Tag Archives: American-Excellence

Die-cast: NEO 1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible

Pontiac GTO Convertible = crisp, muscular model …

1966 Pontiac GTO
Great color scheme for a GTO!

Those of us of a certain age used to worship (or close to it) muscle cars in the 1960s, and many credit Pontiac with launching the idea of a muscular mid-size car that the masses could afford.

Pontiac’s first was the 1964 Tempest with the GTO package ($295) that added a 389 cu.in. V8 that delivered 325 horsepower with a 4-barrel carb.  Otherwise the hardtop and convertible Tempests were typical family cars.

Certainly there are a fair number of die-cast models of GTOs these days, but NEO has added the 1966 Convertible version to its growing America car collection in 1/43 scale. Our review model came from the good folks at American-Excellence. As with other NEO models in this scale, this one is expertly executed.

The History

In the mid-1960s there were a lot of hardtops and convertibles, not so much these days. But in 1966 Pontiac wisely made the GTO a separate model from the Tempest and was restyled to include a kicked-up rear fender line.1966 Pontiac GTO1966 Pontiac GTO

The car rode on a 115-inch wheelbase and was just over 206 inches long. Its lines accentuated its length to give it a lean yet muscular look that matched its performance persona.  It still packed the powerful V8 engine and a Ram Air package was available too. The hood scoop helped emphasize the car’s power. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO 1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible

Die-cast: NEO’s 1933 Cadillac Fleetwood All-weather Pheaton

’33 Cadillac Fleetwood long on style …1933 Cadillac Fleetwood

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.1933 Cadillac Fleetwood

The History

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.

The massive car also featured four-wheel power-assisted brakes, a leaf spring for the front and rear suspension with a solid front axle and live rear axle. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1933 Cadillac Fleetwood All-weather Pheaton

Die-cast: NEO 1956 Chrysler 300B

NEO creates a sharp Chrysler 300B1956 Chrysler 300B

My uncle had a late 1950s Chrysler 300, a creamy thing that took up his entire garage and sported giant fins. I thought it was wonderfully exotic.

But I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of earlier 300s, which were launched in 1955 as Letter Series cars, beginning with the 300C that was even raced on the NASCAR circuit. Its paint scheme proclaimed it the “world’s fastest stock car.”

NEO moves forward a year from that premier model to create the 1956 Chrysler 300B, yes they went backward in the lettering phase for one year before the ’57 300C appeared with its big yawning front grille. But back to the ’56, which NEO so beautifully produces in 1/43 scale and in a creamy white; this is a handsome car.1956 Chrysler 300B

 

The History

While the ’55 may be the most famous because it kicked off the Letter Series 300s, the 1956 300B seems more stately and elegant to me. Its fins are modest in size and blend well with the car’s profile while the taillights are remeniscent of upscale Lincolns of the day. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO 1956 Chrysler 300B

BoS 1957 Buick Century Caballero Estate Wagon

Resin Buick Century shows wagons could be stylishwagon2

Remember when cars were interesting? Remember fins, and chrome and giant grilles and wide white-sidewall tires? Remember when cars weren’t just initials and numbers and hyphens? Remember two-tone cars?

I do, and if you’re of a certain age you’ll recall hardtop wagons that were almost as sleek and exciting as regular hardtops, like the 1957 Buick Century. Well, BoS-Models has re-created a beautiful Century wagon, the Caballero Estate Wagon in 1/18 scale. The resin sealed body review model was a stunning metallic light blue over cream.

The History

The Caballero hardtop wagon was only made for two years, 1957 and 1958 with only 14,642 sold during that period, so it’s a rarity in the vintage car world. Today, some sell at auction for more than $100,000. No wonder, the car is a knockout.1957 Buick Century wagon

It’s special because of its beautiful lines, and lack of a B-pillar, as in any hardtop, gives it a clean, sleek look. Its two-tone paint job enhanced by the sweeps of chrome along its sides and around its windows gave it a streamlined appearance compared to the standard boxy wagon. Continue reading BoS 1957 Buick Century Caballero Estate Wagon

Die-cast: NEO’s 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

Cad1NEO’s Cadillac fastback exudes class, substance with extreme late-1940s styling

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 HistoryCad7

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. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

Die-cast: BoS-Models’ Chevrolet Corvette Corvair Concept

Corvette Corvair Concept sharp car at low costDSCF0143

Early Corvettes were stylish sports cars, not the big fire-breathing muscle rods they became by the 1970s and that they continue as today.

So a fastback model in 1954 would have been cooler than even Ford’s Thunderbird and shows General Motors had the right idea, if only in concept form. Funny too, they named it the Corvette Corvair, joining two names that Chevrolet would ultimately use.

Now BoS-Models has created a high-value 1:43 of this unusual concept as it first appeared in a bright Ruby Red paint scheme. And while I don’t usually dwell on price here, I’ve got to mention it’s just $38.95 and looks fabulous in its acrylic case.

The History

First, an explanation of the concept car that made its debut at the 1954 GM Motorama, a show in New York City. Chevrolet used the front-end of its new Corvette, but made it into a fastback coupe by grafting a sloping roof onto the sporty Vette. The tail here reflects the popular aircraft styling of the mid- to late-1950s. Continue reading Die-cast: BoS-Models’ Chevrolet Corvette Corvair Concept

Die-cast: 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible

NEO’s ‘Forward Look’ Dodge Lancer is Fin-tasticDSCF0133

I admit to having a soft spot in my car styling heart for the “Forward Look” Chrysler and Dodge models created by Virgil Exner in the late 1950s and early ‘60s.

These big-finned beauties featured dramatic taillights and oodles of chrome trim on their fronts, sides and backs. My Uncle Paul had a white 1959 Chrysler 300 that barely fit in his garage with fins taller than me.

So I’m a big fan of NEO’s 1:43 scale Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible and its beautiful red and white paint scheme.

The History

Dodge offered the Royal and Custom Royal from 1955-59 and the NEO model depicts the top-level Custom Royal in its heyday and final year, featuring dual jet exhaust taillights under each chrome-laden fin. The convertible featured a “Wedge” big-block V8 that used a wedge-shaped combustion chamber along with 383 cubic inches of displacement. The serious performance buyers snagged Dodge’s Super D-500 V8 overhead valve engine, a $415 option, with a massive 345 horsepower.DSCF0135

Royals and Custom Royals were available in hardtop, sedan, convertible and station wagon body styles and a base four-door listed at $2,934 in 1959. The premium Custom Royal convertible sold for $3,422 and 984 were sold that model year. Chrysler touted the use of front torsion bars and its mighty engines, plus push-button automatic transmissions. For 1959 there was an elliptical steering wheel and swivel front bucket seats too. Continue reading Die-cast: 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible