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1963 Chevy Nova Hot Street Wagon


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I’m not big into 1960’s cars but after following the lengthy thread here on MCM in the kit reviews section about AMT completely re tooling it’s ‘63 Nova Wagon kit back to its original, stock configuration I found myself oddly drawn to this kit and knew I had to get one. I actually started getting ideas for how I’d build it before the kit was out. Now that I have one and have played with it some my opinion is that it’s a great little kit even in its simplistic “curbside” form. The details are crisp and everything fits together excellent. It’s a terrific foundation for some fun kit bashing without having to sweat a bunch of details. Let’s get started!

Even though it’s basically a “curbside” model AMT did provide it with a separate hood and simple engine bay. Evidently a version with a stock inline 6 cylinder engine will follow later on as there are motor mounts and spots for a radiator, battery and brake master cylinder. I have no desire to use a 6 so I immediately started offering up a few different small block V8’s to see what it would take to fit one in here. I know people put them in the full scale 63’s all the time but there are probably some architectural discrepancies with the model that make things an extremely tight fit. Also, the small block I’m putting in this thing is going to be supercharged so I need even more room for the blower drive which means setting the engine back. Bellow you can see that I trimmed out the middle of the firewall, trimmed away the floor pan and original transmission cross member around the auto trans and built up some basic front motor mounts. I also shortened the tail housing on the trans a bit. I had to do some additional clearance at the front of the frame to clear the blower belt and around the fuel pump boss at the right front of the engine. After all this I did a little bit more refinement trimming on the firewall and other spots just to make sure the engine fit nicely without any tight spots. The beauty of a curbside model!

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One of my favorite parts of any model project is kit bashing together an engine. I knew I wanted a supercharged small block so it was a matter of playing around with different parts until I landed on a happy combination. The engine block/auto trans, heads, front cover/water pump, belt drive, alternator and oil pan (not shown) are from Revell’s recently reissued ‘29 Roadster hot rod. The Weiand supercharger, intake, blower belt, carbs and air filters are from Revell’s Stacy David ‘32 Roadster. The matching Weiand valve covers are from AMT’s ‘66 Nova Pro Street with separate breathers added. The block hugger shorty headers are from Revell’s 1937 Ford street rod kits. I got lucky in that the blower drive belt was exactly the correct length from the center of the blower snout to the center of the crank pulley. It doesn’t always work out that way! The only thing I had to do was add some length to the blower snout. 
 

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The kit has an open spot for a radiator but doesn’t provide one so I had to get creative. My resources for a late model radiator are a little thin but I ultimately came up with using one from Revell’s 1990 Mustang LX. I narrowed it almost .250” by cutting the tanks off, removing some core from each end then reattaching the tanks. After that I filled the two original hose holes and made new ones in the proper layout. I also realized the big flange on the front bumper intrudes on this area so I trimmed it to match the shape of the core support. 
 

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Here’s a look at the engine mocked up in the bay with the radiator. I also fit a power brake booster/master cylinder from any of Revell’s ‘32 Ford’s. I plan to add a few more detail parts before all is said and done. 
 

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Wheels and tires. The American 5-spokes are from Revell’s ‘32 Ford’s. The front inner rims are heavily thinned down from the same. The inner rear rims are thinned down fronts from Revell’s ‘32 HiBoy Roadster. The front tires are the skinny Moroso front runners from Revell’s ‘67 Malibu or Beretta Pro Street kits and the rears are from the street rod versions of Revell’s 1940 Ford’s.

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Lastly I started some basic interior mods by installing a shifter, Moon gas pedal and steering wheel. The original steering wheel and column are made as one piece so I cut the wheel away and fit this 80’s/90’s piece. 
 

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Finally, some mock ups! This is about the stance the car is going to have. The rear for sure but the front may come up just a touch. You can also see that I cut an oval hole in the hood for the air filters to poke through which is a look I’ve always liked, especially as a kid.

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That’s it so far. Let me know what you think!

