  BUT...  Unfortunately that will lock the wheelbase and the wheels would travel in an arc when adjusting the ride height.   If I can get ONE wheel in place correctly, then I can adjust the last wheel to sit right.  And lastly, it seems like the rear track may be narrow out of the box.  I know yours will have custom wheel/tire and will probably be better.   We'll see next time I'm at the bench.

I am also wondering if I can go ahead and attach the rockers to the bottom of interior.  So when I mock it all up, everything shows "final fit".   I can mask around them to do the paint.  But I think the paint process may be further away than I thought due to trying to get everything fitted up correctly.  I'll study that next time I'm working on it.  Tonight hopefully.  

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2 hours ago, randyc said:

Eh no big deal.   I guess the next big thing on mine is everything!  LOL.  I need to get the wheels all placed correctly, then see what's up with the fit of chassis to interior platform/body.   I think the most improtant thing for a new build would be to get the body glued together so the interior platform is locked to the body properly for test fitting.  If I ever did it again or end up having to start over on this one...  this is one of those kits where every piece seems to relate to every other piece.  And they all need to work together properly for it to go together correctly.  And from the box, the ride height is going to be wrong.   I may have the rear too low by accident.  The rear shock hoop doesn't want to fit right at all - comparing to your build.  

I may try to make a pivot like the real car would have.  BUT...  Unfortunately that will lock the wheelbase and the wheels would travel in an arc when adjusting the ride height.   If I can get ONE wheel in place correctly, then I can adjust the last wheel to sit right.  And lastly, it seems like the rear track may be narrow out of the box.  I know yours will have custom wheel/tire and will probably be better.   We'll see next time I'm at the bench.

I am also wondering if I can go ahead and attach the rockers to the bottom of interior.  So when I mock it all up, everything shows "final fit".   I can mask around them to do the paint.  But I think the paint process may be further away than I thought due to trying to get everything fitted up correctly.  I'll study that next time I'm working on it.  Tonight hopefully.  

Hey, Bud!, i'm about to post the photos!!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, randyc said:

Eh no big deal.   I guess the next big thing on mine is everything!  LOL.  I need to get the wheels all placed correctly, then see what's up with the fit of chassis to interior platform/body.   I think the most improtant thing for a new build would be to get the body glued together so the interior platform is locked to the body properly for test fitting.  If I ever did it again or end up having to start over on this one...  this is one of those kits where every piece seems to relate to every other piece.  And they all need to work together properly for it to go together correctly.  And from the box, the ride height is going to be wrong.   I may have the rear too low by accident.  The rear shock hoop doesn't want to fit right at all - comparing to your build.  

I may try to make a pivot like the real car would have.  BUT...  Unfortunately that will lock the wheelbase and the wheels would travel in an arc when adjusting the ride height.   If I can get ONE wheel in place correctly, then I can adjust the last wheel to sit right.  And lastly, it seems like the rear track may be narrow out of the box.  I know yours will have custom wheel/tire and will probably be better.   We'll see next time I'm at the bench.

I am also wondering if I can go ahead and attach the rockers to the bottom of interior.  So when I mock it all up, everything shows "final fit".   I can mask around them to do the paint.  But I think the paint process may be further away than I thought due to trying to get everything fitted up correctly.  I'll study that next time I'm working on it.  Tonight hopefully.  

I'm sure you could attach the rockers to the chassis first, but it freaks me out.....something keeps telling me not to, so i wont. I totally used the pivot for the rear suspension drop....its such a small adjustment, that it didnt really affect the tyre spacing/centering.

Edited by Dann Tier

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Posted (edited)

Well I did attach the rockers.  One at least.  Wanted to let it cure good and then I'll do the other side.  I'm getting closer on wheelbase and track.  Still seems to be sagging in the back, but I'll get there.  

Second photo shows Gap between body and engine room panels. 

This kit is trying to drive me nuts.  If I ever built a second one, is know more tricks.  Kinda like Dann is.  

 

IMG_20190711_183357903.jpg

IMG_20190711_183412125.jpg

Edited by randyc

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Here's an update.  Had to relocate the rear wheels somewhat.  AFTER I thought I had them right.  You pretty much should get there front done and body and interior on to figure out proper wheel placement to get the rears at a good height and centered in the openings.  Them glue them in. 

On the rear suspension, see the photo with the shocks and hoop.  I had to cut the shock bottoms off and just sand them till they fit back and they aren't even but car seems to sit level.  

IMG_20190810_101327461.jpg

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IMG_20190810_101400394.jpg

IMG_20190814_200832358.jpg

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Couple new photos.  The body is mated with the interior for the last time and I'll just have to deal with whatever fit issues pop up next.  

The engine is great.  The interior is nice as well.  After this will come glass photos.  Those require some edge sanding and paint scraping to get a good fit.  

IMG_20190817_093601154.jpg

IMG_20190817_093555335.jpg

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Very nice! I like this car. Dood work!

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