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Open Element Air Cleaner Detailing

By: Jeff Corey

This is the factory piece from the AMT Mustang's Hi-Po 289. I painted the paper filter element part in an off white tone, then to simulate the mesh overlay of an air filter, I take a sheet of model railroad mesh screen material and cut a strip to match the width of the filter, wrap it over the painted area and secure it with a small drop of CA on the back edge. Small air cleaners like those on tri-power setups can be a bit tricker to handle because of the small size and tight radius. Top it off with a factory displacement or service decal, which are a part of most decals sheets of musclecar kits today or thru decal venders such as Keith Marks, and you're done.

Some air filters might need some deeper pleats scribed into the filter part and you can then press the mesh to match the pleats like on those K&N style cone filters. On the K&N be sure to paint your filter pleats in a purplish red tone to simulate the tacky oil treatment which acts to trap the dirt particles before adding the wire mesh material.