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‘65 Les Ritchey A/FX


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Here’s what I’ve pulled from my stash to try to reproduce Les Ritchey’s ‘65 2+2 A/FX drag car employing the gargantuan Ford 427 SOHC V-8 which I’m harvesting from the Moebius ‘65 Comet drag kit:

 

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I know, a 1/25 engine in a a 1/24 car = a 4% undersized engine. But these engine were way too wide anyways so maybe I won’t have to do quite as much surgery on the engine bay/ shock towers as was actually required in the 1:1’s? Also the fabulous Fireball Resin Holley carbs that I plan to use seem closer to 1/24 than 1/25 so hopefully that will help tone down the scale miss-fit.

 

The good news is both kits are molded in white styrene (there should be a law about that…). I feel so bad for you guys with the red plastic kits. I still have PTSD from trying to paint the white areas on the red molded Ebbro 1/20 Lotus 72C F1 kit a few years ago. Even after spraying multiple primer and silver base coats - it still looks a slightly pink to me.

 

The two additional challenges I’m thinking about besides the engine fit include 1) how to model the front axle/ suspension, the real car had dropped A arms and partial torsion springs in front of the axle to provide engine clearance and kick up the front end for large OD front tires and rear weight transfer, 2) finding the right diameter and width slicks that will look right with this 1/24 body (the 1/25 ones In my photo above may be too small?). 
 

To add to my challenges, I’m hoping to complete two additional 1/25 auto subjects by late next month to include in a “collections” entry I hope to take to the US IPMS Nat’s in Las Vegas. Oh, and my wife just told me we’re going on a trip the first two weeks in Oct to visit her family so I’ll need to have my GB entry completed by late Sept.

 

Feeling lazy today so please don’t hold me to any more progress than cleaning up my bench and washing the mold release off the runners for now! Looking forward to solving the problems!

Edited by nearsightedjohn
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Brilliant!  Right up my street.  I think I have some references for the twisted leaf front suspension - if you want to go that far.

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7 minutes ago, nearsightedjohn said:

Moebius ‘65 Comet drag kit:

What a beauty! I'm a sucker for stacked headlights. Good luck with the build.

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Thanks Six97s, these are the only two photo references I could find:

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if you have, pass them on! Much thanks!


I love the ‘65 Comets too Pete, I’m planning on taking the engine-less Moebius kit and adding a resin Webber injected 289 to make this B/FX:

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Big challenge there is decals, I can’t do white ones and I don’t think there would be a market for my decal making friend to bother with.

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Ok, got restless after “washing my parts” (wife always gives me a weird look when I say that…), so decided to dive in to see what I have to fix.

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Yep, big cammer ain’t gonna fit, even a 4% smaller one. Shock towers are going to have to go. Anyone know where they might have mounted the shocks on this beast? Just farther outboard behind the wheels?
 

Also, I assumed the Ritchey car wasn’t an AWB but it looks to me like the rear wheels may have been moved forward several inches when I compare the Revell model against the ref. photos:

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Enlarging the rear wheel wells is also probably in order so scope creep has already begun on day one. I love the problem solving part of scale modeling (cursing is fun too!).

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From memory, I think they moved the rear axle forwards 3 or 4".  I can't remember what they did for front shocks...  I'll have a look.

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No luck on the magazine front yet, but this might help:

 

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/ford-a-fx-torsion-front-suspension.820584/

 

I also found a photo of a SOHC Comet where the shock/coil spring was canted outwards and mounted in the wheel well, so from the photos in the HAMB thread, I'd guess they did something like that with the shocks.

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Thank you Six97s for the info and HAMB link. I found a reference to the 3” rear wheel shift forward on a Mecum auction listing for “Long Gone”, one of the original H-M ‘65 Mustang A/FX builds, 3” = 2% allowable change in wheelbase of 108”….I guess they rounded up liberally! 1/24 modification would amount to 1/8” (3 mm) which is probably worth doing. I need to cut the rear wheel wells out larger anyways so I’ll just shift the center of the new cut by 1/8”. Fun part will be modifying the mating chassis, inner wheel wheels, etc.

 

I also found a scan via a Google search of an old article (Super Stock Magazine April ‘65) on the building of these cars which included fabulous photos but I’m afraid to post the link for fear of violating copyright laws. This article also specifies a 3” forward shift of the rear wheels. Was this the article you were thinking of?
 

Again, much thanks for your help!

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This is going to be good.

 

I have the Super Stock magazine you mention. I'll do an in depth, with pictures, review of it later.

 

I don't have a full run of the magazine, but what I do have contain some incredible articles. 6 page, with color, article on Dick Brannans altered Mustang in the Nov.65 issue for instance. That one also has the Tasca Ford car on the cover and inside! A really good magazine if you like this sort of stuff.

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This looks like it will be a powerful build John:popcorn:.

It's interesting to see the resin Holley carb.  In real life I've got a vehicle (a 3 litre TVR), with a Holley too, but unfortunately in my case it's a retrofit which hasn't worked particularly well!

