When I was a kid the only minivans were VW vans. They fit the mini category, maybe even invented it.
But these were simple vehicles that like VW’s Beetle captured many of us Boomers’ imaginations. What may have been forgotten, however, is that there were several iterations and in Germany in particular, the pickup version was a popular commercial vehicle. Continue reading Die-cast: Autocult’s Volkswagen T1→
1932 Packard’s beauty shines through in resin model …
You know you’re mature when you remember seeing Packards for sale at the corner used car lots and driving around the neighborhood, and mine was not a ritzy area.
But for those of us who grew up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Packard was still a car make we recognized. Certainly Packard’s reputation had been stellar for years, before it slowly and sadly faded away after being purchased by Studebaker. The last Packards were 1958 models.
Yet in its early years and through the 1930s, Packards were considered more than premium motorcars, they were right up there at the pinnacle. One of its classy coupes was the 1932 902 Standard Eight, a two-seater with rumble seat out back. NEO creates a 1/43 scale resin beauty now in dark red with black roof and fenders. The review model comes from American-Excellence.
For 1932, despite the ongoing Depression, Packard rolled out its Ninth Series of cars, all longer, lower and faster than previous models. The Series 902 Coupe was a sweet one with an improved version of Packard’s Standard Eight engine, a 302 cu.in. L-head straight eight creating 110 horsepower.
A new feature that sounds more like it should be on today’s cars was Ride Control adjustable shocks. The system allowed the car’s hydraulic shocks to be adjusted from inside the car. The cars ran smoother and quieter too as rubber engine mounts were employed along with the driveshaft being rubber mounted and jointed. The car also had a self-lubricating chassis. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1932 Packard 902 Standard Eight Coupe→
Imperial Crown Southampton: When styling still mattered …
As a kid I, like many folks at the time, liked cars with jet-like fins. Plus I’ve always been a sucker for the cool fake spare tire molded into the trunk lid. So Imperials, Chrysler’s luxury brand, were, and are, a favorite.
Few Imperials were more impressive than the 1957 Crown Southampton, a monster of a car, but dripping with style. Its nose with twin dual headlights favored Cadillac styling, but its slightly outward leaning tail fins and aircraft-like pointed taillights set it apart from the more staid luxury models of the day.
BoS-Models now creates a beautiful 1957 Southampton in a stunning bronze paint scheme with a cream-colored roof and enough chrome to blind an army of car show onlookers on a sunny day. This is in 1/18 scale and the body is cast resin.
Imperial became its own brand, like Cadillac for GM and Lincoln for Ford, in 1955. The second generation Imperials debuted in 1957 and had their own distinct platforms, something that lasted until 1966.
These brutes were big and strong, so sturdy in fact that they were banned from most demolition derbies as being too tough to knock out of competition. Much of the reason was the Imperial’s full perimeter frame with box cross sections forming an “X” for strength. Meanwhile most cars were moving to lighter unibody construction.
1948 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan a slick family sedan . . .
Cars that bridged the gap between pre-war America and post-World War II are an interesting lot, often dowdy and pedestrian of styling. Most consider the 1930s and 1950s as primo styling eras.
But Chevrolet’s hot-selling Fleetline series, starting in 1941 is an exception, particularly its sleek streamlined looking Aerosedan, a two-door family car with a fastback design that looks slick still today.
That’s the 1948 Chevrolet that NEO has produced in 1/43 scale, a somewhat sporty full-size car that GM began cranking out for the 1941 model year, just before converting its car plants to war machinery. And for the 1946-48 model years they cranked up the assembly lines again using the satisfying 1941 design.
Look at a four-door Fleetline and you’ll quickly see why the two-door Aerosedan and its smooth curves was such a hit. Blah describes the former, but Chevy knew it had a winner with the Aerosedan. In 1948 it sold 211,861 of the cars vs. just 64,217 of the four-door. Of course the baby boom hadn’t quite caught on just yet either.
