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1:43 Buick has lots of chrome and nice detail

By Mark Savage
Published: January 14, 2015
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Product: Back in the day—that’s pre-school days for me—big, gruff Broderick Crawford rounded up bad folks on the 1950s TV show Highway Patrol, pursuing evildoers in a variety of Buick Century coupes and sedans. The car appeared as massive as Crawford, and you just knew that you didn’t want to mess with this man or his car.
Today, True Scale Miniatures (TSM) Models creates a less threatening 1954 Buick Century convertible for us die-cast fans, this one in 1:43 scale and a glossy black paint scheme with a sharp red interior.
Buick’s Century exuded speed and muscle. In fact, its name commemorated the first Buick to hit the 100-mph mark, back in 1936. But the name had been dormant for a few years when Buick revived it for its 1954 lineup of light (at the time) luxury speedsters.
TSM’s version is a replica of the rarest Century of 1954, the convertible. Just 2,790 of the cars were made.

Performance: This black beauty re-flects the 1950s Buick styling, which was heavy on chrome. It featured portholes on the sides and a stylish plunging chrome side spear that dipped in front of the rear wheel well and then shot out over it to near the taillights.
TSM ladles on the chrome, too, along with a well-cast body with defined door and gas filler door seams. There’s chrome on the side spear, door handles, portholes, windshield frame, vent windows, wipers, hood ornament, toothy Buick grille, mirrors, front and rear bumpers, and trunk logo. There’s even a chrome strip along the door tops and the seatback tops. Imagine putting your arm on that when the roof was down on a sunny day!
The review model, which was supplied by Replicarz, also features wide whitewall tires—treaded, but without branding—and twin chrome tailpipes. But there are no license plates, front or rear.
I like the oval chrome headlight frames, with their realistic looking large and small lenses. The dual pointy red taillights look great, too. A small but well-executed touch is the photo-etched Century logo behind the doors, with the red background behind the capital C for Century.
With a convertible model, your attention can easily focus on the interior. This one is a matte red, not a shiny plastic that could have cheapened the model. There are tiny silver snaps on the tonneau cover and a well-detailed black dashboard with gauges and a clock that add realism.
Most impressive are the dual chrome window and vent window cranks on the door, along with the door release lever and an armrest. The steering wheel is black with a three-spoke chrome hub, circular horn ring, and shift and turn signal levers behind the wheel.
Nothing opens on the TSM model, but the exterior detailing is a notch above many of today’s 1:43 die-cast models. The model looks more realistic than some higher-priced heavy metal versions.
And it’s just one of several new 1950s- and ’60s-era American cars among TSM’s offerings. In fact, the manufacturer offers another Century convertible, this one in Malibu Blue with a gray interior (model TSM134306). The company also has two 1954 Buick Century Coupes, the highlights of which are the wrap-around windshield and rear window. They come in red and white (TSM114538) and blue and white (TSM114337).
To round out your Buick offerings, TSM also offers 1954 Buick Century Estate Wagon models, and if you want to offer your Buickophile customers something from the early 1970s, there are three 1971 Buick Riviera models, too.

Marketing: There are hundreds of muscle and exotic die-cast car models out there for collectors to choose from. This TSM offering is of an earlier era, the 1950s, when chrome was king and designs changed every year. The Century gives you something totally different to display and sell. TSM’s quality will satisfy your customers who appreciate detail.
Consider creating a “Made in Detroit” display to show off this and other 1:43 die-cast models of domestic cars.

VITAL STATS
Product: 1954 Buick Century convertible
Maker: TSM (True Scale Miniatures)
Scale: 1:43
Stock number: TSM134307
MSRP: $74.95
Availability: Various distributors

BOTTOM LINE
• Rare Buick convertible
• Appeals to nostalgic collectors
• Well-executed detail
• Lots of eye-catching chrome
• Good price for a better 1:43 model