 

Cheers

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Haven't posted for a few days while I worked on the other two "easy" kits I have in process😁. Time to start tackling the challenges of my GB selection.

 

I took diagonal cutters to the engine bay to remove the strut (shock) towers and the molded-in battery.  I usually prefer to use an X-acto saw to do this but the wide one I have didn't fit.  Cutters are nice because they are less likely to slip and damage adjacent areas but they can also cause unintended cracks if you're not careful.  Now the wide SOHC engine fits nicely in the bay.

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I also lucked out on the fit of this engine relative to the front axle/ A arm assembly; it looks like I will be able to use the existing engine mounts on the Mustang chassis and accommodate a deeper oil pan which I still need to modify.  I'll probably just add spacers between this axle assembly and the chassis to kick-up the front end slightly and not try to angle these lower A arms like was done on the actual car.  I'll also try to incorporate the two unique rectangular torsion bars in front of the axle that replaced coil springs on this car.  These Holman-Moody modified Mustangs actually left open windows where the strut towers - not sure if I'm going to do the same of fill in part or all these windows yet.

 

I was hoping to use the nice headers supplied with the Moebius '65 Comet that I harvested the SOHC engine out of but they are not going to work unless I mess with the engine mount locations and, even then, they probably don't have the right geometry to clear everything.  I've scratch-built headers out of 1.5 - 2.0 mm solder on two previous SS builds and will probably need to do the same here.  Oh well, more scope creep. 😒

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I also started to scope out shifting the rear wheels forward by about 3 mm (.12") and enlarging each wheel well to clear the larger rear slicks.  The photo below shows roughly what I have in mind. Compare this with the photo of the actual car in my third post above.

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I'm thinking of first shifting the rear axle and inner wells on the chassis by the 3 mm FIRST and then shifting and enlarging both rear wheel openings on the body two match (be centered) relative to the new rear axle axis.  I welcome opinions on which to shift/ cut first (body or axle-chassis).

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Okay, I decided to get brave and enlarge the two rear wheel openings for a 3 mm (1/8") shift forward and larger diameter slicks.  I used guide templates I cut using a compass cutter and positioned them by eye by comparing with my reference photos. I then hand cut them using an X-acto with a new blade and multiple small curving cuts.

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I smoothed out the cuts using 400 grit sand paper wrapped around a container cap close in size to the wheel cut outs. I also removed the remaining portion of the perimeter flair at the rear of each opening using a course and fine sanding stick.

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I cut off the rear wheel wells on the chassis and drilled four .062" holes .12" in front of the four existing holes in the chassis that the rear differential + leaf springs assembly fits into to shift the rear wheels forward in the chassis:

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Dry-Fitting the body, chassis, interior tube, front and rear axles and four wheels shows a pretty look/ stance relative to my reference photos:

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I'll do some fine-tuning before final mounting of the axles in the chassis to insure the wheels are centered in the wheel arches but I'm happy with the look of this very rough dry fit. 

Next steps are to fabricate and install new inner rear wheel wells to the chassis as well as patch the openings I created in the engine bay when I removed the battery and strut towers.

So far these modification to convert this stock Revell coupe into an A/FX racer are going smoother and quicker than I anticipated.  Good thing because my last effort making custom moderately symmetrical headers was a long multi-session grind. 

For those following along, thank you very much for your interest!

John

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That looks so right.

It's a very subtle wheelbase modification as compared to Mopars efforts.

Definitely one of my favourite periods as far as Drag Racing goes. 

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I have to admit that I wasn't sure about how this would look, but it looks way better than I imagined. Sounds like quite a bit of work to get those rear wheel wells right, but they house the rear wheels nicely.

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Here's the progress I've made since Weds:

I added new inner wheel wells to the chassis using .020" and .030" sheet styrene (secured the joints with Tamiya tape while cement drys😞

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I shifted the mounting of the rear end differential/ springs on the chassis to correspond with the wheel base change and to center the axle within the new wheel wells:

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On the front end, I made spacers out of 1/8" styrene tubing to raise the front axle about an 1/8" (3 mm) to slightly kick up the front end per reference photos of this car. Two triangular spacers were fashioned from sheet styrene and bonded between the upper and lower A arms to make the front axle more securely fixed to the chassis.  I also removed the stock connecting arms between the front of the chassis and the lower A arms and replaced them with thin strips of styrene sheet that I twisted to try to suggest the weird rectangular torsion/ leaf springs that were used in these cars to replace the coil springs within the shock towers:

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I will add shackle features at the front of each of these twisted leaf springs once this assembly fully cures (rough blocks made from sheet styrene shown below).  I also added some styrene to the increase the depth of the oil pan:

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I filled in the cut-outs within the engine bay with sheet styrene from the removal of the  two shock towers, the battery and the weird cylindrical thingie that was on the left side of the bay (water reservoir?):

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In addition to needing to fabricate custom headers for this build, I will also need to scratch-build a roll bar (A/FX requirement in '65-66) and traction bars for the rear end.  I'm planning on using the Revell '64 Thunderbolt as a pattern for these traction bars.  Two fuel pumps were installed behind the rear differential so I'll need to build those as well. The joys of kit bashing a racer from a stock kit....

