Project Phoenix: Custom '61 Dodge Dart resurrection: Still ticking, Sept,1

133 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

Now that I've actually finished a build, I've decided to bring this one home next. It came with a mixed-lot of gluebombs and assorted junk in an ebay purchase, and I really didn't even know what it was until I researched the "Phoenix" script on the quarter panel. It had been painted with a dirty pinecone, and then either stepped on or thrown against a wall.

DSCN5053.jpg

Something about the remains struck a chord, and I found myself thinking about how to restore it. Not much to restore, but after a bath in oven cleaner and re-attaching the two major parts, it started to look a little better.

DSCN5064.jpg

I'm going with a contemporary mild-custom style build, as a convertible. Chassis will be a later-model Mopar, with probably something like a multi-carb 383. The body is missing the roof and major chunks from the quarters.

DSCN5082.jpg

It shared bench space with my '70 Chevelle for the Gearz contest before I had decided to finish that one.

DSCN5102.jpg

I found a nicely done resin repop of the original kit, and made fiberglass molds of the missing sections of the green body.

DSCN5332.jpg

DSCN5371.jpg

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Looks great so far, man you take on quite the project on. Keep the pictures coming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Cool! its nice to see someone who can see the potential of what others may see as irreparable junk!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

This is great! Almost anything is workable with the right attitude! Keep on it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'll be watching this one, looking forward to more progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Already looks 1000 times better than where you started! Having seen many of your previous projects, I have no doubt this one has a bright future ahead of it. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I loved your stuff over at the neighbor's. Glad to see you bring this here. I too look forward to lots of pics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Great work so far,can't wait for more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

You are one brave dude. It is coming along nicely. Good luck with your project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Impressive work so far,such a cool idea saving the poor ol' beater...by the way,what's so wrong painting a model with a dirty pinecone?????? :P ......nothin' like having coffee coming out your nose when I read that!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: ......I will be watching this one for sure!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

That thing is going to be absolutely beautiful!!!!! I'm watching this one as well, heckuva job on saving that beater!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement. I got the molds pulled off of the repop body and cleaned up. Now for the tricky bit.

DSCN5451.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Talk about rising from the ashes! Where did you get that custom grille?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Neat...looks like quite the rough body you started with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Geeezzzzz.... Bringing that poor old Mopar back is like going to a salad bar and rebuilding a head of lettuce!!!

Congratulations on resurrecting a Mopar that's so freakin` ugly it's awesome. Great job & attitude, as mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Given the circumstances, the name "Phoenix" seems appropriate.

Keep up the good work and good luck to you.

David G.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Very interesting project, I really admire this kind of restoration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Harold:" Where did you get that custom grille?"

It's from the old Monogram Predicta kit.

Thanks again for all the interest. I'm trying a new technique on the repairs....will update if and when it works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

"Painted with a dirty pine cone"... hilarious! :lol:

That's quite a project you've undertaken, but you'll get a whole lot of satisfaction out of bringing it back to life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Looks good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

So So cool to see the progress on this model...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Awesome work! I love checking on this build!!! B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Well then...a little setback. While opening the hood, I broke the very brittle body again at a stress crack I hadn't noticed, but she's recovering. I used the cleaned-up hood for a fixture to hold the pieces in correct alignment, and epoxied everything this time.

DSCN5612.jpg

Here I'm fitting the new chassis. I had started to use a donor unit from a Hemi 'Cuda, but got to looking at the '64 Dodge 330, and it's much more appropriate. The fit at the firewall is remarkable.

DSCN5634.jpg

The repop of the original chassis plate is on the left, and the 330 on the right. The fit really is remarkably good, and the 330 is a good approximation of the original, even having the correct fuel tank orientation. According to my research, the Phoenix had a wheelbase of 118 inches, and the 330 was 119, so the suspension location to get the wheels in the center of the wheel openings is simplified.

DSCN5638.jpg

Getting the ride height where I want it will require moving the stub-axle up to the centerline of the current upper ball joint. More on that later. The rear frame rails get modified considerably to get her down as well.

DSCN5643.jpg

Though this is a small-block Chevy and I've decided to use a mid-'60s Hemi, I'm going to use the ZF 6-speed gearbox shown. It will require the tunnel to be extensively modified. The engine is also being raised in the chassis for ground clearance, and moved rearward as far as possible.

DSCN5669.jpg

Chassis ride-height mockup, with the trans tunnel removed for clearance, as well as the tops of the rear inner fenders. They will be spaced upwards about 3/16".

DSCN5670.jpg

Now that I've got a handle on the chassis, it's time to start on the body repairs. Here a mold from the repop body is being test fitted to the original. Perfect.

DSCN5667.jpg

Isn't that the engine of a Monogram Callaway Corvette? It is a twin turbo version Of the Chevy V8. Why not use it completely? Would be different, to say the least...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Thanks for your interest. Yes, it is the Monogram Callaway Corvette Speedster unit, but what you see is all I have of it. I'm wanting to keep the engine Mopar in this one, but it will be supercharged with an unusual rig that will fit under the stock hood. I'm also not wild about turbos on 1:1 cars that have big engines, for whatever reason, and my models reflect what I'd build full-scale if I had the $$. It's hard to beat the brutal, instantaneous throttle response of a mechanically-blown Hemi. And that is why it's getting a reinforced Ford 9" diff on arms and coils, instead of the stock leaf-springs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Tricky bits....Masked the inside of the shell while spraying poly-vinyl alcohol release agent on the outside, and inside the mold. Jagged broken edges were scarfed ( tapered) back about 1/4" INSIDE.

DSCN5749.jpg

Mold aligned and securely taped in place. Release agent was CAREFULLY removed from extreme edges of break so that resin would adhere all the way to the surface.

DSCN5751.jpg

I coat of MGS 285 epoxy / 285 hardener thickened with Aerosil + 3 layers of fine model airplane cloth and MGS 285 resin / 285 hardener. Covered some stress cracks as well. Should have used the slower 287 hardener, as in the 90deg. heat, the resin was kicking during the third layer, which is why it looks kinda nasty.

DSCN5752.jpg

Popped the mold off after overnight cure.

DSCN5757.jpg

A little cleanup and she'll be good as new. In all honesty, I got the mold mis-aligned a few thousandths of an inch, and the molded surface is just a tad high, but careful bodywork will fix it. The repair is stronger than the original plastic, and the joins at the edges are forever. Forming parts in place like this is the same technique I've used sucessfully on 1:1 composite, 200mph aircraft. Same resin system too.

DSCN5759.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now