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16  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: August 10, 2014, 02:03:44 PM

A more substantive update of the 1:18 Sun Star-based 1964 Pontiac Tempest/1971 SCCA Trans-Am season Gray Ghost this time Ďround.  Glacial pace, yes Ė but hey Ė this isnít just a few parts added plus livery.  

Here a complete roll cage has been fabricated, though fairly simple of shape as can be noted.  An odd design to the extent that no tubes extend rearward past the main hoop.  For careful inspection one might also discern that a rear package shelf has been added complete with shoulder harness pick up points (two), the interior trim panels have been substantially trimmed and narrowed (i.e. necessary to afford clearance for the extent of the roll cage, whereas the dashboard still requires fitting), while GMP Trans-Am Camaro disc brakes have been added complete with dust cap (1:25 oil breathers) and axle end detail (GM-specific and scratch built).  Looking a bit meek in the style of early spot/single piston caliper/solid discs, Iíve doubled them up (these having been reproduced in resin) and hope soon to add ventilation detail for use of a tiny rectangular section file.  Proper caliper mounts and calipers to come.  Track has been increased front and rear for adjustment facilitated for the redesign of how everything is mounted.  A 1:18 Lane B.O.P. (Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac) differential housing is poised to be clayed up in anticipation of fitting the same to the chassis.  At this point precious little has been done underneath but for a fuel cell housing, hence much to do there.

The bend upward of the cross bar situated just back of the front windshield is reproduced in a manner slightly less pronounced than what is seen on the 1:1 ĎGhost, although this reflects the fact that Iím working with plastic castings versus scale-thinness stampings and such must be accommodated.  Given that the roof must be slightly smashed down even absent the roll cage to properly fit into place along the firewall, know that the dimensions tighten up further when modest pressure is applied forward.  The bars penetrating the floorboards forward will eventually be mated to the frame members consistent with tying the structure together entire.  Know too that the shifter housing/platform is indeed offset a bit  if not bent a bit (versus prim and mounted strictly straight) on the 1:1 racer, the pedal configuration isnít final, whereas the seat rails/mount hasnít yet been fabricated (this being a mock up).  Much floor work Ė especially looking behind the main roll hoop, remains to be done.

All-but-invisible is a new scratch built dual oil filter remote mount situated on the firewall (fifteen parts in total), an odd wet sump oil pan reflecting the choice by Team Trans-Action to recycle select T-G Firebird team parts (here a design used to accommodate 180 degree headers tested in Ď70), as well as revisions done to the fuel cell and fuel delivery system categorically unseen in the trunk.  The seat headrest is now sited with brass rod, while all I had to go on with regards to the configuration of the same is the old Motor Trend image roughly suggesting such.  Lastly, the beginnings of a large Harrison oil cooler to replace the somewhat mousey original GMP Trans-Am Camaro rendition of the same may be viewed resting apart from the model in some photos.  Top and bottom detail needs to be added, whereas the flange/mounting detail is an easy matter to create and yet isnít present within photos.

Fabrication takes time, whereas rendering additions consistent with affording the entire work an organic appearance is a challenge.  Many modifications work best when they canít be strictly detected, whereas configuring a first prototype involves pain.  Kind thanks...

Mike K.

17  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: July 22, 2014, 12:15:03 PM

I was searching for a copy of Steve Smith's 30-odd page title The Trans Am and Corvette chassis: Design, theory, construction from 1975 and stumbled upon a complete scan of the same.  See:

Mike K.

