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1975 NHRA Modified Production '70 Malibu 10/28 On The Wheels (Again)

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Having recently moved back to Colorado, and finally having my workshop up and running, I came across this project I started fifteen years, ago--or so. It's AMT's '70 Malibu, to be built to comply with the NHRA's 1975 rules for Modified Production. I began by replacing the Chevelle's front inner fenderwells and front clip with those from AMT's '70 Monte Carlo, along with the Monte's front suspension including its steering box. I replaced the single-piece cast timing cover/water pump/harmonic balancer assembly with a timing cover from the parts box, a water pump from a Revell Camaro and a harmonic balancer turned from aluminum. The manifold is scratchbuilt from 23 pieces of styrene. I also deepened the sump on the oil pan. 

The lower control arms have been boxed, and a few minor details thrown at them. Changes to the front suspension revolve mostly around the removal of the swaybar/tierod assembly. The steering will be built to be posable. The brass pins you see will mount the steering arm and the stabilizer arm, on the opposite side. I have already built a new sway bar, but, a friend of mine questioned its necessity on a drag car, so I removed it, just in time for another friend to tell me he'd removed  the one from his racer, and after one pass, decided that he wanted it back on the car! So, I am yet undecided, as to which way I'll go, in that regard. This is a mixture of photos from back when I began work on it (had a crappy camera!), and from the past few days, when I've done most of the chassis "details",  and all of the engine work. Comments, compliments and poo-flinging are welcome!

Control Arms Boxed.jpg

Eng Comp.jpg

Eng Comp2.jpg











R WWells Top.jpg

Scoop Profile.jpg

Slick Outside.jpg

Edited by Straightliner59
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A bit of progress. I got the pesky, pain in the arse, tie rod center section shaped and in place. At the front of the chassis are the tie rod ends,which still need a trim. It took a couple of attempts, but it looks almost exactly like those in reference photos, and I am happy with it. Here are also a couple of shots of a pair of carbs sitting atop the tunnel ram, and a photo of a cheap, quick and easy way to make distributors that are ready to wire.



Carbs-Manifold 4.jpg

Dist Mold-Casting.jpg



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Wow, I love this! I love sportsman racing and really miss the Modified class. Great work on the tunnel ram. There is a large void in the model car world where these are concerned. Can I get some more details on that distributor? I'm in,and I will be following!

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Wow, I love this! I love sportsman racing and really miss the Modified class. Great work on the tunnel ram. There is a large void in the model car world where these are concerned. Can I get some more details on that distributor? I'm in,and I will be following!

Thanks, Roger! I always loved MP, even though i am mostly a dragster guy. Way back in high school, I built an MPC '68 'Cuda, using the same '75 rule book I'm using on this one! Anyway, regarding the distributors: It's important to begin with one that has well-pronounced detail around the sides and at the top. Once it's cleaned up, I mix a small amount of "Amazing Mold Putty" I picked up from Amazon. Once it's mixed, just press the wad of putty onto a flat surface (I used small paper plates, but, the top of the workbench is just as good!)--another nice quality of this particular molding compound is it's not only non-toxic, it's food safe, so no worries,as to nasty chemicals. Next, I press the distributor cap into the putty and wait, usually 20 minutes is good, although I give it 30, just for good measure! Once it's cured, I pull the master, and cut nine short lengths (about .100" long) of phone wire insulation (any wire insulation will do, so long as your chosen plug wires will fit into it.), and insert them into the "lug holes" inside the mold. For the casting, I use two part fingernail sculpting liquid and powder. It's available from Sally Beauty Supply, under the Beauty Secrets brand name. Recently, I found some in the cosmetics section at Walmart, under the name Kiss. Once I've inserted the wire insulation,  I use a dropper to flow a drop of the nail sculpting liquid down the inside of the mold--I don't want it flowing into the open tubes of the insulation. Next, I drop a small  amount of the nail sculpting powder over the liquid. Repeat alternating the liquid and the powder, until the mold is topped off. Let the sculpting "resin" cure, then pop the distributor out of the mold. Sand the bottom clean and flat, and you're ready to paint it, and plug in the ignition wires! AND, you have a mold that is ready for your next project--all in about 30-40 minutes. If I get a chance, I'll put together a "how-to" with photos.

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It doesn't look like a lot of progress, but, every time I have to take it apart and reassemble it, it takes at least an hour. That's due to the three sections of the tierod wanting to go three different directions, and the fact that it operates with very little friction, so, those sections don't stay where I want them! Trying to pin it back together is something akin to attempting to shove a piece of cooked spaghetti up a wildcat's ass! Anyway, it's getting closer to being ready for paint on the chassis, and getting all the fasteners trimmed and cleaned up! As soon as I can safely turn the chassis right-side-up, I can double-check the stance--exciting stuff!






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A little progress. I discovered that I didn't like the stance, once the slicks were in place. The rear of the car sat too low for my liking, so, I carved a couple of .080" blocks for the upper control arms. These effectively raised the car two scale inches, and it made all the difference I needed!

Also, you can see the front shocks and springs in place, and the steering, with the fasteners cleaned up. Also visible, on the lower A arms are the "standoffs" for the sway bar. Most of the work is done on the driveshaft loop, as well. Growing ever closer to chassis paint! Speaking of which, I ordered a can of Mulsanne Blue, for the body. I have also discovered that I have no need for the scoop, so will simply borrow the stock hood from another kit.










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Such nice front suspension work! I'm working on a 70 AMT body at the moment, trying to correct the sides; lots of filing/sculpting! Will you be working over the body mistakes as well?

Thank you for the kind words, uh, Rusty. Or should I call you Dale?grin I'd like to see what you're doing. I'm mostly a dragster guy, and don't always see the things that are wrong with body lines, etc., of door cars, so I'd welcome a few pointers, if you're willing to help me out.


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Ha! (Few get that^_^)

Volumes have been written about the errors of that body, but really the big errors are in those "swollen" areas just below the character line that swoops the length of the car. Over the fender and rear quarter, those shapes shouln't be there as presented. That is to say, the top of the form is OK, but it shoud not curve back in, forming that elongated balloon shape down the side. It shoud transition down smoothly to the contour of the door/ fender, uninterrupted. I can see where the designers were maybe looking at a photo, because the reflections in shiny paint on that body shows a similar shape, but belies the contour beneath. Hard to explain, when I get a little more sanding done, and smooth a bit of filler I will take some before and after shots, or more correctly; finished side versus untouched side. If you have a Monogram Chevelle body, it's easy to see the differences. They got their own proportional issues, but that part is more correct. My only other big nit to pick is the top of the back glass; too square at the top, and goes hand in hand with a too-abrupt curvature of the top of the C-pillar (Tumblehome, it's called) Easily improved with a file and sandpaper, and a bit of plastic glued in the window opening to rescribe the window's new contour. There are other very minor quibbles, but I don't want to overload you! It's all fixable, just takes patience. I'll start a thread and link you to it when I have more to show.

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Sounds great! I see it, now that you've explained it. It is almost undetectable, in photos of the car, and I went and looked at a bunch of them. I am looking forward to seeing your work on the corrections. I have a Monogram kit, too, so I'll get it out and take a look at it. Thanks for taking the time to help me with this!

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