This was SO fun to build. I have had the Datsun cleaned of paint and drilled apart for a few years. I knew I wanted to do something with a Datsun 240Z, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then a few weeks ago, I started to get an image of a rally car I wanted to make. I pulled out this car, ready to be modified, and got to work.
For the wheels, I knew that the low-profile Hot Wheels wheels would not do the trick of making a rally car. So I was on the lookout for some off-road wheels. They could not be too extreme. Rally cars are made to drive fast in the dirt, so big ol’ truck tires would not cut it. I had a set of Brush Fire truck tires from a Matchbox truck that looked just about right. The problem was, they were about a millimeter too big around. And when you are working in 1:64 scale, 1 tiny millimeter can be WAY off. The tires were impossible to stuff under the front wheel openings, and definitely wouldn’t look right if the car was jacked up to a height that would accommodate the bigger tires.
I finally found my tires in the form of a Matchbox off-road vehicle called the Four by Force. It has the treaded off-road tires that we find on a lot of Matchbox cars, but they were slightly smaller around. They were perfect. They fit great in the backs, and in the front, I had to do only a little modification at the front edges of the wheel arches.
I used brass tube to hold the axles. I cut a groove in the chassis to get the tube up higher. It allowed a bit too much ground clearance with the tube glued right to the chassis. In the end, the axles were dropped about two millimeters, and I added a bigger tire, and that gave the higher ground clearance.
Then it was time for lights and bars. The classic Rally cars of old had racks on the roof, where they mounted lights, a spare tire, and tool boxes. I knew with this classic car, that was the way I wanted to go. I used styrene tube for the front brush guard as well as the edges of the roof rack. I used a smaller diameter styrene bar to make the lights. The interior of the roof rack is thin sheet styrene cut to fit. Straight rows across the roof, and a bit of more styling design on the back to attach the spare tire as well as make it look a bit stronger.
I also went ahead and made a snorkel, since I think they are awesome looking, and it gives the Datsun and even more off-road look.
It was time for paint. I didn’t want anything fancy this time around. I wanted something a bit more utilitarian. So I went with the matte grey. It is Tamiya Airplane Grey out of a shaker can. I felt that a race car needed a touch of color, so I went with gloss red for the bar work. When I added mud flaps, I carried the red down to the underside of the car too. There is also a touch of red around the front headlights.
A race car team needs sponsors. The decals are leftovers from a 1:24 scale car build from many years ago. I hung onto the decals in hopes of being able to use them some day. For 1:24 scale, these decals are minor sponsors around the wheel arches. On the 1:64 scale, they are major sponsors.
With the car painted, decaled and cleared with matte clear, it was time for assembly. I glued the bars in place, as well as the snorkel. I added the spare tire, a white box, and a roll of fabric.
In all I am very happy with this car. It has really got my creative juices flowing for this small-scale building, and I am looking forward to more projects like this in the future.