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Question: Installing Straight Eight?

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I'm thinking of building a 1/25 hot rod - possibly a Ford '29/'32 type roadster - using Replicas & Miniatures Straight Eight motor. Since the inline eight is longer than a V8, and even an inline six, I was wondering if you lengthen a 1932 deuce frame by adding styrene under the body or should I be looking for a longer frame for this project? If the latter, which model would be appropriate?

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Posted · Report post

i've got the AMT Beverly Hillbillies frame & Revell '32 sedan set aside for my straight eight project. not sure if the frame accurately portrays a '22 Oldsmobile, but that's what i'm going to believe until i hear different!

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Posted · Report post

This is another one of those instances where knowing how it would be done full scale, in the real world, can be helpful. Allow me to help, as I build real hot-rods for a rather well known shop. Swapping a chassis from something long enough to carry an inline 8 is most likely going to give you much heavier rails than what will look good under a '28-'32 body shell. ('28 and '29 are the same, '30 and '31 are the same, and '32 is all by itself different). Building something like this in full-scale would most correctly, from an engineering and styling standpoint, begin with a boxed set of '32 rails, lengthened ahead of the firewall to accommodate the longer engine.

The '32 chassis is deeper and stronger than the earlier ones, and won't be too wide for your body (though you may need to narrow it slightly if you use a '28-'31 body). The '33-'34 chassis could work for you, but will also need to be narrowed unless you want your body sitting on top of the chassis like a fat tick. It's important to lengthen the '32 chassis in FRONT of the firewall, because that particular chassis has a side 'reveal' (a stamped-in styling detail, molded-in on the Revell chassis) which relates to the body in a particular way. If you lengthen the chassis "under the body" it will look goofy to anyone who knows the real deal.

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Bill (Ace-Garageguy), thank you. Would the steering column be lengthened also in real life (assuming a custom steering set-up wasn't used)? Would there be any other significant changes needed once the '32 frame was lengthened?

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Bill (Ace-Garageguy), thank you. Would the steering column be lengthened also in real life (assuming a custom steering set-up wasn't used)? Would there be any other significant changes needed once the '32 frame was lengthened?

Most likely on a period-style car or a rat (again, the way I'd do it) would be to lengthen the drag link (the rod between the pitman arm on the steering gearbox and the linkage on the front axle) the same amount as the chassis. That would leave the steering shaft (steering column) between the steering wheel and the steering gearbox in the original locations. With the narrowness of an inline engine, clearance shouldn't be a problem as it often is when swapping V8 engines into '32 frames. In real life, the drag link should be made up of a single length of chrome-moly tubing, with the ends threaded to accept the ball joints. A single length of styrene rod of the appropriate diameter would replicate the appearance in scale.

Another approach for a rat, or a contemporary style street-rod build would be to use rack-and-pinion steering, with a long universal-jointed shaft from the steering column forward.

Of course the engine mounts would have to be changed for something appropriate for the particular L8, but as far as the chassis mods to lengthen it go, that's about it. In 1:1 there would possibly be some strength / weight issues to deal with, but nothing that would really show on a model.

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Thanks Bill. I think I may go - as you suggested - the way of a rat rod. I've never done one so this would be a good project to try it on. I've seen some great examples so will have to come up with something interesting.

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