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DoctorLarry

Jim Thirkettle Buick Century

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Since I am almost done with my 76 Indy Pace Car Buick, it is time (while I have some to spare) to start on another vintage NASCAR project. I found this picture on the Petersen Archives web site and thought it was a beautiful car. It was raced on the West coast by Jim Thirkettle and this shot was in the 1978 NAPA 400 at Riverside. It will have a stock rear frame and a T Bird clip like many cars of the era. I built the chassis for my 73 Grand Am project till I found the Petersen archives and found it was all wrong for the car so I had it left over.  Pictures are few, but I can fake it. Starting point is a random resin Cutlass body I bought on EBAY. It was warped so I put it in a pan of hot water and gently straightened it out. I will make a mold off the front of my Century Pace car for the nose and since I have done this mod once, I know how to do the rest. One side is not done, the other is about 75%. Fender flares came from an MPC Volare kit. I'm no fan of the new cars, I was in my teens in the 70's when these cars raced. YellowSportwagon is a big encouragement-he builds gorgeous vintage builds. (rather quickly, I might add).

thirkettle 51 2.jpg

Thirkettle Century LHS 1.jpg

Thirkettle Century RHS 1.jpg

ThirkettleCentury Rear 1.jpg

silver pace car 1.jpg

chassis mod 2.jpg

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I saw Thirkettle race at Mesa Marin in Bakersfield once, many years ago.

I'll be watching this build with interest.

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I'm going to cast the Pace Car this week while I'm in Christmas break from school. I am going to cast the nose separately so I can glue it on my NASCAR race car. I may cast the NASCAR version separately. I am going to cut a Revell 76 Monte Carlo hood down to fit the NASCAR body and cast the bumpers separately so  I can use them on both cars.

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I made a quick mold off the front end of my Century Pace Car and pulled out a casting. I cut the front end off the Cutlass and glued the Century one on. The hood is left over from a Revell 77 Monte Carlo I cut up for my Hurst Grand Prix project. I got rid of the Cutlass tail lights and modified the area to replicate the Buick. I will make molds of the Pace Car bumpers and cast them then this one is ready for primer.

Thirkettle Nose.jpg

Thirkettle Rear.jpg

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Body is almost ready. I have to modify the hood slightly to get the right body lines. It is sitting roughly on the chassis but I have to adjust the mounting points.

century primer 1.jpg

century primer 2.jpg

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man I have so much respect for you fellas who can customize and scratch build your work. I have been practicing but still feel like a pre schooler in a room full of college graduates lol. Can't wait for the rest

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Coming along nicely.  Where are you going to source decals?

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I sent the pictures to Speedway Decals. He said he could not get to them till the first of the year and that he was no longer going to do custom work. Hopefully he can do them for me. If not, I guess I learn Adobe Illustrator myself.

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Made some progress. Body is 95% done. I need to do some fill work on the body by the bumpers and finish the bumpers off (the ends were too long) and final blocking. Also need to thin the hood edges so it sits flush. After that, wet sand and one more sealer coat then on to paint. After I paint the body I will make a mold and cast it in resin.  Last shot is my chassis/engine. I ordered a salvage kit engine off EBAY so it needs to be wired and plumbed. I painted it and added a Fireball resin Holley. Detail is astounding on his carbs! Then finish off the chassis plumbing, mount the wheels and adjust stance.

century final 1.jpg

century final 2.jpg

century engine 1.jpg

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Will you be selling the body castings?

If so I'm very interested!!

 

Gerald

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Yes. I have to get the master right then I will make up the mold and cast them. I'm slowly moving in that direction.

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4 hours ago, DoctorLarry said:

Yes. I have to get the master right then I will make up the mold and cast them. I'm slowly moving in that direction.

Love the '70's cars!!

Gerald

25b4702505406e199a61136f59164a14.jpg

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I've got that picture as well. That is the formal roof line rather than the fastback.  That was the one that Tim (Yellowsportwagon) just did with Salvino's bodies.

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This car raced at Riverside and Ontario in 1978. Then ran Riverside in 1979. He ran the #5 Chevy with the same sponsor a couple of years earlier.

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12 hours ago, DoctorLarry said:

I've got that picture as well. That is the formal roof line rather than the fastback.  That was the one that Tim (Yellowsportwagon) just did with Salvino's bodies.

That very interesting! I was unaware of these differences, thanks for the clarification.

 

Gerald 

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Compare:

Look at the roof lines on the 51 car and the 2 car. Or, look at the 2 car compared to the Cutlasses. The fastback style was used on all intermediates. Some were "big window" (triangle) like the Cutlasses and some were "opera window" (rectangle) like the 51 car. The formal roof was not sloped as much.

century and cutlass nascar.jpg

77 century and 77 cutlass.jpg

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This is really interesting, as I have long wanted to build this car!

I have a 1977 Earnhardt Cutlass that I converted from the old '74 Johan Cutlass kit and have Buick body started from the same Johan body that is not good!

Looking for a new starting point!!

Thanks,

Gerald

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Chassis is about done and body has been final sanded. Still a couple of minor touch ups and it can be painted. I still need to put the exhaust and rear window filler panel on and it will be ready for paint. I also have to paint and mount the wheels and tires.

new engine 1.jpg

new chassis.jpg

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Body is ready for paint. I set the wheels in place and slipped the body over the chassis. I have to finish the chassis details and get the mounting points right but this is close to where the body will set. I think the back needs to be lowered. I also think the rear wheels need to be tucked in a bit. Thoughts? The hood will sit right when I raise the body mounts up a smidge.

on wheels 1.jpg

on wheels 2.jpg

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Experimented for awhile with paint and could not get it perfect without a custom mix, so I settled for Testor's Fiery Orange and Graphite Dust with gold striping. Tamiya TS-13 clear. Speedway Decals is working on the artwork for the decals now and they should be ready in a couple of weeks. It was hard to tell what the color was. In some photos it looked more orange and in some redder. I tried using Tamiya Clear Red over the orange and then it was too red so I sanded it down and started over. Tried yellow striping but it was way too bright. The real car is probably somewhere in there in between. Close but not perfect, but it laid out slick.

paint 1.jpg

paint 2.jpg

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