Thanks for the kind feedback,
Long ago (in my teens actually) I hoped to do the entire '70 grid in 1:24th/1:25th and started collecting parts. Bits and pieces of the Jo-Han Javelins are still in my possession, but most everything else was eventually sold or moved on. 1:24th/1:25th is, by contrast to 1:18th, so much better supported in terms of parts and accessories, whereas what takes me weeks can be done with greater speed if the shell is cast of more easily fashioned styrene plastic. For the RKE, the Penske and later ARA/RWR Javelins in scale, there's no other way (as you well know), and at some point I'll dedicate further time to replicas based upon these traditional Jo-Han tools. I suspect I might start with promotional model bodies for the '68 and '69 RKE Javelins if only to take advantage of the better plastic employed in their creation. If it tells you anything, I've been gifted unassembled plastic kits partially out of pity from kind individuals that wish for me to experience the joy of a quick build, a quick turn around...
Indeed - Zamac isn't much fun to work with. Heavy and brittle - the 'plastic people' have it better! Back to Zamac, perhaps a small advantage afforded to model enthusiast is that it files and shapes so very slowly - a quality that suits 'slow me'. Some 1:1 body supplies likely work better with it, whereas maybe too the overall assembly won't be quite as delicate as the usual plastic kit. The Sun Star-based Gray Ghost in particular terrifies me, for the roof is plastic and non-structural. Nothing but the tiny sills hold the front to the rear of the car, and so worried I've been that metal fatigue will reduce this project to so much scale junk. It was a bold leap to even try doing the flares on this shell, for it was about the least likely success story I could have scripted. At present it seems strong - definitely not a old-school Welly, whereas I think it will be safe across years.
No - I don't have profound justification to afford to relate just why I bear the cross of 1:18th. In grad. school I worked in a Detroit-area automobilia store that sold much in the way of 1:18th prefinished and preassembled diecast and little in the form of 1:25th unassembled plastic kits. I was a terribly frustrated 1:25th 'plastic person' always building above my level and finishing precious little. For being situated, for being in the presence of enthusiasts who'd buy something 'out of the box' and display it, occasion would arise to 'seal a sale' for doing discrete mods. of soon-to-be customer cars.
Strange to relate that so many contemporary customers wouldn't dare purchase and build a plastic kit, whereas the backlash on the part of 'plastic people' decrying the loss of a skills base for the 'laziness' of 1:18th pre-assembled and pre-finished enthusiast base is something I still regard as valid - in part. Personally, I don't believe anyone is so well-served if only a builder can reap the rewards of having the skills to create the art. Less of an issue now, those who've only just arrived to the dying 1:18th market missed a broad period of poor quality product that was indifferently researched. I suppose for carrying in a certain sensitivity (this informed by a broad collection of period racing books and magazines), I felt less overawed by the $30-$120 1:18th models we then sold and simply gave them a whack for addressing many a problem noticed. For taking a model home for some limited conversion, maybe I'd be 85% satisfied something would be 'right', whereas customers often afforded encouragement and topic-rooted feedback that translated into validation for the effort made. Observing the length of this thread, clearly I still value such.
Confidence partially restored, I found the strictly limited nature of the mods. undertaken comforting; i.e. 'it was nice before, and now it's better' - and the world didn't end if I gave the effort up and returned to my starting point. The GMP Penske Camaros came along and needed help here and there - and so I tried those. The Welly/GMP BOSS 302's needed a LOT of help - and so I tried those. Given my background, it seemed a natural to continue on with discreet mods. extending out across the spectrum to embrace more thoroughgoing projects. I suppose I could reach for an old 1:25th MPC '70 Firebird Trans Am tool to do a proper T/G Firebird, but something inside tells me to embrace the possibilities of doing the same in 1:18th. Regarding the 1:18th diecast efforts I've undertaken, response at area shows has been decidedly mixed. People who engage me in conversation understand and appreciate that such is 'my thing', although the 'plastic people' are often cool. Same skill set, same passion, an analogous motivation to produce something of quality - or so I say!
The '70 Titus Firebird indeed will have the full-length exhaust, whereas but for a few recent online discoveries, I hadn't suspected that the normal spec. of the Titus-driven car was this way more often than not. Although not desiring to be strictly morbid, the Michael Lamm title 'The Fabulous Firebird' contains an image of crumpled T/G Firebird exhausted against the bridge abutment which took his life, and there too can be seen the full length exhaust exiting out the back and left. I've been surprised to notice that the aqua-painted Minilites didn't strictly vanish post-Laguna Seca, hence these too will be seen. Thanks for your interest...