WCPD 1959 Chevrolet El Camino & Biscayne Sedan Delivery
Reviewed by Peter Brown
I don't generally get too excited about trucks or commercial vehicles, but these are somewhere between those types of vehicles and passenger cars. Like today's crossover vehicles, they represented a new breed back then, blending the utility of a truck with the looks, ride and handling of a car. Here we have two recently introduced limited edition colors to add to the West Coast lineup for 1959—the El Camino in Jet Black, and the Biscayne Sedan Delivery in Ermine white.
Let me just take a moment before we dig in, to say that if you haven't yet held one of these WCPD models in your own two hands, then you don't really know what PD stands for. Precision Diecast is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and we know that there are a plethora of lesser models out there unworthy of that description, but Brian has brought us brilliant diecast creations that have achieved and surpassed that standard time and time again since WC's humble beginnings not long ago. My reviews are very critical—that's what I do—but I try to remain constructive, always prodding the mints to do a bit better. As you read my observations, good and bad, I hope it comes through how terrific I think these models are in their overall presentation.
Both the El Camino and the Sedan Delivery share a common ancestor in the WCPD '59 Impala, a model we've all come to know and love. It was the company's very first coupe and convertible model, and available in a choice of colors. That was a welcome innovation for many collectors, and some people have since taken to buying multiples. From those original toolings, they have since created these two interesting variations, and while there have been plans for a 4-door flattop and wagon for some time now, insufficient interest (as gauged solely by pre-orders) has kept them from becoming a reality thus far. I hope that situation changes, because those are two models I would definitely want to add to my collection.
West Coast has done an admirable job of replicating the different exterior and interior pieces that are unique to each of these body styles, though some parts are shared between the two, such as the interior from the front seat forward, and everything under the hood. The quality and attention to detail on these models is as good as the first '59's from WCPD, and in some ways even better. The bodies almost look like they were stamped out of sheet metal instead of cast. The side window frames, different from one model to the other, are beautifully formed and align perfectly when closed. Just look at that engine compartment detail—not just scissor hinges with real springs, but hoses and labels and belts (oh my)! Why, they've replicated this baby right down to the battery wire clamp!
WC even made sure the license plate flipped upward like the 1:1, not to access the fuel filler (that's behind a working door on the left rear fender), but to allow it to be visible with the tailgate down. While chatting with Brian I asked him why this feature was included on the Sedan Delivery, since its gate lifts up, and he told me that's the way GM built them, apparently another economy measure to share as much as possible from the Chevy parts bin.
Another area in which these two models really excel, is their accessories. Each comes shod with white wall tires mounted on body-colored rims, and attached with small Philips head screws. A set of full wheel covers with small magnets on the reverse is included for that dressy look, or if you want something a bit more casual you can opt for the smaller "dog-dish" wheel covers, a set of which is also included. Want more options? How about a second set of rims mounted with black wall tires? Yep, they're included too, along with a set of four extra attaching screws (nice touch), and a small model tool that is very helpful in removing the wheel covers.
Both models have perfect paint finishes, and on a black car like the El Camino that's particularly impressive. Likewise, the chrome is flawlessly executed and applied throughout, and these '59's were heavily laden with chrome. Fit and finish are up to the usual excellent WCPD standards, except for two items on the Biscayne. The emblem on the hood is noticeably askew, and the rear hatch is slightly twisted on its hinges. The former can be remedied easily enough, but the latter may require some force—not a repair for the faint of heart or ham-fisted among us. Hopefully this was just a bad example, though I know of one other white sedan delivery with the same two assembly issues. As a result, the hatch doesn't close completely on one side, but this is not so bad as it sounds, and the photos where it can be seen tend to exaggerate the problem.
One last nit is that the wheelbase is a tad short on these models. According to Brian, they should have been 2 scale inches longer than the coupe and convertible chassis that were used as the basis for these models. The result is that the rear wheels look ever so slightly moved forward in their wheel wells. This is only noticeable from certain angles, and even then only if you really stare at it. Had this not been pointed out to me I would likely not have noticed. In-fact, you may recall DM producing an LE coupe version of their 1960 Impala for which they reused too much of the convertible tooling, resulting in an elongated roof and shortened rear deck. My point is that this sort of economy measure takes place even among the best of manufacturers, and it is the collector's call as to whether they mind a bit of fudging on the accuracy of their models.
Back to their strong suits, you'll note the perfect stance on both models. The rear ends are slightly raised since they had stiffer rear suspensions designed to handle cargo loads, and it looks to me like WC about nailed that "empty" ride height. Also noteworthy are the beautifully executed interiors on these models. Readable gauges, opening glove box (I think I left the one on the El Camino open a crack), and realistic seat patterning and materials make for a very convincing reproduction. Need I mention the perfect door and hood hinges, the folding seatbacks, the flocked carpeting, the perfectly scaled, jewel-like door handles, window cracks and mirrors? Even the interior aft of the front seats gets a healthy dose of realism, as seen in the cargo bed of the El Camino, and through the Sedan Delivery's hatch. Virtually no visible areas have been left unfinished.
I've really become spoiled by today's tech, and have come to expect near-perfection. So, if I seem a bit critical it's because I am, but also because WCPD has set such a high standard for themselves with their previous offerings. The El Camino fully lives up to that reputation. If it had a red interior instead of silver I probably would have bought it—no, I definitely would have. As for the Biscayne, it is super-nice too, but the review piece did have a couple of minor issues. Fortunately, for all you Sedan Delivery fans, I believe both can be remedied.
To sum it up, WCPD has a couple more winners on their hands. If you're in the market for an El Camino or Sedan Delivery, you won't find a better one in 1:24 scale. Even if they aren't quite flawless (and what is?), they are wonderful models, and I highly recommend them both.
One additional note: The Sedan Delivery is the perfect canvas for those of you who wish to create a custom commercial vehicle for your classic car display. As a Chevy dealership parts delivery vehicle for one collector, or in my case a virtual mascot for the website, thanks to Photoshop. Can't you just see me tooling around in this?