1966 Wildcat in 1/25 scale

HughBond

Active Member
I'm just getting this little project started and I thought I'd share it here so you can see it come together. If you have any tips for accuracy, they'd be greatly appreciated! Also, if you want to build a model of your Buick and like something you see me doing, please ask and I'll help you learn how to do it. Some model building techniques can also be useful for restoring plastic interior parts so maybe you'll find something you can use here.

I've been away from model building for a number of years but looking to get back into it. I recently had my optometrist set me up with a special pair of glasses to give me the proper depth of field in my vision to start doing these again because my eyes just aren't what they used to be. I have plans to do some of the more modern, more detailed kits but to get back into it I've decided to build a 1966 Wildcat that's been sitting unbuilt in my basement literally for decades. The kit originated in late 1964, when AMT made the dealer promotional model for the 1965 Wildcat. Back then model kits started as promos, then the model companies would modify the promo tooling to add an engine and custom parts so they could sell hobby retail model kits to maximize their profit on the tooling. Because the 1966 Wildcat was very similar to the '65, they didn't tool up a new promo and hobby kit for '66. Instead they just modified the '65 with a new grille, new side gill trim and the rear was changed. Unfortunately they didn't update the interior so this '66 kit still has a '65 interior. It does not have GS markings but it comes with a 425 Nailhead Super Wildcat 465 backed by a manual transmission. If my research is correct, that would be a 3-speed, right? So the kit is a bit of a disappointing oddball but I'm going to make the best of it. My detailing will be centered on the body and engine because the chassis lacks detail and the interior is just wrong.

Here's the box. This edition of the kit was released in the late 1980s.


Despite being in the "Customizing Series" all the parts for the stock version are included in the box.


I found this '66 Riviera years ago on sale really cheap. I bought it for parts since I'm not into low riders. Because it's a more modern kit it has more detailed parts. It will be a parts donor to improve upon the '60s parts in the Wildcat kit.


Looking inside the Wildcat's box, here's the body and the chassis plate. The body looks good but the chassis lacks front suspension detail and all the parts like the rear suspension and exhaust system are just lumps molded in one piece. It also has two holes at the front and two more at the rear for screws to attach the chassis to the body. That really kills the realism. Because no one makes a suitable chassis in another model kit to replace this one, I'll just be giving this one some simple paint details. My goal isn't for a show-winner but for a finished model that looks good sitting on its wheels.



If you haven't built a model kit in over thirty years, here's how things have changed. The single piece of white plastic on the left is the Wildcat's chassis, which was originally tooled by AMT in late 1964. The two metal axles below it are what mounts the wheels. All the grey plastic parts to the right of it are the pieces that make up the chassis of the Riviera. Not only are all the parts separate and well-detailed, even the floorpan is separate from the frame. If you flip that floorpan over, that's the interior floor of the Riv. It doesn't have a "bucket" like models from the '60s. Also there are no more screws wrecking the look of the chassis. It's just too bad that it's the wrong chassis to underpin the Wildcat because it would be a nice upgrade from the toy-like chassis it has.


The biggest modification that I'll be doing to upgrade the look of the Wildcat is the top of the radiator core support. The Wildcat has a pair of cylindrical lumps molded into the core support that make the engine compartment look toy-like. I'll be removing those lumps and cutting down the top of the support so I can remove the top of the support from the Riv's body and install it in the Wildcat. The fan guard on the Riv isn't exactly right for the Wildcat but it's closer than the plain white radiator wall molded to the Wildcat body. I'll look at photos and see if I can modify it to get it to look closer. The Wildcat's firewall looks okay to me but it completely lacks a master cylinder. The Riv has a nice two-piece assembly of the master cylinder and power booster that will find a new home in the Wildcat.


As much as I'd like to steal the engine block and Super Turbine 400 from the Riv, keeping the metal axle chassis dictates keeping the old '60s block with the big hole in it. The hole won't be visible when the model is together.


I will, however, grab the whole top end of the Riv's engine. The heads, intake, carburetors, air cleaner, valve covers and exhaust manifolds are all vastly superior to the original Wildcat parts. The Riv parts are grey and the Wildcat parts are white. I'll be keeping the original Wildcat water pump/timing chain cover and accessory drive because it has the correct brackets for the alternator and power steering pump. Comparing the fans, both have decent detail but the Wildcat has five blades while the Riv has six. Which one is correct?


