55 Corvette Review

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HI:

I was wandering around the hobby shop yesterday, feeling sorry for myself (dangerous activity in the hobby shop) and picked up the 55 Corvette from Round 2. Cost was $19.90. The kit is pretty nice.

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It has a neat set of printed white walls that I really like (see the picture). The one big disappointment in the tire area is the two part racing slicks rendered in hard plastic.

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The body is well cast and represents the real car quite well. A nice set of decals with both black and white stripes are included. There are some other neat window decals but no street plates are included.

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The chrome tree is very well done and includes the larger “V†for the Corvette side script for 55 Corvettes only (it denoted the V-8 engine on the real car). This is a very delicate piece so be careful if you decide to use it. The head light buckets and bezel are cast as one piece with a rudimentary set of rock screens cast on the clear sprue. You will need to get the MCG photo etch to represent the screens and replace the “V†while you are at it….same with the side scripts although the cast on items are quite good. The stock hub caps are stunning when trimmed in red and mounted on the kit supplied wide whites.....great for a chevy street rod too!!!

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The rest of the kit has aged well. One nice touch is the inclusion of two different transmissions, one for the PG automatic and one for a four speed….you could fake a factory 3 speed here if you are crafty about it….check your references. There is also a nice separate one piece frame. An up-top is included too so you have a ton of latitude with respect to how you build this one. A set of headers that look a bit toy like are included but the stock items are by and large correct. The V-8 engine is very simple and uses the tab-slot affair and frame pins we used to see in the old trophy series 40 Fords to mount to the frame (yes I am that old!!!). Any more modern day small block could pass for the original 265 V-8 with a little work and proper engine mounts.

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The suspension is simlified but the rear end is a two piece "fully cast" item so you don't have the "half-cast" rear end typical of some other more expensive kits....this is a nice touch and real pet pieve of mine!!!!

Overall this is a good kit and I did not hesitate to add it to my collection when I saw it. I have built three other earlier issue stock versions, one for my own collection and two on commission as desk models for presentation with full size restorations of the real cars (given to clients). A reasonable price and lots of possibilities make this a good kit to have……..get one and have fun!!!!

Regards Bill (Duntov)

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Posted · Report post

Bill,

Thanks for the review. I like seeing what's inside these older kits, and this one looks surprisingly good.

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Posted · Report post

Bill, uh whats wrong with being old ? Heck I live very close to a gentleman who still drives his 1954 Corvette he still maintains on his own too. Oh he's 77. I turned 60 back in December and my first model was A M T's 1961 Thunderbird convertable ............ Hey great revue !!!!!!!! Ed Shaver

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Posted · Report post

The big bugaboo with this kit (and the '53 sister kit) is the ride height. This will need to be adjusted or the car will look like a 4x4. I doubt that Round2 went in and fixed the tool, so its pretty much up to us. There was an excellent article on fixing the errors of the '53 in a very old edition (pre-1980, I believe) of the original Scale Auto Enthusiast and I don't have access to my library at this moment so I am not certain of the issue - anyone please feel free to step in and name that mag!

That four-speed is nice but historically incorrect. Four-speeds didn't show up in 'Vettes till 1957, so you had a choice of Powerglide or three-speed manual. That's all, folks.

Otherwise, details notwithstanding, it's not a bad kit at all, and a nice canvas to mess around with! More in the next issue of MCM!

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the review. i really like that they included the whitewalls.

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Posted · Report post

Thanx for the review Bill. I've often been tempted to buy that kit and build one just like the boxart. I've always thought that boxart was cool. Now that I know what's in it,I'm gonna have to pick one up.

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Posted · Report post

Wow! An actual kit review in the kit review section! Thanks for taking the time to photograph and post the review. I have an old version of one of the AMT corvettes and the cast looks cleaner on this one!

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Working on my Larry Greenburg impersonation. Don't be afraid to tell me how much I suck at it! :angry:

ENGINE: Motive power consists of a 265 ci small block Chevy V8, which can be built as a stock mill with iron exhaust manifold, single carb, and a dainty, separate two-piece “Slip And Slide†slushbox tranny. The kit also can be built as a drag car, so there’s an optional dual-quad manifold with carbs and velocity stacks, three piece (with collector) headers, finned valve covers, and a beefy 4-speed manual trans. Detail on the engine block is a bit sparse, but a little basic detailing pays off on the top side. If you’re bothered by the lack of block detail, the 265 from the ’55 Cameo kit could be adapted.

CHASSIS: The frame is molded separately from the floor boards, and the front suspension consists of seven pieces, including a separate tie rod and stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is six pieces- shocks, leaf springs, and upper/lower axle halves. For the drag version, a pair of plated ladder bars are also included. A full dual exhaust system and multipiece engine compartment round things out.

