Model Review: Danbury Mint 1954 Cadillac Coupe de Ville LE

Reviewed and Photographed by Peter Brown

The Coupe deVille, or as our friend Jay would call it the "CDV," follow-up to the recent (and spectacular) Apollo gold Eldorado convertible, is equally at home at the country club. Though it may not have the dashing "look at me" attitude of its ritzy relative, in its own quiet, dignified way, it says "I have arrived." Unlike the Eldo, the coupe is a limited edition of 5,000 pieces. This is one sweet model, guys, so stay tuned...

One of the first things you'll notice as you take this one oh-so-gently out of its box, is the lustrous paint in Gander Gray metallic. The metal flake is so finely scaled, you'll wonder how it's even possible to achieve.

Just look at the patterns on those head and fog light lenses, and the beautiful chromework of the grille and front bumper, and take note of the Cadillac jewelry out front, with the hood ornament, trademark "V" chevron, and a highly detailed crest, all crafted as separate pieces, not decals or tampos. And while you're at it, take a gander (couldn't resist) at those beautifully executed wire wheels, optional equipment on the '54 CDV, but better suited to the sportier Eldorado in my opinion. The standard wheel covers would have made a nice change for this version.

The stance, all too critical in a model's realism, is perfect. The photo etch and chrome trim on this model (and there's a lot of the latter) are all applied flawlessly, and the scripts appear to be sealed.

I'm glad they left off the front license plate so you can appreciate the natural shape and flow of the car's nose. While the Eldorado carries a "1954" plate up front, the CDV displays its model year on the rear plate.

Note the finely crafted wipers, the chrome and rubber fittings at the base of the movable antenna, and the minute details you can only see under this kind of magnification: The fine mesh grillwork of the cowl, just beneath the windshield frame with its molded-in joinery (more on this later), the delicate and perfectly replicated vent window, and the side view mirror.

Doors open and shut with a click on high-tech, realistic hinges, and are nicely aligned with tight panel fit inside and out. Speaking of the inside, get a load of this period-perfect fifties interior done in shades of gray. Seat bolsters are medium gray faux leather, while ribbed, patterned cloth is used for the inset panels. Front seats tilt forward, and are trimmed out with chrome, with grab-handles in the rear for the back seat passengers. Those in the back can also enjoy the operating fold-down center armrest.

Of course you can't help but notice the legible Coupe deVille script below the aft-most corner of each rear side window, beautifully done in gold. The rear window's chrome trim joinery is evident at each side of the window and roof, and along the base. On the real car, these "bumps" in the chrome were designed to cover gaps where separate pieces butted together—something not many would have noticed if they had been omitted from the model.

Here again the folks at DM have gone the extra mile and replicated these tiny details. If I had one criticism, it might be that these were a wee bit too overscale for my eye. But then I'm a perfectionist, and if there's one thing you can't expect from a hand-assembled model, it's perfection. At this price point, I think it's utterly remarkable that they can turn out models of this caliber. Manny, Moe, and all the diecast guys at DM are to be congratulated.

Under the hood you'll find an amazing replication of the Cadillac-blue engine block, complete with all the wiring and plumbing, not to mention the tiny labels you'd need a magnifying glass to read. The hood itself opens wide on realistic scissor-type hinges so you get a good view of this remarkably detailed engine bay.

What a sleek silhouette. Nearly seamless, the hood, trunk, and doors fit flush with minimal gapping. The skirts are not removable (not that anyone would take them off this car), but they appear quite functional.

It's the little things that help this model achieve such a high level of realism—like the visible tailpipes nestled inside the inset chrome rings in the rear bumper openings, the separate crest, chevron, and trunk lock cover, and the opening gas filler door which is the upper (red) portion of the left taillight lens housing. This feature is shared with DM's 54 Eldorado, as seen in the photo immediately below. Even in the close-up of the Coupe deVille below that, you can't tell which one opens and which one is fixed—that's how good they are.

Check out those bumper override guards. If they aren't separate pieces, they sure look like it. They've even simulated the license plate lights built into them, complete with screw heads just like the real car. This is Danbury at its best.

The driver's compartment hasn't been neglected either. Working steering, legible gauges (with a magnifier), and even a vinyl floor mat inset into the realistic carpeting beneath the driver's feet. The parking brake is engaged, so be sure to release that before you drive off. In photographs, where the model's scale is not evident, it almost looks as though you could get in and drive it.

In this close-up you can make out the temperature gauge to the left of the steering column, and the Cadillac crest set into the chrome seat bottom trim. Stainless steel doorsills are evident, as are many finely-wrought dashboard details including the ashtray with the Cadillac script above it, the radio, clock, and glove box, etc. You can just see the chrome corner of what looks like an air conditioner (a rarity back in 1954) mounted beneath the center of the dash, but it's actually a tissue dispenser from what I've been told. A/C became optional on Cadillacs in 1953 in all but convertible models, but it was a trunk-mounted affair with clear tubes running up from the parcel shelf into the roof.

But wait, there are still more goodies to talk about. Check out the correctly patterned trunk liner, and the jack and removable spare tire. Under the lid, the back deck is lined and is complete with the jacking instruction label. The hinges are nicely scaled as well.

Well, that sums up our impressions of the Danbury Mint 1954 Coupe deVille LE. Could you tell that we liked it? If you're a Cadillac fan like I am, this is a must-have model for your 1:24 collection. The beautiful, sweeping roofline and the understated elegance of the metallic gray paint, make for a nice pairing with the gorgeous '54 Eldorado (see photo page). The Coupe deVille edition is limited to 5,000 pieces; so if you're keen on this one, don't delay. You can find a link to the Danbury Mint's diecast website on our Diecast Links page, but then you already have the DM site bookmarked, don't you?