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Clone the Past Project – Chuck Jones' Remarkable Model
by Alan Raab, Trustee

The Museum's Hot 150 list, which supports our Clone the Past program, aims at reproducing the most influential models in the history of our hobby so that model car historians and Museum visitors can appreciate how the leading edge of our hobby has developed since the early Fifties. One of the most influential models in the history of our hobby is Chuck Jones' wild, thoughtful, bubble top coupe that won the International Modelers' Guild in 1963. If you haven't done so already, you should read the article The Early Years: Model Car Contests in America, The Chuck Jones Saga, that appeared in Volume 10, No.2 of The Builder. This issue is available as a downloadable file.  As explained in that story, that model no longer exists (it seems it disappeared in Ed Roth's creative but chaotic shop) when it was there, ostensibly, to be replicated in full-scale as part of Chuck's prize package. After initial calls and letters between Chuck and Mark S Gustavson, Chuck told the Museum his story and agreed to create a master for his historic model so that we could clone the same. Chuck sent that fiberglass shell to Mark, who then sent it to Museum consultant Mike Good for his review, and then to Trustee Alan Raab to build the final model. Here is Al's accounting of this project:

"When I expressed an interest in this project, Mark S Gustavson shipped it to me and then I jumped on the phone with Chuck. I then made a list of the necessary parts and modifications to the rough castings required to accurately clone the original model. It turns out that Chuck started with a '61 Pontiac that was obviously heavily modified to build the innovative model that won that contest. When I get a corrected body resin cast and fit to the chassis and other parts, I'll send it back to that old Putty Thrower Gustavson who will paint it, after which the rest of the assembly will be handled by yours truly. 

The Revell Parks Pack Buick nailhead engine and Revell Corvette Part Pack chassis have been assembled and are now ready for test-fitting to the resin body. A quick-change rear axle also has to be adapted to the chassis. I'll also have to fabricate a transaxle for this project. 

You may recall that Chuck fashioned a clay model of his prize-winning model from memory since the original model was lost by Ed Roth. I made a resin copy of the fiberglass body that Chuck made from his recreated clay model of his vintage model. Comparing the resin body with original photos as well as the assembled chassis and moto revealed to me a few changes to make everything fit together. Due to the historical significance of Chuck's fiberglass replica, the necessary changes (mostly, to stretch the body a bit) will be made to the resin body. In fact, I'll need to length the rear quarterpanels and the front fenders just a bit. The interior space also needs some modification to accommodate the bubble top which was a modified AMT Silhouette trailer piece. 

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Chuck cheerfully participated in GSL-XXII and spoke with Al about the cloning project.

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Car Model magazine presented a summary article on the whole contest, and featured a picture of Jones worrying while the judges were making their decision. 

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The Museum supplied Alan Raab with the Revell Parts Pack Buick engine and the '57 Corvette frame.

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Here is the relative relationship of the parts. This will be a great model when finished!

 

 

 

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