Ford has caught Chevy napping more than once in automotive history. Every car person knows about the Mustang, but did you know about the El Camino, the subject of this week’s car spot.
It was legendary designer Harley J. Earl, who had suggested Chevy make a coupé pick-up in 1952, but Ford beat them to it with its Ranchero. Chevy introduced the El Camino in 1959 and it was based on the 119-inch wheelbase two-door Chevrolet Brookwood station wagon.
Chevy knew it had to play catchup to Ford and went in a different direction when it came to styling making it look like Chevrolet’s high-end Bel Air on the outside with two-tone paint, and a Chevrolet Biscayne interior. It was an immediate hit outselling its Ford counterpart in the first year. Its starting price was $2,500.
After just two years Chevy took a break from production because sales had dipped and it was retooling the El Camino to fit the Chevrolet Chevelle platform. Chevrolet came back with another hit and won the overall battle with Ford for five additional generations being made from 1964.
El Caminos from 1968 to 1973 are considered the best-looking models and are cult classics among many car enthusiasts. The El Camino’s production had to be shifted to Mexico in 1985 due to low sales, and Chevrolet wanting to reduce production costs. Chevy pulled the plug in 1987 when pickups, like its S-10, became more popular. Chevy actually toyed with the idea of bringing it back in 1995 with a concept El Camino built on the full-size Caprice station wagon platform but plans to produce it got scrapped. Bet that would have looked cool.
What caught my eye on this ’67 was the badging on the front saying it had a 396 V8. I’m thinking this is an SS and the markings weren’t put back on the car after its restoration. But although the 396 engine was available to buy, there was no official 1967 El Camino Super Sport option or badging. A true El Camino SS didn’t appear until 1968.
So, what’s it worth? Values range from around $15,000 to $40,000, averaging at about $25,000. But if it’s an SS model, or one really close like this one, prices can shoot up to well above $50,000.
There’s also a story about where I found this spot. It was spied a couple months ago at a really cool service station on Pine Island, Fla., which was hit by hurricane Ian just recently. I’ve found some other spots there as well, a Dodge Magnum and Cadillac Allante. Like others in that area, his shop was hit and is in the long process of rebuilding. This car had Massachusetts plates, so I hope it made it back home before Ian hit.
Thanks for stopping by. Check back next Friday when I’ll have another car spot along with some of its history. Have a great weekend.
A stylish 1:18 scale Series 62 with opening hood, trunk, doors …
Cadillac was near the top of the U.S. automotive world as far as a reputation for luxury coupled with performance prior to World War II. Oh sure, there was Packard too, but the Series 62 Caddy was king of the heap.
And of course that meant a lead sled as these were all steel and assorted metal compounds at the time, with engine blocks that were so heavy they could have been battleship anchors.
But still there was style, and chrome was a big part of that. Auto World is practiced at the art of creating 1950s to 1970s muscle cars with all their chrome grilles and bumpers, but it had to turn it up a notch for this new 1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible. To use phrasing of the time you bought one to grandstand that you’ve got a lot of lettuce!
Cadillac launched the Series 62 in 1940 as an entry-level Caddy, but production ended in 1942 as auto factories turned their efforts to war machines. In fact, by 1947, just after the war as Cadillac was converting back to car production, the automaker was only making 12 models in four different Series, roughly a quarter of the models it had made pre-war.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Series 62 was most popular as it had been fairly new when the war began and was entry-level for Caddy. The Series 62 reportedly made up 84% of Caddy’s sales in 1947 and Cadillac reported it had a 100,000 backlog of orders.
Series 62 models included a hardtop, convertible and 4-door sedan. More than 55,600 were sold, a record at the time. In 1947 a Series 62 4-door sedan went for $2,553, up from $2,359 in 1946. With strong demand came higher prices. Likewise today a ’47 convertible is coveted among collectors and can go for north of $100,000 depending on its restoration level.
AW models the 1947 Caddy with its Monobloc flathead 5.7-liter V8, which made 150 horsepower. The chrome fender guards and 5-bar grille were new styling cues for 1947 as GM tried to freshen its lineup that essentially reflected 1942 styling. Oh, and the hub caps were known as Sombrero wheel covers. Ah, marketing!
For the record, the third generation Series 62, like the second-gen model, was designed by GM’s now famous Harley Earl. It went into production as a 1949 model and featured GM’s new overhead-valve V8. The engine was a big deal at the time as it replaced the lower powered, heavier model. The new 5.4-liter V8 delivered 10 more horses at 160, yet weighed 200 lbs. less than the 1948 model. The 1949 model was Motor Trend’s first Car of the Year.
Convertible die-cast cars are fun because they let you see the car’s full interior, plus they just look a little sleeker.
