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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hot Wheels 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo SS



One of the most sporty coupes of the 1980's was the Chevy Monte Carlo SS.  Designed alongside the NASCAR versions, this SS package enhances the drabby base Monte Carlo with a monochromatic aero package and striking good looks.  One must wonder why Hot Wheels took a long time to make this casting, especially when the Monte Carlo SS was made by everyone else, and some with excellent results?  Well, when it was introduced in 2010 this Monte Carlo SS took on a different route.


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NASCAR for the street

The term "Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday" was commonly used in the 1960's to represent vehicles sold at the dealership that was also outfitted to race on the weekends.  Back then, there was no difference between the two aside from an upgraded motor and a few parts removed for lighter weight.  By the 1980's the term started to differentiate itself as the race cars moved away from the same car bodies as stock to a more efficient, sturdier, and lightweight tube frame cars under a sheetmetal body that resembled the road car version.  That's what was going on at NASCAR in the 1980's, although the cars were still a decade away from moving away from the stock road car shape.  For the Monte Carlo it was still done the old-fashion way with the only difference being the tube frame underneath on the race cars.  The difference is that the SS package was designed alongside the NASCAR version in the wind tunnel to achieve the similar results.  The front-end gets a 1983 Camaro-like look with the recessed quad headlights with a more shaplier bumper and grille, the sides get the lower ground effects, which then round off to the rear with the duck tail rear spoiler and dual exhausts.  The colors were all monochromatic with barely any chrome or black rubber trim visible and is joined by SS stripes and logo's.




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The interior, however, fared less with a similar look to regular Monte Carlo's with the buckets seats, resonable room in the rear seat, large trunk space, and a simpilistic layout of the dashboard.  Sadly the gauges are not on-par with only a vertical speedometer leaving no room for the tachometer solely desired in a performance car.  The engine is not much of an improvement, still using the 5.0L High-Output V8 producing a still-restricted 180 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic only (no manual).  The chassis, though tuned a bit stiffer for a more track-focused look, still has the truck-like front A-arms, rear solid axle with coil springs.  And it's a large car as well, so the Monte Carlo SS was more of a sporty touring car than a race-ready track version.  Still, it was a popular car of the 1980's, joining a more aero-like rear window for the Aeroback version, and lest not forget the platform mates that also shared the likes of the Olds Cutlass 442, Pontiac Grand Prix, and the Buick Regal GNX/Grand National.



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This one's built more toward the track!

So with that downer out of the way, Hot Wheels chose a different route to achieve success and diversification in a field of diecast 1986 Monte Carlo SS's out there today.  The front has a domed hood with a detailed grille and headlights that are part of the windows (not visible on dark-colored versions).  The sides show a more shorter length with larger rear tires.  The rear is stock SS with the spoiler and dual exhaust that are just ahead of the large tires and axle, showing off a mean, aggressive look while still showing off the stock body lines quite well.  The changes continue inside with the addition of a racing tach to the right of the gauge cluster, the rear seats deleted for the larger rear tires, and the seats feature 5-point racing harness.  The most incredible part of the interior is how Hot Wheels manage to keep the stock detailing, from the dashboard layout, to the ribbed door panels, to even the rear decklid panel with speakers and third brake light!  Oh, and while this is still an automatic, it is upgraded to a racing-style slap shifter.  The base underneath shows off the stock drivetrain components, while even incorporating the rear gas tank and spare tire hump.



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The first release was a hard one to find for most, with some resorting to then-10 packs to get this casting.  The black with red stripes look great on this casting, though I was disappointed that Hot Wheels didn't get the urge to release more recolors in the factory-stock look.  Instead in 2011 for the Wal-Mart Decades series, they released one for the '80's in red with blacked-out 5-spoke wheels, decked out with racing graphics all over the place and even includes a starting number on the top of the windshield.  It looks like it's ready for the track!


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Then in 2012 some awesome recolors decked out with the Holley carbs stripes on the sides and the top of the vehicle.  Your choice of a gorgeous metallic blue with OH5 wheels, or the Competition Orange with 5-spoke wheels.  Sadly, not every variation was glorious:  The 2013 Heat Fleet version in dark red has a neat flame deco, but the look is uninspiring at most.  While the 2015 version in black has way too many graphics and lacks the finesse of the 2010 version.  The green K-mart recolor, however, looks more interesting to the fact that most of the graphics on the black car are now yellow and tend to blend in with the green for a more cleaner look. The blacked-out PR5 wheels need to be retired!


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And there's likely more with the metal base version for the 2013 Flying Customs and Hot Ones line, there's aplenty to choose from.  Hopefully the next variations loose the gawky graphics for a more cleaner look, just like the 2010 and 2012 versions.


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