Tuesday, November 14, 2017
One of my favorite Camaro models is this 30th Anniversary edition model, also a pace car to the Brickyard 400. Why not Indy? Well in 1996 that was reserved for the Dodge Viper GTS coupe, so GM instead used the Brickyard 400 as the new 1997 30th Anniversary Camaro's pacing grounds. I love the white with orange stripes, which are a callback to the 1969 Indy 500 pace car Camaro's. Not only that I have the 1997 Camaro brochure from Chevrolet and it's an incredible pamphlet of various colors (dark green, blue, purple, red, etc...) Camaro's, with the topper going to the 30th Anniversary page where a man and a woman meet at the classic gas pumps; the 1997 convertible in front with the 1969 in back. Next to the awe-struck service man in the back is a 1967 RS convertible in red. How classy is that! I have a few of these 30th Anniversary Camaro's in replica (or say-so since most never classify being based on this trim package even though it's close to it), but here's one that I never saw and recently found: a 30th anniversary two-pack set from Ertl.
If you know Ertl you know they make some great models, and that includes dealer promo models. These models are made from plastic, but unlike the skill level two or three model kits that you put together these are made of one-piece molded plastic for durability, and some of these promo models were made into skill level one Snap-Fast kits. Ertl has already made the 1994 Camaro in coupe and convertible models for promo use, so they had to do a few tweaks to make the 1997 Camaro models. One was the taillights to integrate the new amber signal lights, and two the dashboard is all new with larger air vents. You will notice some slight tooling differences between the two. The 30th Anniversary Camaro was sold in 1997 after the 1996 pace car version and was offered on Z28 and SS models in coupe or convertible forms. The exterior was white with hugger orange stripes adorning the hood and rear trunklid. The new 5-spoke wheels, derived from the 1995 Corvette ZR1, was offered in white. The interior offered cloth houndstooth design to reflect the 1969 cloth trim in gray and contrast stitching white and black, or on the convertible white vinyl seats (no orange interior was ever offered for 1997). A total of 979 30th Anniversary Camaro's were made, including an additional 108 with the LT4 V8 330hp motor tuned by SLP. The regular models have the LT4 5.7L V8 that produces 275 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission.
Both cars start off with white paint that is part of the plastic body and has dual orange stripes that are well-integrated into the paint and not as cheesy stickers. The front has blacked-out headlight surrounds with chrome headlights inside, lower bumper with silver foglights, orange signal lights, and red bowtie. On the sides the lines are nice and clean, even if some of the lines and the Z28 badges on the front fenders are not visible from a distance. The coupe has a black roof with dual T-tops and a body-colored bar that connects with the B-pillar. The convertible has a black windshield with gray hard tonneau cover. Both cars have CAMARO across the top of the windshield and 5-spoke wheels in white that correctly reflect the actual car's wheels with rubber Goodyear tires. At the back things get different for these two cars: the coupe has a separate rear bumper where the split lines are really visible, while the convertible has a fully-integrated rear bumper, but the taillights seem more round than the ovid shape. Both have the tri-taillight design, CAMARO carved into the center, and Z28 badges. Another benefit of the convertible's design is that the rear spoiler is now open instead of the coupe's closed piece.
The chasis is black instead of white (thank goodness) and features excellent details of the engine, drivetrain, front suspension, front radiator grilles (mounted lower and funneled air through the bottom of the front bumper), live rear axle, and exhaust system. The interior's of both cars are nicely done and feature the correct gray and white houndstooth design with 30th badges on the front seat headrests. The dashboard has the correct control layout, large A/C vents, and two-spoke steering wheel, and even the gauges have detailed numbers and dials. The center console also houses the parking brake and round shift knob for the six-speed manual transmission. Seats are nicely done with the correct color pattern and logo's, while the door panels are a bit light on details. Finally all of this comes in a box with the two side-by-side and information, though a few pictures would be nice.
Maybe not a set for everyone, but for those like me who love the 30th Anniversary Camaro package this is a must-have set to get!
In the past Mattel has released many various colors and wheel designs for certain models, but when it comes to two different toolings or related designs to switch mid-year it was impossible. Not anymore! In 2011 Hot Wheels released two different Nissan Skyline GT-R toolings split by half a year, and in 2010 Hot Wheels released two different pace cars from the same Indy 500 race and the same 2010 Camaro.
The Indinanapolis 500 is an endurance race of 500 miles that started as a dirt road in 1911 leading up to the paved track of today. Over the years as cars created dangerous and fatal crashes that left other drivers without a clue what was going on until the last minute, Pace Cars were designed to remedy that situation. The pace cars were designed to lead the pack of race cars from pit lane onto the track to warm up the tires and prepare for racing, to move cars off the track if rain starts, and most importantly to guide the field through the hazdards that come when a caution flag comes out. Over the years various cars from production to even a few concept cars have paced the field, with most of them sports cars like the Corvette and Camaro. In 2001 Oldsmobile provided the first SUV pace car for the Indy 500. Since then General Motors has taken over the pace car duties and every year it seems like the Camaro or Corvette would be pacing the field. In 2009 it was an honor for Chevrolet to allow their new and revived 2010 Camaro to pace the Indy 500, then again in 2010, and again in 2011 for the convertible model.
The 2009 version was the first release in the 2010 mainline that has silver paint with red bricks that kick up from each wheel and Indy 500 badges on the doors. The front grille is painted black and I added details to the headlights, rear taillights, and side marker lights to finish it off. The basic look was similar to the 2009 First Edition release in silver, right down to the same 5-spoke wheels. The wide stance and deep grille are some of the excellent details on this Camaro casting that migrated from the 2007 concept car. For the second half in 2010 the same car was used, this time in full red with dual white stripes and Indy 500 badges on the doors. While the 2010 casting never had this red color, it was used on the recolor of the 2007 concept. In addition to the badges on the doors smaller badges can also be found below the CAMARO name on the front fenders. I was disappointed that the blacked-out grille design was not carried over from the silver one so I had to add that detail even if it was a bit sloppy. Oh, and unlike a few other Camaro's these two were never offered to the public as special pace car models.