The beginning of any build always seems to go so slowly for me but the more problems I can solve before painting, the better (and faster) it will go in the later stages.  Thanks for following my build!

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Added some additional hardware detail to to the front of the front leaf-torsion springs:

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Scratch-built some traction bars by attempting to roughly copy the ones supplied with the Revell '64 Thunderbolt kit:

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Scratch built a roll bar assembly using .100" styrene rod and the kitchen stove-top burner and bonded it in place into the interior tub. I was planning on painting both the tub and roll bar semi-gloss black so I decided to pre-assembly it all before priming:

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I canted the roll bar slightly to almost align with the angled vertical end of the side window frame because I didn't like to appearance of the bar coming up at right angle from the interior tub base:

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From one reference photo I have of this car, it appears that this roll bar is slightly canted rearwards as well:

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I've cut up the stock one-piece twin exhaust pipes/ mufflers into multiple pieces to allow assembly to the chassis AFTER I bond the differential/ leaf springs and traction bars to the chassis which I will need to include if I decide to make this build compliant to NHRA FX rules for '65 ( NHRA required the stock exhaust system to be left in place even if open headers were used). It will make for a mess of parts at the rear of the undercarriage so I may omit the mufflers and build this as a "match batch" racer of those times - I welcome opinions on this.

 

Next steps are to finalize minor mods to the existing stock motor mounts on the chassis to position the big 427 within the engine bay and then proceed with scratch-building the exhaust headers. Hoping to be priming and painting this coming week.  Also heard back from my decal maker that the markings I need for this build are in his queue for next week so things are moving along! 

 

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Very nice work indeed, well up to your usual standard.

 

The roll bar looks perfect with that bit of angle going on. A vertical one would have caught the eye and thrown off the balance of the build.

 

I would go for the Match Race setup, if it were my choice.  I like the outlaw type attitude of the Match Racer circuit.

 

That last picture really is the icing on the cake, look at that mother dig in!

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Posted (edited)

I completed the headers today! I've posted a few pics below showing roughly the evolution of the process I use with the solder and styrene tube and sheet - it's really just a lot of cutting and drilling and fitting and bending and eyeballing and....rinse & repeat....if anyone's interested, let me know and I'll post a recipe for how I make these. I believe there's also several tutorials for this method on the web.

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I also drilled out the vent holes in the resin teardrop hood, added spacers to the engine mounts and added a rear 1/16" styrene dowel to the underside of the transmission to locate the engine in the existing chassis, removed a 1/4" section of the drive shaft and added a splice tube, bonded the lower front and rear body pieces (splash guards?) to the main body, shaved and sanded the four molded-in emblems on the body and primed all the parts (Tamiya fine light grey rattle can primer).

 

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This car is going to be somewhat monochrome (sliver exterior/ black interior) so I've ordered some orange plug wire and am thinking of adding some red harnesses and maybe a red extinguisher to the interior to give it a little color.  The decals should also help.

I have not done much in the way of posting WIP's of my builds on this or other forums due to concerns with putting a build aside for a while (or taking a hammer to it in mid-build!).  I must say this WIP has not only been enjoyable but I think has an added sense of urgency for me (I don't want to let you guys down!).  

Edited by nearsightedjohn
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Nice work on the headers, an idea I'll be using at some point.

 

I'm in agreement with you regarding the GB helping a build along. Many builds of mine would have been boxed up for a later that never comes, but the GB keeps me plugging away to completion.

I still end up with non finished builds, but my finish rate has improved enormously since I started joining in the Group Builds here.

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Gonna be following this one. I'm on my work computer right now which means that I can't see any pictures but ANYTHING with a Cammer engine in it I'm gonna be in on.  Will be looking at this first thing when I get home. 

Edited by mustang1989
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Finally got some paint on the parts:

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I used Tamiya TS-30 Silver Leaf rattle can (why?.....because....its the only silver I had in my paint stocks other than dull aluminum and like most modelers, patience/ planning aren't my strong points).  I forgot how funky this paint is (sprays somewhat "goopy" for Tamiya lacquer) and afterwards realized I should have used something like Tamiya TS-76 Mica Silver.  The Silver Leaf is pretty fragile/ delicate and I intended to use it as a base for a candy blue spray for a '41 Willys (S-W-C).  Forging ahead, I decided to immediately clear coated it with multiple light sprays of TS-13 and then after a 6 - 7 coats and a 45 min. lunchtime cure, a final wet coat.  In the past, I've waited days before clear coating metallic lacquers such as Tamiya TS-21 Gold and encountered cracking a day or two later.  Keeping fingers crossed here but don't be surprised if I report having to strip and re-paint this body in a few days.

 

My orange plug wires (with beautiful machine aluminum distributor) came in from Detail Master and I found some red seat belt material to work with so onto the interior next.

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