The car, which was a sub-series of Chevy’s Fleetmaster, featured a Chevy Blue Flame 216 cu.in., inline six engine that created 90 horsepower. That meant the car was no slouch. It could hit nearly 80 mph. The Fleetline rode on a 115-inch wheelbase, about three inches longer than the current Chevy Impala, and was 197 inches long, about four inches shorter than today’s Impala.
Bottom line, it was nothing fancy, but looked good, with good power and was reliable. If you’re a Chevy guy, it also wasn’t a Ford!
NEO’s resin bodied Aerosedan is beautifully shaped and perfectly reflects the smooth lines of the sedan, plus hood, trunk and door seams are all stellar. This tiny Chevy also includes all the chrome trim as seen on the original.
That includes three thin chrome styling strips flaring back from the front wheel well and along the rear fender to the taillights. Bumpers are chrome too and include dual raised guards front and rear. There’s a chrome Chevy hood ornament along with all window trim, including vents and the flat split windshield. Door handles, gas filler cap, headlight bezels, wipers, trunk release and grille are chrome.
I like the fine detail of the photo-etched Fleetline logos along the hood’s sides, the script name on the trunk and winged Chevy logo on the nose. Head and taillights are fine too and there’s a yellow Ohio license plate front and rear. Broad whitewall tires treaded tires with large chrome hubcaps put the car on the road. Those caps are the fancy Chevy models with painted red swooshes (sorry Nike, Chevy beat you) and Chevrolet in blue too. Cool!
Inside is a reddish brown dash and door trim that really sets off the gray bench seats in the interior. The dash top doesn’t look as metallic as it might, but the color is nicely mated to the car and the dash face looks authentic, including a giant clock in the glove box door. This was a wind-up clock that would run for a week on one full wind. The speedometer is similarly large and visible, of course the side windows are all up, which does slightly limit your taking a peek inside.
NEO creates a fine two-spoke cream steering wheel with horn ring, and the steering column and hub match that reddish brown dash color. Sharp!
A cool addition to the model would be a green translucent sun visor like so many of these have worn over the years to keep the sun from reflecting from what was a metal dash. Maybe on a future model!
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 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.
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→
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→
Growing up in Indiana I learned that Duesenbergs were fast and beautiful, and there wasn’t much more to learn.
That was, until I found out there were many varieties due to various coachbuilders creating the bodywork on the 1920s and 30s models. Now Automodello goes and creates one of the all-time most beautiful Duesys ever, the J with Murphy-bodied Torpedo styling. This one is in 1:43 scale, which makes it all that more remarkable for its exterior detail.
The first Model J was unveiled at the 1928 New York Auto Show, just a year before the Great Depression. That alone tells you what the likelihood of success was for the model. Duesenberg, run by two brothers in Indianapolis, had gained worldwide acclaim for mechanical excellence by winning the Indianapolis 500 several times and the 1921 French Grand Prix. Duesenberg was the first American car to win a GP, the second being Dan Gurney’s Eagle in 1967. They are still the only two.
But E.L. Cord bought Duesenberg in 1926 and demanded large luxury cars that he could sell to the nation’s elite, folks like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and James Cagney. Fred Duesenberg responded with exquisite cars with ladder frames and six cross members to restrict vibration, plus an automatically lubricating chassis. Its heart was a 32-valve, double overhead cam, 6.9-liter straight-eight engine creating 265 horsepower and a world-beating 120 mph top speed. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello 1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Torpedo→
Few cars are as radically styled as Norman E. Timbs’ Streamliner.
The Streamliner is a teardrop-shaped car that looks like an amoeba that should be wriggling on a slide under a microscope, except it’s a car. You’ve probably seen it and didn’t know what it was.
Now Automodello creates the swoopy 1948 Streamliner in 1:43 scale resin, and bathed in one of two colors. The original, in maroon metallic, has shown up at fancy car shows and in national car magazines. In fact, the original first appeared in the second issue of Motor Trend. How so?