18  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: June 26, 2014, 03:52:31 PM

Another period photographer offering his wares online - this time one Ken Coles.  Some very clear shots from Mid-Ohio '70 through '72, with more contemporary event images if you absolutely must.  Many independent entries seen here.  Worth your time to inspect then.  See:!i=735379425&k=8TWDcKR

Mike K.
19  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: June 14, 2014, 11:52:10 AM

Again, quite a bit of work - albeit largely invisible.  '71 Gray Ghost hood has been laboriously worked over to render its origins invisible - ha! The '64 GTO hood features twin faux hood scoops that had first to be ground down, and then attacked with a sanding block set on edge to comprehensively reduce the remaining 'hills' that formed the raised portion of each, blending the same to the surrounding panel work, etc. A vile task and not for the faint of heart.  Other additions are new resin grilles (cleaner these, better shape, zero warpage, etc.), a new coolant overflow bottle, and rough decal mock up work that, if nothing else, raises my spirits slightly.   

Back to the '70 Titus Firebird - an interior starts to take form.  Much floor detail (contours, stiffening braces stamped-in, etc.) remains to be added.  I must start somewhere though, and hence all the awful cast-in carpeting 'detail' has mercifully been deep-sixed.  No more pedals or pads, whereas a 'consoledectomy' was performed to erase the presence of an undesired detail. Material from a spare chassis was substituted into the hole where the hideous console formerly resided, whereas block sanding again saved matters for it generally looks the business.  A bit too thick of section and too tall though, with the panel work dimensions distorted looking back; i.e. T/G replaced the trans. tunnel body with sheet aluminum rather in the fashion of some gruesome stateside mid-eighties Pro-Stock racer.  A CDI ignition unit is seen forward on the trans tunnel, whereas the rudiments of a roll cage are starting to take form.  Thanks and kind regards...

Mike K
20  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 16, 2014, 02:18:02 PM

Nothing profound, but some work to report.  Doubts concerning my ability to create a character line across the top of the shaker hood insert led me to cut up another hood to substitute in material already bearing said character line - a success this.  Seams were visible on the hood run at Laguna Seca, so what is seen here is actually quite good all things considered.  

Continuing on then, the heater core 'bubble' on firewall was removed, a flat plate substituted atop the same space, and an expansion tank fitted w/cap and mount was fabricated and fitted, whereas a pair of GMP Trans-Am Camaro upper control arms have been added reflecting a previous casting effort to capture said detail for reuse.  The upper mounts for the front suspension have been cut off and resited inwards to afford a bit of negative camber - this a near-invisible mod.  

A Lane '68 Firebird alternator has been added, as has the power steering pump found on the same tool.  T/G employed an odd system that provided hydraulic boost for both steering and brakes; i.e. a curiosity this. Lane '68 engine pulleys were cast and cut to reuse the detail on the face of each here atop the stock ERTL pulleys which are crude to say the least.  A '70 GMP GTO Judge will afford this project a radiator, whereas a cast resin GMP Trans-Am Camaro Harrison oil cooler too will be fitted.  The radiators are not seen across the photo images provided, although I do look forward to creating the 'quick change' radiator mount as seen in a single period photo.    

The rear track has been expanded, although no serious work has yet been done on the rear axle assembly which calls for much additional work.  A fuel cell housing, also GMP Trans-Am Camaro-sourced, has been fitted as well as what I took to be tie down points for inspection of the Phillip Larsen image telegraphing such detail.  Some round stock was used for the base of each set against the fuel cell housing proper, whereas the burgundy parts are simply beads that were set in place with glue and with the use of a metal dental pick.  

A new air dam casting was obtained from a friend and more carefully shaped, a set of finned '72 Yat Ming/Road Legends valve covers were cast, cleaned up for oil cap detail erasure (i.e. the sanding down of the caps, and then for dragging a razor saw atop the same detail to match the upraised fin pattern), with the results effectively doubled up to lengthen each to match the cylinder head dimensions. Funny to relate that the effort made on the valve covers will be pulled and simple pressed steel models substituted for I seriously suspect that such is what was run at the first event.  A second mid-season T/G Firebird Trans Am will in time wear these.  Continuing, vents were created on the top of each valve cover looking up and forward, whereas also seen is a washer bottle (square this) that I presume might have been employed as a puke tank or some such.  