Here's the most annoying thing about this: the '65 interior. It's very disappointing that AMT didn't update this but I guess they didn't want to spend the money. Luckily this isn't a convertible so it won't be very visible. Rather than getting bogged down attempting to correct this, I'll just approach it like a '65 and make it the best '65 interior I can with what AMT has given me.



The chrome details look nice as you can see in these close-ups.



Now the tough decisions. If there's anyone out there actually reading this, I'm open to suggestions or input. My preference is to do a dark color. I've narrowed my choices to Shadow Turquoise, Burgundy Mist, Midnight Blue or Regal Black. What interior colors came with these? The easiest would be to do a black interior but that's a bit boring so I'd prefer white. Did all the white interiors have black dashboards and carpet or were the dashes and carpets available in colors with white seats and door panels? Would it be correct to do Shadow Turquoise with a white/black interior? I think that's my front-runner.
 
Generally speaking, most cars on the floor rooms were "color co-ordinated", blue on blue, green on green. The only exceptions were the black or white interiors, or any color interior with white or black exterior. But, you could order a green car with a red interior, or a yellow car with a green interior if you wished. A dealer would probably demand a significant, if not full payment at order for some of those combinations. So anything could be correct.
 

HughBond

Active Member
Generally speaking, most cars on the floor rooms were "color co-ordinated", blue on blue, green on green. The only exceptions were the black or white interiors, or any color interior with white or black exterior. But, you could order a green car with a red interior, or a yellow car with a green interior if you wished. A dealer would probably demand a significant, if not full payment at order for some of those combinations. So anything could be correct.
Thanks again, Bob!

There were some brands that restricted the colors that could be combined. Mopar did that a lot and I think Pontiac did, too. You could probably override those restrictions with something like a COPO but it wouldn't be common. I've attached a 1968 Dodge dealer chart as an example. It does say that you could order any combo you wanted but the dealers mostly stuck to these options. All the white interior options options refer to different dash and carpet colors. They had white seats and door panels with red, blue, green, gold or black dash/carpet colors. I was wondering if Buick did that, too, or if all the white interiors were white/black. I haven't seen any that weren't white/black but it would have been easy for the factory to do it.
 

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Hugh,
Attached are the Buick Interior Trim Colors and Codes charts for '65 and '66. The door panel designs on your model's interior identify it as one from the '65 extra-cost custom series. That and being a Wildcat coupe makes the car a 6637 model. Color selections on the bucket seats were greater in '65 than '66 (4 choices vs. 2).

Buick did offer white seats with a choice of carpet and accent colors later on in the '70s. But these earlier years used a standard color for the non-seating areas, probably black like you mentioned. Don't think it was connected to the exterior color. Once we pick a trim code, we can dig through the parts book to hopefully determine carpet and dash colors etc.

Here are the color compatibility charts from the '68 Buick dealership paint chip folder. I don't have the earlier folders, but this one should be representative of what combos were considered Recommended, Acceptable, or "Forbidden" in '65 and '66.
 

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HughBond

Active Member
Hugh,
Attached are the Buick Interior Trim Colors and Codes charts for '65 and '66. The door panel designs on your model's interior identify it as one from the '65 extra-cost custom series. That and being a Wildcat coupe makes the car a 6637 model. Color selections on the bucket seats were greater in '65 than '66 (4 choices vs. 2).

Buick did offer white seats with a choice of carpet and accent colors later on in the '70s. But these earlier years used a standard color for the non-seating areas, probably black like you mentioned. Don't think it was connected to the exterior color. Once we pick a trim code, we can dig through the parts book to hopefully determine carpet and dash colors etc.

Here are the color compatibility charts from the '68 Buick dealership paint chip folder. I don't have the earlier folders, but this one should be representative of what combos were considered Recommended, Acceptable, or "Forbidden" in '65 and '66.
Thanks, Todd!

If I'm reading that correctly, there was no white (or white-ish) bucket seat interior available in ANY Buick in 1966, correct? Just looking at 6637, it looks to me like for '65 there was only black, blue, ivory and saddle, and for '66 there was only black, blue and light fawn. That doesn't seem quite right. Am I missing something?

Was 1966 light fawn close to 1965 ivory? I'm starting to think I should just do an all-black interior because that wouldn't call attention to the incorrect interior in the model as much as a color that's incorrect for 1966 would. Here's a light fawn '66 front seat and an ivory '65 rear seat that came up in Google images. The ivory looks whiter to me but it's hard to judge in photos.
 

