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Friday, December 30, 2016

Hot Wheels 1969 Corvette coupe and convertible race cars

Hot Wheels makes a lot of versions of Camaro's, Corvette's, Firebird's, Mustang's, and so on.  For the Corvette another race car has been added to the list to join the coupe, yet unlike the coupe this is not a COPO Corvette, nor is it the promised Gas Monkey Garage version (that one comes out for 2017).  So let's see the differences.

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Chevrolet was banned from racing at the beginning of the 1960's, but that didn't stop engineers and marketers from finding loopholes to race their cars and sell the road versions at dealerships all without any evidence of the bow tie logo.  The 1968 Corvette carries that tradition with the wild Mako Shark look of the third generation.  Sadly this generation would latter suffer from emissions and safety regulations to put a chokehold on any increases in performance; ironically 1979 was also the best sales year ever for the Corvette!  The COPO models stand for Chevrolet Office Promotional Orders and this is where dealers can spec out a big motor in a small car and sell it to consumers: just order a base car with the big motor, then when it arrives some dealers will add additional parts to enhance the look.  This is also where race car owners can get a stripped-down race car from the factory.  So it is possible to get a base Corvette with a 427 CID V8 producing 450 hp and 385 Ib-ft of torque (before extensive modifications like free-flow headers, for example) and a 4-speed manual transmission.  Then the race cars get even more weight loss, a rollcage, modified lights at the front, and engine modifications.  Coupes and convertibles were raced, the latter with a rollcage replacing the roof and the windshield with a small top to protect occupants from the weather.  As with all other racing Corvette's these C3 race cars were legendary and helped propelled the American Sports Car as a track-capable beast.

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The 1969 COPO Corvette coupe was introduced in 2011 and with much fanfare.  Despite the 1969 ZL-1 Corvette being an already fantastic casting, this COPO takes it a step further.  The front has the pop-up headlights replaced with quad bumps for the headlights encased in a plexiglass cover for aerodynamics, and if that's not enough there's two more driving lights in the center joining the grille and lower spoiler from the interior piece.  The hood remains the same from the ZL-1, as is the solid non-t-top roof and detailed rear gas cap.  The sides show more pronounced flared fenders and side exhausts where you can see the headers coming after the front fenders to align up into one side pipe.  The rear has the stock round taillights with split bumpers and the cut outs from what was the rear exhaust location.

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The 1969 roadster, new for 2016, carries the same look sans the COPO name (but then again it still is technically a COPO Corvette).  The front lacks the lower spoiler and central driving lamps, while the rear has center indents in the taillights and the roof is replaced with a rollcage.  Overall the roadster shares many styling features with the coupe.  The base shows off the header to side exhaust connection, the rear axle, and the spare tire, while inside is the typical Corvette dashboard layout, stripped of features and a passenger seat for a racing driver's seat and a fire extinguisher.  The roadster shows more with the battery located just behind the driver's seat.  I do wish the first release colors were more interesting, but overall these are nice racing Corvette's that still bear the resembelence to the stock C3 Corvette's.


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