Hurst-Airheart hub bearing detail (i.e. shape of the cap) is seen on the rear wheels, whereas the front bearing caps are simply oil breathers reemployed to suggest the shape of the former.  It seems like so little, but a bunch of work in total.  Anything mentioned as cast has generated a mold, hence bits to be added to a product line to come.  Thanks and kind regards to the community...

Mike K.

21  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Sam Posey ..... Racing Legened or unsung Hero ?? on: May 09, 2014, 12:28:40 PM

Of fairly recent vintage, Sam Posey was tapped to scribble brief remembrances of his Trans-Am days for Hagerty Insurance late in 2013.  For those who don't know, Hagerty sends along a brief magazine for those holding policies with them, whereas see the link to access the story online penned by Sam for said publication.  

The sense of desperation felt by the Autodynamics team in the immediate wake of their tech inspection failure at the 1970 Laguna Seca contest seems still better captured here versus elsewhere, whereas if you might obtain a print copy, some 1970 Riverside/Mission Bell 200 photo images may be further perused mixed in with the text and a scattering of contemporary vintage event photos.  Try then:

Mike K.
22  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Sam Posey ..... Racing Legened or unsung Hero ?? on: May 05, 2014, 01:12:59 PM

Indeed quite a fan of his here.  A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he always seemed to telegraph something extra in his descriptions of his experiences of motor sports, trains, etc.  Very often described as loquacious then.  Brief Penske history in '68 (a sobering and clarifying experience for Sam surely), Shelby Racing Co. in '69 (final race victory for the team scored), and finally with Ray Caldwell and Autodynamics in '70, his racing autobiography The Mudge Pond Express published in 1976 is an excellent companion piece to Donohue's The Unfair Advantage if those reading haven't had opportunity to peruse the former.  SAE and Bentley (as this message was written) have republished a great many period auto racing titles of note - but sadly not this one. 

Often missed, Sam's contributions to Auto Racing: Magazine of the World's Greatest Sport in the form of the multiple-installment 'The Trans Am Trail' provided detailed and amusing insight into the further travails of the Autodynamics and Chrysler Corp. SCCA Trans-Am effort across the tulmultous '70 season.  If one has only read The Mudge Pond Express with regards to developing an understanding and appreciation of this effort, much delight can be had for reading the CRG thread that contains the Auto Racing series entire.  A gentleman surely and a fine diplomat for the American road racing scene including Group 7/Can-Am, Formula 5000, Trans-Am, etc.  May he be well...

Mike K.
23  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Where to find Trans Am race posters (even reproductions)? on: May 04, 2014, 01:29:43 PM

When searching on eBay, try isolating your search to particular tracks; i.e. 'Riverside', 'Watkins Glen', 'Mid-Ohio' versus simply typing in 'SCCA Trans-Am posters' or some such.  Not every vendor can positively identify the series and include this in their descriptions, whereas broadening matters out here can help to find what you require.  Be methodical, and of course be alert to the painfully common misspelling of 'Donahue' as contrasted to Donohue.  Kind regards...

Mike K.
24  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 04, 2014, 12:55:22 PM
Not much to see...

Front flares much reduced in size (notice how tiny they are in the bottommost reference photo), rear flares rebuilt reflecting a need to add more bulk plus allow for the shape of the same to blend into the tumblehome area aft of the rear wheel arch.  Regarding the rear flares, final shaping is needed before the same are cast to backstop my efforts prior to applying the same to the shell, with specific reference to adding material to the top of the flare(s) to ensure the taper into the body is wholly done with filler. I'd also like to thin the flares a bit internally, perhaps reducing the overall thickness by two-thirds if at all possible.

Continuing then, the front valance panel has been filed to open up the vents just below the grille, whereas the turn signal indicator fill panels have been replaced for repeating the technique of what was done with the headlamps; i.e. a spare shell was used as a mold with resin poured into the resultant pockets to actively redefine what a 'fill panel' might be.  Tedious this, but apparently the only way to go.

Beneath the hood (and in uncomfortable proximity to those terrible dog leg hinges) may be seen a set of Lane '68 Firebird valve covers (the finned cast aluminum models employed by T/G came later in the season), a scratch built Edelbrock ED4 intake, a GMP Trans-Am Camaro Holley carburetor, and a recycled '67 GMP Trans-Am Camaro air cleaner that was otherwise homeless for my efforts to scratch build a '67-model single 4BBL cowl induction air cleaner and associated ductwork.  A cast resin GMP Trans-Am Camaro distributor can just be made out.  Thanks and kind regards...

Mike K.

25  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 30, 2014, 01:05:33 PM

Gathering data on the '70 Autodynamics Challenger chassis to inform that effort, whereas a bit more performed here to share now.  All drip rail trim has been flattened and removed, the trailing edge trim has been removed from hood, the C-pillars visually thinned, while door handles from the '72 Road Legends Pontiac Trans Am have been added.  '73 ERTL Trans Am grille surrounds have been added (a bit thinner and better shaped versus the poorly-rendered '70 tool), while these were then combined with the '70 pattern grilles proper. All of this will 'brighten up' with paint as only standard argent grilles were run by T-G reflecting the humble origins of the 350 CID automatic street cars from which they built up their Trans-Am entries.

Continuing, longer exhaust dumps have fabricated, whereas fill panels for the front turn signals fabricated and set in place.  The headlamp pocket fill panels required more work, with a spare shell being employed as a mold of sorts complete with the use of clay 'donuts' around the headlamp pockets to ensure I'd have enough material to reshape to suit my needs across the top of each. A more pronounced front air dam has been fitted that too has been mildly reshaped, whereas the awful license plate location pegs and associated holes and bumps otherwise visible on the front of the model have mercifully been erased. 

Lastly, front flare detail borrowed from my Gray Ghost effort has been reemployed here to begin upon the modest flares that crumpled for contact not so much with other competitors, but rather for a likely misjudgment of how much wheel travel/space was required.  Inspecting period photos suggests T-G Racing had trouble up front right on both sides right across the race weekend.  As for my own, the flares start large, and for adjustments shrink to something approaching what it is I desire for contour and bulk.  Kind regards to the board...

Mike K.
26  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: April 25, 2014, 12:15:08 PM
Given I'm searching for photo archives of interest, this would be the Pete Lyons website that contains about fifty images of interest.  See:

Kind regards to the board...

Mike K.
27  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 24, 2014, 05:52:01 PM worries at all,

From what I could discern from the David Friedman collection/Laguna Seca event images it appears that like Chaparral, T-G Racing appeared at Laguna Seca 1970 tech. with all the factory spoilers fitted to their entry.  Upon tech. refusal to recognize the same as homologated, off came everything.  It seems T-G must have replaced the front fenders for the air extractor vents vanished entirely, although they did stop short of replacing the hood stamping for only a plug fabricated on site seems to occupy the space of the shaker. I'm pleased I'll not have to deal with disguising seams, etc. for such would be that much harder to reproduce in scale.

Given it was an open area, T-G tried to fabricate an aluminum front spoiler that seemed large, ungainly, and somewhat suspect for strength even as it bore a pair of strengthening ribs describing an 'X' in the center.  It appears that this rough spoiler may have been employed in qualifying.  Soon this hasty addition came off, whereas the team settled for retaining the center element of the stock front spoiler when race time arrived.

As for myself, I expect to have to reproduce holes on the deck lid and quarter panels where the rear spoiler would have been affixed, and perhaps add a character line to the center of the shaker hood plug if photo images might be found to confirm the existence of such detail. Kind thanks and know I appreciate all visitors and comments whereever such banter might go...

