Scratch building a classic muscle car.


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Hey Guys.

This is a project that i have been wanting to kick off for a while now. The model I want to create is a muscle car called an LJ GTR XU1 Torana. These cars were made be a company called Holden back in the early seventies. In case anyone has not heard the name before, Holden is the Australian branch of General motors. This was not the first muscle car Holden had created that honour goes to the larger Monaro. What made the GTR XU1 Torana so unique was the combination of a lightweight car with a large engine. But the GTR XU1 did not run the usual V8 that other muscle cars were using. With a curb weight of only a thousand kilograms, this car did not need a V8 to race against the bigger V8s.

The XU1 was, around the same size as the Ford Capri and like the Ford Capri this Torana ran a six cylinder engine.

In this case a 202 cubic inch inline engine known as a Red Motor due to the colour of the block. This was the biggest six cylinder engine Holden made, so for such a lightweight car it made perfect sense. In case anyone is wondering how these little cars performed, there's a race over here called Bathurst and in 1972 a driver called Peter Brock went onto win the race in one of these cars. An important thing I should add that I was unaware of until one of my friends told me was that this was also the last year where drivers could race solo. This was the first of many victories Peter would have at Bathurst and the victory cemented his status and that of the little pocket rocket into Australian motor racing folklore. Over the years these cars were raced in every style imaginable, from touring cars, rally cars, speedway ( an Aussie version of stock car racing ) to the quarter mile. The Torana is to drag racing over here what the Willys is to Drag racing in the US.

There have been countless models of the XU1 made over the years but almost all have been die cast.

There was a guy producing these as resin kits, over here but he stopped trading years ago. Even though I have one of his kits, I decided I wanted to create my own. I actually own a 1:1 LJ Torana similar to the one in the images, although its just the standard version. The actual dimensions were identical between the base model and the performance models so I have been using mine as a reliable reference. I expect that most of this build will be scratch built. I will not be sourcing and modifying a chassis/floor pan to fit this project, so that will be scratch built as well. I am using 2mm thick sheet styrene as it will be more durable.WhiteLJ_zpse1f53222.jpg

Edited by fractalign

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Posted · Report post

Looking forward to this mate, good luck.

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Posted · Report post

Wow this is going to be a cool project good luck with it

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Posted · Report post

Can't wait to see it mate. I started on modifying a Cavalier SL/R 5000 from curb side to full detail a few years ago, but im looking forward to seeing you scratch build your Torana mate.

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Posted · Report post

I'll be watching this one!!!

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Posted · Report post

Sounds very interesting. I would enjoy watching your work...

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the feedback guys and sorry I have not posted anything yet. I was hoping to put some photo's up today but I was flat out all day long.

I will also be putting extra detail into the body that will make this one a very long project.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The two sections were angled outward and glued back together. These will be the sides and the angling is for the crease the sits just above the belt line and runs the length of the car. To hold the two pieces together a plywood frame was made up from scrap sheets of balsa wood this was sanded down to match the inner contour and then glued into place. It looks messy but most of it will be retained.

There is a good reason for this. Once I have cut the radiuses for the wheel openings, I will be moving onto the doors. Once i have scribed in the door lines, I will be making up the door skins and once completed these will attach to the balsa wood frames.

P7040024_zpsb0aeec46.jpgP7040023_zps169842e5.jpg

Edited by fractalign

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Posted · Report post

hmmm cool project !!!!!!!!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

P7050013_zpse6dea014.jpgJust a quick update.

I only managed a few things today, so here they are. The images are reversed for some reason. The second image was actually the first sequence I did and the first photo I posted up, i done know why it came up in the second frame, very frustrating to say the least. Any it shows the panel getting a layer of double sided tape.This stuff is an absolute must if you are scratch building because unlike glue, if it does not line up you can un peel it and re attach it. Once the layer of tape is down the other panel was attached. The other image shows the two panels being held together with the tape. It looks a bit unclear but this is the underside of the two panels. This is where the rocker panels will be. Once attached I made three markings with a pencil. The centre one marked the half way point along the sides. This is also the halfway point for the doors. The marks either side are for the doors them selves. Because the sides taper in slightly at each end, I needed to keep the two halves for each side unglued at each end so that they would sit flush when I stuck them together. I will be sticking the two sides together when I do the wheel arches. This will insure that the wheel arches are exactly the same on each side. I will also use this principal for the quarter windows, door frames and interior panels. This should cut construction time in half at least for the sides anyway. Next up will be the wheel arches.

P7050007_zps988b9947.jpg

Edited by fractalign

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Posted · Report post

Taking shape nicely, great work!

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Posted · Report post

Hey.

I did some more today. The first thing was to mark the wheel arches. Once again the trusty double sided tape was used to attach the two sides. With that done I marked out the wheel arches and got ready to cut them. When cutting through a combined thickness of 4mm a regular dremel will struggle to the the job so the trusty angle grinder was used. I used a thicker wheel to remove as much material as possible.P7070015_zpsc689cc32.jpg

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Once I had removed enough material I stopped. Its important at this stage to leave a bit of extra material, its far easier to remove the excess with a modelling blade than to continue using the angle grinder and over cutting. With the cutting done the sides were separated.P7070016_zps9b05aafd.jpg

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Next up was to tidy up the wheel arches a bit more, with a bit of extra carving they started to look a bit better. At this stage I have put the other side away.

The important thing is to focus in this side. Next up I drew a basic outline for the next stage of the cutting process. One again I used the angle grinder for the cutting, this time with a 1 mm wheel for a neater cutP7070020_zps335f581b.jpg

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Here is how it looks compared with the image, not too bad but still a long way to go. Over the next few days I will work with this side to get it as close to the image as possible. I will need to start filling in the gap along the seam line, duplicate the quarter windows and scribe in the door lines. Once thats done I will roll under the rocker panels. Tomorrow I will start filling the seam and continue shaping the wheel arches.

P7070021_zps80846928.jpg the door lines.

Edited by fractalign

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Posted · Report post

This car reminds me of the Opel that Buick used to import from Germany into the USA. It was a nice little car.

Good luck on the project

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Posted · Report post

Hey Bob.

You are spot on with the comparison, The Torana definitely shared its styling cues from the Opals. There was an Opal coupe called the Manta that was the German equivalent of the Torana as well.

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Posted · Report post

Anyway just a quick update.

I covered the body with automotive body filler. This had the effect of cementing the structure together.P7080023_zpsbb4297dc.jpg

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I made sure the inside was covered too. Eventually the plywood frame will become invisible as I keep adding the filler. Once its smoothed out, I will add the door skin.P7080025_zps402e398a.jpg

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Here is how its looking after some sanding, i am trying to get the contour for the seam looking right.

I have also started shaping the rocker panel. Next big task will be the door lines and completing the rocker panel.P7080029_zpse90a5189.jpg

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Posted · Report post

That is quite an undertaking. I will be watching.

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Posted · Report post

Fascinating process! Thanks for taking us along.

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Posted · Report post

The Opel was called a Kadett that GM imported to USA. I am sure there were a lot common parts.

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Hey Guys.

I did a little bit more today. I scribed out the basic door line and after doing that moved onto the roof. It looked a little high and rounded so I rough sanded it down and when I was happy with the contour, I smooth sanded it. While shaping the roof I made sure the the A pillars lined up with the one in the image. With the angle spot on I now had the perfect template to trace the other side.P7080009_zpsf2d95422.jpg

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