Jump to content
Model Cars Magazine Forum
doorsovdoon

AMT 1971 Ford Thunderbird

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Here we go again! Picked this up a couple of weeks ago, it's the AMT '71 Thunderbird 'Bird of Paradise' hmmm, fancy! Not really, this is one ugly looking car and those decals don't help one bit! It's an old promo style kit which includes the option of curbside using the fake engine plate insert provided in the kit. I'll be building up the engine, but it's cool that it's included. Say you want to use the engine for something else you won't be left with a big hole underneath. I've done some pre fitting of the main parts and also cut off the front and rear valance as they were part of the chassis and the fit of those to the body was awful before I cut them away, thanks to Can-Con for the head's up. The car itself, interior tub, front and rear grille, go's together perfectly fine with no fit issues. I decided to fill and glue the valances to the body so they look like part of the car, and I also re shaped the wheel arches to give them a bit more flow instead of the straight drop, they're actually designed that way, it's just a personal choice. Like I said, this is one ugly looking car and any modified change is an improvement, just trying to decide now whether to do a drag look or stock with this.

20201001_212816.JPG

20201001_212849.JPG

20201001_213113.JPG

20201001_213434.JPG

Edited by doorsovdoon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gareth!

I was lucky to find Model King's 68 TBird lately (Allison in Thunderland pseudo funny-car). The body is perfect, and in the same scale as the 71.

Designer Steeve Stanford created a fantastic concept in The Rodder's Journal a few years ago, grafting the "chopped" roof of the 71 on the body of the 68. This is exactly what I intend to recreate this winter.  

I share your view about this kit. Basically a promo, I would say. 

Have fun!

CT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gareth. You mentioned changing the wheel arches. Are correcting a kit design issue or an automotive design issue? I built this kit earlier this year and aside from the valance issue, the kit's body lines seemed correct to my eye. Or at least, not glaringly incorrect. The only real complaint I have with this kit is the complete lack of mirrors, which kind of seems to be a thing with AMT kits.

In any event, I'm very interested to see which direction you decide to go with this kit.

David G.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Claude Thibodeau said:

Hi Gareth!

I was lucky to find Model King's 68 TBird lately (Allison in Thunderland pseudo funny-car). The body is perfect, and in the same scale as the 71.

Designer Steeve Stanford created a fantastic concept in The Rodder's Journal a few years ago, grafting the "chopped" roof of the 71 on the body of the 68. This is exactly what I intend to recreate this winter.  

I share your view about this kit. Basically a promo, I would say. 

Have fun!

CT

Sounds cool. I wont be cutting the roof off, I haven't had much luck doing that! haha,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, David G. said:

Hi Gareth. You mentioned changing the wheel arches. Are correcting a kit design issue or an automotive design issue? I built this kit earlier this year and aside from the valance issue, the kit's body lines seemed correct to my eye. Or at least, not glaringly incorrect. The only real complaint I have with this kit is the complete lack of mirrors, which kind of seems to be a thing with AMT kits.

In any event, I'm very interested to see which direction you decide to go with this kit.

David G.

The kit is perfectly fine, it looks identical to the real thing. The wheel arches are just a personal choice. There's nothing wrong with the lines, I just didn't like the design of the arches so I give them a bit more curve toward the rear. The mock up fit is perfectly fine, it's only the front and rear valance that looked awful before I cut them from the chassis. Reading back through my post I can see it sounded like the whole kit has fit issues, that's not the case. Now edited.

Edited by doorsovdoon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently picked up this kit when it was on sale (50% off). I agree not a pretty car but thought it could still be a fun build and something different compared to what I usually build. Will follow your build.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure about the jacked-up look, I'd be building it in a way that celebrated its glitzy, luxury feel.

Lowrider too obvious?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Spottedlaurel said:

Not sure about the jacked-up look, I'd be building it in a way that celebrated its glitzy, luxury feel.

Lowrider too obvious?

I agree, I've decided to not go with the jacked up look, not because I don't like it, but because it would take a lot of work to get the axle sitting in that position using the simplified axle and suspension, even the exhausts are moulded to them. The entire rear set up would need changing out for something else for it to look right. Lowrider is possible but they'r not my thing, so I'm going stock:)

Edited by doorsovdoon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dbostream said:

I recently picked up this kit when it was on sale (50% off). I agree not a pretty car but thought it could still be a fun build and something different compared to what I usually build. Will follow your build.

Yeah, I'm no fan of how it looks, it's a nice kit though, no real fit issues but it's very very basic even for a promo style. I'll be adding a vinyl roof and hopefully I have some mirrors I can add too, the kit doesn't have any.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Quite an awkward front end with a very bland  rear end. From the side it's very 69-70 Cougar. Interesting subject and I'm sure you'll do your usual excellent job of it. Looking forward to seeing it come on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Stephen. I don't know what it is about this car, whether it's the kit or the ugly design, there's nothing about this car that excites me, the build feels like a chore even though it's dead simple, Lol. Maybe I'm having an off week, who knows. Has anyone felt the same with a particular kit they've bought?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, doorsovdoon said:

Thanks, Stephen. I don't know what it is about this car, whether it's the kit or the ugly design, there's nothing about this car that excites me, the build feels like a chore even though it's dead simple, Lol. Maybe I'm having an off week, who knows. Has anyone felt the same with a particular kit they've bought?

It happens to me all of the time.

