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'56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

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'56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by Bernard Kron on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 1:07 pm

The Pontiac Club de Mer always looked like a race car to me and Iíve wanted to do one in that manner for a long time. I was able to score a Revell Club de Mer kit at last yearís NNL West and I finally sat down the other night and did the basic work needed to do the conversion.

The Club de Mer always had race genes in it, clearly being influenced by European sports cars of the period, especially the Pininfarina Disco Volante series of Alfa Romeos which eventually became the classic and long-running Alfa Romeo Duetto production sports car.

Hereís photographic evidence of the race car influence from the pages of Mechanix Illustrated at the time the Club de Mer was first shown:



One of the interesting things about the Club de Mer is the fact that Pontiac did everything they could to make the car as low and sleek as possible, even going so far as using smaller 14-inch wheels and tires. Unfortunately the result was a car that looked great all by itself but somewhat awkward with real humans sitting in it. This is especially true in the Revell version if you use the included figurines, but even the relatively petite model in the original publicity shots back in í56 stuck quite a ways out of the bodywork.



The original Bonneville Pontiac was a dream car from 1953 called the Bonneville Special, unfortunately not exactly the best work to come out of their styling studios. My concept was to do a kind of Bonneville Special II or Club Bonneville, as if Pontiac pulled a mold of the Club de Mer bodywork to use for a record run on the salt flats with a real streamlined race car. Perhaps they might even have tried their hand at road racing the way Chevy did in í57 with the Corvette SS. Hereís the original Bonneville Special from í53, a much larger and ungainly car:



As Pontiac would have done at the time, Iíll try to maintain as many of the Club de Mer styling cues as I can while still remaining true to the race car concept. The first order of business was to set the driverís seating position further back so he didnít sit upright in the wind like he does in the show car. Next was to build a metal tonneau cover, kind of D-type Jaguar style, over the passenger area. The dorsal fin was retained but removed from the center of the rear deck and incorporated in the headrest, again reminiscent of the D-Type which doubtless would have been an influence at the time. All the busy chrome trim was filled in to smooth the surfaces, and the wheels and tires swapped for period Halibrand 15-inch mags and Firestone tires. The paint job will be a period American racing colors white and blue scheme, either white with blue stripes where the chrome trim once was, as Briggs Cunningham did, or the inverse, in which case the car will be metallic blue with white stripes.

This is where Iím at so far. All the basic conversion work has been done as sort of a proof of concept. In one of the pictures below I included a driver figurine to make sure he sat down in the cockpit properly. Any blue plastic you see is from the revel kit, while anything white is part on the conversion, mainly copious amount of styrene strip and sheet although Halibrands are courtesy of Replicas & Miniatures Co. of Maryland. Like the original Revell kit, this will be a curbside. If I went full detail I would be still building it late next year! Thatís a battle I save for another project! For the moment thereís plenty of sanding and filling to do before I can tackle the paint.

Thanx for Lookiní,
B.







Last edited by Bernard Kron on Wed 14 Dec 2016, 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bernard Kron
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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by Bernard Kron on Wed 14 Dec 2016, 10:47 am

I keep reminding myself that this is a curbside and there are a lot of things that would be routine on a full detail build that are M.I.A. on this one. That said, it only means you have to stay focused on whatís left and get it right, Ďcause thatís all youíve got to work with. So, Iíve been working on the interior areas such as they are. The driverís compartment will be a stripped down version of the kit interior. The set-back of the driverís bucket seat required cutting a relief hole in the rear panel of the interior. I also fabricated a blanking panel behind the grill opening because itís all too easy to see the tires and interior surfaces otherwise.

Iíve gotten the bodywork completed. I added panels to the side of the headrest to widen it slightly and create a curved style element to highlight the fin. I also removed material from the bottom of the headrest so it conformed more precisely to the rear deck. The result is that it now sits about even with the top of the bubble windshield. Sanding and filling is complete and the primer and base color (Duplicolor Wimbledon White) are down. The car will get blue racing stripes applied where the chrome stripes would have been. I plan to do the stripes and decals for the front panel first and use that to determine the graphics content and layout for the rear deck area. The fin will probably be highlighted in blue with the curved panels on the headrest in white. The graphics will include the Pontiac name in a simple bold black font echoing that used in 1956 in Pontiac promotional material. Thereíll be tire, fuel trade decals and some sort of legend referring to the suitably hopped up ďStrato-StreakĒ V8.

Below are some rough and ready bench-top pics of where I am at this point.

Thanx for lookiní,
B.




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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by Deaf as on Thu 15 Dec 2016, 6:12 pm

A+ Some nice work happening here!
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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by Bernard Kron on Wed 28 Dec 2016, 4:34 pm

Thanx Tim!

Here's a quick update. I had a paint failure when trying to apply the stripes using paint and masking. This damp, cold winter weather always makes painting a trial. I landed up having to repaint the hood. I decided to ,do all the second color areas (stripes, headrest panel) using. decals. I completed the decal artwork and began decal applications today. Still hoping to get this done in 2016 but it may not make it...

Thanx for lookin',
B.


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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by Bernard Kron on Thu 19 Jan 2017, 12:34 pm

I'm just about done. It's a curbside so there's not much to show in terms of construction that I haven't detailed earlier. However, I decided that, if it would have succeeded at Bonneville it would no doubt made the GM Motorama circuit, displayed alongside it's sister car, the Club de Mer, and they would have displayed a show engine. So I am building one, a Potvin blown variant based on the Revell Parts Pak Poncho with the front blower setup from the Revell Parts Pak Chevy. I still have wiring and plumbing to do, but at that point I should be ready to post final pictures of the completed model. Here's a photo of where I'm at right now.

Thanks for lookin',
B.


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Bernard Kron
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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

Post by DumpyDan on Wed 19 Apr 2017, 11:22 am

Sweet work, looks good
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Re: '56 Pontiac Club Bonneville Race Car What-If - Update 12-13

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