Car Trim

Continental Kit - Spare Tire Housing



When constructing the rear bumper, I made allowance for a spare tire object that is actually an optional accessory from what I understand. (Sorry, I just model cars, I'm not THAT knowledgeable!) Anyway, on the Bel Air, this is the Continental Kit, and although I haven't been luck enough to see one at any of the car shows I've been to, I have a few reference pictures that do include it, and I think it looks pretty cool. Hence, I'm modeling it in the tutorial.

I suppose it is up to you whether you bother with this or not, but if you modeled the rear bumper with that big bracket in the middle, you might as well put something there...


You just have to love it when you can start off really simply, say by using a primitive.

In this case, a cylinder of roughly similar dimensions of the tires we modeled will do nicely. Positioned like so.. (don't worry about the exact positioning or angle of tilt yet, It's easier to model straight!)


Set the cylinder up to be about eight rotation segments, three end cap segments, and two height segments.

Then, since we want to get at the polygons, use the Make Editable command.


Once you've made the cylinder editable, drop it in a HyperNURBS hierarchy, and switch to point mode. Select all points and optimize so that the edges of the height and end cap objects 'weld' together. You'll immediately see the edges of the cylinder round off.


The rounded cylinder now serves as the spare tire housing, but we want to hollow it out, or at least give the illusion of it being hollow, for our spare tire to sit within.

Select the polygons on the inner two segments of the rear end of the cylinder. Use the extrude function to indent the polygons into the housing.


The smaller and more precise the extrusions are, the more sharpness you can add to the edges... thus achieving a good looking 'shell' appearance for the tire housing.

Keeping those same polygons selected throughout this operation, once you have the indentation or shell thickness established, use the extrude inner command to make the polygons larger so that they recede back beneath the shell lip.


Continue with the extrude functions until you create a larger space some distance behind the overhang of the exterior shell. Four our purposes, it isn't necessary to 'hollow out' the entire housing, but just create a large enough empty space that all the relevant parts of the spare tire object within will be visible from the shell opening.


From the side you can see the wireframe of the space made behind the lip of the housing. It is really not too large of a space at all, but enough so that the remaining inner portion of the cylinder does not interfere with the tire object we will be placing within.


And, as I mentioned, in goes the spare tire... which is just a copy of the other tires repositioned to fit within this housing.

If you find the housing is not big enough to completely contain the spare tire, it shouldn't be too tough a matter to simply scale or otherwise adjust the housing.


A simple modeling feat, and it goes a long way to adding some extra flair to the overall model. I love it when that happens! Another simple little detail that helps the image a lot is the license plate...



Finally, group the housing and spare tire and position them in the rear bumper bracket (with a the top tilting slightly toward the front of the car.

That should do it. As an aside, you can of course add some seams to the housing with a bump map when you texture it later.