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HughBond

Active Member
Here's the progress as of tonight.

In a forum discussion about engine color I saw someone suggest a Dupli-Color engine red so I ordered a can. I never knew Buick engine colors were so hard to find! Here's the can along with the mixture of parts from the Wildcat (white plastic) and Riviera (grey plastic) engines that I've chosen to build the long block. That may seem like a lot of paint for such a tiny engine but I still have an unbuilt '70 GSX on the shelf and I wouldn't mind getting a non-low rider Riviera to build. In any case, it didn't cost any more than a little can of Testors model paint.


Here's the assembled and painted engine.


Two questions:
1. What color should the transmission case be?
2. What color should the alternator and power steering brackets be?


I grabbed my X-acto knife and razor saw and cut the engine bay out of the Riviera. The goal is to get the top of the core support off to add it to the Wildcat. This was molded as all one piece.


It's not a perfect match for a Wildcat core support/fan guard but it's a lot closer than the garbage AMT designed the kit with. Considering this '66 will have a '65 interior I can't feel too bad about the minor inaccuracy of this part. Here I've mocked up the Wildcat and the radiator and core support top from the Riv are sitting in front of it. I'll cut down the Wildcat's core support leaving the bottom where the chassis mounts to it.


While I was spraying I also hit the chassis, firewall, radiator and the underside of the interior bucket with semi-gloss black.


And finally these came. I found them on Ebay and they'll make detailing the irritatingly incorrect dash a lot easier. Most newer kits come with decals for this but these are just printed on photo paper and get glued in using white glue.


So there's where it stands right now. I've got a bunch of detailing to do and if MCW Finishes gets back from vacation I'll get my Shadow Turquoise ordered......or should I do it all black??? Decisions, decisions....
 
Thanks, Todd!

If I'm reading that correctly, there was no white (or white-ish) bucket seat interior available in ANY Buick in 1966, correct? Just looking at 6637, it looks to me like for '65 there was only black, blue, ivory and saddle, and for '66 there was only black, blue and light fawn. That doesn't seem quite right. Am I missing something?

Was 1966 light fawn close to 1965 ivory? I'm starting to think I should just do an all-black interior because that wouldn't call attention to the incorrect interior in the model as much as a color that's incorrect for 1966 would. Here's a light fawn '66 front seat and an ivory '65 rear seat that came up in Google images. The ivory looks whiter to me but it's hard to judge in photos.
My thoughts are the '65 ivory and '66 light fawn are off-white shades and the closest to what we would expect for a white interior (except for that lone '66 Riviera white bench-seat entry 614C). The '66 full-size dealer brochure calls the light fawn color dove. There are numerous light fawn bucket seat codes xx3 throughout the
various car series which should indicate it was the lightest popular color available.

The '66 brochure (printed very early in the model year) indicates bucket seats were only available in black on the Riviera and Wildcat. It does mention black and dove buckets were available on the Electra 225 convertible. Based on the color chart, these 2 dove bucket codes must have been added later in the year. Black and light fawn (dove) are the only bucket codes I see for the '66 model 6637.

Your interpretation of the shades in the pictures looks right. Attached is a '66 brochure picture of an Electra 225 notchback vinyl bech seat in dove 693. The color looks the same as the '66 Wildcat bucket seat picture. The color of the '65 ivory interior looks the same as one I found in an ad for a similar barn-find Wildcat.

The brackets and braces for engine accessories should be black. There are some engine pictures in factory brochures showing these painted engine color, but those appear to have been dolled up for advertising purposes.
 

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Last edited:
I'm just getting this little project started and I thought I'd share it here so you can see it come together. If you have any tips for accuracy, they'd be greatly appreciated! Also, if you want to build a model of your Buick and like something you see me doing, please ask and I'll help you learn how to do it. Some model building techniques can also be useful for restoring plastic interior parts so maybe you'll find something you can use here.

