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Monday, May 8, 2017

Hot Wheels Wal-mart special 50th Anniversary of the Chevrolet Camaro




2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Chevrolet's most popular pony car, the Camaro.  In return Hot Wheels has celebrated in two ways: one with a special Mainline series and two as this Wal-mart 8-car set.  Now I didn't grab all of them since I really didn't car for the other three, but I was surprised to come home with these five after only considering one or two.













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Interestingly enough all five vehicles mark each generation of Camaro, and while the new sixth-generation is not part of the mix they can be found in the mainline series.  The first and foremost Camaro that started it all also started the Hot Wheels brand in 1968: the 1967 Camaro.  Even during cost-cutting times the Camaro still retains the opening hood and metal base.  The tan version has black racing graphics to add a bit of sport to this car, but from what i've saw it was one of the pegwarmers in the series, surprisingly!  The front has a full-width mesh grille with lower bumper, the sides are clean with the raked stance and side exhaust exiting out of the front fenders.  At the rear are the rectangular taillights and center gas cap.  The four-passenger interior is ok for the age of this car not showing much of details, while the opening hood shows off a nicely-detailed engine if a bit flat by today's standards.  This casting was modified in 1983 and renamed the 1967 Camaro, while in 2006 a convertible was added to the range.  It has a large fanbase so it still continues on.  The other 1st-generation car in the mix of the series is the 1969 Camaro coupe in black with blue and gold tampo's.













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The second-generation proved to either be a hit or miss with Hot Wheels depending on the casting.  I'm surprised the 1970 Camaro road race car was not offered here, but this fantastic 1981 Camaro is more welcome.  Introduced in 2012 it caught me by surprised that for a pro-stock car it has one of the nicest and clean bodylines of any Camaro.  Painted in green with gold wheels and yellow tampo's really helps this car pop out.  The front has the energy-absorbing bumper nicely integrated with the round headlights, inner signal lights, and small slit grille.  The domed hood is the only indication of modifications underneath this car, while the clean bodylines lead to the rear with a taillight bar underneath a wrap around spoiler.  It looks fantastic!  The interior is more race-ready with only one seat for the driver, a rollcage, and basic instrumentation for the dashboard.  Underneath the V8 motor is bigger and breathes better and louder through early-exit exhaust with no mufflers or catalytic converters.  While i'm not a big fan of the second-generation Camaro I do appreciate the certain ones with excellent level of details and this 1981 Camaro by Hot Wheels is high on the list.















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The third-generation went for a completely new body with more aerodynamic lines and better power in later models.  Then there's the IROC-Z that briefly replaced the Z28 Camaro in the 1980's while sponsering the IROC racing teams.  Sporting a fuel-injected 5.7L V8 with 350 horsepower it was pretty quick for its time, and that's even with the four-speed automatic transmission.  Like the 1981 this one was a surprise as it was nicely done and still looks good no matter what deco it's in.  This silver has a red interior with black stripes on the hood and sides that still carry the IROC and Z28 badges with the 5.7L below the Z28.  The front has recessed quad headlights with a lower grille that has integrated foglights.  The hood has ribbed gills that are part of the interior, while the edgy sides are interrupted by too large rear wheels.  The rear has the same spoiler and larger gridded taillight design as the 1981 model.  The interior has nice seats with the ribbed diagonal pattern and seat belts.  The dashboard is poorly designed but useful.  At least it has a large cargo area thanks to the hatchback opening.  For a 30 year old car it still has the goods to compete with today's modern cars, and with its good looks it's the reason why I love this IROC Camaro.













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For the fourth-generation Hot Wheels side tracked to doing a 1993 Camaro as a race car instead, and that race car leaves a lot of the new car's detailing out.  That was resolved in 1995 when the Camaro Convertible appeared.  You can tell how times has changed as the casting is rather tall and long for a Camaro.  I'm surprised that CAMARO is still stamped out in the rear valence panel between the oval taillights.  The blue color with white stripes are nice though the PR5 wheels look awkward as the front wheels should be smaller than the rear for a better fit.  The front has the same look as the third-generation but with a more rounded nose.  Also the sides and rear have been rounded off from the prior model's edgy look, and the rear spoiler is a more taller and nicely-integrated unit.  The base has the most comprehensive details here wtih the drivetrain, engine, and suspension components nicely detailed.  The interior in whie shows off some nice, if not great, details from the front and rear bucket seats to the smoother and better-integrated dashboard layout.  The engine is now an LT1 5.7L V8 with reverse coolant flow and a tighter engine compartment (in order to change the spark plugs the engine must be lowered out of the car for access).














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After a brief hiatus for five years the fifth-generation Camaro returns with style, proper performance, and hype thanks to the concept and Transformers movie.  Hot Wheels has three in this line: the 2013 Hot Wheels special Edition, the 2010 Pro-Stock Camaro, and this 2013 COPO Camaro.  This yellow paint with black stripes and black wheels makes this car look sleek for a pro-streeter.  The body is typical 5th generation Camaro with flared rear fenders, low roofline, and 1st generation Camaro styling cues.  The front grille with integrated headlights and signal lights are recessed inside the slot just above a lower bumper with grille and foglights.  The hood has a power dome, the front wheels are skinny, and the rear with the quad taillights, trunklid spoiler, and reverse lamps in bumper have no exhaust outlets.  That's because underneath it's a different car that has a racing big-block V8 motor tied to a quick-shift 6-speed and to a live rear axle.  The exhaust exits out early just after the headers.  This COPO is solely designed for the 1/4 mile dragstrip.  The interior has seating for two with supportive harnesses, rollcage just behind, and a dashboard that removes the radio and most creature comforts for lighter weight and proper auxiliary controls.  One nice touch that you'll never see unless you take the car apart is the bowtie and COPO name stamped under the hood.


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This set is pretty nice, despite a few duds, and the artwork on a black background really sets these cars off.  The only thing that might dampen the enthusiasm is what the mainline will get that is not offered here (and one of them is a new casting).

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