SEARCH SCALEAUTOMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Restoration of the Best Detail Trophy Winner @ the 1970 MPC Detroit 'Largest Model Car Contest Ever'

537 views
16 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    October 2015
Restoration of the Best Detail Trophy Winner @ the 1970 MPC Detroit 'Largest Model Car Contest Ever'
Posted by Tim Boyd on Saturday, February 1, 2020 7:47 AM

Way back - in fact, 50 years ago this month, I won "Best Detail" at the 1970 Detroit Cobo Autorama MPC Model Car Contest...an event later hyped in Car Model Magazine (August, 1970) cover story as the "Biggest Model Car Contest Ever Held".

It was actually a dual award - my first winning model was a 1969 Charger Funny Car with a working drivetrain (turn the real tires, the driveline worked and rotated the engine's blower drive belt and pulleys). It had won "1st Senior" at the MPC Flint Michigna contest a month earlier, and would later on go to win "Best of Show" at the 1970 MPC Indianapolis Contest. It still exists in my showcase, having undergone a reconstruction after the model was returned in many pieces after competing as a mail-in entry in the MPC National Finals (but not winning) later in 1970.

My other winning model was newly created just for the Detroit contest. It was a 1970 'cuda funny car, paired with a unique working "Hydra-Slide" chassis inspired by a real 1969 Mustang funny car that had a chassis that moved the engine/tranny forward or rearward on the frame, to address varying traction and strip conditions at match races across the country.

While the frame and powertrain were very robust and have stood the test of five decades intact (and still operates to this day - as seen in the photos at the link below), the 1970 'cuda body was a "hurry up" build that was hastily constructed from the just-introduced, new MPC annual kit. I was finished just in time for the Detroit contest. The bodywork was rushed, and as a result had already started to deteriorate by the time of the Detroit show. (Some well placed, last minute decals along the edge of the hood partially obscured the flaws.)

After the show, I repainted the 'cuda body, hoping that would address the issue. The repainted body, now Candy Blue with the Revell Anglia kit's "Skippers Critter" livery, was entered with the rest of the model at the aforementioned Indy MPC Contest and won "1st Senior' at that show.

After the Indy show, the body, particularly the hood area (where I had replaced the kit's "shaker" hood scoop with a flat panel) showed profound distortion and wavy surfacing. The A pillars supporting the drooped roof - never entirely correct from the beginning - broke apart at the beltline. Frustrated to put it mildly, I stuck it all in a box ...

....and built an entirely new body for the chassis - a much modified Mustang based on the MPC 1969 version of the Ohio George Gasser.

That Mustang body has remained with the chassis all these years, while the original 'cuda body resided in a forlorn box for the next 49(!) years; with the optimistic label "1970 'cuda funny car resto" printed on the box end.

Finally, in 2019 during my restoration of the "Dominator" funny car model that won 4th nationwide in the Dodge/MPC/Car Model magazine contest, I was inspired to dig out that old box and at least try to strip the 'cuda body of the paint and see what the potential was to restore it to the original 1970 Detroit MPC appearance.

Photos and captions at the link below cover the many challenges I faced in trying to restore the old 'cuda body. Here are just a few of those images....





It took until January 30, 2020 to complete the restoration, and some issues remain. After two restoration attempts, there are still some minor undulations in the hood surface and one small surface crack. I had to use 50 year old MPC decals to replicate the original appearance, and they proved to be very problematic during applications. Finally, I had to accept that in restoring any 50 year old model, there will be flaws that would be unacceptable in a newly-build model today. But finally, the model that shared the "Best Detail" award at what was then the World's Largest Model Car Contest - has now been returned to its original appearance.





You can see full details of each step of the restoration of the concept, along with more photos of the completed resto and images and details of the chassis/engine, including images showing the actual operation (still works today!) of the Hydra-Slide chassis, at the link below.

Whew! Thanks for looking, and thanks for your interest....TIM

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Saturday, February 1, 2020 7:52 AM

Apologize in advance for the length of the above post; I attempted to edit it down but that didn't work.  

You can get the full story with many more pictures of the restoration effort and the final project, along with the appropriate photo captions, at this link.... 

Thanks in advance for your interest....TIM

 

  • Member since
    October 2017
  • From: New Prague MN
Posted by 60Buick on Saturday, February 1, 2020 12:23 PM

Found this article very interesting and enjoyed the memories. I was born and raised in Flint and if the contest you mentioned was at the IMA auditorium, I was there! 18 years old at the time. Thanks very much for sharing.

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Saturday, February 1, 2020 1:58 PM

60Buick

I was born and raised in Flint and if the contest you mentioned was at the IMA auditorium, I was there! 18 years old at the time. Thanks very much for sharing.

*************

Yep...it was the IMA Auditorium Carl Casper Hot Rod Show, in November or Decemberof 1969.  It was my first ever "in person" model contest (my previous win was in the Car Model Dodge MPC mail-in photo contest) so I didn't know what to expect.  I was impressed with the cars and Mr. Casper did a great job with the "Award Ceremony" at the contest booth Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to be a winner! 

