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"Hot Wheels" 68/1968 El Camino

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To start with, this was a TOTAL parts-box build. I do not have much of a parts box to begin with. All of the spare parts I own (except for wheels and tires) would fit into two model boxes.

Any way, I was trying to imagine a build that would be more than a Hot Wheels paint scheme on a box stock kit. On the other hand I do not have the talent to fabricate one of the wild creations Hot Wheels has produced over the years. I needed something that would look cool AND, be within my skills as a builder.

One day, I went to sit on the couch and my youngest son Keenan had left one of his Hot Wheels on the seat. I picked it up, looked at it and the proverbial light bulb went on in my head. It was a customized 68 El Camino with a wing and engine in the bed. I then remembered that I had an orphaned 68 El Camino body left over from a plan of using its kit to build a resin 70 El Camino. I now had a starting point.

My little boy's toy car had an ugly orange, blue and black paint scheme that I did not wish to duplicate. So… I searched the internet for other versions of the car and found one I liked. The patriotic red white and blue, tickled my fancy.

I found a chrome, blown, Top Fuel engine that came as a toss-in to a 'lot' of wheels I had bought on ebay. The parts I actually needed to fabricate were the unique hood scoop and the “bundle of snakes” exhaust headers. I made the scoop from part of a VTEC engine, two pieces of rectangular evergreen and cut-down tail-light buckets from a Lamborghini Countach. I tried making the headers from lead solder but the scale was not right. So, I then tried 12 ga. wire and while stiff, it worked out OK. I painted all but the actual chrome pieces with “chrome” paint. The wing is also from the deceased Countach kit but has the center point sanded away. The struts are rectangular evergreen which matched the scale of the Hot Wheel car struts perfectly.

The interior was next. I couldn’t use the El Camino interior or windows as those parts are spoken for in the previously mentioned 70 El Camino build. I had an old junker 72 GTO that came with built model 'lot' I purchased on ebay. As it turns out, once the rear seats were cut out, it mated perfectly with the body. The windows were from the same GTO and were surprisingly scratch-free. I took a tip to tint windows by using food coloring and Future floor wax. I found you have to get it really dark in the cup to get light blue on the glass. The amazing thing was, with a little effort they actually came out evenly tinted. The front bumper wasn’t need by the 70 Elky so I was OK there. The 68 rear bumper I wanted for the 70, but it is actually a bit too wide for my resin body so I used it here instead.
The wheels are some “bling” low profile 23s that I was planning on selling on ebay. They are five spoke with ridges down the center of each spoke. I meticulously hand painted the ridges to simulate the 10 spoke wheels in the picture. I reversed the disc brakes and painted them black to act as background.

The suspension was the next challenge. I needed to really raise the body without looking hokey but, I had no actual chassis to start with. I also wanted to go with as much chrome as I could as that is what many Hot Wheels have. The rear axle and ladder bars are from the Li’l Gasser kit which I parted out long ago. All I needed to add was a cross member to attach the front of the ladder bars to. I used a section of chrome driveshaft which is connected to semi-truck transfer case to assist in the drivetrain’s believability. The front suspension consists of the front subframe from a 62 Catalina, the extended springs/shocks from a 70 Monte Carlo lowrider, and the dropped buggy axle and wishbones from an unknown source. I did need to add a second cross member for the 3-link wishbones. To attach them, I used leaf spring extension shackles turned sideways from a 70 GTX. They had the holes I needed to locate the pins of the wishbones. That pretty much covers the build.

The biggest challenge of all, was how to do the graphics. Obviously, they cannot be purchased, as no one has made anything even remotely close to these. Some people have the skill to mask and paint on the stars and flames but I am not one of them. So, I decided on water slide decals, but how to do it? Well, I took the body and covered the hood and sides with wide masking tape. I then drew the flames freehand using Ultra fine point markers. They were pretty shaky as the tape is kinda bumpy to draw on. I then peeled the tape and stuck it to some paper then scanned it into my computer. I then spent HOURS AND HOURS manipulating the scanned jpeg to change it to ONE red and ONE blue. After that was done, I didn’t like how misshapen the curves of the flames were. So then I had to go back and redraw all the edges in MS Paint with the line tool and then fill in all the spaces pixel by (tedious) pixel. Fortunately one of my other programs has a flip/invert tool so I only needed to do one side and half of the hood.

OK, so now it is in the computer but does it fit? Decal paper is spendy enough such that I would not want to waste it. So, I printed it on plain paper first. I then did Scotch tape mock ups until I felt the fit of the body curves was close enough. One of the hardest parts was the fact that the hood flames flow continuously onto the sides of the fenders. That made for a heck of a precision alignment. The graphics run continuously from the center of the hood, over the hood bulges, over the fender crease and down to the wheel wells and rocker trim. All this, while also needing to line up the front edges of the headlight-brows to the flame-licks just above the sides of the tail lights. The Hot Wheels logos were simply snagged from their website and pasted onto the finished graphics. To obtain maximum flexibility, I only clear coated the sheet once. I hoped that would seal them well enough to not allow the ink to run when wet. I got lucky. The amazing thing was they laid down without any tears or fold overs. I am quite pleased with the result.

My inspiration.jpg

Assembled bed.jpg

Assembled misc parts.jpg

Mock up with wheels.jpg

Decaled 99 percent done.jpg

Decaled drivers side.jpg

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Congrats on the finished decals (been there done that) , just goes to show that with a lot of time and patience it can be done with just the basic editing programs !  

Overall a very sharp build !  I would've sent the bling wheels to ebay but that's just me , please don't take offense . :)

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2 hours ago, TooOld said:

Congrats on the finished decals (been there done that) , just goes to show that with a lot of time and patience it can be done with just the basic editing programs !  

Overall a very sharp build !  I would've sent the bling wheels to ebay but that's just me , please don't take offense . :)

No offense taken. I am not a Donk fan either. However the goal was an upsize Hot Wheel so the wheels were necessary to accomplish my goal. Someday maybe I'll make another one with a lowered stance.

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Very creative especially with the limited resources that you had. I'm really impressed with your paint work on this. 

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You really knocked this outta the park. Very nicely done!

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15 hours ago, Jantrix said:

Very impressive. You did a remarkable job.

I agree 100%  well done!!

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