1957 Eldorado Brougham Diecast Model

  • Our Price: $155.00
  • Out of Production
Franklin Mint 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham -  Nbr Ltd Ed  of 2500 diecast car
Customer Rating: 6 stars
  • Year: 1957
  • Brand: Franklin Mint
  • Make: Cadillac
  • Code: D028
  • Model: Eldorado Brougham - Nbr Ltd Ed of 2500
  • Scale: 1:24
  • Color: Bahama Blue

For those who think the “dream cars” that General Motors trotted out during its car shows were just window dressing, consider this. GM announced the Eldorado Brougham in December 1956 and released it around March of 1957. It was a hand-built, limited-edition, four-door hardtop sedan. Its lineage harked back to the Park Avenue and Orleans show cars of 1953-1954. Design engineer Ed Glowacke made the Brougham America's first car with completely pillarless, four-door body styling. With both doors open, there was nothing supporting the roof, or stiffening the body, from the leading edge of the front doors to the trailing edge of the rear doors. To accentuate this, “suicide” type hanging was used for the rear doors. When all four doors were opened, the interior looked like a breezeway! This sort of openness put rigid X-frame and roof structures to the test. In addition to this innovation, the Brougham was chock full of advanced, luxury features.

All the windows were electrically controlled—right down to the venti-panes (those little, adjustable, vent windows we don’t see any more). A unique, brushed stainless-steel roof; the first appearance of quad headlights; wide, ribbed, lower rear quarter “beauty panels,” extending along the rocker sills; and sculptured side body coves, highlighted with five horizontal windsplits on the rear doors, were among the Brougham’s distinguishing features. Tail styling treatments followed the Eldorado theme and standard equipment included a list of accessories as long as your arm. They included: dual four-barrel V-8; air-suspension; low-profile tires with thin whitewalls (quite a departure for the era); automatic trunk lid opener; automatic, “memory” seat; Cruise Control; high-pressure cooling system; polarized sun visors; Signal-Seeking, twin speaker radio, with electric antenna; automatic-release parking brake; electric door locks; dual heating system; stainless steel (with a silver finish) magnetized glove box drink tumblers; cigarette and tissue dispensers; lipstick (cologne was mentioned in the dealer Data Book, but was not actually offered), and compact with powder puff, comb, and mirror; leather notebook; STEP atomizer with 1 oz. bottle of “Arpege” perfume extract made by Lanvin, Paris; automatic starter (with re-start function); Autronic-Eye; drum-type electric clock; power windows; forged aluminum wheels; and air-conditioning—features that would only become common on cars many years later (I told you it was a long list!). For the princely sum of $13,074 (keep in mind that this was in 1957 dollars), buyers of Broughams got just over eighteen feet of vehicle that weighed a hefty 5,315 pounds. A choice of 44 full-leather interior trim combinations, and items like Mouton (French for lambskin) and Karakul carpeting, were also available.

The 1957 Eldorado Brougham was designed to compete with the Lincoln-Continental Mark II. The ball-joint suspension was a new technical feature adopted this year. Ironically, the new dual quad headlamps were illegal in some states during 1957. The air-suspension system also proved unreliable and Cadillac later released a kit to convert cars to rear coil-spring-type suspensions, making Broughams with the feature rarer and more valuable today. The Brougham is now a certified Milestone Car.

I had wanted to obtain a 1:24 scale image of this milestone car (originally in black), but FM had discontinued it in 1997 and it was rather pricey on the after-market. So, I waited…and waited. FM finally released it this year as a limited edition in a different color. The downside of this is the fact that it’s essentially a repaint of older model technology. So, don’t look for the things we’ve grown accustomed to these days. Heck, even the engine’s not wired. But, that’s not to say there are no features. Just move back in time a bit and imagine you’re a collector in 1996. A first look shows you a visually appealing image of a ‘50s icon. It’s stance, ride height, size, and plump body-lines all speak of the decade which spawned it. The metallic, Bahama Blue color looks great, a nice counterpoint to the simulated, brushed-stainless steel roof. The exterior is loaded with chrome, from the massive bumpers, with Dagmar-style bumper extensions fore and aft, to the extensive side chrome accents. The top-mounted, front fender air grills look a bit tacky though. Also, the door gaps are a bit wide and especially noticeable in the chromed areas. With all the exterior chrome, it’s a shame the front, rear and side emblems are merely tampoed on. I’m also not too keen on the wipers being molded into the windshield surround.

The interior looks good, with its soft-plastic seats and front and rear armrests (non-functional) and plush carpeting. The dash details are good, as are the rest of the interior details. It appears that the door inserts are painted-over chrome, however, which doesn’t bode well for longevity, since the paint will tend to peel over time. I've seen this happen on the ’49 Caddy LE. Under the hood, despite the absence of wiring, there’s still a lot of detailing—showing the air-conditioner compressor, power steering pump, and air-suspension compressor. The undercarriage detailing is definitely up to par, right down to the flex exhaust pipes up front, which are done in soft plastic. Note the grille exits in the rear bumper for the exhaust—an interesting accommodation to deal with soot buildup. When you look in the trunk, you’re in for a real treat. The whole thing’s lined with a soft material—even the lid. You’ll find the LE plate in there too. So, is this LE worth it? Even at the $120 price of the original issue, because of the older state of the modeler’s art, it’s a stretch. But, at the $155 price of this LE, I think FM’s asking too much. They didn’t offer any updates to the features, such as suspensions or updated interior and under-the-hood features, to sweeten the deal. DM has done this a number of times when using an older die for a new issue—why not FM? It seems to me they’re locked into a succession of repaints, with very little of the budget going to new issues like the Corvette C6. I can’t recommend you go out and buy it, since it’s a subjective thing, but it’s nevertheless a sharp looking image of a unique car from our automotive history. You make the call. The issue price is $155.

The Fifties, automotive-wise, have been described as the decade of excess—when cars grew to gargantuan proportions, and were larded with chrome and various, gee-whiz gewgaws. But that attitude obscures the engineering and technical innovation that created some striking examples of automotive excellence. In my view, all the flash represented an optimistic decade for America. After the strife and deprivations of WW II, Americans looked to a brighter future—and their cars reflected that optimism.

-Tom Pine

  • Our Price: $155.00
  • Out of Production

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