1/24 Accurate Miniatures Grand Sport Corvette

KIT #

5001

PRICE:

Out of Production

DECALS:

1964 Sebring Racer

REVIEW & PHOTOS BY:

 Blair Stewart

NOTES:

Includes photo-etched detail parts

  

HISTORY

 The Grand Sport Corvette was the brainchild of chief engineer and Corvette creator Zora Arkus Duntov. In 1962, with the full blessing of Chevrolet’s top management, Duntov set out to create a competitive road racer based on

 the newly designed Corvette C-2 Stingray, slated for introduction for the 1963 model year. Duntov’s objective was to suddenly and surprisingly unleash on the international road racing community 125 very fast, high horsepower, great handling race cars, all based on a street capable production car footprint. The plan was to make these cars available to a select number of independent road racers who could successfully race the cars without “official” General Motors endorsement. Five Grand Sport Vettes were initially produced in preparation for the upcoming racing season (unfortunately, that was the final number of these cars that Chevrolet produced).  

Duntov wanted these cars to compete directly with racers like the Carroll Shelby-Ford AC Cobras that were already on the racing circuit. But doing this right required Duntov and his design team to reduce the factory Corvette’s curb weight by some 1100 pounds. In its racing debut early in 1963, the car sported a production 360 HP, 327 CID fuel injected motor and a “stock” appearance. But when it raced at Nassau in the season finale, it had been transformed into a thoroughbred. Externally, the Grand Sport was outfitted with flared fender, hood and body scoops, and wider wheels and tires. But the real changes were under the hood: an all-aluminum 377 CID small block engine fed by 58 mm side draft Weber carburetors. The three Grand Sports won just about everything that week at Nassau and let the racing community know that there was a “new kid in town.”

 After this impressive debut, all three coupes were entered in the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring. Roger Penske and Jim Hall entered Coupe No. 004, sporting a new white paint job. Penske and Hall’s Grand Sport had one of the first pneumatic systems installed on a racecar to feed air-driven jacks. This not only reduced times in the pits, but it greatly lessened the possibility of damaging the fiberglass body and tube frame during tire changes.

 All five of the Grand Sport Vettes raced successfully for nearly four years. 3 of the five received several body modifications and different paint schemes over those years, and the remaining two were modified into roadsters by chopping off their roofs and windshields.

 All five of these vehicles survive today, and since they were designed and produced by Mr. Duntov himself, they have been valued by some collectors at over $1.5 million each!  (Naturally, Blair owns two..... :oÞ Ed!)

THE KIT

 Okay, guys, I confess: I have once again crossed over to the dark side and constructed a car model! But you have to concede, if there’s anything as cool as a modern fighter aircraft, it’s got to be a Corvette, especially an exotic one pumping out a zillion horsepower. As another “come-on” for you airplane modelers, this kit was produced by Accurate Miniatures, and it has the same legacy as their aircraft kits: fantastic molding and intricate detail! Before its demise, AM had produced five 1/24th scale car kits: two Grand Sport Corvettes and three McLaren M8s – all racing models. Rumors had it that other car kits were in the works, but, alas, the company bellied-up before we were able to see additional releases.

  AM’s Grand Sport consists of over 140 plastic parts molded in white and clear plastic, and a sprue of “aluminum-plated” plastic parts. Also included in the box are a host of photo-etched parts for added detail, and four rubber racing tires. The decal sheet includes markings for the 1964 Sebring Grand Sport Vette (a nice touch is small decals for the engine compartment). As per the usual AM standards, there is little or no flash on the parts, and their comprehensive instruction booklet guides you through all the steps necessary to assemble and detail the model.

CONSTRUCTION

As usual, I attacked this kit in subassemblies: the body, frame, engine, and interior. I assembled all of the parts onto the body that would be painted the overall color, including the photo-etched hood louvers, which I attached using CA glue (and as I recall, these were not a lot of fun to attach). Once assembled, I sent the body and hood off to the paint shop (with car models, I like to paint the body and associated parts early in the process to allow them sufficient drying time).

 The next subassembly was the engine. This baby is really detailed, and the carburetor/fuel delivery system is a work of art. I assembled the block and intake manifold and painted it with Model Masters non-buffing aluminum metalizer. The only detailing I added to the engine was a wired distributor using old phone wire and painted black. I also cut small pieces of slightly larger wire insulation to serve as sparkplug boots, glued these to the engine block, and then inserted each sparkplug wire using CA glue.  Various fuel system fittings were then brush-painted with MM brass.  The final engine pieces were the headers, which I painted MM flat white.  

