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Vintage-style Dean Jeffries MantaRay


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#1 Detroit Dave

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:57 PM

I thought I would show my support for this topic by sharing my latest Vintage Style build.  

This crazy idea initiated when my friend Jay gave me a cut-up MPC MantaRay body from a pile of bodies he purchased.  After a little research on the original Dean Jeffries car I found out it was built on portions of the chassis of Maserati Grand Prix car. So fascinating, how about building a car that modeled some of the details of the chassis along with MantaRay body.
 
bonfanti-04a.jpg

So the concept was born.

017.JPG
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Dave Roberts




#2 Lone Wolf

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 06:34 PM

Dave, looks like this will be a fun project. This was my favorite car in the '60s.
 
I must have drawn it a hundred times in school. :) Maybe that's why I failed and got summer school in Social Studies. I had a crush on Ms. Garry but the biotch failed me. That's another story for another time.  :dash2:
 
A while back I saw someone selling repo windshields on eBay but I don't see them now. Don't know if you need one or not. 
 
Don't know if you know it or care but the motor, chassis and guide are Cox. Front wheels are MPC and the rear tires look like Mila Miglia. Can't see the rear wheels.
 
Build on.  :good:

Joe Lupo


#3 Detroit Dave

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 07:58 AM

Hi Joe,  

That's funny about Ms. Garry. Now I am wondering if you had her for summer school or not? Couldn't have been easy concentrating if she came in to school in her summer clothes.  

I chose the Cox chassis because it looked a lot like the tube chassis from the Maserati car. Then added the slightly curved front cross member. The front wheels are MPC and they also resemble the Manta Ray's front wheels with the drums on it. Good eye on the rear wheels. They are Milas.  They don't resemble anything about rear MantaRays so they are less likely to remain part of the build.  
 
I had a terrible habit of doodling in school. Rat Fink, the Bumble Bee with the slicks from the Dodge, and a comic character called Grog were some of my favorites. I know I used to draw cars but I don't recall if I had a favorite.  

The story of the MantaRay is amazing to me. All aluminum hand-formed body, early Shelby Cobra Motor and of course a chassis borrowed from 1940 Grand Prix Cars build by a guy with good connections and not by a team with deep pockets. The car is still amazing today and rivals anything I saw at AutoRama in Detroit this past week.
Dave Roberts

#4 Cheater

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 08:10 AM

After a little research on the original Dean Jeffries car I found out it was built on portions of the chassis of Maserati Grand Prix car.


Well, I never knew that! Fascinating.

If that chassis has a visible number on it, it's a good thing it's under a famous car like this or the restorers would have built a GP car around that frame and made a killing at auction.

Here's a little snippet from the MantaRayDeanJeffries blogspot:

"Dean Jeffries' father had racing Indy cars. His father had two old 1953 Maserati Formula One cars. Dean asked his dad if he could have one. His father replied, "They are not worth anything" and obviously said yes.

Oh, hindsight!

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#5 Steve Deiters

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 10:03 AM

As a side note there was a Dean Jeffries bio out about eight years ago which I have to say was one of the most fascinating racing books I've ever read. This guy really lived the dream. Still listed on Amazon but probably through the used book market. Worth the effort to get and read.
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#6 Detroit Dave

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:03 AM

Still playing around with this one. Motor is now a separate full model from a 289 Cobra kit. I had to be careful on how I positioned in the chassis as there is not a lot of clearance to the body and it needs to fit up in the opening well to look correct. 

008.JPG
 
I like how the chassis is visible outside of the body like the real car.  Again trying to capture some of Dean Jeffries Magic.

19132210.jpg
 
I am also starting to add the vent on the left side of the body and reposition the fuel filler to this side as well.
Dave Roberts

#7 Lone Wolf

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:16 AM

Very cool. Did not realize that body was clear. Is it hard plastic or Butyrate?

 

What is that front suspension you have lurking under there?

 

I think the K&B Goodyear tires would be a great match for the originals if you want to go that route.

 

They make big and littles. I can show pics if needed. 

 

Many old AMT kits had Cibie type rectangular lights which would be a good match for the "headlight"

 

Also, you can make a great looking gas cap from a screw and a pin ala Rick Thigpen. Can show that too.

 

These are certainly not criticisms, just suggestions.


