- Written by webmin
The Danbury Mint is making a ’55 Cadillac Coupe deVille. We know this because the owner of the car they modeled told us all about it.
Tony DeMarzo, whose Coupe DeVille was a Drivable Dream in the August 2010 issue of Hemmings Classic Car, is the lucky owner. We asked him to tell us all about it; below is what he wrote for us to describe the process and experience.
The following all took place within five days:
I am a member of the Cadillac LaSalle Club. On Thursday, I received a voice message from one of the board of directors of the Club that the Danbury Mint was looking to make a model of a 1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Apparently there are not many around, and according to him I was the only one listed in the New England area in the membership directory. I called him back, and he said he would let the Mint know I was interested.
The next day I received two additional voice messages that the Danbury Mint was interested in my vehicle. One gave me a direct number to Rick (part of the Operating Division at the Danbury Mint) to set up an appointment. I called Rick and we made arrangements for him to come to my home on Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week.
That weekend I had to prepare the car for the pictures which required me to remove most of the items inside the car such as cushions, floor mats, and the fuzzy dice hanging off the rear view mirror.
On Sunday Rick called and said he wanted to come that Monday because the weather was supposed to be good. At this time he asked me to gather some specs and data on the 1955 Cadillac.
Monday, started out as a typical summer day, a little overcast but perfect lighting for an outside shoot. Rick arrived at 8:30 a.m., along with his camera and other equipment. He also brought down a yellow 1954 Eldorado convertible model which is currently on the market. The model was very detailed, from the engine compartment to the fabric pattern on the seats to a working steering system. The gas tank filler flipped up, the antenna went up and down, front seats flipped forward for passenger access to the back. The hood, doors and trunk opened, there is even a removable spare tire. I was very surprised when he gave me the model as a gift.
I gave him the information he requested the previous day. He took notes as we discussed the differences between the ’54 and ’55 model years.
He started photographing the engine first, taking very detailed pictures; right down to the yellow caps on the battery. He had various rulers and sticks marked off with colored tape in one inch increments. He held this against whatever he was taking and explained to me that these are given to the engineers to scale the model. He took a long time and many photographs of each section of the car. After finishing the photos of the engine he took pictures of the inside of the trunk.
The weather started to turn, and a deluge of rain started to fall, so Rick used his time wisely and took many detailed photos of the inside. Close up shots of every little detail – knobs, levers and right down to the buttons on the tuck and roll leather seats.
Rick explained the scale model pictures are sent to the engineers. He will go back and forth with the engineers making prototype molds. Once the molds are made it will go into production.
Finally it will go to the promotion department that will decide when to release the final product. Even the packaging has to be specially designed from form fitting foam molds on the inside to accommodate the model right down to the lettering of the outside of the box. This whole process I was told would take about a year from start to finish.
The rain became a drizzle and in between the rain drops he was able to finish the outside shots. Rick asked me to remove a hubcap so he could take a better picture of the dimensions to measure the scale. He took black tape and put it across half the hubcap which accentuated the angles and curves. Then holding the measuring scale against the hubcap he took photographs. In this way they are able to make an exact scaled replica of any angled parts.
This photo shoot took about three hours.
I realized that in a way, making a replica is the same process as making a life size version from design to production. In the end you have a highly detailed model of the original.
Rick told me he would keep in touch as the process evolves.