Unless you’re of the age where the name Marcos reminds you of a former Philippine strong man/president, you may be a bit puzzled by the Marcos automobile name.
But in the 1960s Marcos was a racer, one that looked somewhat Italian, but with a long nose more shaped like that of the famous Jaguar E-Type.
Certainly Automodello knows Marcos, and loves its cars’ looks. So the Illinois-based model maker has added a 1:43 lineup of 1964 Marcos sports coupes to its offerings of some of the most unusual classic cars available to us collectors. Like its other cars, these are cast in resin with photo-etched bright work.
Just out are red and royal blue models of the 1964 Marcos 1800 two-seater, both in limited quantities. In fact, Automodello is making only 499 of the red Marcos and just 64 of the Tribute Edition royal blue model. Its Tribute Editions are always exceedingly rare in quantity and these are hand-signed by Jem Marsh, who recently died.
Jem Marsh and Frank Costin (MarCos, get it?) teamed up in 1959 to build lightweight sports cars with wooden monocoque frames. Cost was low and performance high as they dropped Volvo P1800 4-cylinder engines into their 1964 Marcos 1800 that featured a fiberglass-reinforced plastic body.
Early models weren’t as sleek and exciting looking as the 1800, but by 1964 the duo had ironed out the bugs, including styling that made the 1800 stand out among sports coupes of the era. These had 4-speed gearboxes with MGB-sourced overdrive units and Triumph-sourced hood latches to allow the car’s front section to flip forward providing access to the engine compartment.
With 114 horsepower, an aerodynamic body and overall light weight, the Marcos would do 0-60 mph in about 9 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph. The cars also handled extremely well with tightly sprung suspensions, making it a favorite among racers, especially in England where they were built. The car company was successful through the early 1970s but after building a modern factory hit on a tough times, went out of business and then reformed. Ultimately Marcos ceased car production in 2007.
Automodello’s review models were both crisply executed with glossy paint jobs and fine detail that make these stand out from many 1:43 brands. For instance, the red model is left-hand drive with the photo-etched chrome windshield wipers posed to sweep right to left. The blue Tribute model is right-hand drive with the wipers posed the opposite way.
In addition the Tribute model features classy wire-spoke wheels as opposed to solid wheels on the red model.
In any case, detailing is strong with photo-etch chrome trim around all windows, the big lens-covered dual headlights, front and rear bumpers, a gas cap atop the trunk and latch below the Marcos nameplate on the trunk’s rear lip. Door handles are scoops in the doors’ edges and there’s a highlighted key hole on each door and Marcos logo on the hood.
The small running lights below the split front bumper (again, very much like the Jag E-Type) almost look to glow and the trio of taillights are well executed too.
Interiors are tan in the red model and black in the blue car, with the tan being more interesting because you can see more detail on the lighter color. The review model has a black 3-spoke wheel, shifter and dash face and you can see the instrumentation on that model. You also can see the silver door releases and assist handles in both models’ interiors.
You’ll notice there are no mirrors on either model. That’s not a mistake, it’s because mirrors were optional on the original cars.
Tires are treaded, but with no branding, and the single exhausts are black and well detailed. Both cars are mounted on black bases with the car’s name printed mid-base and the acrylic tops fit snugly and are cleanly molded. The red model reflects the car displayed in the 1964 Racing Car Show display and the blue model represents a model shown in 1964 sales brochures.
A black model with tan interior is planned too as an Homage Edition, with only 24 to be made. Talk about rare!
While I prefer post-war cars, probably something to do with my age, I appreciate fine car design from earlier eras, such as the 1930s.
Automodello’s fine 1:43 resin models seem to know no styling limits and certainly bridge a variety of decades. So there’s no surprise that Automodello now turns its attention to the stylish 1938 Packard Twelve, the review model being a convertible Victoria, with removable tan top over an ivory white body. I’d consider the body a creamy light yellow, but one man’s ivory is another’s yellow.