Joe Lupo


#8 Detroit Dave

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:58 AM

Love the suggestions! Never thought of the Cibies before... great idea as the rally style fogs and running lights are probably very similar.  

I'd like to see an example of the fuel cap as I picked up a detail which will represent the surround with the holes in it well but hadn't decided how to handle the cap itself. I'm saving the original that came off along with the engine in case someone with an unmolested original MPC MantaRay might need it.  
 
The body I believe is Lexan. Mine looks like they were having some kind of issue with the plastic as it has all kinds of little nicks in it on the underside. Here I am cutting, heating, and bending a piece of Lexan to fill in the huge cut outs that were on the underside of the body. Never tried this before, so that was fun. Picked up some tube glue from the local plastics supply store.

008.JPG
 
I got a little crazy with the chassis and I'm still not done. Here is a picture of some of the foolishness that went on there.
 
001 (2).JPG

Lower A arms, upper arm with inboard spring and knuckles made out of brass connectors with 1/32 pins and holes.
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#9 Lone Wolf

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:02 PM

Dave, love the suspension execution  :heart:

 

First , here are the K&B's I mentioned. 

 

DSC00614.JPG

 

Very similar to the 1 to 1

 

Here is the "slam" cap idea I lifted from DC-65X. I did this a few years ago. This is a little Harvey I'm working on. Someone put a hole in the front for a mounting screw. I thought it looked crappy so I made up a cap. May not be correct but who cares. Don't know exactly how Rick did it but I cleaned a screw and a pin and got the screw hot and used paste flux for a "flow" Not perfect but good enough.

 

DSC00615.JPG

 

Here is a closeup.

 

DSC00616.JPG

 

 


Joe Lupo


#10 Detroit Dave

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:01 AM

Darn, And I have been throwing away those bodies I get with the holes in the hood.  


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#11 Detroit Dave

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:30 AM

There other element of the chassis I am attempting to model is the tubular superstructure holding the body and the vehicle components. I was able to find a drawing created by Jeffries that outlined his plan and I "roughly" approximated his front structure with wire. I'm not very experienced with chassis building so my solder work is pretty crude by the standards I've seen on this blog.

layout.jpg

Hey, we all have to learn somehow. I also created the radiator overflow tank and the two electric fans out of brass as well.  

structure.jpg
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#12 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:47 AM

Most of us would love to be that "crude" with our chassis building . nice work.


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#13 olescratch

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:30 PM

Looks good from here, keep it coming!


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#14 Detroit Dave

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:31 AM

Thanks for the encouragement guys!  The body is now in prime and ready for the color coats.  Original MantaRay was pearl white so this is my next step.  The Tamiya primer has gone on well as always!  Love that paint.  I'm going to put down either a white primer or gloss white base coat before switching either to pearl white or clear pearl.  I haven't quite decided yet.  I have learned that I cannot put a pearl white over anything but white or the result is not white. 

 

primed and ready.jpg

 

I'm using a pre-wired distributor with a piece of aluminum tubing as the replication for the unit on Dean Jeffries' car.  The carbs have been drilled down through the bore so I can use brass tubes to hold them firmly in place.  Not shown on this picture, I've also melted small holes in the gas inlets for the carbs using a candle and a sewing needle.  This will be for fuel lines.

 

Engine.jpg

 

0011sr18.jpg


Dave Roberts

#15 Lone Wolf

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:32 AM

Awesome, don't forget the little drilled out thingies in front of the mag.
 
Go here and forward to 34:15 to see it live. Then watch the drag scenes til about 40:00.
 
Then proceed to wipe the drool off your chin.  :laugh2:
 

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#16 Detroit Dave

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:25 PM

Thanks Joe!  Now I've got a direct video reference for the car attached to the thread!!!!! How many guys working on vintage thingies can say that.  

 

 I've been thinking about the fins and have already taken a first pass at trying to create them out of thin aluminum sheet.  What I learned is I going to need a better plan than my normal break out a pin vice and have a go with the smallest drill I have.  Precision machine work is not one of my talents.  I think I saw an x-y table gathering dust on my dads work bench.  Perhaps if I stack up 6 sheets and drill them all at once I can trim them to size and shape after the holes are drilled.  Looking for ideas on this one. I'm not familiar with any other process like photo-etching I can do at home.  


