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A Decade of Change – 4

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Early Cadillac V16 models were the envy of the auto industry. These were the most elaborate cars in America during the early part of the decade—until Duesenberg stole the world stage

On the upper end for diecast Ford fans are Franklin Mint’s ‘30 Tudor, ‘32 3-Window coupe and ‘36 Cabriolet. Each is highly detailed with superb fit and finishes. Prices for these Franklin Mint items run from $110 to $130.
The larger and more ornate the car, the more endearing it becomes. This applies in the full-size and diecast automotive worlds. Two of the hobby’s premium giants—Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint—offer an array of the 1930’s most prestigious motoring icons: Duesenberg, Cord, Packard and Lincoln. Some notable Duesenberg selections are Franklin’s ‘33, ’35 J, and ‘39 Simone Coupe. Danbury has a luscious ‘35 Sportster. All are 1:24 scale and lack any disappointments. Franklin also makes the ‘37 Cord and ‘41 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. Danbury lists a fabulous ‘34 Packard V-12 LeBaron Speedster.


Ford’s 1932 models are legendary examples of the 1930’s. This “Deuce Coupe” diecast from Franklin Mint is a must-have for anyone with an affinity for the classic car era.

Although not as common—but equally historic and desirable—is a selection of diecast European classics. Among the most notable are Maisto’s Mercedes-Benz 500K, Ansen’s ‘32 Maybach DS8 and Ricko’s ‘35 Horch 851. Each of these 1:18-scale cars are listed at $50 or less. Franklin also makes a superb 1:24-scale Mercedes-Benz 500K as well as a ‘36 Bugatti 57SC; they cost about $120 each. CMC offers a highly detailed version of the ‘36 Mercedes-Benz 540K as well as a ‘37 Horch 853.
As unlikely as the 1930s were to be the Gilded Age of the automobile, it was the product of the world’s economic climate. The mass-produced cars from Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth and Dodge experienced styling and engineering changes to fit the average consumer. For the few that held most of the world’s wealth and fame, the status of owning a vehicle that cost more than the gross national product of some nations was looked upon with admiration rather than contempt. So rare and wonderful are these gilded examples of motorized transportation that one can only see a surviving example at special events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or televised auctions such as Barrett-Jackson. Some automotive museums occasional display million-dollar cars such as those from Duesenberg, Cord, Delahaye and Hispano-Suiza; however, in diecast, anyone can have a gilded collection that even Jay Leno would envy.


American classics don’t come any more impressive than this 1933 Cadillac V16 sedan. It boosted the longest wheelbase of any General Motors car of its time and could still reach a top speed of 90mph.

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:27 AM

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