[last update: 05.26.2020]




Cadillac & LaSalle Toys
Photo Page Index

 

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(en bas de page se trouve un résumé en français)

 

Pick the preferred years  - Choisissez vos années préférées
1902 - 1931 1930/31 Solido 1932 - 1942 1946 - 1953
1954 - 1958 1959 only 1960-1969 1970-2001

 

...or pick one of the following model builders or collectors
...ou choisissez l'un des modélistes ou collectionneurs suivants
The author's former Cadillac toy collection
The bespoke "Elegance" models of Claude Thibivilliers
The rare "RD-Marmande" Cadillac models of René Daffaure
Jo-Han kits and Promotionals, USA
The Kits of TKM, USA
The Paper and Card Cadillacs of Emmanuel de Horne
The Custom Limousines of Philippe Emami
The Wooden Models of Otto Vallastro


The trouble with people who like old cars, is that they tend to collect them and anything remotely connected to them. I was one of those people.  I use the past tense in an attempt to convince myself that I am cured ...well, almost!   

My interest in Cadillac and La Salle automobiles dates back to the mid-fifties.  As a teenager, in 1956, I began to collect ads and photos of them in a scrap book.  With the passing years that first scrap book grew into a vast library of Cadillac-LaSalle merchandising material of all kinds.

 

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This lighted, "hanging sign" above the Saunders' former
home in Geneva, Switzerland, suggests the residents
may have a slight interest in Cadillac automobiles!

 

 

In the sixties, I branched out simultaneously into collecting factory sales and merchandising literature as well as toys, scale-models and replicas of the marque. The most highly detailed were the dealer promotional model cars, predominantly made from plastic and in 1/25th scale. These were offered by AMT, SMP, PMC, MPC and, Jo-Han; others were produced by Hubley, National Products, Master Caster, Banthrico, Revell and other smaller firms. 

My favorites were the lithographed tinplate toys made in post-WW2 Japan in the late fifties and through the end of the sixties. Considering the original selling price ($5-10 each) their detailing was amazing ...and their investment potential quite remarkable! At the peak of my collecting years, some of the tin toys I had bought new in the sixties were regularly fetching $2,000-3,000 at toy shows (note that the most valuable of the post-WW2 Japanese tinplate cars is not a Cadillac but a Chrysler Imperial; I have seen this 14-inch toy fetch $17,000 at auction!)

The Japanese toys sometimes are identified by the name of the US importer  (e.g. Linemar, Cragstan1, AHI2, etc.)  rather than by the manufacturer's own name. At their peak the Japanese toy companies numbered over 200. The most well-known are Masudaya, Nomura and Alps; they did not necessarily produce the toys they marketed; often they were sub-contracted to other, smaller manufacturers.

By the end of the sixties I was collecting just about anything with the Cadillac name on it. The Cadillac wheel covers, below [that made a fine ceiling decoration in the Cadillac den], were just one aspect of this eclectic collection.


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[Above and below] The faux-ceiling of the "music room" in our former
Swiss home was decorated with my collection of Cadillac wheel covers

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A part of the wheel cover collection was displayed at the Balexert Mall in Geneva [below]
on the occasion of a fashion show staged  by Spengler, the Basel-based clothing retailer

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Other aspects of this eclectic collection of Cadillac memorabilia:
Scale models, decorative emblems and parts, period advertisements

 

 

By the time I was cured (hopefully) of the habit of buying Cadillac toys, I had already acquired some 750 of them, covering the majority of model years from 1903 to the mid-eighties.  They ranged in size from the tiny, one-inch Micromodel   Eldorado coupe of 1967, to a large tinplate toy by Ichiko, Japan, depicting that very same car and measuring almost three feet long.