 Setting the engine aside, I then attacked the detailed frame assembly. I assembled all the cross members and frame elements and then painted the finished assembly with MM flat black. The rear and front suspension elements were then assembled, and after I painted them with flat aluminum, I attached the rear frame assembly. At this point, it was time to complete the drive train, so I glued the flat black drive shaft to the rear of the transmission, glued in the flat aluminum differential housing, connected the whole assembly, and then glued the engine to the frame.  The spare tire was mounted to its rim and then glued onto the rear frame, along with the electric fuel pump.

The wheels and tires were next. I mounted the rubber racing tires to the wheels and glued in the knockoff hubs. I used acrylic flat white paint to dry brush the lettering on the tires (acrylic paint won’t attack the rubber, and, unlike enamel or lacquer, will actually dry on the rubber). After assembly, I attached the four wheels to the completed frame.  I then glued the side exhaust pipes, painted flat white, to the headers and the frame.

 Finally, I assembled the interior, which I painted flat black, followed by a light coat of Testors Glosscote to give it a semi-gloss finish. I brushed MM wood onto the steering wheel to give it that Corvette C-2 wood finish look. I installed the dashboard after dry brushing all the instruments with flat aluminum. I constructed the two parts of the seatbelt using the supplied photo-etched parts and paper and then attached them to the driver’s seat using white glue.  At this point, I attached the gas tank, which I had sprayed MM non-buffing aluminum metalizer, to the rear underside of the interior bucket.

PAINT  & FINAL ASSEMBLY

Before heading to the paint shop, it was necessary to decide on a color for the car. The original #4 Grand Sport Vette depicted by this particular AM kit was gloss white when it raced at Sebring in 1964, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to go with a white finish. I have seen pictures of Grand Sports painted in a metallic blue, and, since I once owned a 1966 Marina Blue Corvette Coupe, I decided to take a little license here and go that route (besides, the five cars did receive a variety of paint jobs over their four year racing career). Once I made this decision, the particular paint type was easy: Testors by Boyd’s True Blue Pearl enamel, which, as always, I thinned with lacquer thinner (it speeds up the drying time and cuts down on orange peel effects common with enamel paints). I sprayed this color on the body and the hood, and, after achieving as high a gloss finish as possible, I set both aside to dry.

 I next used Scotch tape to mask off the stripe down the center of the body and hood, and painted that stripe with Testors Gloss White.

 Once the body and hood were dry, I polished out the finishes using a Micromesh polishing kit, then gave both their final high gloss finish using The Treatment Model Car Wax (applied with an old, dampened tee shirt and then polished out using a piece of felt cloth).

 At this point, I attached the clear windows to the inside of the body using Tacky Glue, and then attached the rearview mirror to the inner roof. I then glued the interior bucket to the frame, and slipped the body over the interior and engine compartment (this is always a tricky process with car models, so patience is in order here!). The wing window frames were brush painted using my old metal small parts standby, Humbrol #11 Silver.

 I applied the kit decals using Microset and Microsol and let them dry. Rather than overcoat the decals with Future or some other clear coat, I decided to apply another coat of Treatment wax instead. I finished out the body by attaching a host of small detail parts, including photo-etched headlight cover securing pins, rear fender flares, and a very nicely done Corvette nameplate for the rear deck.  

CONCLUSIONS

This is one of the most detailed car kits I have ever had the pleasure of building (and an added benefit was a trip down memory lane to a distant time when I owned vehicles other than SUVs or minivans). While not exactly suited to the faint of heart, there are no major showstoppers in the model’s overall construction, and AM’s instructions will guide you through the assembly to the final product if you just hang in there. It’s too bad AM didn’t make it, because they obviously had a commitment to both accuracy and detail in all of their kits. Car modelers can only hope that AM’s resurrection includes plans to bring back their fabulous car kits along with the aircraft kits. (It does. Ed)

June 2003

REFERENCES

1.   “The Grand Sport Corvette Legend,” Website, http://www.zlx.com/corvette/grandspr.htm, 2003.

2.   “1963 Corvette Grand Sport,” website, http://rowleycorvette.com/gs.html, 2003.

3.   “National Corvette Museum: Corvette Timeline,” website, http://www.corvettemuseum.com/library-archives/timeline/1960.shtml, 2003.

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