I've been away from model building for a number of years but looking to get back into it. I recently had my optometrist set me up with a special pair of glasses to give me the proper depth of field in my vision to start doing these again because my eyes just aren't what they used to be. I have plans to do some of the more modern, more detailed kits but to get back into it I've decided to build a 1966 Wildcat that's been sitting unbuilt in my basement literally for decades. The kit originated in late 1964, when AMT made the dealer promotional model for the 1965 Wildcat. Back then model kits started as promos, then the model companies would modify the promo tooling to add an engine and custom parts so they could sell hobby retail model kits to maximize their profit on the tooling. Because the 1966 Wildcat was very similar to the '65, they didn't tool up a new promo and hobby kit for '66. Instead they just modified the '65 with a new grille, new side gill trim and the rear was changed. Unfortunately they didn't update the interior so this '66 kit still has a '65 interior. It does not have GS markings but it comes with a 425 Nailhead Super Wildcat 465 backed by a manual transmission. If my research is correct, that would be a 3-speed, right? So the kit is a bit of a disappointing oddball but I'm going to make the best of it. My detailing will be centered on the body and engine because the chassis lacks detail and the interior is just wrong.

Here's the box. This edition of the kit was released in the late 1980s.


Despite being in the "Customizing Series" all the parts for the stock version are included in the box.


I found this '66 Riviera years ago on sale really cheap. I bought it for parts since I'm not into low riders. Because it's a more modern kit it has more detailed parts. It will be a parts donor to improve upon the '60s parts in the Wildcat kit.


Looking inside the Wildcat's box, here's the body and the chassis plate. The body looks good but the chassis lacks front suspension detail and all the parts like the rear suspension and exhaust system are just lumps molded in one piece. It also has two holes at the front and two more at the rear for screws to attach the chassis to the body. That really kills the realism. Because no one makes a suitable chassis in another model kit to replace this one, I'll just be giving this one some simple paint details. My goal isn't for a show-winner but for a finished model that looks good sitting on its wheels.



If you haven't built a model kit in over thirty years, here's how things have changed. The single piece of white plastic on the left is the Wildcat's chassis, which was originally tooled by AMT in late 1964. The two metal axles below it are what mounts the wheels. All the grey plastic parts to the right of it are the pieces that make up the chassis of the Riviera. Not only are all the parts separate and well-detailed, even the floorpan is separate from the frame. If you flip that floorpan over, that's the interior floor of the Riv. It doesn't have a "bucket" like models from the '60s. Also there are no more screws wrecking the look of the chassis. It's just too bad that it's the wrong chassis to underpin the Wildcat because it would be a nice upgrade from the toy-like chassis it has.


The biggest modification that I'll be doing to upgrade the look of the Wildcat is the top of the radiator core support. The Wildcat has a pair of cylindrical lumps molded into the core support that make the engine compartment look toy-like. I'll be removing those lumps and cutting down the top of the support so I can remove the top of the support from the Riv's body and install it in the Wildcat. The fan guard on the Riv isn't exactly right for the Wildcat but it's closer than the plain white radiator wall molded to the Wildcat body. I'll look at photos and see if I can modify it to get it to look closer. The Wildcat's firewall looks okay to me but it completely lacks a master cylinder. The Riv has a nice two-piece assembly of the master cylinder and power booster that will find a new home in the Wildcat.


As much as I'd like to steal the engine block and Super Turbine 400 from the Riv, keeping the metal axle chassis dictates keeping the old '60s block with the big hole in it. The hole won't be visible when the model is together.


I will, however, grab the whole top end of the Riv's engine. The heads, intake, carburetors, air cleaner, valve covers and exhaust manifolds are all vastly superior to the original Wildcat parts. The Riv parts are grey and the Wildcat parts are white. I'll be keeping the original Wildcat water pump/timing chain cover and accessory drive because it has the correct brackets for the alternator and power steering pump. Comparing the fans, both have decent detail but the Wildcat has five blades while the Riv has six. Which one is correct?


Here's the most annoying thing about this: the '65 interior. It's very disappointing that AMT didn't update this but I guess they didn't want to spend the money. Luckily this isn't a convertible so it won't be very visible. Rather than getting bogged down attempting to correct this, I'll just approach it like a '65 and make it the best '65 interior I can with what AMT has given me.



The chrome details look nice as you can see in these close-ups.



