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Gentleman, Start Your Engines!

The command is given and 40+ cars roar to life at the flick of a switch. Cameras snap feverishly trying to capture a special moment as their driver rolls by on the parade lap. Adrenaline comes to a head as the green flag falls and the field of cars all drivers put the pedal to the metal. The crowd rises to its feet in anticipation to see their favorite driver race to victory.

This is NASCAR!

Before there was Jeff Gordon or The Intimidator, there were drivers such as Clifton Marlin, Tim Flock and others who set the standard of today's modern era racing. These drivers were pioneers of the sport. Minimal safety equipment and no power steering made these drivers true athletes in the field. Speeds reaching close to 200 miles per hour with nothing more than a steel shell and a lap belt to protect them. These are the true heroes of racing.

Today's racing legends are known for domination of the sport with prowess on the track and also in the souvenir stands. Racing giants, such as Gordon, Petty and Earnhardt, have had their images emblazoned on everything from soft drink cans to automobiles. The model industry has seized this opportunity to offer up 1/24 and 1/25 assembly kits of these and several other "big name" drivers. Currently, there are countless kits available in both basic and pre-paint editions. NOTE: Pre-Paint kits already have the body of the model painted so the builder only needs to apply the decals. The flashy colors and distinctive paint schemes help to identify these vehicles at a glance.

Polar Lights has introduced a series of kits marking the accomplishments of some of the most legendary drivers of the sport. Long before celebrity endorsements and commemorative paint schemes, there were the legends: hard-nosed drivers who raced from week to week for the love of racing. LeeRoy Yarborough was among these drivers. LeeRoy drove for the legendary car owner Junior Johnson and had quite a productive career as a driver. LeeRoy drove the #98 Mercury Cyclone II to victory in the 1969 Daytona 500 and went on to set a record for consecutive super speedway wins in a single season. His Mercury was definately a threat to win everytime it entered a race.

Polar Lights captured the look of this vintage stock car in a simplistic fashion. Molded in white, clear and chrome this kit is a must for all model car enthusiasts. Straightforward instructions with clear illustrations aid the builder in building this kit straight from the box. This kit comes with two options for engines for the builder to decide. SLIXX Corporation was contracted by Polar Lights to provide accurate waterslide decals for their NASCAR kits. In my opinion, there are no better decals available in the open market. SLIXX has always provided quality after-market decals to builders of NASCAR vehicles that are not readily available or produced by other model companies. With the quality of this kit and the addition of the decals, this car is truly "the total package."

When I opened the kit I was thoroughly impressed by the packaging. The single piece body was encased in a protective card board sleeve that prevented the body from warping in packing (a problem has plagued the model industry for years). Upon inspecting the body I was pleased to find little or no imperfections of the body. Only a light sanding with 550 grit sandpaper on a few mold lines was required to prep this kit for painting. Even though the kit is molded in white, painting is required to bring it to its true potential. I first painted the interior of the body and all chassis and interior parts with gloss gull gray. After the paint dried I closed off the window openings with tape and primed the outer body with gray automobile primer. This brought out any imperfections I may have missed as well as filled any sanding scratches left behind. Once I was satisfied with my "body work" I coated the body in Model Masters Gloss Bright White. Placing the spray can in a warm glass of water prepped the spraypaint. This aided in paint mixture and flow, which resulted in a smooth finish. I left the body for 24 hours providing the paint ample time to cure.

Assembly of the chassis and roll cage was not without it's challenges. I used Zap A Gap (gap filling super glue) to assemble this kit and still had slight problems with the roll cage. Patience is the key to this step. Even when using super glue, it will take a keen hand to fit this roll cage in its proper configuration. The biggest problem I discovered was the front shock assemblies (part #42 in illustration shown below). It looked to me that the illustration on the instructions has the front shock mount reversed in its drawing.

I tried several ways to fit the part as described but eventually surrendered to the styrene and mounted them backward which is the only way I could make the parts fit. I did take into account that this will not hinder the over-all display of the finished model. Another problem I had was the tires. The rubber Goodyear tires is molded in a soft rubber, which was very pliable. When I cut off the injection stems from the tires I discovered that the rubber compound blistered and the tread pattern pulled away from the tire. It is hard to mount these tires on the kit and not have these imperfections in plain view.

Over-all, this model kit is a wonderful representation of the early years of NASCAR and looks very sharp "out of the box." Affordably priced and well made, this is a great kit to get a younger builder into NASCAR model building. Simple paint schemes and incredible decals make the Polar Lights NASCAR kits a must for model car enthusiasts.


As break-out vehicle kits, Polar Lights has represented the legends of NASCAR with style. Polar Lights shows little sign of slowing down, expanding their line in the fall of 2001 with the addition of Richard Petty to their line-up. I applaud Polar Lights for remembering the legends of NASCAR. The drivers' cars portrayed in styrene represent the true essence of the sport.