By Maz Woolley
All photographs taken by, and copyright of the Author.
Regular readers may remember my criticisms of the last release of 1:87 scale American subjects by Oxford Diecast. It wasn’t that they were bad models it was just that some details were not finished correctly and the models could have been much better. If you wish to refresh your memory of the shortcomings click here.
This time round I am happy to say that the latest release of new castings are impressive and very good value for money here in the UK. There are a few minor details that could be better but overall these are as close to excellent as I would expect for the price point. All the models in this release are licensed by General Motors.
87CI61001 Chevrolet Impala 1961 Convertible.
The third generation of the Chevrolet Impala was considerably less flamboyant than the previous generations. US cars were going through a period of transformation as the fins retreated and squarer body styling gradually asserted itself.
The 1961 Impala was based upon the GM B platform and could be bought with a 3.8 Litre Straight six or a range of V8s from 4.6 Litres to 6.7 Litres.
The Oxford model is excellent with really fine printing of badging and number plates. The wheels capture the real ones excellently with the correct narrower whitewalls and the elaborate wheel covers. Inside the chromed dashboard has been moulded and picked out.
The rear lights have been cast in well and are neatly picked out. In the photographs you can see that even the button to open the boot has been printed on.
All these models have the chassis moulded in some detail for their size.
The windscreen is a single part plastic moulding and it may be possible that Oxford intend to model the very rare two door saloon or a coupe as it would just need a different plastic top and interior tub.
87CSD61001 Cadillac Sedan DeVille 1961
This is based on the second generation of the DeVille. Cadillac restyled and re-engineered the model for 1961. Gone was the wrap around windscreen and the fins were had shrunk. Even the suspension was no longer by air. All Cadillac DeVille’s had lots of accessories fitted as standard with power brakes, steering, automatic transmission all coming with every car.
The roof of this car is again moulded in plastic allowing for much thinner chrome printing than is usually seen on small Oxford Models. And of course it allows for flush windows which look the part. Again fine badges and chrome tampo printing is visible especially when magnified. The small chrome strip with a slight rise to the front on each front wing is modelled and printed. The grille is black washed as was the Chevrolet’s which certainly highlights the fine mouldings.
Wheels are neatly represented with a correct thin white wall and the elaborate wheel covers too. The rear of the vehicle is nicely modelled though the centre section is a bit less crisp than it could be and the printed chrome may extend too high as well. The fins lack the chrome on their end section and on one side mine has a minor casting fault on the inner part of the fin. Not perfect but at this scale it is not immediately obvious either.
87PB59001 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe 1959
This was third generation of the Bonneville which was Pontiac‘s costliest and most luxurious model throughout the 1960s. The distinctive front end was based on a 1930s design feature and stayed in use throughout the 1960s.
The Bonneville differed from the models lower down in the range like the Catalina and Star Chief counterparts. It had luxurious interior trim with upgraded cloth and vinyl, as well as walnut veneer trim on instrument and door panels. Hydra-Matic gearboxes were standard on the 1961 car but power steering and brakes, and air conditioning were all additional cost options. The Bonneville also had more powerful standard V8 engines than other full-sized Pontiacs including the 6.4 litre and 6.6 litre V8s with four-barrel carburetors.
The Oxford model is lovely. The plastic roof with its excellent tampo printing gives he huge windows a really excellent finish. Looking in detail a lot of tiny badging can be seen on the rear wing and at the rear of the front wing. Chrome side features are delicately printed too especially notable are the four chrome features on the rear wing. The front wing top chrome with its spear like front edge is also well modelled.
At the rear the delicate modelling of the rear lights and panel are a tribute to the modeller who made the master. And impressively even the boot release button has been printed on the rear panel.
At the front the Pontiac “nose” is beautifully modelled though it would have been nice if Oxford had managed to model the grille or even just print it on. But again this is not a major issue.
As the roof is plastic it is possible that we will see this car as a convertible at a later date .
87OR50001 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950
The Rocket 88 was featured in a record by Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner in 1951 which was one of the first Rock and Roll records. The Oldsmobile 88 was one of the cars that set the style in the early 1950s and was noted for its track performances making it a fashionable car for a type of motorist who would not have bought Oldsmobiles before. Indeed some suggest that with a small and relatively light body and big powerful V8 it was the first “muscle car“. The 1950 model featured a single piece screen for the first time and a Hydra-Matic automatic came as standard unless it was deleted when ordering. The 88 famously won the 1950 Carrera Panamerica.
The Oxford model is all metal. The glass fitting was so flush I couldn’t believe that the roof was not plastic and I took the model apart to check. The car is fitted with plastic windows that push into the window openings to flush fit, a technique I wish they would introduce for all their new 1:76 models. The front grille again gets a black wash
The tampo printing is excellent with tiny badging and lettering evident when looking at enlarged pictures. It is a shame that the moulded in bonnet mascot has not been printed too. The wheels and tyres are good with the wider early 50s style white walls and neat chromed wheels finishers and hub caps.
At the rear the Oldsmobile badge and lettering, Rocket 88 symbol , and printed chrome are all well done with simple but effective painted on rear lights. The painted cream roof seems to have rather thick paint which fills the fine shut lines round the upper parts of the doors though later colours for the model may not have the same issue.
So Oxford continues to delight me with some releases and frustrate me with others. These four new 1:87 scale models may have some flaws but they are well made and finished like the recent 1:76 scale Rolls Royces and I am sure that they will be popular items.
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