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TRaK Autorama 57 Ford T-Bird Custom - Completed with Final Photos

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  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
TRaK Autorama 57 Ford T-Bird Custom - Completed with Final Photos
Posted by gbk1 on Thursday, December 13, 2018 6:24 PM

This is a slightly odd kickoff for this project because there are no images of the whole body, just detail stuff. This is my entry for the TRaK Autorama in the Custom category. The deadline for completion is December 31st so time is super tight. For this reason I decided to tackle the most technical stuff first to make sure I could get that done properly before continuing on with the rest pf the build. So what you see below are the hardtop and the grill and bumper set.

Several years ago I had the idea that you could “customize a first series (2-seater) T-bird simply by painting the lower valance portions of the chrome bumpers in body color. The grill shape and the bumpers are particularly handsome on this car and by doing this is would create the appearance of a kind of rolled-pan effect. I had some spare grills and bumpers so I masked them off and sanded out the chrome on the exposed areas. On the rear bumper I cut out the “1957” license plate (as holdover I suspect from the AMT Annual version of this model) to make room for the installation of an inset license plate later. Then, for some reason, I put it away before any smoothing or painting got done. Now finally I am going to see this concept through. Below is a step by step composite of the process I did. First the stock kit grill and bumper (A), then the masked and primed portion (B), and finally the painted result, painted in what will be the final body color of the car, Testors Lime Ice lacquer (C). The stock grill was removed and a classic late 50’s drawer pull grill from a vintage Aurora #592 1/25 Scale Customizing Parts Custom Grills & Trim set was substituted.



This will be essentially a mild custom, the customizing mainly done with paint and detail bodywork. Besides the faux-rolled pan effect and the drawer pull grill I decided to do a padded stop inspired by the Barris Xtura T-Bird they did for Mitch Nagao:



I actually ordered one of Ed Fluck’s (Drag City Castings) finely cast resin T-Bird hardtops for this project and then discovered I had a styrene copy in my stash and used it instead to steal a few precious days on getting started. There are several influences for this project and one of them is the twin ’57 T-Birds owned by Jack Hershey and Shorty Ewing which featured a ’58 Chevy Impala scoop above the rear window. For my version I used a hood scoop from the AMT ’49 Ford Coupe kit. It logically followed of course to cut one into the T-Bird hood as well. The “padding” was done using styrene sheet and rod. Final colors will be Wimbledon White for the “padding” and Lime Ice for the rest.



The Ewing and Hershey twin ‘57s:



The other two influences I’ll note are the Don Tognotti ’56 and the *** Jackson ’57. The bodywork on my car will be essentially stock like the Jackson car, just lowered in stance. Despite the elaborate front end work on the Tognotti car he conserved the signature louvers on the front fenders, highlighting them with a tasteful accent scallop. I plan to do the same and obviously I’m taking my color cue from this car as well. I’ll focus on paint and decals primarily, time permitting. Like so many of these cars, too, I plan on using full length lakes pipes, chrome wheels and Appleton spots.

The *** Jackson’57:



The Don Tognotti ’56:



Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    January, 2011
  • From: long island, new york
Posted by chucky on Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:16 PM

Wow! This is really going to be KOOL! I'll definitely be following along.  

chucky

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Saturday, December 22, 2018 10:45 PM

Thanks Chucky!

If I’m going to get this T-Bird done in time for the Autorama deadline on the 31st I’d better keep it simple. We’ll see if I can! I got the color down including the white tuck and roll panels on the hardtop. A few days to cure and it will be time for clear coats and polish. Meanwhile, next up will be stance and wheel and tire choice. The interior will be stock, probably done in gold and white. Back in the day these early T-Birds rarely had the interiors redone because they were so tightly integrated into the body work and were pretty flashy in their own right. An elaborate re-do wouldn’t yield much. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it! LOL Stay tuned for another update real soon…

Thanx for lookin’,
B.


Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    August, 2015
  • From: Hamptonville, NC
Posted by TarheelRick on Sunday, December 23, 2018 6:29 AM

Love those Gen 1 T-Birds.  The work you are doing with this one is beautiful.  Also thanks for the pictures, they have given me some inspiration, if I ever get around to building another one.

I build models because I can't afford the real thing!

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Friday, December 28, 2018 10:29 PM

Thanks Rick!

In order to look like the period custom I had in mind, the TRaK Autorama T-Bird needed something more than the basic metallic paint job. After wasting a couple of days fooling around with some decal designs I decided to bite the bullet and bet the ranch on a masked scallop and stripe scheme. It either would work or the whole project would blow up. But with 96 hours left it seemed like nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I did it just like they did back in the day, masking the entire main body color except where the stripes and scallops would show. The color is Testors Pure Gold. With the exception of a few minor spots that need touching up I thing I got away with it! I also chose the rolling stock, some ’62 Olds hub caps courtesy of the late lamented Modelhaus and some AMT (?) white walls from my parts box. The ‘caps are highlighted in gold, as are the rims. Finally, the interior is done in white and gold. Still left to be done is detailing and cleanup on the paint job, clear coat and polish, and foiling and final assembly. Below is a status composite with the grill mocked up in place. 72 hours, tick, tock…

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Sunday, December 30, 2018 3:38 PM

This will be the final update (obviously) I think I'm gonna make it! Here's a composite after polishing the paint, which came out fine, so now it's just final assembly. Also this shows the stance. The car is lowered a good 4 1/2 scale inches. As I write this I've already got most of the foiling done and did some last minute Dremel work behind the grill to get it positioned right. Otherwise things look like they will go together OK. The interior in these shots is finished and glued in place. This last project has been run on pure adrenaline and instinct. I honestly had only the roughest idea about the result when I started it.

Thanks for lookin'
B.

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Monday, December 31, 2018 4:22 PM

Well, it's done, and just in time, too! I'll be doing more formal photos for the Autorama and I'll post them as a completed build once I've finalized them. In the meantime here's a composite picture showing the car with and without the top and including the period accessories, such as the lakes pipes from Scale Repros, the spots, and the license plate surround, that I added at the end.

Thanx for lookin', and Happy New year!,
B.

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    January, 2011
  • From: long island, new york
Posted by chucky on Monday, December 31, 2018 8:11 PM

Turned out great, Bernard! The absence of the skirts really changes the personality of these cars. Great color combo and graphics along with the period accessories make the statement. Good luck! 

 

chucky

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 12:33 AM

Thanks again Chucky!

Here are the final "beauty pics".







Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

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