Now the tough decisions. If there's anyone out there actually reading this, I'm open to suggestions or input . My preference is to do a dark color. I've narrowed my choices to Shadow Turquoise, Burgundy Mist, Midnight Blue or Regal Black. What interior colors came with these? The easiest would be to do a black interior but that's a bit boring so I'd prefer white. Did all the white interiors have black dashboards and carpet or were the dashes and carpets available in colors with white seats and door panels? Would it be correct to do Shadow Turquoise with a white/black interior? I think that's my front-runner.
A manual transmission '66 Wildcat would have a 3-speed column-shift unit. A standard shift '65 Wildcat with the Super Wildcat engine would have a 4-speed floor-shift tranny. If there's a third shift lever (reverse gear) on the tailshaft extension of your model, it has the '65 4-speed. It was hard to tell which one it is from the picture of the unpainted engine-transmission combo. Regarding painting the model, pictures in the shop manuals show different case coloring depending on transmission type.

Whichever type it is, the full-length operating console is in conflict. The long console was only available with an automatic.

The correct fan would have 5 blades.

Here are some pictures of the interior from the factory brochure to aid in detailing. The Electra 225 dash picture shows wood grain trim across the top. On the Wildcat it should be bright metal instead. Pix of cars on the web should give an idea of the trim in this area.
 

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HughBond

Active Member
My thoughts are the '65 ivory and '66 light fawn are off-white shades and the closest to what we would expect for a white interior (except for that lone '66 Riviera white bench-seat entry 614C). The '66 full-size dealer brochure calls the light fawn color dove. There are numerous light fawn bucket seat codes xx3 throughout the
various car series which should indicate it was the lightest popular color available.

The '66 brochure (printed very early in the model year) indicates bucket seats were only available in black on the Riviera and Wildcat. It does mention black and dove buckets were available on the Electra 225 convertible. Based on the color chart, these 2 dove bucket codes must have been added later in the year. Black and light fawn (dove) are the only bucket codes I see for the '66 model 6637.

Your interpretation of the shades in the pictures looks right. Attached is a '66 brochure picture of an Electra 225 notchback vinyl bech seat in dove 693. The color looks the same as the '66 Wildcat bucket seat picture. The color of the '65 ivory interior looks the same as one I found in an ad for a similar barn-find Wildcat.

The brackets and braces for engine accessories should be black. There are some engine pictures in factory brochures showing these painted engine color, but those appeared to have been dolled-up for advertising purposes.
Thanks again, Todd! I really appreciate having a knowledgeable technical advisor.

I think my most accurate interior option is probably to just do it in black. It's universal and it avoids seeing an incorrect color through the windows. I really like the idea of the light seats contrasting with the black dash and carpet though because it shows some detail through the windows. Maybe if I find a generic light beige that's somewhere between the two it would allow the exterior view to look right for a '66 and the interior to look right for a '65 upon closer inspection. AMT and the other model companies have gotten much better at accuracy since 1966 but since they already have the old promo tooling for full-size non-Chevys like Wildcats, Bonnevilles and Galaxies, they just keep selling the same old stuff.

For the trans, I could just take my razor saw to that manual and slice it right off. I can do the same to the Super Turbine 400 from the Riviera and swap them. On the other hand, what did the 4-speed shifter look like? Was it just a shifter on the floor or did it have a shorter console? That might be a better path to take. I find a 4-speed Wildcat much more interesting.

I don't see a third lever on the trans but I think it's close enough in that screw-bottom chassis to represent a 4-speed. I'm not too worried about small details on the underside since it lacks front suspension detail and has metal axles. I'm concentrating on making it look as close as possible to right while it's sitting on its wheels. If it had a fully-detailed chassis like the Riviera kit, then it would be worth making shifter linkage, brake and fuel plumbing and an E-brake cable under the car.

Good to know on the fan. I assume it's the typical black with an aluminum clutch but would the crank and water pump pulleys be black or red? Engine detailing is my favorite part. I love engines and this is my first Nailhead.

I'm attaching a few pics of a 1956 Chevy 150 with a 265 I did 13 or 14 years ago so you can see what I do. Did you know that before the switch to GM corporate blue in mid-1977 that all Chevy V8s were painted Chevrolet engine orange except in 1956 when they were painted a shade similar to Buick red? There were also some that were painted lime green in early 1957 and others painted a darker green to be installed in GMCs. It's funny the stuff I've uncovered in researching these things. I was really surprised to discover that these had red engines.

1955 Chevy 150 interior 1.jpg1955 Chevy 150 engine.jpg1955 Chevy 150.jpg1955 Chevy 150 engine bay.jpg

Thanks again for all your help. The dog is barking so I think the mailman just delivered my tires. Hopefully they'll look right and fit. Getting the right tires for a real car is so much easier!
 
