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Inca Jewel


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The Story...

For the twin’s birthday Grandpa had decided to give the boys a shoebox. He had bought the green Ford coupe brand new, being the newest post-war design. The fenders merged into the body lines to become one smooth, aerodynamic shape, or a “Shoebox!” It was 1949, the same year that Don and Jim were born, and now they were turning eighteen.

Their Dad had spent most of the war in the Pacific servicing and maintaining naval aircraft aboard American carriers. Afterwards, returning to Tucson he continued to modify and race, an early Hot Rodder! The boys developed a gear-head mentality early with soap box derbies and later go-carts and motor- bikes.

In high school Don excelled in auto mechanics while Jim was becoming quite a body man. Grandpa’s car was a treasure as its main uses were ceremonial or religious duties, as Gramps preferred his F-1 pick up as his ride - “What’s the use of it, if it can’t haul”. Don had already salvaged a Y-block out of a rear ended 57 Fairlane and Jim began smoothing out the body with plans for mild custom touches front and back. The local club had access to a paint booth where the final gold metalflake would be applied. While being built for “Go”, it was also for “Show”. A custom interior was the ticket and fortunately a number of Tucson upholstery shops had begun to specialize in leather car interiors.

The next couple of years would be spent creating the “Inca Jewel” - a mild custom built by hand with part-time jobs funding it and help wrenching from friends and club members. Many evenings and weekends spent in the garage...

Details to follow, cheers Misha








Edited by Misha
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Great looking build and the interior especially. I like your story. The '49 Ford was a big step forward for FMCO and I remember as a very young child going with my father to pick up our black Custom 4 door. I have owned a few '49 - '51's and this kit has always been one of my favorites, I wonder why. This looks far better than anything I ever had. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for all the above comments, it is always a great way to share our work and thoughts. Thanks also to the thread Snake started for “Gettin’ it Done” , it really motivated me to finally finish this one off. Next stop will be this year’s Virtual Desert Scale Classic - check it out.

A few more details about the build. The body had its side cleaned up with the removal of the chrome spear. A lip was added to the front wheel well edge, giving it greater definition against that great expanse of flat steel.  Lake Pipe shrouds and pipes are from the 56 Ford Vicky and the skirts are from the original kit. At the rear the kit custom roll pan was faired in and reinforced from the inside with a styrene strip. For the front end the kit supplied custom clip was also faired in. In the detail photo the raised wheel well lip can be clearly seen, note that it was applied once the front end was complete. Once primed, the body was shot with Testors’ Inca Gold, hence the name “Inca Jewel”.


The Y-Block came from the recent 57 Ford from R/M using the optional dual intake manifold fitted with dual four pumpers from the 64 Thunderbolt with parts box air cleaners.  The unique bolts on Y-Block intake manifolds are often missing on kits, as they were on the R/M version. Yet the intake detail is crisp enough to allow the installation of Grandt Line bolts; adding this subtle detail improves the look. The engine features the body colour, with the block receiving a dull cote finish leaving the valve covers in gloss. Entire engine is wired and plumbed with kit decals. 

The chassis has mild weathering applied to it and was built fairly stock. Traction bars were added from the kit and detailed with Grandt Line bolts as were the shocks. The drive shaft was replaced with a functional two piece unit to allow for an easier installation due to the longer tranny shaft. (Note that in the photo the driveshaft still needs paint to finish it)

Overall this is a great kit, especially considering its age. Yet its age is working against it with the recent Round 2 release as I found excessive flash on the body and little evidence of a clean up of the molds. This was a bit surprising as their reissues typically are great improvements over previous ones of the older kits. Nonetheless it remains a recommended kit for its subject, many options, and excellent decals and box art. A winner that requires some elbow grease.

Cheers Misha









Edited by Misha
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