CC In Scale: Another Look Inside, Part 1 – American Cars From The ’50s-’60s

The seasons have changed. Here in my part of Australia, we seem to have only about three weeks of transitional weather between summer and winter. Year after year it happens like that. Summer stretches on into March, gradually it gets colder then – bam! No more nice days. I wrote a lighthearted poem about that.

Does the season need a reason

For to start you off a-sneezin’?

Or do seasons just go do as seasons do?

For if seasons don’t need reasons

Then why am I a-sneezin’?

“Nothin’ personal” says Autumn, “It’s not you.”

“But the times they are a-changin’

And the weather’s rearrangin’

It’ll keep on gettin’ colder now, mind you.

You’ll need to find a jumper

For there’s gonna be a dumper,

These clouds of mine have got an inch or two.”

So I went inside to shelter.

No longer would I swelter;

Put the shorts away, the summer T-shirts too.

Close the window, turn the heat up,

Watch the rain come down and beat up

All my earthworks in the garden, turned to goo.

Most of our garden here is native plants, so there are no drastic colour changes to be seen. But the fruit trees in the orchard are dropping their leaves, so there are some bare trees to provide a visual reminder of the season when I look out the window. We don’t usually get cold enough here for snow; it’s happened once in 25 years.

Less than a month ago I had the air conditioner going, today I need the heating. Then most days had been 30-35C, rather a cool summer for us; now the mornings are about 5 and we’re lucky to reach 15. Okay, that’s not winter as most of you guys know winter, I totally get that. But today rather than braving the (subjective, relative) cold outside, I thought we’d have more of a look around inside, where it all happens.

Here’s my main display area. I’ll cover the bench in detail another day. Thirty-odd cars and associated vehicles and machinery. Plus a few more off to the side. I’ll break this up in four parts, over several weeks. We’ll do the front row first, and we’ll follow a few side-tracks along the way. Digressions are always interesting around here. Variety, and all that.

The first car we come to is a Hudson:

You know I have a soft spot for Hudsons, especially the old Step-downs. I showed some of them in my Independents’ Day story. On display I have the ’52 convertible. I’ve also built three ’53 coupes. Here are two;

And a ’54 sedan;

Love Hudsons!

Next up is another recent Moebius kit, and another fine design, the 1955 Chrysler 300;

Only available in white, black or red for the initial year, but I thought a pale creamy-yellow would be a good but still tasteful addition to the range. The interior had to be tan, of course. There’s something conservative about this design; it conveys the idea of prestige without being gaudy. Except for the tail lights. There’s almost something of a European vibe about it; after all, Exner had been on quite a Euro kick in the early fifties. Maybe I ought to try building one of these with a Mercedes grille. And more conservative taillights.

And here’s another of my favourite Fifties designs, the 1957 Ford;

In this case it’s the del Rio Ranch Wagon, by Revell;

But you want something in a sedan? Sure, we can do that;

The one flaw that bugs me about the 1957 Ford, not just this kit, is those headlights; they always make me think of exophthalmic goiter. Or Graves’ Disease. Sorry, pathology background there; I won’t show a photo of an unfortunate person. It’s amazing what comes to mind sometimes. But that ‘bulging eye’ look also infected the Edsel. For this model I left the headlights alone; sometimes I ‘correct’ them. Well, improve them, to my taste, like on this AMT kit. Thin chrome rims look nicer, I think;

Think late fifties fins, and you come to Mopar. Naturally;

And again, I’ve built several of these ’58 Plymouths. No Christines though; I instinctively shy away from ‘(in)famous examples’, as everyone and his dog tends to build those. Different drummer, and all that. Sometimes way different. Alarmingly so.

A Pearlescent pink Plymouth? No? There’s a green one in the back;

Maybe orange is more your taste?

No? Maybe just a plain metallic blue then. And let’s jazz it up with wires;

I didn’t set out to create a display of fifties classic Americana; there are plenty of other designs that appeal to me. I just put these here as I built them, so these are all from the past five years or so.

Moving on to the 1960s, we have this white Ford. I usually tend to think of white as a primer colour, a blank canvas for conveying graphics, or as an accent colour. But a slightly creamy white paired with a strong green interior, it works;

I do like the ’60 Ford design, and have built numerous others. But this is already getting out of hand, so I’ll show them another time.

Although it doesn’t fit the era, we’ll finish up today with a 1966 Falcon. This one has a special meaning for me, as I learned to drive in Dad’s ’67. This was the car that spurred me to buy my own; my alter ego has told that story before. It’s an old AMT kit from 1966 that I bought as a built-up model and converted to Dad’s car.

Well, sort of. I left the grille alone, as we adopted this one for the Aussie ’68. I didn’t convert it to four doors, or alter the rear fenders (trivia: ours had the mid-body crease all the way to the tail) otherwise it would never have got done! I did upgrade Dad’s old ride to a 289 rather than that smooth 200 six. The kit came with a big block, ostensibly a 427, but an FE block in one of these was just too much, even for my imagination.

We’ll resume our tour next time with a wander through the back row. Back lots are always interesting, aren’t they? See you then!