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Showcases all over the apartment, in the early seventies

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Left, a selection of sixties Eldorado coupe models ranging in size from a 1 inch
Micromodel,  barely visible in the front row, just left of center, to almost 3 feet for the large
red one by Ichiko of Japan.  Right: various models of 1959 and 1960 Cadillacs (my favorites)

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Toy Cadillacs, big and small

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A wide-eyed kid [my son, Philip, then aged 9] with toys he was not allowed to touch

 

 

All these toys were displayed in the lounge of our former home in Chambésy, on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland. There were two principal, hand-built showcases. The first one was a large cabinet some 16 feet long, 8 feet high and about 16 inches deep with storage cabinets above, below, on either side and in the center (below).

 

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The main body of the collection was housed in a large display cabinet (see above), divided into two main display cases
(joined together in this montage), comprising 40 shelves each measuring some 40 inches wide by 14 inches deep;

the largest toy (circa three feet long) is the red 1967 Cadillac Eldorado coupe from Ichiko, Japan

 

 

The other display case was a large, glass-topped coffee table on wheels, with suitable built-in lighting. It measured about 7 feet long by 3 feet wide and was about 12 inches deep (below); the  inside was lined with red and black velour.  In the latter display case the toys (all 1:43 scale or close enough) were shown on three receding tiers, assembled like a pyramid, each one about three inches high.

 

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The subsidiary collection consisting mainly  of 1:43 scale toys
was housed in a huge, glass-topped coffee table on wheels;
here are two separate views, from either end of the table

 

 

 

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The main showcase exhibiting around 600 miniature Cadillac toys, scale-models
and replicas; in the cabinets surrounding the display cases were housed the Cadillac
merchandising literature collection;
(center)
glass-topped, lighted coffee table housing the 1:43 scale toys and replicas

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         coll08.jpg (8004 bytes)     coll15.JPG (10456 bytes)     t_yann.jpg (10858 bytes)
A visit of the collection was staged every year for collectors from all over
the world attending the annual international toy swap meet in Geneva; far right:

here I am holding the largest toy in the collection, the 1967 Eldorado by Ichiko

 

 

I used to contend, in the eighties, that my collection of Cadillac toys was the largest of its kind in the world.  Today, I know of at least two that are larger.  Surprisingly enough, both of them are located in Zürich, Switzerland. The first is my own, former collection, that has been regularly expanded by the person who acquired it in 1989.  The other belongs to Christian Hardegger, a young Cadillac aficionado  who, in a short space of time and - he readily admits - at considerable expense, has built up a collection equal to or greater than my former one. My sincere thanks go to Christian as well as to Grayson Ainsworth, another toy Cadillac expert, for their valuable help in identifying many of the toys I have listed here and also for correcting my many incomplete or erroneous captions!

Regrettably, I did not keep a photographic record of all the toys in the collection and so I am slowly trying to build up again a gallery of photos from a variety of sources including my own negatives and video tapes (unfortunately, the quality of video stills is rather poor), other collections, catalogs, ads, as well as the Internet.  The images that follow, therefore, do not all depict Cadillac toys that were in my collection.  Many were still on my "wanted" list; others were issued after I sold the collection.

For the time being I have arranged the photos in date order according to the year of manufacture of the Cadillac model depicted.  I have tried also to arrange them by size, the smallest ones appearing first in the listings for each year. 

Right now, I don't have time to tie the images to the data tables that were kindly prepared by my friend, Glen Houlton, based on my old Excel files.  But at least, this way, you get a preview of things to come.  And, believe me, there is a lot more to come.

If any of you recognize a toy, in the attached pages,  that I have marked "unknown", please drop me a line (via the Guest Book) with a full description.  Thanks for your help.

All good things must come to an end. In 1987 I was seriously injured in a motorcycling accident [I hit broadside the car of a Korean diplomat who had swerved suddenly across my path; he later claimed he "did  not see" my motorcycle - in broad daylight, with headlight on high beam!]  As I lay in hospital, with multiple leg and rib fractures, I reflected on life's precariousness and decided it might be time to part with all my beloved "treasures".  You can't take it with you when you go!