Very cool to hear you were there, too!  Small world, eh?   TIM

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    October 2017
  • From: New Prague MN
Posted by 60Buick on Sunday, February 2, 2020 1:20 AM

For sure!

  • Member since
    November 2004
  • From: UK
Posted by PatrickW on Sunday, February 2, 2020 2:31 AM

Thanks for sharing Tim fantastic article!

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: West Bloomfield, MI
Posted by steveracer on Sunday, February 2, 2020 10:31 AM

Tim, this is awesome, thanks for sharing.

All this at age 15 huh?  Very impressive!

What did you use for a ring and pinion to get the driveshaft to turn and the engine/blower to rotate inside that small diff?  Did a slot car gearset fit?  

i have been on a bit of a kick restoring some of my oldies as well.  Nowhere as detailed as your models, however the memories of rebuilding what has been part of our younger days is kinda cool....

This is fun % P
  • Member since
    March 2008
  • From: Canada
Posted by smellyfatdude on Sunday, February 2, 2020 10:51 AM

I can't thank you enough, for sharing this. When I started building models in the mid 70's, that led to scouring used book stores for old modeling magazines, and the ones I found that dated from the contest era were filled with some incredible builds, like this one. I used to marvel at some of the detail that people were able to add to their models, and of course I still do. When I think of the work and ingenuity that must've gone in to building your funny car, it's nothing short of awe inspiring. It's nice to see you breathe new life in to something you created, all those years ago. Bow

introducing a leaner, fresher smellyfatdude 

Next builds:

Dunno

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by mustang1989 on Monday, February 3, 2020 7:17 AM

This is indeed a good post to read. I used to marvel at details that folks put into their models and this is the kind of stuff I enjoyed reading and looking through as a kid. Fantastic rebuild!! 

Being really stupid is the new smart!! 

    Joe

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Monday, February 3, 2020 9:00 AM

steveracer

 

What did you use for a ring and pinion to get the driveshaft to turn and the engine/blower to rotate inside that small diff?  Did a slot car gearset fit?  

 

 

Steve....bingo!  From what I recall (it's been about 51 years....) I used a grab-bag of Auto World HO slot car gears to do the setup, along with various sizes of aluminum tubing and metal axles.  I used old school 24 hour epoxy to glue it all together - that stuff took forever to set up, but once dried it was bulletproof! 

Thanks for your comments and enthusiasm; best wishes on your own restoration efforts.  TIM   

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Portland Oregon: Tree Country. Most beautiful area on the West coast.
Posted by Treehugger Dave on Monday, February 3, 2020 12:33 PM

Tim

What a great article to take some of us older builders back to similar days and similar events.

My days began in 1962 at the Los Angeles Winternationals Big Show West Modelrama. Your article brings back lots of great memories of being with friends and getting awards. Wonderful, wonderful days.

Your restoration pics, the beautiful restoration, and explainations, came out great.

Thanks again for a "nostalgic" trip down memorie lane Thumbs Up....Dave

 

 

 

                                     

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: The Motor City
Posted by BRONCO BILLY on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 3:13 AM

Bill from DAAM great job on the restoration of the funny car. It looks beautiful. You are an inspiration to us all.

Bronco Billy

 

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:16 AM

Great post, Tim. I enjoyed this read very much. Thanks for sharing.

should the opportunity ever arise, I'm going to buy you a beer and pick your brain on building at this level in the early days. This is impressive stuff, especially from the head & hands of a 15 year old. Cheers

"A common mistake people make when designing something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
- Douglas Adams

Trevor

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Friday, February 7, 2020 8:19 AM

Treehugger Dave

Tim

What a great article to take some of us older builders back to similar days and similar events.

My days began in 1962 at the Los Angeles Winternationals Big Show West Modelrama. Your article brings back lots of great memories of being with friends and getting awards. Wonderful, wonderful days.

Your restoration pics, the beautiful restoration, and explainations, came out great.

Thanks again for a "nostalgic" trip down memorie lane Thumbs Up....Dave

 

Dave...thanks so much for the comments and thoughts....and I might have known that with the modeling skills you demonstrate on this forum from time to time, that you were orginally a competitor from "back in the day".   

Great to hear from you on this....TIM 

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Friday, February 7, 2020 8:20 AM

Bainford

Great post, Tim. I enjoyed this read very much. Thanks for sharing.

should the opportunity ever arise, I'm going to buy you a beer and pick your brain on building at this level in the early days. 

 

Count me in!  Cheers....TIM 

  • Member since
    October 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Friday, February 7, 2020 8:21 AM

BRONCO BILLY

Bill from DAAM great job on the restoration of the funny car. It looks beautiful. You are an inspiration to us all.

 

Thanks for the comments, Billy....and I do hope to get back to a DAAM show one of these months!   TIM 

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Florida USA
Posted by Gooch01 on Friday, February 7, 2020 10:02 AM

Wow-what a great story in so many ways. Your dedication to the hobby all these years is so inspiring. You should win a lifetime achievement award and the fact you still have that model after all these years is awesome. I wish I had some of the models I built as a kid especially the first one I build because my father bought it and it got me into the hobby. Great job on the restoration it looks fantastic and again thanks for sharing.

 

Regards 

Dave 

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our privacy policy