WHEELS AND TIRES: Rollers consist of stock Corvette wheel covers with molded in spinners, or a set of wide 5-spoke mags which are quite similar to the ones found in the AMT ’71 Thunderbird kit. Stock tires are AMT’S ageless 5-rib Firestones with printed wide whites (niiiiice!), and the drag version gets Goodyear Polyglas GTs for the front and two-piece Goodyear slicks out back.

INTERIOR: Being an open car, it’s good that AMT took the time to make this one look nice. Granted, it’s nowhere near a modern kit in terms of detail, but it’s still a very nice jumping-off point. The interior builds up off the floorboard and is completely stock, except for an optional three-spoke steering wheel for the drag version, odd how there’s no fire extinguisher or racing helmet, as with many similar AMT kits! As stated before, it is a bit on the simple side, but is well engraved and should detail out well.

BODY: The main body is one piece- the front and rear splash aprons install separately. The hood is hinged, and an uptop is included. The taillamp bezels, headlamps, grille, mirror, bumperettes, and windshield frame are separate, plated parts. For the drag version, a ‘tripod’ rollbar is included. The windshield, backlight, and side windows are all separate pieces. The body is nicely molded and the proportions look good, but those clear ‘screens’ over the headlamps have always ruined the look of the front end of this kit for me. I wonder if using PE mesh would help. Or would that just make the ‘chrome’ molded headlamps look worse…????

DECALS: You get Shelby-style “Skunk Stripes†for the car in black and white, two blue on white Chevrolet Bow Tie vanity plates. Two pairs of yellow-on blue California plates reading “CHEVY†and ‘USA001â€. Pairs of decals for Manley, STP, Goodyear, Lee, Hurst, Champion, Moon, American, Simpson, Firestone, Rocket, Bell, Schiefer, and AHRA, one decal each for OTE, and Cams, and a pair of white BM/SP markings for the drag version.

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Posted · Report post

Not bad, Chuck - not bad at all! :angry:

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Posted · Report post

I can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth, but that might be a fun box-art build.

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Posted · Report post

Is this tool based on thier 53? Or is it a new tool? Good job on the review Chuck!

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Posted · Report post

I would have got it just for the grill teeth to put on my Merc ... if they were separate.

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Posted · Report post

I built one of these back in the day. The only thing I noticed that I wasn't quite happy with was it set a little high. Anyone building this may want to check ride height before final assembly. The glue on tail fins will need a little smoothing up around the joints too. Careful trimming and assembly here can save some body prep time.

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Posted · Report post

Anyone building this may want to check ride height before final assembly.

WAY before final assembly. You'll have to reduce the ride height DURING chassis assembly or your 55 will have the stance of an SUV.

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Posted · Report post

Yeah- neglected to mention the ride height issue, and forgot about the other review (thanks Plowboy!).

I'm not really in love with the box art model, but I have been thinking of replicating the box art with a model for the first time. But I'm thinking more along the lines of THIS-

IMG_69131-vi.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Does the 53 have the same ride height issues? How do we change it?

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Posted · Report post

Great review! Thanks!!

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Posted · Report post

Now I'm kind of thinking of building the 'Vette to resemble the El Camino box art...

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Posted · Report post

Does the 53 have the same ride height issues? How do we change it?

Lee, the 53 and 55 have identical chassis, so the ride height problem is indeed shared.

An early 1980s issue of SCALE AUTO ENTHUSIAST (caps intended) had an article on how to fix the kit. I'll rummage through my library and try to find out which issue had it.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

kitcontents015-vi.jpg

Whoa, a mini-box included inside each box!? Love it. ;)

Edited by Casey

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Posted · Report post

Wow, I love that green color and the skull graphic. Nice job.

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Posted · Report post

I remember buying this kit at GemCo in Downey ( Ca ) back in c.1977 , and building it at my relatives' house ( also in Downey ).

The "roll your own" mini box is a nice touch , especially since it's devoid of bar codes ( models didn't receive bar codes for pricing until much , much later ) and especiallysince it's void of the dreaded "made in china" marker !

I'm going to have to get myself one or 2 of 'em ...

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Posted · Report post

Just working on this kit now. Debating between replicating #16 (150 MPH Daytona Beach land speed record-white/black) or #55 (Watkins Glen Vintage Grand Prix-yellow/black). Hard to find detailed pictures of either. And Duntov, love the nickname! My guess is you are a classic Corvette racer/GM engineer fan?

Tim

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Just working on this kit now. Debating between replicating #16 (150 MPH Daytona Beach land speed record-white/black) or #55 (Watkins Glen Vintage Grand Prix-yellow/black). Hard to find detailed pictures of either. And Duntov, love the nickname! My guess is you are a classic Corvette racer/GM engineer fan?

Tim

Thanks Tim.... yes Duntov denotes that I am a major Corvette "SICK-O"..... a real 66 big block coupe in the garage and too many 1/25 th cars in boxes and on the shelf!!!!!

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