There have been some fine luxury cars made in the United States, exemplary machines that set the auto world on its proverbial ear. Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Duesenberg, Auburn and Cadillac come to mind.
Only Cadillac is left, but that’s because GM kept it alive through the Great Depression when it was churning out some fantastic cars and engines in a weak market. One model sums up the strong Cadillac effort of that era, its V-16 powered Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton.
Oh baby, this was a monster with a 149-inch wheelbase. That would make the current Cadillac Escalade SUV look like a mid-size vehicle as the Fleetwood base was 33 inches longer than an Escalade. Now NEO has created this elegant drop-top in 1/24 scale resin, and it’s a deep red beauty.
The Fleetwood’s V-16 was new in 1930 and surprised the automotive world that thought the V-12 was the way to go. Caddy created an overhead valve 452 cu.in. V-16 that created 185 horsepower. It was linked it to a 3-speed synchromesh transmission, another Cadillac invention. Cadillac kept pushing too, following in 1931 with a similar new V-12.
In 1933 the sexy V-16 Fleetwood’s body featured three horizontal hood vent spears, partially obscured by the covered spare tires in each fender, plus three chrome strikes on its fender skirts. The car also had unique four-bar bumpers front and rear, fancy multi-cones horns under the chrome lights, plus chrome wheel covers with a bar across them to draw attention to them as they spun. NEO’s model faithfully reproduces all of the Fleetwood’s unique styling features.
Initially the fancy V-16 Caddy was to feature a limited build of 400, but bad economic times cut production to just 126 and only one, was a convertible Phaeton, as NEO has produced. A Fleetwood cost about $8,000 new, or double the price of a V-8 model. But in 2010 the lone V-16 Phaeton sold at auction for $462,000.
Lights, bumpers, horns, turn signals, mirrors and door handles are all chrome and in back the Fleetwood features a beautifully sculpted photo-etched luggage rack that is impressive. Equally sharp is the gold winged hood ornament. A spare one along with two extra rearview mirrors that mount on the spare tire cases are provided lest you break one while handling the model.
The grille is another finely detailed photo-etched piece. Note the radiator shell here is body colored, which was a first for Cadillac. The flat windshield has a chrome surround and chrome door hinges are visible between the front and rear doors. The hood was special on the original Cadillac. Known as a “de Sakhnoffsky” hood it overlaid the car’s cowl and stretched back to the base of the windshield. The model represents that accurately.
Inside, the Cadillac features a smooth creamy tan interior with chrome door handles and a convincing fake wood trim around the doors’ top edges, dash and window frame.There’s a black three-spoked steering wheel, nicely detailed dash with gauges, buttons and knobs, and a tall gearshift lever and brake. In back the textured tonneau cover looks realistic molded in the lowered position.
Overall another strong model from NEO in the popular 1/24 scale so it easily fits into a plastic modelers collection and display.
Stock No.: 208600