By Harvey Goranson
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Please click on the photos for larger images.
VDM Models has released a resin replica of the 1918 Cadillac Type 57 touring car in a limited edition of just 25 examples. The model is the work of Volodymyr Sorokolat of Kyiv, Ukraine. This is the first model he has offered that is under his own moniker (Volodymyr = VDM) and independent of EMC (Eastern Models Collection). Collectors who have dealt with him know him as Vlad.
Like many of us, Vlad collected model cars back in his youth. He studied the history of Cadillac and became an admirer of Henry Leland, Cadillac’s founder. His collecting interests then became focused on Cadillac. He began working with EMC to produce various Cadillac models, including roadster and tonneau versions of the 1903 Cadillac Model A, the 1937 Cadillacs V-16 roadster by Hartmann in three versions, and the 1961 Cadillacs ‘Jacqueline’ coupe by Pininfarina. At the suggestion of an American collector, he converted a small batch (20) of the 1903 Cadillac models with the tonneau body to create the 1904 Cadillac delivery van, with help from EMC. This gave him the experience to tackle an entire model on his own.
So why the 1918 Cadillac in 1:43 scale? Between the EMC 1903/1904 Cadillac Model A replicas and the recently introduced Esval 1928 Cadillac Model 341A, I can only think of two toys that have been made. These are the sub-1:43 Matchbox Yesteryear 1913 Model 30 and a 1:32 Type 57 by Signature. A big gap for the fans of Henry Leland. According to Jay Leno, the V-8-engined Type 57 was the car that really set Cadillac’s course as a mass-produced luxury brand; hence its importance. (Note that Cadillac’s low 1:43 representation in the years 1900-1930 is not unique – there are very few replicas of American cars from this period that were made).
So, Vlad set about to make his own replica in resin. And in this internet age he let us all in on the process. About a year ago, on both the Forum43 website and on Facebook, he began showing us what was involved in making a detailed model from scratch. Through photos and videos we got to see him start with a block of wood to set out the basic body contours, the formation of the seats, steering wheel, windshield frame, headlights, and so on. Use was made of 3D-design on the computer, with 3D printing to develop the wheel castings. There was even a treatise on the history of the motometer that sits atop the radiator shell. These parts formed the castings for the limited run of 25. For those who want to relive the process, it’s on his Scale Cadillac Facebook page.
My model (No. 7 of the 25) arrived damage-free thanks to Vlad’s careful packing. Now that it’s here, how does it stack up? First impressions are that the overall shape and colors are great, very period-correct. The dull blue and black fenders are typical, and the flat gray reflects the canvas material the top would have been made of quite well. There is very little chrome, as to be expected for cars made for a conservative clientele towards the end of World War I and prior to the excesses of the Roaring Twenties. The blackwall tires are again appropriate.
Speaking of which, the tires are a work of art – get your magnifying glass out to read “B. F. Goodrich Silvertown Cord” and other details on the sidewall. The wheels have 10 spokes front, 12 at the rear – the 3½-minute video of their 3D execution on the Scale Cadillac Facebook page is well worth watching. Twin spares are attached to the rear of the car, a typical arrangement considering the state of the roads of the day. The snaps for the top have been picked out in silver, and delicate parts have been attached to represent the stays used when the top is folded. A blank license is provided within the spares – a period license would have been a nice touch but would have entailed creation of decals.
The interior has been well replicated, including meticulous attention to the dash gauges. Photoetch has been used for the steering wheel-mounted spark advance and throttle controls and handbrake lever. Other details include the gear lever, pedals, the steering column connection to the dash, all four door levers, a grab bar behind the front seats, and (where you almost cannot see it) a foot rail for the rear seat passengers.
Separate pieces were made for the step-plates on the running boards and the small auxiliary lights at the cowl. The windshield (another piece Vlad showed us the story of its formation) has “glass” that has been scored to represent the split panes. On the real car they can be rotated outward for ventilation. Photoetch was used for the hood handle and latches. At the front, a scale-correct Cadillac badge is on the radiator, above which sits a replica motometer to allow the driver to check coolant temperature. The headlights have been accurately shaped and provided with lenses – they are nickel-plated with a soldered copper wire between them, with part of the assembly painted black.
I have not taken the model off its base but there is a nice level of chassis detail. The wheelbase of the Cadillac Type 57 tourer was 125 inches, a scale 2.91 inches. My measurement shows 2.875 inches, so a little underscale but not a serious issue.
An excellent replica and a must-have for Cadillac fans! Contact Vlad at email@example.com if you are interested in any remaining stock.