 

Edited by Dennis Lacy
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.....WHAT DO I THINK, YOU ASK....IT'S ALREADY A KILLER BEFORE COMPLETION, DENNIS.....LOVE IT, GREAT FABRICATION WORK AND CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS COMPLETED.....BEST, ACE....😄

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46 minutes ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

That will certainly get those groceries back from the store before the ice cream melts!!

Not sure about that.  As hot as this little piece is going to be the ice cream will probably melt as soon as the grocery cart pulls up beside it.  I decided a couple years ago I was not going to buy any more kits - I lied.  This one somehow wound up on my doorstep.  Looking forward to updates on this killer build.

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Well thought out build. When I first started reading this I thought I would mention the Oil Pan/Steering Linkage issue on the OEM 1:1 car. As I read on I realized it wouldn't matter as your going in a different direction. Going to enjoy watching your build.  

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3 hours ago, espo said:

Well thought out build. When I first started reading this I thought I would mention the Oil Pan/Steering Linkage issue on the OEM 1:1 car. As I read on I realized it wouldn't matter as your going in a different direction. Going to enjoy watching your build.  

Thanks! I do know just enough about these that they need a special front sump oil pan and do have one from the same ‘66 Nova Pro Street kit that I took the valve covers from but then I decided since it’s a curbside undercarriage that I don’t care and will just use a standard pan. 😁

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6 hours ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

That will certainly get those groceries back from the store before the ice cream melts!!  -RRR

Unless of course the driver gets apprehended for exhibition of speed on the way home! 🤣

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2 hours ago, Dennis Lacy said:

Thanks! I do know just enough about these that they need a special front sump oil pan and do have one from the same ‘66 Nova Pro Street kit that I took the valve covers from but then I decided since it’s a curbside undercarriage that I don’t care and will just use a standard pan. 😁

I've been known to turn the pan around in a pinch on a model. You would be surprised at how many even in the 1:1 community don't know about the Oil Pan thing. 

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2 hours ago, Dennis Lacy said:

Unless of course the driver gets apprehended for exhibition of speed on the way home! 🤣

I'm sure most cops enjoy some Ben & Jerry's ice cream......I'm tempted to get one of these kits but it looks like too much BMF work for me (or sanding off the trim).... -RRR

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You can just see how cool this thing is going to look already and we haven't even begun to speak about colour, paint style etc! I will be interested to see the effect of raising the front end but right now it looks pretty close to perfect!

Cheers

Alan

Edited by alan barton
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Great progress! I'm wanting to build this kit similar to yours. Now I'll know what parts to use when that time comes, thanks for the fine details.

That engine looks like it belongs from the wagon kit. Fits great and It seems like a simple solution to an already simple kit. I've seen some progress posts elsewhere and it seem like some folks are overthinking the swap. I'll be watching for it to advance.

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21 minutes ago, slusher said:

The basic engine cam from Revell’s 29 roadster. I believed that that kit had a nail head sir?  Engine looks great sitting in the wagon bay..

First issue did,second issue had a small block...

 

Looking good Dennis!  Is your next build going to be from the 70s?  :D

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1 hour ago, CabDriver said:

First issue did,second issue had a small block...

 

Looking good Dennis!  Is your next build going to be from the 70s?  :D

Thanks! And, absolutely not! 🤣

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2 hours ago, slusher said:

The basic engine cam from Revell’s 29 roadster. I believed that that kit had a nail head sir?  Engine looks great sitting in the wagon bay..

The original release of the ‘29 Roadster did have the Buick engine. Recent reissue of the Roadster has the small block Chevy that was in the original issue of the ‘30 Coupe. Upcoming reissue of the Coupe will get the Buick engine. 

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Dennis !!!  I saw this lurking on your bench in your ‘57 Chev build and was hoping you would WIP it. This really speaks to me, the stance and wheel choice are perfect. I bought one of these with almost an identical vision to what you are doing. I will be watching (and learning) closely sir. Looks great so far. I might try and squeeze a big block in mine….

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