Until now, there has never been an accurate model of amid-sixties ‘A/FX’ altered wheelbase race car, the predecessors to the modern funny cars and the reason they have their name. AMT made a series of altered wheelbase cars in the sixties, some of which are rare, and some easy to find. But these kits were quite crude by todays standards and far from accurate. Moebius has changed the paradigm with their altered wheelbase 1965 Plymouth Satellite with Golden Commandos markings. I was excited when the kit came out and bought one right away, but I wanted different markings. Slixx Decals came to the rescue with markings for Butch Leal’s California Flash.
I had a bad experience with Slixx decals some time ago but after speaking with Becky, she convinced me to give them another go. The decals cover very well but are a bit brittle, but in any event they look great and provide some good reference photos of the real car as well. I chose to build the last one of the series, with the tall injector stacks.
I opted for a pretty much box stock build. The kit didn’t need very much in the way of modifications. It also gives you a very good idea of how the real ones were made, with the front clip tying into the rear clip creating a unified full frame. The suspension is a stock configuration, with a Dana and leaf springs in the back and A arms in the front, with a slight rake to the rear.
The photos showed the wheels in non-polished form, so I stripped the chrome and painted them with MM magnesium paint. The biggest problem I had in the build was fitting the wheels into the overly stiff rear slicks; I actually used a hammer on the back side to pound them in! The tires look right but are generic; photos of the real car show no visible lettering either.
The drivetrain is very well done, with a 426 Hemi and Torqueflite transmission. Be sure to get the heads on the correct side (left and right differ) or the headers won’t lineup. The detail level is what you’d expect for a kit like this. Another issue was that the instructions don’t show the proper way to line up the fuel pump for the injectors. The small pulley mounts to the crank pulley(after you install the regular drive belt) and the fuel pump is glued to a small dog on the front of the cylinder head. It looks good! I used an R&M of Maryland predrilled distributor cap for the plug wires, the only additions Imade under the hood. Otherwise the engine compartment is properly bare. Be sure to use the correct radiator hoses, as there are two of each….and two won’t fit!
The interior is a little too bare. I added seat belts in decal form (lap belts only), and also a R&M resin floor shifter. The little period tach is the best one I’ve seen, and has a great decal face. I also removed the emergency brake pedal and turn signal lever as I couldn’t imaging Butch needing either. I’d expect there were some ancillary gauges in the real car, but I didn’t add them.
Photos showed the windows to be tinted, so I used the Tamiya clear blue spray, which works so well that I bought two other colors (red and smoke) to use in the future. Four light coats gave the optically perfect tint you see in the photos. Take your time with the side windows as they must be installed perfectly to clear the interior
The body and trim were flawless. My photos didn’t show any hood pins so I didn’t use them. Fit to the chassis was tight and worrisome but in the end the fit was perfect, as was the fit of the hood to the body. I used TS49 Tamiya paint out of the rattlecan; the finish was period correct, and the sheets tells us this car was red, not the characteristic California Flash orange.
Overall this was a great kit, and wasn’t too time consuming. And it certainly looks the part; I’m thrilled to finally have an accurate early funny car in my collection.