Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tidying up the display cabinet III: More kitbashes from the vault

A while back I posted some kitbashes from the vault. The theme is engineering mules that might lead to proper prototypes, with an emphasis on function over form. Here is another batch of the more interesting ones.

The first is a design study that tries to answer the question: what would a Corvette look like if it were built on the 96" wheelbase of a Cobra, or, why not, a DBR1? 

The answer is that the seats would be wedged between the rear fender wells, with the driver's backside hard up against the halfshafts. This doesn't work as well as it did for the Cobra, which had narrower tires and thus more space for said driver's backside, but it's not impossible given the wider track of the more modern Vette. A narrower transmission tunnel and wider sills are the result of squeezing the seats between those wide rear tires, but I think it all fits, and someone should build this at 1:1. It would be hot, uncomfortable, fast and twitchy. To paraphrase Carroll Shelby: Yeehaw! Sort of like the full-scale Honda S2000 with a Viper motor that turned up at a local hot rod show a while back.

I discovered one day that the Chevy Blazer and Corvette have essentially the same wheelbase ... So the Blazer got the entire Corvette floorpan and drivetrain, along with a horizontal body section and a top chop which involved leaning the entire roof forward pivoted around the rear-most pillar: the biggest cut was out of the A-pillar, a bit less out of the B-pillar, etc., with no cut at the back. The roof didn't need lengthening in this approach, at least not at the level of resolution I was aiming for here. The cockpit is a bit crowded at 1:1 but a less aggressive section would remedy that at 1:1. Apart from the section and chop, this would be a neat project at 1:1 and would probably work better with newer SUVs with a proper unit body rather than the older ones, like this, with a ladder frame. I am sure this sort of hot rod approach to a small SUV has, in fact, been attempted in the real world.

Yes, yes, the paint job is bizarre and really needs an airbrush to do properly, not just a pair of rattle cans.

Meanwhile the 'Vette, sporting a hand-brushed camouflage paint job using Testor's flat paints in military shades, sits well up on its Blazer ladder chassis, with the cow-catcher and trunk-mounted spare tire being high points. The narrow track does makes it look a little tippy, however. Under the hood there is lots of room for the GM V6 and 4WD bits. Over the years, I have seen all sorts of silly 4WD conversions at 1:1 using this sort of approach (Chevette, Austin Allegro, etc., mounted on a 4X4 chassis), and I am sure that someone, somewhere, has already done this at 1:1 with a Corvette body and that rusty old CJ5 that's been sitting at the back of the barn since 1983.

The twin-cam, 6-cyl drivetrain from Tamiya's Toyota Soarer 3.0 has been transplanted into this Lil' Red Wagon. A buddy once had a van version of this with the old slant 6 in it; I remember once driving from Montreal to Quebec City (or maybe vice versa), with me in the passenger seat lifting the engine lid every so often to top up the oil as the piston rings weren't up to the extended periods at highway speeds -- we'd know it was time to pour in a few more quarts from the 12-pack behind the front seats when it stopped smoking, meaning the sump was almost dry. We did this on the fly, at highway speeds, because we didn't want to stop; it was mid-winter and very cold, and the probability of it not starting again was high. Ah, the foolishness of youth ... Don't try this at home! So anyway a nice engine bay for a high-performance 6; trucks with the V8 were a maintenance nightmare.

Finally this extended 4X6 F150 carries a Deuce coupe with a radical, sloping section allowed by the fact that the drivetrain, taken from yet another Dodge Stealth kit, is in the back. The body section consists of rotating the entire body around the rear axle, so that the wedge-shaped section is non-existent above the rear wheels, but severe at the front. There is also a top chop. What's missing is a pair of scoops in the quarter panels just behind the doors to feed the intercoolers. I've done two of these Deuces in this fashion and it looks like an easy conversion at full-scale, especially if you delete the front wheel drive (former rear wheel drive).

Elsewhere I have posted more recent efforts, such as the El Caprice and El Nomad, the sectioned Vandura, Baby!, and, my favourite (below), Project Starliner. All involve decent engineering and better fit and finish than the engineering prototypes shown here, although we are still not looking at show-class stuff.

That's all for now, folks. I've now posted the best of the collection, excluding various WIP that I will continue to describe as progress is made.

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