I’m a sucker for fastback coupes. That usually means cars like a mid-1960s Mustang or Barracuda. Yet here’s a new old one to consider, the 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe.
This is a car with presence, class and substance. Incredibly, it also was fast and a sales standout for Cadillac as the brand fought to re-establish itself after World War II.
NEO has created a beauty in 1:18 scale resin that American Excellence supplied for our review.
The Series 62 was launched in 1940 as an entry-level Caddy, but wrapped up production in 1942 as auto factories turned their efforts to war machines. The third generation Series 62 designed by GM’s noted Harley Earl went into production as a 1949 model, riding on a 126-inch wheelbase, measuring 214 inches long and touting GM’s new overhead-valve V8.
The engine was a big deal, replacing a lower powered and heavier L-head model. The new 5.4-liter, 331 cu.in. V8 delivered 10 more horses at 160 and this model weighing 200 lbs. less than the 1948. So impressed was Motor Trend, then in its infancy, that the Series 62 became the magazine’s first Car of the Year.
Models included a hardtop, convertible and Eldorado convertible, 4-door sedan and the best looking of the lot, the 2-door coupe. More than 55,600 were sold, a Cadillac record at the time.
In profile or head-on the Series 62 sets a high styling benchmark. Its sweptback roofline and short fins jutting up at the tail were the start of the expressive 1950s styling that often reflected aircraft aerodynamics. Its nose is a monument to chrome with the big rectangular grille with two large bars across its center and giant bumper guards that protrude from the thick chrome bumper
NEO does a superb job of recreating the look and adds a fine black mesh behind the grille. Headlights with their chrome surrounds also feature realistic lenses and small running lights are built into the grooved bright metalwork that wraps around the front fender. The Cadillac crest sits above a chrome chevron on the hood’s nose and the Cadillac hood ornament sits atop a chrome strip that blends into the split windshield’s trim. Thin metal wiper stalks are well executed too reflecting the detail here.
I like the big chrome mirror on an A-pillar arm on the driver’s side and there’s a delicate looking radio antenna just in front of that. Chrome side window trim and door handles along with the three-pane rear window look great too and the grooved metalwork accent trim and stone shields on the front and rear fenders give the car the illusion of movement.
A masculine rear bumper continues the chrome extravaganza and there’s an Arizona license plate in back just below the chrome trunk release, plus another chevron and Caddy crest on the trunk.
This is a sealed model, meaning the doors, hood or trunk do not open. But you can see a gorgeous interior through the large side windows, including a wild red patterned dash top along with tan bench seats front and rear. The dash facing looks like wood with a radio with knobs mid-dash, big gauge pod and white steering wheel with three spokes and a circular chrome horn rim.
This is a car from the days when style and flair reflected a brand’s identity.
Product: ’49 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe
Maker: NEO (available from American Excellence)
Stock No.: NEO18245