Mike K.
28  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Firebird and the Trans-Am series on: April 23, 2014, 04:10:41 PM

Now for something completely different!  See link to pdf file of a Japanese motor racing magazine examination of the '69 T-G Racing Firebird Trans Am/SCCA Trans-Am effort.  I'd never seen the photo image depicting a Superbird/Charger Daytona high wing (plus discreet vents/bubbles on the top of each fender consistent with reproducing the concept entire) on the 1969 prototype before, hence something surely to mull.  Wait! - when was the Charger Daytona developed, and who was Paul Lamar befriending and chumming around with in period?  Fun regardless, and an alternative conception of Stardust memories...

Mike K.
29  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 21, 2014, 02:41:22 PM

Thanks Jon M. for repairing the links I provided above allowing for inspection of the Revs Archive/Karl Ludvigsen files,

A time saver here; i.e. so much work had been performed on an item up for purchase that I couldn't refuse it.  Appreciate that no standard-bodied 1:18 second generation Firebird tool exists, hence this project recently acquired constitutes a huge time savings.  In short, an unknown 1:18 diecast modifier ground channels behind the leading edge wheel arch aerodynamic spats of a usual and humble white metal shell to stress relieve sensitive areas of it prior to heating and bending each spat back into a normal/standard Firebird configuration. Intended not to be noticed in the slightest, see too the effective erasure of the rear spoiler in its entirety whilst saving the underlying quarter panel and rear deck profile for the care evidenced - whew!  Reproducing the same effort would consume months I do suspect, while all the previous putty work was removed when the shell was taken to an area media blaster for the usual treatment last week.  What is seen can thus look better in time.

I've quickly refilled the side fender air extraction vents with JB Weld, and have plugged the side mirror and exterior door latch holes for good measure. A shaker hood cutout plug was fabricated and fitted, side exhausts are recycled ERTL 427 Cobra S/C items, whereas yes - the GMP tires are the same size front to rear. The gruesome beginnings of the rear wheel flares do in fact approximate reality, for these were aesthetically challenged on the real racer to say the very least. Laguna Seca was the first race on the calendar for the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am series, while understand that the Trans Am model-specific spoilers were not approved for homologation irregularities cited in tech. at this contest - hence off they came. T-G Racing ended up plugging the shaker hood, removing the spoilers (but for the front lip which was an open area and thus retained), and for their troubles Titus posted the team's only finish for that year.  The side window trim will in the fullness of time be ground flat, the cast-in rubber window seals filed off entirely consistent with a desperate effort to reduce weight.  

For now this model will be parked given other projects have priority, but an intriguing beginning begging to be shared. In the fullness of time I hope to have all the factory blessed and semi-blessed Pontiac efforts in scale from 1968 to 1971, but now back to the E-bodies.  Thanks...

Mike K.


30  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 15, 2014, 04:21:41 PM
Thanks for the kind words,

I apologize that my writing is a bit clunky at present, whereas I hope matters will smooth out a bit for practice and more careful editing.  Below will be noticed a pair of links to the Stanford University Revs Digital Library wherein is contained Karl Ludvigsen's collected work.  I was a bit stunned to notice that the Sports Car Graphic article from 1970 Watkins Glen titled 'Bad Day at Dodge City' which evidenced one or two published photographs here is revealed to be but a slender sample of what is likely fifty to sixty images taken across the race weekend.  

Appreciating that I've been working off of no more than four or five period underhood photographs of iffy quality at best, within the Revs Digital Library four truly outstanding mid-season underhood photo images as well as chassis and interior photographs can be accessed.  I'm quite excited about this, whereas for a sleep-inducing search of the archive opened up to include all photographs taken by Mr. Ludvigsen across the year 1970, it does seem that Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton constitute the only SCCA Trans-Am events he attended that year.  A fast scan of approximately 3,700 images proves as much!   Contemplate inspecting the following if only for the fact that what is contained within isn't exclusively Chrysler material:

Watkins Glen:✓


...attempts to create live links failed, whereas I hope these addresses prove sound.

Mike K.
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