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.