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Lindberg 1953 Ford Indy Pace Car

August 2007
RELATED TOPICS: 1950S | 1/25
1953 Ford Convertible
Lindberg/J. Lloyd International Inc. No. 72321
Model Type: Injection-molded
Molded Colors: Clear, translucent red, white
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $16.00
Pros: Clean molding, pace-car-specific parts, great decals
Cons: Incomplete/rough plating

Kits of 1950s Indy pace cars are few and far between, and it's nice to have this reissue of Lindberg's kit back in the lineup. It shares a lot of parts with the company's garden-variety '53 Ford Victoria, but Lindberg did its research and included all parts that made the pace car one of a kind.

Inside the box you'll find the car's unique wire wheels, as well as the continental kit, fender skirts, and chrome rocker moldings that helped dress the top-of-the-line convertible. Most of the parts trees are bagged and molded in soft white plastic. The decal sheet is beautifully printed (complete with gold lettering) and a tiny translucent-red tree includes the taillights.

The kit's most striking feature is the long side-trim spears, which are separate pieces and are included on the chrome-plated parts tree. Channels are molded into the body so the spears can be installed after painting.
You'll still need to add metal foil to the windshield frame and cockpit trim, but the "factory chromed" side trim does save a little time - and more importantly, it fits perfectly.

The interior builds up nicely, and the separate side panels make masking and painting the white, gold, and
black trim easier. Decals are included to detail the speedometer, clock, and radio dial. The door handles and window cranks are molded in place, but look OK with a little metal foil on them.

The assembly illustrations on the instruction sheet are small and not entirely clear, so take your time and do a little extra test-fitting before you commit parts to glue. The separate exhaust pipes need to be installed before the rear-end assembly and the separate X-shaped crossmember. The wheels are designed to rotate, but the hubs are delicate, so after squaring up the chassis, I glued them fast. The vinyl tires are sharply molded; separate plastic whitewalls (with Firestone logos) snap in place.

1953 was the last year of the legendary flathead V-8, and the kit's representation is a gem. Decals are provided for the oil-bath air cleaner and oil filter, and they really make things pop. Elsewhere under the hood you'll find scale hinges for a permanently open hood, a separate battery, and a two-piece heater blower.

The only real problem I had with the kit was with the tree of chromed parts - some were incompletely chromed, and others had a rough, pebbly finish. I was able to restore some parts with metal foil, but other, more-complex pieces would be next to impossible to cover. I was able to substitute a bumper from a Victoria kit I had in my collection, but I'll have to use Alclad to fix the spotlights.

The hubcap on the continental kit is bare plastic, and molded in place. I covered it with a disc of metal foil.

The decals seemed to take longer than usual to loosen from the backing sheet, and were tough to slide around on the model. They look fantastic, though, and did not need setting solution.

The alignment on this kit is fantastic. With everything assembled, there are no gaps between the interior and the body, and the thinly molded panoramic windshield is a perfect fit between the windshield frame and dash top.

As a Ford guy and an Indy 500 fan, this model covers a couple of important bases in my collection. Despite the trouble with the chrome parts, I had a great time building this kit, and I'm thrilled to have Lindberg's "late model" kits back on hobby-shop shelves.


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