AW delivers this one in Madeira Maroon, a dark maroon with creamy white convertible tonneau cover and interior door panels. While the Caddy looks like a beast with its egg-crate grille and chrome bullet-shaped bumper guards front and rear, the color makes it seem as elegant as it was at the time. Note though that the paint job easily shows fingerprints, so if you’re handling it gloves are a wise idea.
Chrome here, as it was in 1947, is nearly overpowering, but certainly adds a high bling level to the Series 62. The nose and tail are dripping with it via those bumpers, the grille, Caddy insignias and hood ornament. Plus this model includes a bold chrome trim line from the front wheel to mid-door at the end of the bulging fenders that wrap into the doors. Likewise there are chrome stone guards and trim on the rear fenders from in front of the rear wheel to just behind it.
Clear textured headlights feature chrome bezels and the rear lights are a threesome on a vertical chrome bar. Wipers, windshield and door trim, a big extended side mirror and stubby antenna on the driver’s side fender also are chrome, as are the door handles and trunk release.
For realism note that the hood, trunk and doors all open and the front wheels are poseable.
Under that massive hood is the aqua block of GM’s 5.7-liter V8 at the time, plus wiring and other detailing, although to be honest the car looks more interesting with the hood lowered, likewise the trunk.
Inside the seats are a matte red and include built-in armrests in back and chrome window cranks and door release levers up front on the doors. The dash is a busy place with massive grille work at its center, a row of buttons along the top, plus a speedometer and analog clock (no digital in 1947!). A few other gauges are easily seen along with controls under the passenger-side dash.
The Series 62’s steering wheel matches that creamy interior trim, but with a three-spoke chrome hub and horn ring. Over the windshield is a built-in roof support and the chrome rearview mirror.
Know too there is a detailed undercarriage with single exhaust system and solid axle rear suspension. If you pose this on a base with mirrored bottom a viewer can see some of that. Wheels also highlight those big Sombrero wheel covers and wide white-sidewall tires.
I prefer 1950s through 1970s cars myself, but this is an elegant look back at post-war heavy metal and will accurately reflect those times in your collection, plus highlight the big jump forward in styling that the 1950s cars represent.
Vital Stats: 1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
Maker: Auto World Scale: 1/18 Stock No.: AW273 MSRP: $123.99
Buick’s 1956 concept car really did have futuristic features …
GM’s concept cars of the 1950s were showcased in traveling shows called Motorama and actually looked futuristic and in some cases included features that would show up on future cars, sometimes way into the future.
One was the bright red over white Buick Centurion XP-301 that was displayed in 1956 Motorama shows. NEO now offers a stellar example of the show car in 1:43 scale, and the resin model may surprise you.
The Centurion, a name later used in the 1970s by Buick, was a Harley Earl design reflecting the aircraft and rocket styling touches that were so popular in the 1950s as the U.S. was rushing toward the space race.
Its pincher like nose design with headlights in rocketlike pods would grab everyone’s attention at the time, along with the tapered tail that looks like a jet engine with overhanging flat fins. Oh, and then there’s the bubble top, completely clear except for the metal support structure and window frames. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1956 Buick Centurion XP-301→
NEO’s smaller scale ’49 Caddy nearly as nice as big 1/18
If you do something well, it often behooves you to repeat what you did. NEO knows that and creates a new 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe, this time in 1:24 scale.
As with its previous 1:18 scale version, this Club Coupe is a car with presence, class and substance, just a tad smaller. The real one also was a sales standout for Cadillac as the brand fought to re-establish itself after World War II.
This black resin beauty continues the detail NEO brought to its earlier model, but in the smaller scale so popular with plastic car model builders. Both Cadillacs are distributed by American-Excellence, which supplied our review model.
In case you missed our Scale Auto DC review of that model, here’s a refresher.
Cadillac launched the Series 62 in 1940 as an entry-level Caddy, but production ended 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. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1/24 scale 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe→
While the early Corvettes were cute little underpowered sports cars, for my money they got serious and more aggressive looking for 1958 when Harley Earl and his design crew gave them quad headlights.
To be honest, the Corvette had gotten off to a rather slow sales start but 1958 was its landmark year when sales hit 9,168 and it was on its way to Chevrolet and industry icon.
Now Autoart delivers a sweet silver blue 1958 Corvette in 1/18 scale, and this one comes with a matching silver blue metal roof that fits on to allow it to be displayed top up, or down.
Outwardly the big deal change for 1958 was Corvette’s quad headlights along with a chrome strip the length of the front fenders. There also were non-functional louvers on the hood and the car grew by nine inches in length and about two inches in width. Radius rods were added to help the rear suspension and chrome trunk spears that some called suspenders were added to the trunk. The hood louvers and rear suspenders didn’t make it to the 1959 model. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s 1958 Chevy Corvette→
NEO’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 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→