At some point on nearly every project I hit a wall where at least some aspect of the build begins to bore me and occasionally I have a hard time pushing through.

Often times, this can be the engine work.

Especially if it's something really pedestrian like a typical Chevy or Ford engine.

For this reason, I like to add more exciting engine configurations to my models if possible.

For my '67 Ford Galaxie, I did a 427 R-Code, a 426 "Super Stock" engine for my '65 Fury, the W-30 400 for my '68 Olds 442 and a 421 Super Duty tri-power motor for my '64 Grand Prix.

This sort of alteration can add enough excitement and interest for me to be able to get through it without getting bored.

 

But in the end, I agree.

You have to be enthusiastic about the overall project that you're undertaking or it's going to feel like a burden and is not going anywhere.

Honestly, I would have a difficult time remaining interested in a '71 Thunderbird.

I never particularly cared for this car either.

There doesn't really seem to be anything electrifying about this car in general.

Honestly, it mystifies me a bit how Ford sold any of these when they were up against other "personal luxury" cars from the era like the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Riviera, Chevy Monte Carlo, etc.

It strikes me as being a little too pedantic in comparison.

 

 

 

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The '71 T-bird has Bunkie Knudsen's fingerprints all over it. The changes were what he could get done quickly on the car when he came to Ford from GM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ZTony8 said:

The '71 T-bird has Bunkie Knudsen's fingerprints all over it. The changes were what he could get done quickly on the car when he came to Ford from GM.

In what year did that take place?

I think the Thunderbird styling really began to hit a downward slide in 1967.

Personally, I prefer the '71 to the '67-'69.

 

 

 

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's because there isn't really anywhere to go with this build in terms of customisation without major alterations, and any mild "add on's" just don't suit it. I will say, the 1971 Thunderbird with it's squid beak looks much better than the '67 to '69 model, looks like a flipping whale shark! Maybe Ford were going through some sort of nautical faze? They're referred to as land yachts so why not I guess,  Lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This car needs something, I don't know what, but it needs something, so I'm going with a set of spoke wheels and a vinyl roof. Not sure what colour the car will be yet but I've seen some with a pinstripe running along the swage line and one along the rear hump which hopefully I can do with a steady hand. The front valance is usually chrome but I found some 1970 models had them painted body colour, which to me actually looks better. I think when I get the colour/texture on the roof I'll start feeling a bit more motivated and maybe even feel a little love for this ugly duckling.

20201003_161333.JPG

20201003_195841.JPG

20201003_200130.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

Design wise, this car was noted for the "Bunkie Beak" (pointy nose requested by Mr. Knudsen upon going trough revolving doors at Ford - short stay, return to GM fast), which was criticized by most. The positive attribute was seen as the roof: almost "chopped" in comparison to the 67-69, which was taller and more formal. 

Hence the Stanford design concept that he claimed married "the best of both designs"; a sleek roof on a more distictive front section. 

All a matter of taste, I guess... 

Tom Thaylor also produced sketches for Street Rod Builder magazine, and he seemed enamored of the side profile of the 70-71 too. 

CT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ah, so that's what they call it. The "Bunkie Beak" looks ok on the Ford LTD, and to an extent the Pontiac Bonneville, but on this car it just looks tacked on. Looking at it from the side it's a nice looking car, but only after I shaved the wheel arches a little to give them some flow, the original arches are too straight and ruins the flowing profile when viewed side on. First I roast the design and then I reshape it to how I think it should look, talk about taking liberties! xD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, doorsovdoon said:

. First I roast the design and then I reshape it to how I think it should look, talk about taking liberties! xD

It's called "customising" Gareth, and it's addictive ! 😉

BTW, the deal with the front pan below the bumper is the '70s were body color and the '71s were chrome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, doorsovdoon said:

20201003_161333.JPG

It should have come out of the factory with a layer of tape on top of it, looks way better. ;)

I also think the Thunderbird starting from gen 5 lost all its appeal. The '57 is my favorite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Can-Con said:

It's called "customising" Gareth, and it's addictive ! 😉

BTW, the deal with the front pan below the bumper is the '70s were body color and the '71s were chrome.

That it is! I guess this will be a 1970 model now, haha. I don't have any way of chroming that part. Chrome paint just doesn't cut it, at least on such a large area as the bumper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, dbostream said:

It should have come out of the factory with a layer of tape on top of it, looks way better. ;)

I also think the Thunderbird starting from gen 5 lost all its appeal. The '57 is my favorite.

I'm tempted to agree, Lol. Yes, I love the '57. I like all the models up to 1966, after that they start looking pretty strange.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like how you do your Vinyl Roof seams, after seeing how you did your Nova. I'm with you and the painted lower valance. You could always use Bare - Metal Foil there but I think the body color looks better. You mentioned thinking about a body stripe and I would think a color match to the Vinyl Roof color would blend well if that's the way you go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Dave. I'd have wrinkles everywhere if I did BMF on this valance, there's so many curves. I have a tough time applying it to straight areas! The pinstripe colour complementing the roof sounds good to me, the roof will be black, the colour I chose for the car is Peugeot Moonstone Blue, it looks almost silver. I'll get a shot of it later when the paint has dried, it looks good:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chassis on this car is actually very well detailed and is a step up from the older 'moulded in exhausts' style, it's such a shame the front part of the chassis where the suspension should be is so basic, but it can all be made to look pretty decent with enough patients.

20201004_170223_LLS.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...