Cadillac Books: Cadillac: The Tailfin Years

I received a copy of Cadillac: The Tailfin years by Robert J Headrick Jr. from my brother for Christmas (thanks!).  This 126 page book was published in 2008 by Iconografix.

Cadillac: The Tailfin Years courtesy Amazon

The book covers Cadillacs from the years 1948 through 1964, the peak of the years that Cadillac used prominent tailfins.  The approach the author took, as explained in the preface for the book, was to use the advertising literature of the time to address each model, year by year.  Each chapter addresses one year’s production, with illustrations drawn from actual sales brochures, and actual Cadillac marketing copy to tell the story of that year model.

On the face of it, I like to read advertising copy.  However, the illustrations often contain text that is too small to read (I considered but did not procure a magnifying glass to see if the text is legible if magnified).  Often the text in the ad is repeated as text in the book surrounding the ad.  This is useful, but problematic.  I would prefer to see the ACTUAL brochure or advertising copy, presented in the form/format it appeared at the time.  Then I would like the Author to add some background or context to help me understand what was happening at the time, what Cadillac was trying to do, and how it worked out.  In other words I would like the book to be very clear to segregate the period advertising copy from the Author’s text.

I am left with the feeling that the Author may have attempted my desire in terms of adding context, but because it is impossible to tell where the vintage advertising copy picks up and where the Author’s text ends, I am left wanting more clarity in the presentation.

The back of the book contains a number of full-page Cadillac ads, all marked ‘From the collection of Frank Nelson’.  It escapes me why the Author chose to credit Mr. Nelson on each brochure.  Certainly the brochures themselves would be property of Cadillac to the extent they retain any intellectual property rights.

I do like the year by year photos. Overall although initially I was put off by the presentation, I did find myself coming back and reading through year by year.

The book itself has a full color paper card cover, and 126 pages of text.   The volume is one of the thinner books in my Cadillac library.  It is printed in China.   The suggested price for the book is $34.95, which seems quite dear for this volume.  I would prefer to see it priced under $23, perhaps at $15 or $19.  As a gift, it is a nice addition to my collection of Cadillac books.

Test Gear: ContourHD Camera

I received a ContourHD helmet camera for Christmas. We shopped these and discovered that the latest 1080p version was out, and the previous 720p version was on sale at Amazon with a gift card deal, so we got the previous version, the ContourHD, and my Wife kept the gift card.  Win-win.

After a quick setup and experimentation, here is a test video along a tree-lined road.  Not dramatic video, but the video angle, lens, and video quality seem good:

The VHoldR ContourHD is a video camera in the shape of a small cylinder with attachment points.  It records video to a micro-SD card.  It runs off a battery so is self-contained.  Because it is very light (4 oz) it is also easy to mount on a helmet, or in my case in the Cadillac CTS on the rear view mirror.

The camera came with a 2GB microSD card, although additional cards (extended recording by swapping cards) and larger capacity cards can be used, up to 16 GB.  The battery recharges when you attach the camera via a cable to the USB port on the PC; easy.


The ContourHD like the one I have records in either HD (1280×720 pixels), 720p, or in SD (848×480 pixels), 480p. The latest model, the Contour HD 1080p, records in:

Video Choices for the 1080p:

Video Resolutions
Window Size Frame Rate Record
Full HD – 1080p 1920×1080 pixels 30fps 15min/GB
Tall HD – 960p 1280×960 pixels 30fps 15min/GB
Action HD – 720p 1280×720 pixels 60fps 15min/GB
Contour HD – 720p 1280×720 pixels 30fps 30min/GB
Fast SD – WVGA 848×480 pixels 60fps 30min/GB

a variety of resolutions.

The ContourHD does not have a video display for realtime video review.  To understand and test the best mounting points for the camera in the Cadillac CTS I would try it at different points, then connect it to my netbook, download the video, and review it.  I decided that attaching the ContourHD to the rearview mirror with a clear view out the front of the CTS was best.

The Rearview mirror in the CTS is a large one, with the OnStar access built in to the mirror.  One advantage is that the bottom of the mirror is a flat surface, so it made it easier to attach the camera.  I shopped Walmart in Georgetown, SC where we are vacationing this week and found a Velcro strap to use to attach the camera to the mirror.

camera mounted on mirror

Mirror Mount with Velcro One-wrap

I used a Velcro One-wrap 3ft x 1 in to attach the ContourHD. A more permanent and repeatable mounting would be more desirable, but this worked for my test drive.

The ContourHD captures video in Quicktime format. It comes with an editing program that can be used to crop the video, but does not offer options to resize. VHoldR does offer online storage of captured video; the video above is on their site.

Overall I am happy with the ContourHD. Because it is light and battery powered, it is easy to mount in interesting places to capture video. It is inexpensive, but appears to be well made. I am not a fan of their side rail mounting system so far, but as I become more familiar with it perhaps it will grow on me.

For inside the Cadillac footage my cruisecam shortbar mount and digital camera really work well.  I think the ContourHD would be more interesting strapped to the exterior mirror or front air scoop.  I plan to keep experimenting with placement and see what works.

Learning to Amazon: Cadillac Book Reviews

After reading an insightful post by David Meerman Scott on called Amazon as social networking I am trying to learn the zen of book reviews.

Bruce Nunnally

First I had to try to navigate my way through shared Amazon account issues with my Wife, who had already shared a few reviews over the years.  I think I have that fixed now, and have translated part of my review Books: Cadillac Participation in the World War (1919) to the appropriate page for the book here.  (The book appears to have 3 entries on Amazon; Index listing here).   I think my review is awaiting moderation at Amazon.

I enjoy buying and reading Cadillac books, so hopefully I can share portions of my reviews from the blog here with the book pages on Amazon.  I have not gotten all the way through my Cadillac book collection with reviews yet.  You can find my current book reviews in the Book Review category here on the blog or on my legacy webpage here.

Author's 2005 Cadillac CTS 3.6L

If you are experienced with Amazon reviews please feel free to advise on things to be sure to do or things to be careful to avoid.  The actual entry and mechanics of posting Amazon reviews seems straightforward so far.  The public profile info is partially updated and partially not updated from my previously mentioned unravelling, but I assume that will fix itself over database updates / time.  Any advice on the etiquette of Amazon review posts is welcome.

If you have a book about Cadillac you would like to have reviewed please contact me via the Facebook or Twitter buttons.