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1966 Dodge Monaco 500s...what was, and what might have been....


tim boyd
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Here is a look at two models based on the MPC 1966 Dodge Monaco 500 kit.  

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This is a MPC Monaco 500 built to a replica stock design brief.  It uses the 1966 Dodge Mauve Metallic (via MCW Automotive Finishes).  MPC's kit retained the fendertop moldings of the 1965 Monaco, which was not factory correct, while omitting the new for 1966 lower front fender accents that framed the rear edge of the bumper and ran along the fender bottom to the wheel well opening.  Both those errors were fixed on this model.  The body itself was a restoration of the MPC kit I built as a sixth grader when the kit first came out.  It's done as a curbside, with the hood shut and the Modelhaus Mopar engine insert filling the engine compartment from below.  An article covering the restoration process was included in the one-off Kambach publication "Muscle Cars, Retro-Mods, and Pro Touring" from 2021.  

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This one is a representation of a planned and later cancelled limited production 1966 Monaco 500 that was to have a new version of the 426 Street Hemi, along with a different, more streamlined roofline lifted from the 1966 Chrysler 300 (and later offered on the 1967/68 Plymouth Fury and Sport Fury).   The existence of a Chrysler Product Letter detailing the plan is well documented by Chrysler historians, The plans may have been to support a C-body Nascar entry before the sanctioning body relented and allowed B-body Hemi Mopars for the 1966 racing season.  There are also a few documented unique C-body Hemi driver's side exhaust manifold castings out there, further reinforcing Chrysler's one-time plans.  In addition to the Monaco 500 Hemi, there was to have been a similar Chrysler 300 "M" letter car continuation, also with the Hemi engine.  Both were to be low volume offerings, but further plans were underway to develop a slightly detuned 1967 C-Body Hemi engine with the tri-carb intake/carb setup that eventually reached production in 1969 1/2 on the B-bodies, as well as the capability to offer Air Conditioning as a C-body Hemi option. 

Since this was a prototype build, I retained the MPC 1965 Monaco trim (omitting the moldings behind the front bumper and leaving the top of fender moldings that were eventually deleted on production 1966 Monacos).  I painted it the Mopar C-body Haze Green (light green) metallic (from MCW) and included what was called the "Citron" interior trim color (production Monacos did not allow those exterior and interior colors to be built together.)   The 426 Hemi came from the Revell 1967 B-body kits, while the hardtop roof was lifted from a Jo-Han 1967 Fury kit.  The engine was fully wired, but in retrospect I should have fixed the engine compartment side walls, removed the screw receptacles on the radiator wall, and fully detailed the rest of the engine compartment.   Like the other Monaco, the interior of this one includes a representation of the gold-colored wicker-type materials featured on the door panels and front seat backs of all 1966 Monaco 500 hardtops.   

Additional photos/details on both cars follow.... thanks for looking.  TIM

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Edited by tim boyd
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Both great looking builds. I like the additional information on the background of what the manufacturer was trying to do. I like the clean single color on the Green car, although the Mauve is also an attractive color that I think would look best with a matching roof. 

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18 hours ago, espo said:

Both great looking builds. I like the additional information on the background of what the manufacturer was trying to do. I like the clean single color on the Green car, although the Mauve is also an attractive color that I think would look best with a matching roof. 

Hi David....thanks for the comments. 

Believe it or not, the MPC Monaco kit actually had an engraved vinyl top as produced from their tooling.  IIRC, the MPC 1965 Monaco kit also had the engraved vinyl top.  These were among the first - and possibly the first??? - kits to have this feature.   The engraving was actually pretty heavy.  One could file/sand away the engraving to build a painted roof model, but it would take a major effort.  However, having said that, like you, I generally prefer 1960's cars without the contrasting vinyl roof feature. 

I need to check my Mopar reference file.  I don't recall a vinyl top being standard from the factory on these two cars, but if it were, that would explain why it was tooled that way by MPC.  

Best....TIM

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Along with a 1965 Dodge 880 convertible, I have a 1966 Dodge Monaco 2 Dr. myself. Both are not as nice as yours Tim but they're still quite decent. I wish that both could be put back into production by Round 2.

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Amazing builds!! I’d love to find one of these to modify into a 66 Polara to replicate my dads very first new car that he ever bought. His was yellow with black vinyl top and interior.

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13 hours ago, Keef said:

 I’d love to find one of these to modify into a 66 Polara to replicate my dads very first new car that he ever bought. His was yellow with black vinyl top and interior.

 

Kieth....don't know if you are aware of this or not, but just in case not, MPC made a sister kit to the 1966 Monaco...a 1966 Dodge Polara 500 convertible.  If you could find one of those it would certainly expedite your project.   Maybe you could find some gently (abused) gluebomb projects for sale at the auction site to make the project more affordable.  

Best....TIM 

 

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Tim, As a lover of Mopar C-bodies seeing these builds is wonderful. What adds to it for me is that I have a mostly unrestored Citron Gold (code ZZ1) 66 Newport 4drHT.

I like the story and description for each car. I have a couple 66 Monacos in the que for restoration and I appreciate seeing a corrected example. Lastly I noticed that you replicated the bamboo inserts on the door panels, very nice.  

Craig

Newport with Supremes.jpg

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Craig....whoa.....that '66 Newport looks super-sharp!  One of my best friends is a fellow former Ford Exec who finished his career overseeing the company's cycle (product) plan, and he views the 1965-1968 Chrysler C-bodies as one of Chrysler's best ever efforts.   Particularly the interior treatments and materials.  He also has a 1/1 scale car collection (about 12 or so), but rues the day he sold his 1965 300L convertible in the mid 1990's. 

Best wishes for your Monaco kit builds and I know that I and many others here would like to see pix as you progress those.  I don't think most modelers know just how advanced these 1965 Monaco/1966 Monaco 500/1965-66 Polara kits were, particularly when compared to the 1965-68 Jo-Han C-body kits.  

Thanks for your comments and observations.  

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On 5/2/2022 at 5:42 AM, tim boyd said:

Hi David....thanks for the comments. 

Believe it or not, the MPC Monaco kit actually had an engraved vinyl top as produced from their tooling.  IIRC, the MPC 1965 Monaco kit also had the engraved vinyl top.  These were among the first - and possibly the first??? - kits to have this feature.   The engraving was actually pretty heavy.  One could file/sand away the engraving to build a painted roof model, but it would take a major effort.  However, having said that, like you, I generally prefer 1960's cars without the contrasting vinyl roof feature. 

I need to check my Mopar reference file.  I don't recall a vinyl top being standard from the factory on these two cars, but if it were, that would explain why it was tooled that way by MPC.  

Best....TIM

I had thought that the Johan Turbine came earlier, which had a vinyl top as well.

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5 hours ago, lordairgtar said:

I had thought that the Johan Turbine came earlier, which had a vinyl top as well.

Greg....correct you are.  Thanks for pointing that out...TIM 

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I just found two images of the engine for the 1966 Monaco 500 Hemi Fastback car, before it was installed in the body....note the factory paint overspray on the exhaust manifolds and the battery negative ground cable attached to the engine....as well as the factory-correct routing of the fuel lines.

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And...as installed in the engine compartment....

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Thanks again for your interest and your comments.....TIM   

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