Dave Roberts

#17 olescratch

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:10 PM

Is it really a "thingie" when there is an "actual" car in existence, or has existed?  Not to say "stop" your build,looking forward to your completion, just asking?


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#18 Cheater

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 08:42 PM

As a side note there was a Dean Jeffries bio out about eight years ago which I have to say was one of the most fascinating racing books I've ever read. This guy really lived the dream. Still listed on Amazon but probably through the used book market. Worth the effort to get and read.


Just wanted to confirm Steve's opinion of the Jeffries' bio. An incredible book and a car guy who was involved with just everyone who was anyone in the California car culture. The part I was most jealous about was his claim that he spent the entire month on May at Indy for 33 or 34 years in a row, mostly painting the race cars. One year 22 of the 33 starters at Indy were painted by him...

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#19 TSR

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 01:20 PM

 Did not realize that body was clear. Is it hard plastic or Butyrate?


Joe, it is a stock MPC body stripped of its paint. It was blow-molded from polycarbonate material, in a hot process that makes it look almost like an injected body.

#20 Dave Crevie

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:26 PM

"TV" Tommy Ivo living up to his name by supplying at least two of the dragsters in that flick. 

 

Dem was da good ol' days.


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#21 Mattb

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:53 PM

Manta Ray is at the 35 minute mark. I ran it today to see. I had thought it wass in the opening sequence, but it doesn't appear till they go the drag strip.

The Jeffries book ain't cheap!!! I looked through every American source for used books I know of and about $75 was the best price I could find for a used copy. I figured maybe I would have to do an interlibrary loan and just read it then turn it back in. I looked a little harder and found it in a UK book shop for $25 with $10 shipping. I can live with that.

 

I do know from the Indy 500 books I have read the Jeffries was in Indy about every year doing paint work.


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#22 Cheater

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:16 PM

I got mine for abut $50 with shipping and it was the cheapest copy I could find in the US... It was a copy in some library somewhere.

 

There are new copies available but they're nearly $300!


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#23 Detroit Dave

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:58 AM

Well the final paint coats went as follows:

Base coat of Tamiya white fine primer over the grey primer.  

2 coats of Tamiya White Pearl over the fine primer.  Then a polish with a Turtle wax polishing compound.  

This came out awesome but the Tamiya pearl is a very fine pearl and the white hints of a blue rather than the off white that the original car had.

Of course can't leave well enough alone so I took a big leap of faith today and took a chance with a layer of Model Master enamel Gloss Pearl Clearcoat.

 

As long as it dries as beautiful as it went on I am going to be delighted with the results.  I am always nervous switching paints but I believe the rule is enamel over lacquer and not the other way around.  

 

007.JPG

 

Chassis details moving along.  Now I need to figure out where Dean Jeffries routed the front brake lines!

 

008.JPG


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#24 Lone Wolf

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

Looks awesome Dave.

 

Perhaps we can go to therapy together  :laugh2:

 

Don't want to hijack your thread but I thought this was relevant regarding the paint.

 

Here is a '55 Gasser I did. A lot of work went into this that is not readily apparent. After a lot of body work it has Tamiya white primer from the can, Tamiya Silver from the can, airbrushed Testor's Boyd's blue from a bottle and then like you I used Model Master gloss pearl clear coat. Sprayed straight from from the can. I laid the clear on heavy and it gave a kind of 70's fogged look around certain parts of the body. No reaction of any kind which I too was afraid of.

 

Pics do not do it justice. It looks much better in person.

 

Took about a month to dry though :dash2:  

 

DSC00748.JPG


Joe Lupo


#25 Detroit Dave

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:09 PM

Not a hijack at all Joe!  Love to see your work and I have the same effect where the Pearl pools a little when it goes on thick.  I agree it is hard to give a feel for the way pearl looks through a photo.  The body is hanging from a coat hanger above my work bench.  It is going to very hard to leave it alone for the next week, let alone an entire month.  I'm going to have to try and keep my attention on finishing the chassis and other associated projects that have been languishing why I worked on the Roth Orbitron and now this one.  

 

I am going to have to plan a trip out your way some time this year or next so I can see some of your amazing cars in person.  


Dave Roberts





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