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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Maisto 1:18 and 1:24 scale 2001 and 2002 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6

When the ZO6 arrived in 2001 I was surprised that not may diecast manufacturers went for the ZO6 on the C5 Corvette as they do now, but Maisto was the leader in this department and despite some better examples from RC2/Ertl and AutoArt this is a perfect model for those on a budget.

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In 2001 Chevrolet resurrected the famed ZO6 badge as a high-performance version of the C5 Corvette line to take place of the ZR1 that was cancelled after 1995.  Unlike the ZR1 this ZO6 was a car that was not only fast but built for the track at fraction of the ZR1's cost.  The starting point was instead of a DOHC V8 it uses an enhanced version of the LS1 5.7L pushrod V8 that was called the LS6.  It produced 385 horsepower that increased to 405 with a few adjustments in 2002.  The six-speed manual transmission was the only option.  While short on power to the original ZR1 the ZO6 is much lighter than its predecessor.  The starting point was the Corvette Coupe, a hardtop affixed onto the C5 convertible that debut in 1999 but was pretty much too close to the standard coupe and had some difficult sales.  With all hardtops now ZO6 models in 2001 the distinction became clearer and proper for a track-focused car.  The body is more rigid, the drivetrain and suspension retuned, and the exterior adds more cooling ducts to the front and rear brakes, and lighter titanium exhaust.

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Making the ZO6 by Maisto was easy thanks to the 1998 convertible casting:  All they had to do was fix a top over the interior.  Good, but that top is plastic and has poorly-secured mounting points that can make the top very easy to break off.  Another no-no is continuing the convertible's side body line when it should be removed.  Otherwise this example still looks great.  The front that C5 look with hidden headlights, signal lights next to the grille slots that now have silver mesh, and lower front brake ducts.  The dual ribbed hood is the same as other C5 corvettes, as is the side front fender vents, but then the ZO6 badges are added and so is the side ducts for the rear brake cooling ducts.  The double 5-spoke wheels are accurate and have detailed brake calipers and rotors though the rotors look pretty scorned.  The rear has round quad taillights, Michigan license plate with reverse lamps to the sides, and the exhaust system dipped in silver.  The trunk opens up to reveal pretty good room (thanks to the revised convertible body style that featured a trunk for the first time since 1962) with an empty slot where the spare tire used to be (the ZO6 uses run-flat tires).

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The base shows off the working front and rear suspensions with detailed exhaust and drivetrain components that are not only detailed but properly colorized.  When you open the hood you do not stare at a black engine cover as the ZO6 adds red valve covers flanking the intake manifold.  Details are good, though this is mostly an plastic pan and the front air filter housing is cut short.  The doors open up to the typical C5 dashboard that is dual-pod, plasticky, and have seats that offer little support.  The seats have ZO6 logo's on the headrests, the pedals are detailed in silver, the 4-spoke steering wheel has the Corvette flags, the gauges are large and nicely done, the center console and stack of radio and HVAC controls are also well-done.  The shifter might have too much boot covering to it.  Maisto also released a plethora of colors including the rare dark blue version, and in 2002 they released the 1:24 scale model.  While you do loose the opening rear trunk you gain a revised body that eliminates the side stripe and a roof that is metal and part of the body.  Being a 2002 model also gains the 405 hp. version for more power.

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While not the best model of the ZO6 out there being the first with more colors and options with low cost can make this ZO6 a better option for most of us.

Update 11/11/2017:  The Corvette ZO6 that you see above has long be sold off, so its new replacement is a 1:24 scale version, this time a 2002 Corvette ZO6.  What's the difference?  Well for starters it finally has a metal top since there was no C5 convertible to use unlike the 1:18 scale, yet the side line that comes out of the front fender scoops still remains, incorrectly.  You do loose an open trunk, but then again there's not much to see here anyways, and also the steering rack is gone.  Otherwise it's the same model as the 1:18 scale but at a smaller size and with a metal roof.  Note that I added the missing details to the side marker lights and base details as well, while the engine bay at least has the red valve covers.  The wheels lack the gray tint of the 1:18 scale or the real ZO6 and also the detailed rotors are missing.  Another change for the 2002 ZO6 is the horsepower, now 405, and that is inscribed in the front fender badges.  Still this is a much better casting than the 1:18 despite losing some content and details in the process and all of this looks good in blue.

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