There are a lot of cars on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas each year. Different styles appeal to different people. Some might prefer trucks with lifters so the cab is perched so high you need a step ladder to climb inside. Others might gravitate to one of the low-boys that is hugging the ground so close a person has to kneel down before climbing inside the interior. But there is no doubt that a majority of visitors at SEMA, especially “little” boys, look at the bright green ’68 Camaro and have flashbacks to their childhood.
This is a life-size Hot Wheels car – a dazzling Spectraflame@ for grown-ups. Many consider the huge SEMA show an automotive display of toys for grown-ups anyway, so a full size Hot Wheels car is not much of a stretch. The lime-green Spectraflame Camaro was part of the original set of of 16 Hot Wheels cars that were released in 1968.
“The Camaro has been a mainstay in the Hot Wheels lineup since 1968,” said Phil Zak, GM design director. “Several generations of car enthusiasts grew up playing with Hot Wheels Camaros, while dreaming of driving the real thing, so this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make that dream a reality.”
“The Hot Wheels and Camaro brands have been paired together since their inception,” said Felix Holst, vice president of design for the Mattel Wheels Division. “As part of the brands historic sweet 16, the Camaro was the first Hot Wheels car ever produced. The Spectraflame paint and redline tires of those first Hot Wheels cars have been the dreams of guys for generations, and it was thrilling to inject these elements into a Camaro for real.”
For now, the Hot Wheels Camaro is a real car, but is being called a “concept.” Neither Chevrolet or Mattel toys are saying whether this will take off with consumers. It is available for purchase, however, and allows the childhood memories of playing with that Spectraflame@ lime-green Camaro be translated into real-life.
The vehicle was unveiled at the SEMA show, complete with the orange-plastic race track that was part of many of our Christmas gifts back in the 60’s and 70’s. It was the only way it could have been displayed properly. The orange track looped upwards and circled just like most of us would do with the original toys.
The car itself is dazzling, among a sea of shiny vehicles at the SEMA show. The original 1:64th model debuted with a chrome-style finish and this concept does the same. It has black graphics, red-line wheels, and the bright metallic-green finish. The original Hot Wheels required polishing the die-cast metal and then applying a metallic lacquer. The real-life Camaro Concept Hot Wheels was much more complicated to finish. The reflective finish involved a primer coat, a liquid metal spray, a silver-chromed base coat, and finally a green tint applied in layers.
Other features on the full-size ’68 Hot Wheels Camaro include a modified satin-black stripe, black aluminum hood insert, Torch Red stripe on the wheels, and of course, a lot of Hot Wheels badging. There will be a collector’s edition scale model in a 1:64 size available for those interested. This die-cast scale model will be the 18th Camaro model produced by Hot Wheels during the past 44 years.
This year is the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet and this Hot Wheels Camaro Concept is just one of the many ways that Chevy is celebrating. Like many others in attendance at the unveiling during Media day at the SEMA show, I was enamored and would love to drive it.