I was fortunate to find a buyer in a friend and frequent visitor to El Dorado, our former Swiss home. Harry had been interested in (and had made an interesting offer for) just the 1:43 scale toys in the glass-topped coffee table. I was able to convince him it would be a shame to break up what was, at that time, the world's largest collection of Cadillac toys and models.  In the end, he made an acceptable offer for the entire collection.
___________________________________

1    Craig Stanton-Elmaleh, Inc., New York 
2    Azrak-Hamway, Inc., New York

 

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All good things must come to an end.  The main display cabinets "before" the sale (left) and "after" it  (right)
[Below, left] the coffee-table display case was so big that, after the contents had been packed by the buyer,
Gita took this picture of me lying inside it with arms crossed, like an Egyptian mummy in a sarcophagus!


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The entire collection is packed up in banana boxes
(that is, all but the large, tinplate, 1967 Eldorado)

 

      

 

Collecting Cadillac Toys
- a sound investment -

Collecting Cadillac toys turned out to be a rather good investment.  Indeed, in 1989, the sale of the collection - which weighed in at about 150 lbs - allowed us to acquire Gita's Ark, a second-hand SSDY1, built in Holland, in 1982, measuring more than 47 feet, with a 12-foot beam and displacing ...18 tonnes! 

 

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Left: Gita's Ark steaming in to the marina at Pully, on Lake Geneva.
Right: anchored below the impressive battlements of the Château de Chillon,

at Vevey, that inspired the poem by Lord Byron:  The Prisoner of Chillon

 

 

Investing the proceeds of the sale of the toy collection in that second-hand motor yacht was also a smart move, considering that it too went up in value over the seven-year period that we owned it.  Indeed, when circumstances in 1996-97 compelled us to emigrate to the USA2, we were able to buy and to furnish a 10-year-old house in South Carolina with just the proceeds of the sale of Gita's Ark

Regrettably,  in the early nineties there was a down turn in the automobile hobby market for both full sized autos as well as toys. Prices of collectible Cadillacs (like our 1960 Eldorado Biarritz that had climbed from $5000 to $100,000 in the space of 20 years, and Japanese tinplate toys like my 1962 sedan by SSS, Japan that had gone from $5 in the sixties to $3,000 or $4,000 in the late eighties), fell back dramatically as people went shy of buying them as an "investment". 

So I guess I was fortunate to have been the victim of that motorcycling accident in 1987 that shook me into realizing the futility of "hoarding" anything, including real or toy Cadillacs ...because you can't take it with you when you go!

 

 

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The Saunders' new home in America,
since October 1997
...paid for (indirectly) in Cadillac toys

 

 

_________________________________
1   Single-screw diesel yacht
2
  Because I had accepted in 1986 to be promoted from "local" to "expatriate" status, there was a gradual decline in my anticipated pension of some 50% over the next ten years.  Absurd!  You said it, yet perfectly "lawful" according to my employers, a specialized agency of the United Nations.  We quickly realized that, on my retirement, we could no longer live in Switzerland, which had been "home" for 40 years. We had to sell everything and emigrate to the USA.  Fortunately, Gita is a U.S. citizen, which facilitated my obtaining a resident alien visa.

 

Other Cadillac Toy Collectors

 

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Some Cadillac toys from the collection of my son, Philip,
born way before Gita came on the scene...

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Cadillac friends, collectors and collections
Left:  Louis Henrard, in Liege (Seraing), Belgium

Right:  Jim Smithbauer, in the USA (it's a start, Jim !)

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This collection, in France, features only Cadillac models of 1959

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Here are 2 scale-model selections: 1/25 scale (left), 1/43 scale (right)


... and a selection of the smaller, 1:66 scale Cadillacs
(the photo is bigger so - of course - the toys look bigger ... DUH!)