Hugh, I had my 66 GS Skylark convertible seats reupholstered in dove. These were Legendary covers and they are generally good at matching the original color.




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HughBond

Active Member
Hugh, I had my 66 GS Skylark convertible seats reupholstered in dove. These were Legendary covers and they are generally good at matching the original color.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Looks great! For some reason I find light color interiors like that more inviting than dark ones. I think I'll find a light beige that's between Dove and Ivory for mine - close enough to look like Dove from the outside and close enough to pass as Ivory when looking inside.

Thanks for the pics!
 
Attached is a link to an AACA album showing several pictures of a '65 Wildcat 4-speed. Buick made a small consolette for manual floor-shift cars back then, but this one doesn't look like any I've seen before. There is one page in the parts book showing the 4-speed linkage on a '65 Wildcat without a console. So that would seem to indicate the 4-speed was available with or without a consolette.

These were rare; only about 500 '65 Wildcats came with a 4-speed. My info is getting thin on this set up. 1965 was the last year for 4-speeds in a full-size Buick. So a '66 Wildcat would not have been available with a 4-speed.

Yes, the fan blade would have been black with a natural aluminum finish clutch. Pulleys would have been black.

The detail on your '56 Chevy is amazing. If it appeared in a magazine, I would think it was a full-size restored car! Did not know about variations from orange on the engine color. Heavy duty Chev trucks offered a 322 Loadmaster V8 from '56-59 which was a detuned Buick nailhead. Those were painted red according to the shop manuals.

 

HughBond

Active Member
Attached is a link to an AACA album showing several pictures of a '65 Wildcat 4-speed. Buick made a small consolette for manual floor-shift cars back then, but this one doesn't look like any I've seen before. There is one page in the parts book showing the 4-speed linkage on a '65 Wildcat without a console. So that would seem to indicate the 4-speed was available with or without a consolette.

These were rare; only about 500 '65 Wildcats came with a 4-speed. My info is getting thin on this set up. 1965 was the last year for 4-speeds in a full-size Buick. So a '66 Wildcat would not have been available with a 4-speed.

Yes, the fan blade would have been black with a natural aluminum finish clutch. Pulleys would have been black.

The detail on your '56 Chevy is amazing. If it appeared in a magazine, I would think it was a full-size restored car! Did not know about variations from orange on the engine color. Heavy duty Chev trucks offered a 322 Loadmaster V8 from '56-59 which was a detuned Buick nailhead. Those were painted red according to the shop manuals.

Wow, that's a strange little console! Chevy had something similar in the '61 Impala SS. That's interesting about the trucks, too. I know GMC used Pontiac V8s like the 347.

Thanks for all the trans info. Since this is a '66 with a '65 interior, I'm leaving the automatic console since that's the transmission that was common to both years. I've also made the decision to leave the manual trans on the engine because my goal is for this thing to look good while sitting on its wheels with the hood up. The chassis/underbody is so lacking in detail by design that it's not really worth my time to worry about detailing it and the trans falls under that umbrella. Trust me, I'm fighting the urge to scratchbuild a correct interior and raid a few other kits for a better chassis but I have to stick to my original plan here of keeping it close to box stock and getting it done relatively quickly. I'm trying to build momentum.

I have progress to post so I'll do that tomorrow. See you guys then. Thanks again, Todd!
 

HughBond

Active Member
Progress......I left off where I cut the top of the core support/fan guard out of the Riviera body. Here's what I did next.

The awful 1966-style radiator wall had two ugly, cylindrical lumps that ruined the look of the whole engine bay. They had to go and they did. First step was marking off the position of the new piece. At this point I didn't know how much I was going to remove but I was starting with this much.


Then it was time to get out the razor saw and cut. That's the model car equivalent of a Sawzall. It's not a power tool but it goes right through plastic with just a few strokes.


Here I'm test fitting the radiator for height. This isn't where it will be mounted but I wanted to see the clearance from bottom to top.


Then I tacked the top from the Riviera in place with two tiny dabs of glue. This is just temporary placement so I can fabricate around it.


What I decided to do was to move the core support slightly forward because the support plus the radiator would be much thicker than the old 1966 radiator wall and completely remove the old wall. The first step was to add two large pieces of Evergreen strip styrene to the front of the wall where they butt up to the sides of the top from the Riv. I measured and cut so they'd match the height of the old cylindrical lumps that located the body on the chassis, then glued them to the front of the old wall.

