By John Quilter
All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.
Recently I bought three ME-MOD resin kits of the 1963 Oldsmobile Starfire coupe even though I already had the Brooklin coupe in maroon. Some will either consider this heresy or craftsmanship but I set about modifying these kits and built three different 1963 Oldsmobiles. The Starfire was Oldsmobile’s answer to the newly introduced Pontiac Grand Prix but Olds did both a coupe and convertible both with the hottest version of the 394 CID Rocket V8. One of the kits became a four door Dynamic 88 sedan, (the entry level full sized Oldsmobile) one became a Starfire convertible, and one became a Super 88 Fiesta station wagon.
My model collecting and building hobby often includes making models of an actual car that no model maker has done before. Since I already had the Brooklin Starfire hardtop, I decided to do some different things with the kits. In reworking these I did finish them with somewhat larger tires than the undersized ones in the kits, and added white walls using my technique of applying a thin white painted wire to the tire. I also changed the dashboards to replicate the actual ’63 Oldsmobile one which I was able to research on Google images.
It is amazing the number of photos one can view using this search and these are useful in picking realistic exterior and interior colours as well. And then there is the US car brochure website that is a great resource as well. http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html. My friend in Norway, Hans Tor Tangerud maintains this amazing resource.
On the sedan I made some wheel covers that were stock on the less fancy versions of this year Oldsmobile. On both the sedan and wagon the front bucket seats had to be connected and the centre console eliminated. Also on both of these the top had to be raised just slightly to accommodate the chrome window frames which were created with thin silver coloured solder. Luckily the vacform windscreen still worked well as making the curved windows is one of the most challenging tasks in these projects.
The side mouldings had to be changed to two different versions not used on the Starfire which had a wide silver band for the length of the car. The grills had to be cut off the plated white metal front bumper and a new grill of simple horizontal bars created which I was able to do with silver coloured wire adding jewelled headlamps and headlamp rims.
The roof for the wagon was made by joining the displaced roof cut off from the convertible and the load strengthening ribs were added to the rear half.
The convertible was the simplest to construct, as only the top had to be cut off and a top boot created but it too got the fascia improvement as well as some small interior handles for the doors and windows made from silver wire.
Here is one website I used to study the details of the wagon. http://americanclassicscars.com/oldsmobile/127461-1963-oldsmobile-super-88-fiesta-wagon.html. I also use my library of books for research on details. The Crestline series of marque books is exceptionally good as these show at least one photo, usually factory promotional photos, of every model of car for every model year of production. They are, however, in black and white so colour information has to come from elsewhere.
The maroon 1963 Starfire Coupe in the pictures is from Brooklin and gives a good comparison to the Sedan, Convertible and Convertible I have created from the ME-MOD kits.
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