Ever have a car in your model collection that over time just doesn’t sit well with you? Maybe it was great when it was built, but time has not been kind to it; paint has yellowed, parts have fallen off, got lost, etc. That was the case with my 1997 Indianapolis 500 winner – a Jorgensen resin kit in 1/25 scale that I built about 13 years ago. This was the first car I did a full set of decals for. With missing and broken wing plates, clearcoat that had yellowed with age, the tires looked bad, and average workmanship at best, I decided to restore the car.
First, I present the before shot. As you can see the front wingplates were lost, the back wingplate was badly damaged, the paint wasn’t looking good. Overall, not a very impressive car to display.
First step was to remove the engine, suspension, driver, seat, mirrors, etc. and then strip the body.
This car had actually been repainted once shortly after the first build, so I had two layers of paint and primer to go through.
The fairings at the back of the car were the exhaust ports. The resin body had them too small to fit in 1/8″ aluminum tubing which would approximate the correct size of the exhaust pipes so I went to work to modify them.
At this point the exhausts are as they were on race day… unfortunately once the restoration was finished they were all but totally obscured by the rear suspension… but at least I KNOW they are correct.
Next up was the cockpit. I got out my trusty dremel and cleaned it out to accept a cockpit from an AMT Lola T8800
I then took the pre-painted cockpit and placed it in the body and then puttied up the bottom of the car.
Next was to continue stripping the paint as thoroughly as I could
Once stripped to my satisfaction the fun part begins. I carefully masked off the painted cockpit interior and then primed with Tamiya White Primer. Then painted the entire body TS26 white, TS15 Blue on the back of the car and TS8 Italian Red on the front. Masking that white spot on the nose was NOT fun. I think TS15 was a bit dark for this car, but the other Tamiya alternative TS44 Brilliant Blue was too light IMO. I also painted the bottom semi-gloss black (TS29) – I actually did that before the red or blue, so for a fairly simple paint scheme it was a moderately complex paint job.
Next came re-attaching the suspension, transmission, and wings. The suspensions were from a Revell Reynard. The gearbox was from a Monogram 1/24 scale Lola with some slight modifications with Milliput to make the bottom of the gearbox flat (the Monogram part has an unusual angle to it). The rear wing supports were from the Monogram, modified to more closely represent the correct uprights. In retrospect the front suspension is a bit too wide – I should have trimmed it down slightly. I used steel wire to pin the suspension parts into the resin body. For the rear wishbones I drilled holes deep into the body to set the the wishbone and glue it into place. The wheels and tires were also from the Revell Reynard – they were unchanged from the pre-restored car apart from sanding and re-decaling them.
The last two steps were applying the decals and creating a windscreen. The decals (Indycals of course) went on fine. The windscreen… that was a real PITA! (pain in the….). I tried numerous times before I finally got one that was satisfactory. You may notice that I opted not to include a driver figure. Just personal preference in that case. With that, I present the finished result:
It took me about 4 days to do this restoration. I was so happy with the improved results that I have undertaken a similar effort with my 1990 winner (it is merely coincidence that they are both Arie Luyendyk cars – they were just the two crying out most for restoration).
Don’t be afraid to rework a car that you are not entirely happy with – especially if it was done long ago and your skills have improved.