Our favourite vintage Dinky models...

08 April 2022
In which we start by looking at the Cadillac Eldorado

Most of the American cars that we saw in the 1950s were more than likely seen in films or books, and many of these cars had miles of chrome and bodies with fins, inspired by jet aircraft of the day. Certainly, they were different to the cars we saw everyday, apart from the odd Ford V8 Pilot, but that was a car from a different era. Dinky Toys produced a number of American cars pre-war in the 39 series, so it was logical to continue with American cars in the 1950s and, of course, it had to consider the export market that was so important at the time.

The post-war Dinky Toys American cars started with the Ford Forder Sedan (No 139a/170) in 1949, the Hudson Commodore Sedan (No 139b/171) in 1950 and the Packard Convertible (No 132) in 1955. These were then followed by the Cadillac Eldorado Tourer (No 131) in June 1956. The colour advert on the back page of the Meccano Magazine that month shows a salmon pink car with grey seats. The advert also states it is “a splendid model of one America’s fastest and most famous roadsters. Well-detailed with driver”.

In the Dinky News, the Toyman says “Judging from my correspondence, there is an unlimited demand for models of the large and stylish American cars, and now a further addition is being made to the range”.  He continues saying “The Dinky Toys Cadillac Tourer, No 131 is a really attractive miniature of this distinctive car. It is beautifully proportioned, with plenty of detail, and is fitted with a miniature driver and a transparent windscreen”. The other colour available was one in yellow with red seats and both the cars have stone-coloured wheels, with the later cars having treaded tyres. The bumpers and radiator grilles are finished in aluminium as stated in the Dinky News.

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In the early 1960s, spun wheels were fitted alongside many other Dinky Toys of the period. These wheels added a new style to the model and the chrome wheels, together with all the silver painted chromework of the Dinky Toys Cadillac, did give it a more ‘American’ appearance. The models came in the yellow, illustrated card end flap boxes and the later plain red and yellow versions, with models being deleted in 1963.

The Cadillac company was founded in 1904, with the name coming from the founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who had founded Ville D’etroit in 1701 – hence the city of Detroit. The real Cadillac Eldorado, modelled by Dinky Toys, was introduced in 1954, and was produced in a lower number of 1,250 as against other Cadillacs at the time. It had a V8 engine, producing a top speed of 115mph, hydra-matic transmission, power steering and drum brakes. The body had a chrome line along the side and dummy air scoops on each side of the rear body panels behind the doors. The interior was leather-lined and there were chrome, spoked wheels and white wall tyres.