Then I removed the tacked-in top piece and grabbed the razor saw again to slice the wall out using the large posts I added on the sides as a guide. Before I started cutting, I measured the width of the space between the posts because of what's coming next. Here it is right before I started cutting. Everything between the posts was cut out.


Here's the ugly piece I removed from the body laying on the table and the new core support I made from Evergreen styrene sheet is already in place. I was on a roll and didn't stop for photos. The black on the new core support is Sharpie ink that marked the cuts.


Here are a couple of mock-up photos showing the completed core support. The top part is just resting in place for now. It won't be permanently installed until after the body is painted.



If you notice in that last photo that you can see a gap between the wheelhouses and the body, that's an artifact of the promotional model origin of this kit. I decided to add some flanges to the fenders to help hide that. The real car has much smaller flanges but in this case I thought the trade-off was worth it to keep the model from looking like it doesn't fit together. Here they are added.


The real car's flanges overhang the top of the core support so my goal was to replicate that to give everything a neater appearance. Here you can see the flange on the real thing.


Here's the underside of the model body. The flanges are just pieces cut from .010" thick styrene. Half of the width is glued to the undersides of the fender tops and the other half overhangs into the engine bay. At the front I notched them to allow them to continue past and over the top of the posts I added. In this photo you can see what little remains of the original radiator wall now serving as supports for the posts.


This is how it looks all mocked up. You can see the flanges running from the firewall to the core support. The flanges will be painted body color. They really hide the sloppy fit of the chassis and give it all a tidier appearance.


In other news I ordered Firestone Supreme thin whitewall tires from AMT and they're terrible for this car. The wheel looks too small in the tire and the white stripe is too far out from the rim.



So back to the ol' drawing board. I was able to locate the original tires that came in the kit in my parts box. They're blackwalls. Once I figured that out, I looked some more and found a set of whitewalls that are the exact same tires the wheels were made for. They're not the greatest but they'll do.


So there's been other progress but I'll save that for my next post because it will make more sense when you see those steps finished. Thanks again for all your help!
 

HughBond

Active Member
Continuing onward, I've been doing some detail painting and assembly. So far here's an overview shot:


I finished the valve covers in Testors Metalizer Aluminum Plate. It's a spray lacquer that you can buff with a tissue to the amount of shine you want. Because I'm not going for a show car with polished aluminum I gave it just a little buff because it's pretty dull when you spray it. I painted the breather and oil filler cap with chrome silver. There are better ways to do chrome (just wait until I get to the trim on the body ;)) but this does fine for replicating the less-than-mirror-like chrome on factory underhood parts. The difference between the chrome and aluminum is a bit hard to see in this photo but you can see it in person.


I shot the pulleys with Krylon semigloss black, then painted the belts with Testors "rubber" which is a bit brownish and flat. The alternator pulley is painted with Testors steel.


Here's the core support top/fan guard painted and detailed. It's Krylon semigloss black with steel on the bolt heads and rubber on the rubber hood bumpers.


I painted the power brake booster with Metalizer Stainless Steel (the color looked right) and the master cylinder with Metalizer Gun Metal for a dark cast iron look. I topped the master cylinder with silver on the cap. I used the various metal shades to highlight a few details on the firewall and temporarily press-fitted the master cylinder/booster assembly (it's from the Riviera) to the firewall, which is the same semi-gloss black as everything else.


The fan got treated to semigloss black with an aluminum clutch. I dry-brushed the fins on the clutch to highlight them. Dry-brushing is using a brush that has very little paint on it and lightly dragging it across an embossed surface at a very shallow angle. The paint only touches the raised parts. It's a similar concept to how the raised numbers on license plates get painted a color that contrasts the background.


I also put holes in things. The coil and distributor are molded as one piece so that piece got ten holes drilled into it -- eight for the plug wires and one for each end of the coil wire. The cylinder heads got holes drilled for the spark plug ends. I drill through to the hollow inside the engine block. That way I can cut the wires a bit long and glue them into the distributor cap, then push the other end into the head until the length looks just right. That step will be coming soon but I have some other things to do first. You can also see here that I've painted the accessory brackets and the starter black.


And I carved out the openings in the air cleaner snorkels and painted the cavities black.


