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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hot Wheels 2006 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6



When Maisto dropped out of the ZO6 model replica for the new C6 Corvette Hot Wheels took its place.  In fact, Hot Wheels has taken the market place by storm in the mid-2000's with numerous replica's of the 2005 C6 Corvette coupe and convertible in 1:18 scale and even 1:12 scale!  Add to that the several 1:64 models (including the Tooned versions) and even neighbor Matchbox at their lowest point of the Hero City-era and you got a plethora of Corvette C6 models.  This one shown here seems to be the rarest and now most sought-after of the bunch, right up there with the 1:12 scale models.





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The new ZO6 arrived on the scene in 2005 as a 2006 model with more power and more weight savings, not to mention more hype for the Le Mans teams after a successful run with the C5 R.  For starters the new 7.0L pushrod V8 is rather small for its size (the cylinder linings for each cylinder nearly touch one another!) and all are hand-built, and the new LS7 makes 505 horsepower through the rear-mounted 6-speed manual transaxle.  The body is more rigid and now shares the same lines as the coupe, but with more styling and light-weight features.  The fenders are flared for wider tires, the hood scoop added, all scoops are nicely tucked into the chisled body lines of the C6, the brakes are larger, and Balsa wood was used for the floorboards in the name of weight savings.  This generation of ZO6 Corvettes endured countless replica's, special editions, turf war with the powerful ZR-1, and the first Convertible version as the 427 special edition package in 2013.






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This Hot Wheels version might not be the only 1:18 scale C6 ZO6 but it is a rare gem that was offered mostly in yellow with an orange color briefly offered.  At the time Hot Wheels was really getting into the 1:18 scale line with new tools that were right up to the new versions of the real car and better detailing, but lower retail demand and a sidetrack when Ferrari demanded more from the 1:18 scale models led to the regular 1:18 scale line to diminish from the Hot Wheels line.  While some are readily available at reasonable prices on the second-hand market, this ZO6 is a more harder-to-find piece and finding one will induce higher prices as well.  Luckily I found mines at Target back in 2006 and I've been so pleased with it I kept this one and sold off the Maisto C5 ZO6 because the Hot Wheels version offers better quality.  Up front it has the Corvette badge just ahead of the hood scoop, flared fenders with fixed headlights that have chrome beams that sit too low in the housing, lower grille with large rectangular foglights and a lower chin spoiler.  On the sides the side marker lights are separate lenses and have a spear shape, while the front fender vents are square as well.  The rear brake cooling ducts and the electronic door handles are seamlessly integrated into the body, while the exterior mirrors look out of place and are plastic.






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The rear bumper, surprisingly, is plastic but you really wouldn't notice on this yellow car.  The large round taillights are accented by a third brake light that also serves as a rear spoiler.   CORVETTE is stamped in the lower right corner of the bumper, while the bottom has the reverse lamps and chrome central exhaust tips.  Did I mention that for this casting the rear end is REALLY WIDE!  The rear tires are also just as wide and all wheels are nicely treated with chrome 5-spoke wheels with detailed vented brake rotors and red calipers with the Corvette badge.  The base underneath shows off excellent drivetrain details with silver accents for the front and rear semi-leaf spring suspension and the front engine pan.  The chrome exhaust and transmission also finish up the look, and here's something strange:  while the front wheels spin individually and steer, the rear wheels are attached to a pin axle.  Another area is the large opening rear hatch to the cargo:  the hatch is plastic, but you really wouldn't tell unless you open it as Hot Wheels cleaverly concealed the look with inner flat black trim to make it look like the metal part of the car.





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Open the hood to first see the underside of the hood where the Corvette flags are stamped into the metal.  Then look below to the V8 motor with the red valve covers and while it lacks the white detailing of the resovoirs it has the 3-D full engine look, full resovoir look, and even the front air cleaner system is fully complete.  Open the doors to check out the interior where lighter gray is applied to the center stack and outer bolsters of the seats to help break up the sea of black.  The twin pod dash has been toned down for a more traditional look with detailed center radio and HVAC controls, CORVETTE on the passenger-side of the dash, a detailed 3-spoke steering wheel with large gauges just behind, and silver pedals.  Note the accuracy to the shape of the stalk arms just behind the steering wheel.  The center console has a more accurate shifter look with additional switches, parking brake handle, and cup holder cover to the right of the shifter.  Even the door panels have silver accents for the electronic door latches and detailed speaker covers.





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While it may lack some of the precise detailing of an AutoArt this Hot Wheels ZO6 is far better than the Maisto 1:18 2001 ZO6 when it comes to proper details.  Oh and it's a hard casting to find as well.

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