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AMT '49 Ford: Rebuilding a Survivor From the '60s!


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Early this year I picked up this vintage custom/hot rod build from the 1960s of AMT's great '49 Ford Club Coupe from one of the guys in my club. I recently took it apart for cleaning. polishing of the old black paint, repair, and refurbishment with very minor changes. I detail-painted the window and side molding in Testors silver, and sprayed the interior with Dulllcote 'cause it was REALLY shiny under the dust and dirt. The original builder was a detail-painting madman with a very steady hand – check all the little red and silver bolts and rivets and the snappy red details on the underside. Of special note is the opening door with a single wire hinge and the door jam and door edge filler panels made from metal from a Testors glue tube.  The tires have hand-painted WWs on both sides and the original builder set the killer stance with wheels and hubcaps from the first-issue '40 Ford coupe. I replaced the head and taillights because the chrome was badly oxidized and the broken and missing traction bars and lake plugs. Putting this old model back together was a great slump-buster!

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Edited by John Goschke
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I agree with Tulio. The original builder's skills would have been well above average in his day and his model was certainly worthy of your gentle restoration.

Nice little piece of history there!

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Very cool time capsule!  Thanks for restoring it.      

That is EXACTLY what I was going to say!

Always good to see a survivor restored. It's tempting to rebuild them completely, but IMHO it's a much more rewarding challenge to restore them to back-in-the-day glory.

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Nice job of saving this car, however I do have a question.  How do you or for that matter any other builders out there take apart old models?

I have attempted it in the past and end up with nothing but broken pieces every where. The glues usually have had the parts welded together.

 

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That blob hinge looks like it might be an old putty called "plastic wood".

Thanks, Rich. I was thinking that's what it might be. I just don't remember PW being so hard or grip so tightly to styrene.

A nice job on saving this one, that's for sure, and I really appreciate the respect you had for the original builder. 

Thanks, Tulio. I really liked what this guy did and two other unbuilt first issue examples of this kit in my stash for a build of my own it seemed only right to do a more simple clean, repair, rebuild on this one.

I agree with Tulio. The original builder's skills would have been well above average in his day and his model was certainly worthy of your gentle restoration.

Nice little piece of history there!

Thanks, Pete.  His work was definitely above average. Obviously had a steady hand and a lot of patience.

Very cool time capsule!  Thanks for restoring it.    I have a 49 Ford built back in the day that I restored but it's not as good a model as this one!   

Thanks, Tom.  I know you love these old builds and have some really cool ones in your collection.

That is EXACTLY what I was going to say!

Always good to see a survivor restored. It's tempting to rebuild them completely, but IMHO it's a much more rewarding challenge to restore them to back-in-the-day glory.

Thanks, Snake. I will say that it was a pretty easy decision to exercise restraint on this one since it was so nice.

It's good to see this sensitive restoration

Thanks, Mike.  Love that term – "sensitive restoration."

Nice job of saving this car, however I do have a question.  How do you or for that matter any other builders out there take apart old models?

I have attempted it in the past and end up with nothing but broken pieces every where. The glues usually have had the parts welded together.

 

Thanks, Mike. This one came apart very easily. The builder used cement very sparingly and, for those most part, didn't follow the instruction to scrape paint or plating from areas being joined. A gentle prying with an xacto was mostly all that was required to separate the parts. When I'm looking for an old model to rebuild I try to get the cleanest build I can afford.  More often than not if it's painted neatly, the builder was also careful with the cement.  If you must by something close to a gluebomb, watch for waving, distortion or sinkmarks on the outside from too much cement on the inside. many of these old models have fender skirts cemented on – rather than prying them off, to avoid breaking the body, I often use a dremel tool and slowly grind them off. A little more money spent on the $40 model may save you a lot of time and effort working with the $20 model.

Great save and re-do John.

Thanks, Rich. This kind of project is very gratifying.

Nice work, I've seen this model on another site but the ability to enlarge the pics here makes it even more impressive !!!

Thanks, Pete.  Yeah, MCMF does have its advantages!  I just recently discovered that feature!

Excellent save,  very nice to see an original saved  !

Thanks, Troy.  With all the AMT '49s that've been butchered over the years it was a real pleasure to find such a complete and well-preserved old build!

Great save!!!!

Thanks, Ron.  I know you've saved more than a few old models yourself over the years!

Cool restoration!

Thanks, Hector.  I like to think the original build made it cool and I just added some fresh ice!

Nice!

Thanks, Bo!  Just which my hand was as steady as that of the guy who first built this thing!

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