 

 

 

New Cadillac toys
[1985 and later]

Immediately I sold my toy car collection, I stopped keeping an eye out for new models. This section, therefore, will deal mainly with Cadillac and LaSalle toys and models built before 1989. If any users have up to date information on such toys made in 1989 or later, I will gladly incorporate it in this section for the benefit of other collectors.

For a start, a friend photocopied for me a list of Cadillac scale-model toys sold by SINCLAIR MINI-AUTO INC., P.O. Box 8403, Erie, PA [ph/fax  (814) 838.2274]. That list is dated November 1997.

All these are new  models (i.e. they did not exist at the time I collected toy Cadillacs).  There are 103 Cadillacs on the list, from 1933 through 1996,   ranging in price from $30 to approximately $700.  The $695 toy is a 1:24 scale-model by Motor City, USA of the  1948 Cadillac convertible By France's Jacques Saoutchik (I saw and  photographed the real car at a Barrett-Jackson classic automobile auction in Scottsdale, AZ, in January 1999 - see toy photos section for 1948). 

I noticed also on the list a model of the 1956 Eldorado  Brougham Town Car for $285, made (on order only) by VF models in Germany.  Ruben Baeten, a Dutch friend and Cadillac aficionado, provided a list (with prices) of the latest replicas made or sold by that German company.  A page will be devoted to them in this section of the Cadillac Database.

 

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Fisher Golden Anniversary
commemorative silver and gold scale model
of the Napoleonic Coach that serves
as the Fisher Company logo

 

 

 

 

These very rare (1-2 units) 1:8 scale models were honed from different exotic African woods by local artisans in the Ivory Coast
(they are from my own and son's collection, in France)

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Unique 1937 Custom V-16 roadster by Willy Hartmann of Lausanne, Switzerland

   
1956 Custom "Viewmaster" observation coach by Hess & Eisenhardt


Presidential limousines in miniature (various manufacturers)

 

 

 


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Les jouets et modèles réduits Cadillac et La Salle

Le problème qui se pose aux gens qui aiment les vieilles voitures c'est qu'ils ont tendance à les amasser et à collectionner aussi tout ce qui est en rapport, de près ou de loin, avec la marque.  J'étais de ces gens là.  J'utilise ici le passé simple car l'envie m'a simplement passée ...ou presque!

Je m'intéresse aux automobiles Cadillac et La Salle depuis le milieu des années cinquante. Jeune homme, en 1956, j'ai commencé à collectionner vignettes publicitaires et photos que je collais soigneusement dans un album souvenir.  Avec le passage des années ce premier album a fait place à une véritable bibliotèque.

Dans les années soixante, pour diversier un tantisoit mon passetemps, j'ai commencé à collectionner aussi les prospectus d'usine, la documentation de vente et en même temps les jouets et modèles réduits de ces deux marques.  Arrivé à la fin des années soixante, j'étis devenu amateur d'à peu près tout ce qui pouvait porter le nom "Cadillac".

Au moment de ce que j'appelle ma guérison spontanée j'avais accumulé environ 750 modèles différents, portant sur la période de 1903 jusqu'au milieu des années quatrevingt.  Leur longeur s'étalait d'environ 3 cms pour un jouet "Micromodel" représentant la Cadillac Eldorado de 1967 jusqu'à environ 80cms pour un immense jouet en tôle emboutie représentant cette même auto.

Ces jouets et maquettes étaient exposées au salon dans deux vitrines faites sur mesure.  La première etait un meuble immense d'environ 4 metres de long, sur 2,20 metres de haut et 40 cms de profond.  Il y avait des placards de rangement en haut, en bas, sur les deux côtés et au centre.  L'autre vitrine était un vaste bac creux d'une profondeur de 30 cms, monté sur roulettes, formant table à café avec dessus en verre et éclairage incorporé; l'intérieur était tapissé de velours rouge.  Ce meuble abritait les jouets au 1:43e environ; ils s'échelonnaient sur trois podiums de dimensions chaque fois plus réduite, chacun d'une hauteur d'environ 8 cms, posés les uns sur les autres en forme de pyramide. Cette vitrine était si imposante que le lendemain de la vente de la collection Gita m'a pris en photo allongé dans ce bac, les bras en croix comme une momie dans un sarcophage!

