Monday, May 30, 2011

Car Of The Day: May 30, 2011

Today's car of the day is Hot Wheels' 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28.

The second generation Chevrolet Camaro is a pony car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors produced for the 1970 through 1981 model years. It was introduced February 26, 1970 It was longer, lower, and wider than the first generation Camaro, and is "widely considered the best all-around domestic musclecar ever produced." A convertible body-type was no longer available. GM engineers have said the second generation is much more of "A Driver's Car" than its predecessor.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Camaro

The Z-28 casting has been around since 1979, when it was introduced as part of the Scorchers range.  That line of cars sold poorly, and a few of the castings were given a proper chassis (but no interior) and retooled into the regular Hot Wheels Mainline.  Of those cars, the Z-28 has had the longest and most productive life.  This casting alone must have single-handedly paid for the entire Scorchers range over the years.  There have been versions with metal body and base, metal body and plastic base, and finally plastic body with metal base as seen here.  This casting has also seen use in Happy Meals, five packs (as this one was), and playsets.

The biggest changes for 1979 were the introduction of the luxury-oriented Berlinetta model, replacing the Type LT, and a restyled instrument panel with a much flatter appearance than the previous wraparound design (although the gauges themselves remained in the same places as before). The base models, RS and Z28 remained, the Z28s now came with a front spoiler and fender flares much like its Pontiac Trans Am twin had, and now came with "Z28" decals that ran from the beginning of the front flares to the bottoms of the doors. Electric rear window defroster became optional this year, replacing the old blower type. Sales for 1979 were the highest ever for any generation Camaro before or since, numbering 282,571 units. Engine choices remained with the 250 I6 standard in the base and RS models, with the 305 2bbl being an option and standard on the Berlinetta.

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