Tag Archives: Motor Trend Car of The Year

Die-cast: Auto World’s 1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

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!

The History

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.

The Model

               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.

Enough chrome here for ya? Plus a big V8 under the massive hood.

               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.

Details galore in the interior, from the window cranks to the gauges.

               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

Another look under the hood.

Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: AW273
MSRP: $123.99

Link: Autoworldstore.com

Die-cast: NEO’s 1/24 scale 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

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.NEO 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

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.

The History

In case you missed our Scale Auto DC review of that model, here’s a refresher.NEO 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

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

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

Braking News: Motor Trend magazine’s 2015 Car of the Year

Winner announced this morning on Fox

motor trend According to Motor Trend this is the vehicle that best represents exceptional value, superiority in its class and most significant development on the 2015 new car scene. In all there were 42 contenders and as you can see from this image you might be scratching your head like me when MT picked the 2015 Volkswagen Golf as the winner. Really? The winner is chosen in the following criteria: 

Advancement in Design
Quality execution of exterior and interior styling; innovation in vehicle packaging; good selection and use of materials.

Continue reading Braking News: Motor Trend magazine’s 2015 Car of the Year

Promo Model: ’64 Classic 770 Cross Country Wagon

1964-Rambler-Classic-Cross-Country, AMC wagons, american motors, AMC, SavageOnWheels.com
Photo courtesy: AutoWeek

Like any car guy I subscribe to a lot of newsletters. I like to keep up on what’s new, what’s cool, what’s fast:), and collector cars, mostly from the the 60’s and 70’s. This week I received my AutoWeek newsletter, parused it, and low and behold came across this car. Now of course being an AMC geek I took a closer look at the ’64 Classic 770 Cross Country wagon. Since it usually was cash-strapped, AMC knew the could not go head to head with GM, Ford, and Chrysler so they found a segment the Big Three weren’t in. BTW, did you know that in 1962, Rambler was N0. 1 in station wagon sales?

This ’64 was built on the new Classic, which debuted in 1963, and was named the Motor Trend Car of The Year. The new Classic/Ambassador series was the third all-new Rambler and the second of true midsize proportions.  AMC stretched the standard wheelbase from 108 inches to 112 inches, while reducing overall length by almost an inch making for a lower, more modern profile. The wagon accounted for 34 percent of Classic sales. As a point of reference, the Audi A4 rides on a 110 wheelbase while the Cadillac CTS rides on 113 inch wheelbases.

1964 Rambler Classic Cross County Wagon, AMC, AMC station wagons, American Motors, SavageOnWheels.com
’64 ad from my collection

Like a lot of AMC cars it featured lots of innovations such as curved side glass, an industry first for any car outside the luxury class which contributed to a sophisticated look that was supposed to last a decade. “Uniside” construction, which reduced body stampings by 30 percent. Door openings were welded from two stampings rather than 52. All of this reduced the weight as much as 150 pounds for some models. Dual-circuit brakes, soon required on all cars, were carried over from ’62. In my research for this article, besides the ad on the left, I was able to find a radio spot done by Phyllis Diller. She sounds so young.

In the AutoWeek article by John F. Katz on 10/08/2012, he says the example above belongs to Bruce Ritchie, the second owner, “despite 72,000 original miles, seems to have time-warped directly from the Atlantic City showroom where it was sold brand-new. Look past the rocket-age instrument panel, and you see an interior that’s well-appointed and more upmarket in appearance than almost any contemporary midsize car. The seats are flat and soft, and the steering wheel large and close, but those quirks belong as much to the time as to this particular vehicle. The 196-cid, 127-hp overhead-valve six idles in silence and accelerates with a happy thrum. The steering is predictably linear, while the soft all-coil suspension convincingly replicates the ride (and body roll) of a much larger car. But that was precisely the Rambler’s appeal: big-car comfort and style at 23 mpg.” according to Katz.

While this is not a hot collectible, it is affordable. The car’s original list price was $3,233 and examples like this will go for around $7,900. Best of all, parts are available, and all one has to do is join one of the collector clubs, like the American Motors Owners Association, to find out where they are.

promo models, dealer promotional model cars, 1964 Rambler Cross County wagon, American Motors, AMC, SavageOnWheels.compromo models, dealer promotional model cars, 1964 Rambler Cross County wagon, American Motors, AMC, SavageOnWheels.comSo here’s my promo model, a two-tone, white over maroon. I’ve had this car for a very long time as you can see by the dust on it. I’m not sure if it was one my dad brought home when he worked at AMC or I bought it at a swap. I do remember seeing these at swap meets. Examples of good ones like mine go for around $50. I was only able to see one on eBay and the current bid was around $35. I did see a ’63 Classic Sedan with a current bid of $90. I have one of them too. A few years back, my dad and I were at the American Motors Owners Association event in Kenosha, where most of the AMC’s were built, and there were some vendors selling the promo models. I was talking to a couple of guys, one who was into collecting promo models year by year and all the colors they came in while the other was collecting just the wagons which I have. Thinking back now to when I was kid, dad brought some many promo models home, many free while some others he paid 2 bucks for, 2 bucks! Quite a few of those were either burned or blown up in my driveway.