A mon plus grand regret je n'ai pas conservé d'archives photographiques et pour cette raison je tente actuellement d'en constituer une à partir de différentes sources telles que mes enregistrements vidéo, d'autres collections, le matériel publicitaire et aussi Internet.

Les images que vous pouvez admirer en ces pages ne sont pas nécessairement celles des jouets qui ont fait partie jadis de ma collection ou que je recherchais afin de compléter celle-ci ...avant ma guérison spontanée.

Pour l'instant je me suis contenté de classer les images selon l'année de la Cadillac représentée en miniatrure.  Je n'ai pas le temps à l'heure actuelle de faire le lien entre ces images et le tableau de données qu'a bien voulu préparer mon ami, Glen Houlton, à partir de mes anciens fichiers Excel.  Croyez-moi, il y en a encore beaucoup à venir.

Si vous connaissez l'un ou l'autre des jouets marqués "unknown" (inconnu), soyez assez aimable de m'envoyer un mot avec toutes les données que vous possédez.  Merci.

 

Collectionner les jouets Cadillac
- un bon investissement -

Collectionner les jouets Cadillac s'est avéré être un bon placement.   En effet, en 1989, suite à la vente de la collection dont le poids total devait avoisiner 150 kilos, nous avons pu faire l'acquisition d'un immense yacht hollandais motorisé, d'occasion, dont la longueur dépassait 14 mètres, la largeur 8 mètres et la jauge 18 tonneaux.

Ce nouveau placement s'est aussi avéré gagnant puisque l'embarcation a également augmenté de valeur au cours des sept années où nous en avons profité.  En effet, lorsqu'en 1996-97 les circonstances nous ont contraint d'émigrer aux E.-U.1, il nous a été possible d'acheter et de meubler une maison âgée d'une dixaine d'années, en Caroline du Sud, avec le seul produit de la vente de Gita's Ark  (l'arche de Gita).

Pour tous renseignements concernant cette page,  m'adresser un courrier électronique, SVP.

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______________________________
1  Pour avoir accepté en 1986 une promotion de la catégorie "locale" à la catégorie "internationale", ma future pension s'est mise à diminuer progressivement jusqu'à perdre environ 50% de sa valeur sur 10 ans.  Absurde, me direz-vous?  C'est vrai, mais tout cela s'est fait le plus "légalement" du monde, aux dires de mon employeur, une agence spécialisée des Nations-Unies.  Nous nous sommes rendu compte très vite que la retraite venue nous ne pourrions plus vivre en Suisse, notre patrie depuis 40 ans.   Il nous a fallu tout vendre et nous expatrier aux E.-U.  Heureusement, Gita possède la nationalité américaine, ce qui a beaucoup facilité pour moi l'obtention du visa de résident étranger.

 

 

Pick the preferred years  - Choisissez vos années préférées
1902 - 1931 1930/31 Solido 1932 - 1942 1946 - 1953
1954 - 1958 1959 only 1960-1969 1970-2001

 

...or pick one of the following model builders or collectors
...ou choisissez l'un des modélistes ou collectionneurs suivants
The author's former Cadillac toy collection
The bespoke "Elegance" models of Claude Thibivilliers
The rare "RD-Marmande" Cadillac models of René Daffaure
Jo-Han kits and Promotionals, USA
The Kits of TKM, USA
The Paper and Card Cadillacs of Emmanuel de Horne
The Custom Limousines of Philippe Emami
The Wooden Models of Otto Vallastro

 

© 1996-2020, Yann Saunders, DLM Group, and the Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum and Research Center Inc.
[ Background image:  misc. toys from author's former collection ]