Assumed lost, this kit hid in the shadows for a number of years before I accidentally found it. A friend of mine had started it and managed to leave it behind while working in my shop. He had chopped the top and started shaving a few details and never got a chance to finish it. I thought I would finish it up.
This was a labor of frustration! This kit weighs a lot! There is an incredible amount of body filler in this kit. I blended the cab into the bed. I blended the tail gate into the bed. I built up the area around the interior to make it look right. I later added corvette tail lights. They were sourced from a ’96 vette kit that I wasn’t going to build. I also used chezoom wheels, along with ’73 trans am front and rear suspension. I grafted in a transmission tunnel from a ’94 trans am kit. I used the engine from the Corvette kit. I also smoothed out quite a bit of the dash to give it a clean look.
There are probably more details than I can remember right now.
The red body filler was something I tried and used on a few projects. I found out the hard way that it shrinks badly. The normal stuff I use that requires a hardener works much better. Lesson learned.
I had finished this kit to the point where all I needed to do was glue in the battery under the hood, and I managed to knock it off of my bench. It landed bottom side up, smashing the windshield pillars. I was able to get it fixed and repainted, but it wasn’t as great as it was the first time around.
If were to do it again, I would probably try to create a filler panel to fill the gap between the bed and cab. Also, I would have probably tried to make the transmission tunnel differently. I cut through both the chassis and the interior tub and made them all one piece. I ended up permanently fixing the tub too far forward. I had also started working towards grafting in the Corvette’s interior. I really struggled with it so I gave up. I feel confident that I could build it right today.
Setbacks aside, this kit turned out well. Not too bad for a major custom!
Completed: May 2008
Here is the kit mostly how I found it in the box. I used a set of Chazoom wheels which I thought looked better than the ’80’s Testarossa wheels my friend had intended to use.
My first round of body filler took care of most of the gap.
I had to pop some of the original body work around the door handles because of some shrinking issues.
More of the earlier work. Most of the shaping of the body filler is complete which created a continuous line down the cab to the bed.
If I recall correctly, I hadn’t worked out the suspension at this point. The wheels were jammed into the wheel wells.
The early rendition of the body work.
At this point, there is still quite a bit of work to do but the foundation was in place.
Tail lights? The original tail lights were used as blanks to smooth out the back of the truck. I really had no idea what my friend wanted to do, but for a while, the back looked like this.
I filled the inside of the cab with filler to try and make it stronger. I knew I would be handling this project quite a bit and reducing flex would prevent me from wrecking the hard work.
One of my original thoughts about doing tails was drilling holes to fit head lights that I would paint red. I knew I would never be able to get the holes perfect so I scrapped the idea. Then I noticed a corvette kit that I was never going to build and this is what happened next.
The basic shape of the vette tail, flipped upside down, was perfect for finishing up the rear portion of the truck.
I widened the corvette piece to make it fit the width of the truck. I glued a scrap piece behind the panel to give the putty something to build from.
I whole heartedly regret using red spot filler for this. I had been using two part body filler up to this point and tried taking a shortcut by using this stuff. It worked, but shrank very noticeably after the paint was sprayed.
The rough prepping of this area brings me to this picture. I wasn’t any where near compete by this point but it looks good with the new tail lights.
The sacrificial ‘vette
A little more sanding and shaping and the rear end was looking much better.
Sacrificing the ‘vette left me with extra parts. I was going to use the vette dash, seats, door panels and center console. At the time, I couldn’t figure out how to make them fit right. In this shot you can see a huge gap between the top of the dash and the windshield.
With plans to use the engine from the ‘vette, I ran into an issue where the transmission wouldn’t fit under the truck. The truck had no tunnel and since the engine and suspension were setups that came from cars, I needed to fix the problem and did so with a tunnel I hacked out of another kit.
I grafted the tunnel into the tub and chassis as one piece.
The Advans don’t look quite right on the truck.
Posed with a couple of other projects waiting for clear.
In the end, I only used the center console from the ‘vette
The seats from the ‘vette did look good.
Checking the stance.
The pockets were painted silver and the lenses glued in place. Perfect!
Hanging out with the rest of the kits.
I would be comfortable in saying that there was probably as much surface area in black as there was in green.
The black bed “liner” does a nice job of giving the model some contrast.
Black on the inside as well.
A quick peek at the finished paint job.
Once I abandoned the ‘vette interior, I took the original dash and filled in some detail.
I also continued smoothing out the floor.
I used Alclad to paint the grill.
The first idea was to simply black wash the grill. It looked good but not quite right.
I elected to fill in the openings with black paint to look more like the 1:1 grill. The window was also glued in place.
The ‘vette engine fits in the engine bay very well after having installed the tunnel.
More engine detail in place.
Another shot of the donor ‘vette.
At this point, the engine and engine bay were complete.
At this point, the truck is nearly complete. The only thing left to do was glue the battery in place under the hood. Then…
Disaster! I dropped it and it landed shiny side down. The window frame was smashed and the paint on the door was chipped.
I’m pretty sure I managed to drop it one more time before I was able to finish the repairs. I managed to damage more paint in the process which led me to repaint most of the the truck.
The windshield is glued into place…again.
At this point, the truck is pretty much complete. I had to touch up paint that chipped on the bed and was able to sand and polish it smooth.
The finished truck posing with a few other finished projects.
Not perfect, but not bad considering my skillset at the time.
The body work for the ‘vette tails turned out great. The filler shrinkage is hard to see and takes the right light.
This angle shows where I could have done more to sharpen the lines around the interior. I would approach this much differently today.