Revell Visible V−8 Engine kit as it appeared in the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book
Vintage Renwal Visible V−8 Engine kit box cover.
Roughly fifty years after my first failed attempt at building a 1/4th−scale Visible V−8 Engine kit, I decided to buy another and try again. It is amazing that the kit is still produced (by Revell now, not the original by Renwal), especially given that very few of the old V-8s - the ones with points and condenser ignition, mechanical carburetor, belt-driven cooling fan, etc. - are running anymore. Many, unfortunately, were destroyed as part of the heinous Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 that served primarily to remove from service classic cars and trucks from U.S. manufactures ...but I digress.
If memory serves me properly, back in the era by the time I had all the moving parts assembled and installed, none of them moved anymore. The original kit included an electric motor that was contained inside the starter motor case, with the batteries in a cool-looking lead-acid battery type enclosure. It also had miniature incandescent (no LEDs then) bulbs that inserted into the spark plugs and lit in proper firing order as determined by the contacts in the distributor. The new Revell kit does not have a motor, but includes a hand crank that plugs into the rear of the engine. There are no lights in the spark plugs, either, jut some hokey plastic tubing that runs from the distributor cap to the spark plugs.
If you want those features, you'll need to look on eBay for a vintage Renwal Visible V−8 Engine kit. Expect to pay north of $100 + shipping for it. The Revell Visible V−8 Engine kit can be purchased new on Amazon for about $70 with free shipping.
After carefully following the directions and assuring free movement every step of the way, this time around my Visible V−8 Engine actually cranks as it is designed to do. The Amazon listing claims 320 parts that can be assembled in 5 hours. It took me at least twice as many hours, stretched out over nearly a year of spare time. Below are some photos of the assembly process and the completed model. The left side of the engine is the driver's side (in the U.S. and most of the world); basically the left side as viewed from the driver's seat (anywhere in the world).
Kit box top & side art
Kit parts in box
Kit parts out of box
Left side view
Right side view
Engine bottom view
Crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, camshaft
August 3, 2019