After doing all that painting and detailing I had to get some assembly done on the engine. Here's what's together so far. I don't want to add the carbs until after I drill them to accept fuel lines and the ignition will wait until after I make the throttle linkage.


Then it was the moment of truth for my modified core support. With the length of the engine completed now I could check the clearance at the radiator since it's a part that didn't come with the kit and it's mounting to a support that I made from scratch. It fit fine. (Phew!) I couldn't help setting the carbs in place and the core support top for the photo to give a better idea of how it will look finished. Some of the unusual shapes around the wheel houses will be covered up by things like heater hoses and power steering hoses, plus it will get a battery and cables and a washer fluid bottle and hose.


If there's anyone out there who can help, I need some photos that I'm not finding online. I'm looking for:
  • fuel pump
  • routing of the pump end of the fuel line
  • power steering hose connections at the steering box
  • brake lines at the master cylinder
  • battery cable routing
  • routing of the wiring harness where it connects to the alternator
That's just stuff that no one ever takes photos of, especially to post online, so it's hard to get good reference material. If anyone can post those for me I would really appreciate it.

Now the big question...


My original plan was to just leave the '65 interior as-is and finish this thing relatively quickly. But the more I look at it and think about it, the more it bugs me that it's wrong. Should I dive in and fix the interior? That will involve a lot of fabrication because the parts just don't exist in 1/25 scale but I know I can do it. I've done similar things before. What would you like to see me do with it?
 
Hugh, I buy and restore forclosed houses as our sideline (one child just finished college and another will start in the fall). The things that look perfectly normal, that don't get a second look when finished, represent some of the greatest time and effort in these projects. While anything wrong would be noticed immediately. So, I completely get the thankless job or unheralded part of your work. I am satisfied being the only one in the world that has an understanding of how it was before and knows how much work it took to go unnoticed. Besides, they sell better that way!
 
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HughBond

Active Member
Hugh, I buy and restore forclosed houses as our sideline (one child just finished college and another will start in the fall). The things that look perfectly normal, that don't get a second look when finished, represent some of the greatest time and effort in these projects. While anything wrong would be noticed immediately. So, I completely get the thankless job or unheralded part of your work. I am satisfied being the only one in the world that has an understanding of how it was before and knows how much work it took to go unnoticed. Besides, they sell better that way!
Thanks, Doc! I just do this stuff for myself but it's fun to share the pics of the progress as it happens. It's sort of a solitary hobby so sharing a build like this makes it less lonely.

I've decided to go ahead and fix the interior. I'm probably going to lose the console and use the bench seats from the Riviera because they're very similar to the Wildcat seats. I'll modify them a bit to make them a better match but they're in the ballpark. That could also resolve the manual transmission issue but being a '66 that would mean it's a 3 on the tree. Did the factory put 3-speeds behind the Super Wildcat??? Another option would be to cut the bench into buckets if they look close enough. Either way beats scratchbuilding them, which is something else I was considering.
 

HughBond

Active Member
I'm digging and I found three helpful photos. One shows the fuel pump location, one shows the carburetor fuel lines and the third is a photo of a kit that has only the two hard lines that feed the carburetors, the fittings, a canister filter and a length of hose. Is it correct that it's all hose from the pump to the filter?
1965-Buick-425-Super-Wildcat-C1314-0102.jpg.057be38f7feb1512ecbe74ccc336953a.jpg
a03549d56189eb96834e6d3e5ba13379.jpg
APC6401OM-FXQW_1000x.jpg

Then there's this. I found this Nailhead pump listed on eBay and it looks different from the one pictured in the manual. Would the 425 have an arrangement like this with that fitting on the outlet that points the nipple upward? The one in the manual had the outlet on the bottom pointing down but this would make more sense for a rubber hose to avoid kinking it. The first pic above looks like the fuel lines don't attach to the bottom of the pump. In fact I think I see a fitting like this and the fuel line running up from it in front of the alternator bracket and behind the fan.
1957-1958-Buick-Fuel-Pump-AC-V8-425.jpg

Hopefully someone can confirm that I'm right or set me straight on this.
 

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I have a '66 Riviera 425. The fuel filter is mounted less conveniently just above the pump. I think mine is probably mounted correctly. The filter is a 3 line filter unlike the one you show in your kit, but similar to the one mounted high on the green engine. The third line is a return to tank. Not sure what the pump configuration is, but I will try to remember to have a look if someone else doesn't assist.
 
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