Fins were fun and gave the 1950s cars both personality and a hint of aerodynamics that merged the streamlined models of the 1930s with the aerospace world of the 1960s to come.
Buick may not be the first brand you think of when it comes to ‘fin’ish styling, but in 1957 it was tastefully incorporating fins into its sleek designs. Witness the 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe with is four ventiports and straight tailfins with round projected taillights hinting at being afterburners in those beautifully sculpted chrome rear light surrounds.
NEO does another fine job of re-creating the look of a 1950s chrome-laden model in 1/43 scale resin with the Roadmaster, and for a still modest $74.95. Some 1/43 models are now creeping over the $100 mark.
All Buick hardtops were considered Riviera models in 1957 and 4-door sedans were eliminated. The clean, sexier look of the hardtop with no B-pillar was setting the styling and sales trends. Two-tone paint was being enhanced by chrome sweeps on the hardtop’s sides and around the windows.
For 1957 the body was lowered and the windshield wrapped further around the cockpit for a more panoramic view. Pillars at the front corner of the roof also were slanted the reverse of most car’s A-pillars. In back the fuel filler was moved to the center of the rear bumper (visible on the model) and there was an optional dual exhaust that passed through the car’s massive chrome rear bumper (also visible on the model).
Mid-year the Roadmaster was upgraded from a Model 70 to 75 and included power windows and seats, plus a one-piece rear window, which the model has. The 75 also had deluxe hubcaps.
Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in collector car coverage, says a primo ’57 Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe is worth $48,600, but most are likely to fall in the $20,000-$30,000 range.
The copper over creme hardtop created by NEO is an eye-catcher to be sure. The two-tone paint scheme is flamboyant and screams late 1950s, as does all the chrome on the Roadmaster.
Beyond the flawless paint job are thick chrome-laden bumpers front and rear with jet-like projections protruding from the front bumper and chrome bezels around the headlights. The grille itself is a monument to chrome and the shiny rear bumper features protrusions below the two-lens red taillights, again with a chrome band surrounding the entire structure, but blending into the bumper.
Not all the chrome is heavy looking though, there’s a delicate Buick hood ornament and twin side-view mirrors, antenna and thin window trim including large vent windows and dainty wipers. That sweep on the car’s side is chrome too, as are door handles and hubcaps.
Inside you can see cream and black seats and a nicely detailed padded dash featuring a three-spoke steering wheel, also cream colored, including a chrome horn ring and hub. The dash, which was padded in the original is black here.
On the low side are treated wide white-sidewall tires and red Michigan license plates front and rear. The tires are not branded.
This is a pretty 1/43 scale model with deliciously smooth finish and sharp exterior detailing for the price.
The Model: 1957 Buick Roadmaster Hardtop Coupe
Stock No.: 185832