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Moebius 1961 Pontiac Catalina

'61 Pontiac Catalina
Moebius No. 1221
Model Type: Injection-molded
Molded Colors: Light gray
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $27.99
Pros: Accurate body shape and details, high quality decals, build instruction sheet
Cons: Potential fit problem with front bumper/grille assembly, lacking optional two shock absorbers per wheel
The racing version of Moebius’s 1961 Pontiac follows its street stock Ventura kit introduced about a year ago. This kit includes all-new trees of racing specific parts, with decals included to build the No. 8 Pontiac driven to second in the 1961 Daytona 500 by Joe Weatherly. Pontiacs dominated stock car racing in 1961, and decals are available to also build replicas driven by the likes of Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, David Pearson, and Paul Goldsmith.

Parts are crisply molded, many engineered with locating guides to assist in correct assembly. Sufficient gluing surfaces are present to make for a secure assembly. The parts are accurate, but there’s room for added detail like spark plug wires for starters.

The body appears accurate in shape and size. Its “Catalina” script on the sides and “Pontiac” block lettering on the rear body panel are correct and remain readable even under a few coats of paint. The only mold parting lines on the body parts that need to be dealt with are at the base of the C-pillar and on the front of the hood.

The hood’s underside is engraved with the support structure. Removing the parting line on the hood requires care due to its proximity to the hood emblem. The windshield and back glass install from outside. Both glass pieces have a mold parting line around their perimeter that must be removed for proper fitment. The gravel pan between the front bumper and grilles is a separate piece that should be painted body color. Door handles and the fender ornament are separate plated parts.

Its frame is molded separately from the floorboard and inner fenders. The rear axle is attached by columns representing the coil springs and by the lower control arms. Short upper control arms attach to the top of the axle assembly, and the shock absorbers connect to the axle and the bottom side of the floorboard.

A front suspension includes separate LCAs, springs, and spindle assemblies. LCAs, plus the sway bar and steering linkage, are molded as a unit with the bottom of the front frame cross member. The steering gear and master cylinder attach to the firewall.

Open GM-style steel wheels fit over pins that are part of the rear axle and front spindles. Wheels are a snug fit. I suggest enlarging the holes in the wheels with a 3/32-in. drill bit and using epoxy to attach them. Delay installing the front wheels until you’ve joined the body and chassis. Tabs on the underside of the front fenders fit into slots on the top of the inner fenders and it’s easier to get the body and chassis aligned without the wheels in place.

The engine block, bellhousing, and four-speed tranny are molded as two halves, in which the builder attaches the cylinder heads, oil pan, front cover, and single 4-barrel intake manifold. A water pump, fuel pump and line, oil filter, and starter are individual pieces. Valve covers are plated and the breather caps are separate. The air cleaner is a race-specific part.

Exhaust headers are the correct Pontiac 4-into-2 style and the side pipes exit under the doors, but don’t install until the body and chassis are together. This allows you to trim the mounting pins on the pipes to move them closer to the bottom of the rocker panels.

The interior builds up from the floorpan. The separate door panels are engraved with the correct upholstery pattern for a Catalina. Racing specific parts include a carpetless floorboard, blank panel for the rear seat area, roll bar, steering wheel and column, roll cage, a flat instrument panel to attach over the stock one, and an extinguisher.

Lap and shoulder belts are plastic and attach to the seat and roll cage, which can be assembled on the floorboard and painted as a single unit. You may want to enlarge the holes in the floor to ease installation of the cage, which I did using a No.64 drill bit.

Decals are opaque and white numbers and letters cover the red and black paint scheme. They’re also pliable and the large numbers on the doors easily laid down over the side trim. There are decals for the gauge faces and Pontiac emblems on the hood and trunk.

Aligning the front bumper and grille assembly with the chassis and body can be problematic. It gets attached to the radiator support, but must also align with the fenders. I recommend removing the two tube-like projections on the front face of the support before painting the radiator support.

With the body and chassis joined, check the fit of the grille and bumper assembly. You may need to remove material from the back in order to have the ends of the grille and bumper properly aligned with the fender. Use epoxy to attach it correctly.

Note, the rear bumper attaches only to the body and thankfully fits without any issue.


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