This was my first conversion/custom diecast project in the 1/64 range and a whole lot of fun.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across this worn out old Yatming Lola T-370 F1 car at a junk store and promptly began the search for replacement decals. The Lola T-370 was the first chassis used by Graham Hill’s Embassy-Hill team, and I wanted to restore this diecast to the accurate white and red livery it ran in 1974. However, decals for the Embassy-Hill car in 1/64 do not exist and I was not prepared to make my own in that scale.
After some searching, I found another F1 car with a close enough shape to the Lola. That’s the 1975 Penske PC-1. The legend Mark Donohue drove this car for most of 1975, and while it had some serious flaws, it was a beautiful machine. Better yet, IndyCals makes the car’s decals in 1/64.
I started by stripping as much paint as I could and cutting the body down. The Penske was a far sleeker car than the Lola, so the chunky sidepods needed to be trimmed to a clean delta shape.
That wasn’t the only thing the body needed. I used Mr. Hobby putty to fill in the cockpit scoop and a Dremel to cut down the airbox. Then I reshaped the engine cover to replicate the Penske’s sleek profile. After 3 coats of Tamiya primer and some filling and sanding, it was ready for paint.
Paint was applied in stages. First the white, then red, and finally blue went on before decals. The IndyCals sheet was easy and it only took half an hour of work to get the livery done. It sat like this for a few weeks while I tried to find some wheels. Thankfully, a Target run while I was back home in Texas solved my wheel crisis. The wheels on the car in the picture below came from a Surf n’ Turf warming the pegs. A coat of black paint and matte clear got the wheels where I wanted them.
That just about finished the project for me. All that was left was reattaching the base, making some small endplates for the front wing, and affixing a rollbar made from a staple. Overall I’m pleased with how it came out. I learned a lot and know where I’ll need to improve in the future. I have a couple more Yatming F1 cars in the stash, so expect another project soon.