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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hot Wheels Then and Now Camaro and Corvette's

The Then and Now series of Hot Wheels has been a popular one since it started in 2013.  For 2013 we've seen GTR's, Twin Mill's, Toyota's, and now these two fantastic Chevy's.

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COPO Camaro's

The COPO Camaro was the tricky way for dealers to get around the engine displacement restrictions at GM.  Order a Camaro from the Central Office Production Order and you get a basic Camaro (or any other GM cars like the Chevelle) ready to be engine-swamped for something larger, say a 427 V8 from a Corvette through a 4-speed manual.  This Hot Wheels casting came out in 2011, still impressive in the metallic blue color.  Since then the recolors have not veered off from the original version, until now with the 2014 sharing the same paint scheme as the 2013 model (more on the year change in a moment), decked in white with blue stripes on side with COPO beneath them and dual blue stripes on the hood.  This is the first time the 1968 has no chrome base, so it looks odd with the blacked-out treatment, also met by the blacked-out wheels to match the 2013 COPO.  The interior features the same 1968 Camaro setup of seating for four and a forward-slanted dash.  The hood shows what's underneath the hood as the shape of the scoop resemble the Corvette 427's, as does the side-exit exhaust.

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Today the COPO is a different beast:  It is strictly limited to the 1/4 mile dragstrip, not fir the road.  This is evident in the skinny front tires, exhaust that exit after the headers (leaving a filler panel for where the exhaust tips used to reside, a cowl hood, and the same side stripe treatment, in blue, on the white body.  Elsewhere it's ordinary Camaro from the front grille and headlight insert to the quad taillights with a bowtie in the middle.  First versions of this casting was called a 2014 COPO Camaro, but was later changed due to the fact that the Camaro line got a mid-cycle refresh in 2014, and the COPO was part of that refresh; the Hot Wheels casting is still based on the 2013 version.  The interior is decked out for racing with the rear seats deleted and a rollbar inserted behind the front seats, which are now more supportive and feature 5-point harness.  The dash and shifter is the same, except the radio is replaced by switchgear.  Engines range from a 7.0L LS7 V8, or two V8 with supercharger's.  The shifter is a competition floor shifter, and the rear axle is a solid unit for durability.  One interesting feature not shown, unless you crack open the body, is the bowtie and COPO letters stamped in the metal, below the hood.  Both 1968 and 2013 also come in red in addition to the white.

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Corvette Stingray's

You've probably seen the 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible before on here, in its luscious red color and fabulous details, but this is the first time you get to see the Then part of the Then and Now, the 1964 Corvette.  Decked out in a sharp red color with only the stock hood graphic, silver gas cap, Hot Wheels logo on left rear fender, and the Corvette logo on the right rear fender.  Nothing else, just clean-looking.  The styling of this casting, which debuted in 2008 and returned last year, is nicely proportioned to the actual car, but the front grille between the headlights and bumpers is too large and the rear end squats down so much that the wheels just rub against the body, even in the smaller 5-spoke wheels!  The interior has the same twin-cockpit look and rear spare tire as the 1963 Split Window casting that Hot Wheels has, but without the split window.  Both look great, but I prefer the 2014 because it looks proper in every way; the 1964 is great, but I can't stand the way it sits or how the front grille looks.  Still better than a car squabbled in graphics!

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