Classic American

1961 Pontiac Catalina


Ertl has produced 1:18 scale die-cast muscle cars for many years. Many of these are still around in one form or another, the brand having been acquired by Round 2 Models. It markets them direct through AutoWorld and distribute­s them to the trade. Specialist retailers, such as McLaren Models (see advert in Classic American) import a selection to the UK, but they are not as widely available over here as they used to be. I don’t recall seeing this 1961 Pontiac Catalina before, though I’ve reviewed many of Ertl’s American Muscle models in the past and owned quite a few of them myself.

The 1961 Catalina was the entry model of the full-size cars that year and completely revised from 1960, with squarer styling, shorter wheelbase and a return to the split front grille, which had been dropped for the previous year. An all-new Torque-Box perimeter frame replaced the ‘X’ frame chassis used since 1958, which was considered to be stronger and provided more interior room. Pontiac offered a wide range of engine options with several versions of the 389cu in V8. Cars could be ordered with either manual or Hydramatic automatic transmissi­ons. For those with a bit more to spend and a need for greater performanc­e there was a 389cu in 4bbl producing 333bhp, or a 348bhp Tri-Power option with higher compressio­n. Drag racers could opt for a 363bhp variation and late in the year a rare discretion­ary, dealer-installed 421cu in Super Duty V8 could be requested for even more power.

The 1:18 scale replica is painted a subtle Richmond Grey with a maroon interior. The engine chosen for the two-door coupe model is the 389cu in V8 with a four-speed manual transmissi­on. This heavy and sturdy model has many opening features, including the bonnet, boot lid and doors. The chassis is detailed and has a separate exhaust system. The wheels steer, the car is fitted with chromed wheel covers and it has pad printed whitewall tyres. The substantia­l grille, bumpers and trim are also chromed. The unusual ‘beaked’ bonnet reveals a reasonably detailed engine bay. There’s a battery with yellow filler caps, firewall-mounted brake master cylinder and a radiator complete with hoses. The engine is pale blue with black ignition wires and the carbs are topped with two chromed air cleaners.

Inside, the seats have white inserts, there’s a silver accented dashboard, a white topped shifter and two-tone red and white door cards.

This is an unusual and attractive model, which McLaren Models lists to order for £79.99.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom