2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Special Edition
As one of the first “Sweet 16″ Hot Wheels cars produced in 1968, the original Custom Camaro is also one of the most sought-after by collectors. Forty-five years later, it seems fitting that the first full-size, factory-built Hot Wheels car available for sale is the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Special Edition. We spent some time on the streets and at the track to find out if the full-size Hot Wheels Camaro evokes the same excitement as the 1:64 die-cast cars do for millions of kids and kids at heart.
Available as a coupe and convertible in 2LT V-6 and 2SS V-8 forms with an automatic or manual transmission, the $6995 Hot Wheels package includes unique exterior and interior treatments — but no performance enhancements. Exterior cues include Kinetic Blue Metallic paint, RS appearance package (HID headlights with LED halo rings, body-color roof ditch molding and shark-fin antenna), several bits from the ZL1 (upper front grille, blacked-out rocker panels, and rear spoiler), Camaro Dusk front splitter, rear diffuser, Hot Wheel badging (grille, front fenders, trunk lid), exterior graphics (redline around upper front grille; two-tone matte black stripe on hood, roof, and trunk; blackout panel between taillights; quarter panel flame and gill decals), and 21-inch, black-painted five-spoke alloy wheels with a redline stripe.
Opening the doors reveals more Hot Wheels badges (door sill plates, steering wheel), a black leather interior with red stitching and a Hot Wheels logo embroidered on the front seats, and unique Camaro floor mats. A dealer-installed painted engine cover is also included. With a base price of $37,035 (including $900 destination) adding the $6995 Hot Wheels Special Edition package, $895 dual mode exhaust, and $795 navigation system brought our 2SS coupe manual’s total price to $45,720.
Motivation comes from the same 426-hp, 420-lb-ft, 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 as other six-speed manual-equipped SS models. (SS models with the six-speed auto continue to be powered by the 400-hp, 410-lb-ft L99 V-8.) Wrapped in 245/40 front and 275/35 rear Pirelli P Zero rubber, the special-edition 21-inch alloy wheels measure 8 inches wide up front and 9 inches wide out back.
At the dragstrip, the Camaro SS Hot Wheels reached 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 13.0 seconds at 109.8 mph, putting it in the thick of two previously tested Camaro SS models. Those cars hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and 4.7 seconds respectively, and finished the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 110.7 mph and 13.1 seconds at 110.8 mph.
With 20-inch wheels standard Camaro SS fare, we expected the larger 21-linch wheels to hurt ride quality on the street and performance at the track. To our surprise, the Hot Wheels Camaro rode comfortably on all but the most pitted roads. Motor Trend testing director Kim Reynolds was surprised by how easy it was to push around the figure eight compared with those other Camaros, noting confident and balanced handling with minimal understeer and strong brakes. When it was all said and done, the special edition Camaro posted 0.95 g on the skidpad and lapped the figure eight in 24.7 seconds at 0.81 g average. Braking performance was solid as well, with a full stop from 60 needing just 103 feet.
The Hot Wheels Camaro compares favorably in handling performance with the two previously tested Camaro SS models (with 20-inch wheels), which posted 0.88 g and 0.92 g on the skidpad and 25.8 seconds at 0.80 g average and 25.2 seconds at 0.73 g average, respectively. Sixty-to-zero braking came in 112 feet and 118 feet. A Camaro SS 1LE we tested posted 1.03 g and 24.2 seconds at 0.83 g average around the skidpad and figure eight. The 1LE stopped from 60 mph in 101 feet.
On the streets, the Camaro SS Hot Wheels rides smoother than its hefty 3883-pound curb weight would suggest, though its bulk is always noticeable. Visibility continues to be compromised by the shallow greenhouse, especially the thick C-pillars. While the Camaro is easy to keep centered in its lane on the street, it’s easier to back into a parking spot than pull in headfirst. Despite its powerful acceleration numbers, the heavyweight Camaro doesn’t feel as quick as it is, which makes keeping tabs on the head-up display speedometer crucial.
For this avid Hot Wheels collector, the Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition scores high marks for authenticity with its “cartoonish” looks and historical significance among the original Hot Wheels cars. The metallic blue paint with multi-colored flakes is a modern interpretation of Hot Wheels’ Spectraflame blue paint available on the original Custom Camaro, while the rear quarter panel flame decal, alloy wheel design, and redline stripe are throwbacks to Hot Wheels’ original detailing. Overall, the Hot Wheels package adds subtle styling enhancements to the Camaro without being too overt, though some staffers would prefer the styling elements without the Hot Wheels badging.
The only badging quibble I have concerns the double-stacked badges on the front fender. Completely replacing the Camaro script with the Hot Wheels emblem would provide less of an aftermarket appearance. After all, just like the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang, the Camaro’s iconic styling doesn’t require exterior badges to be instantly recognizable.
Speaking of recognition, those within Hot Wheels target demographic were the first to notice the full-size Hot Wheels car. While stopped at one red light, a boy about 7 years excitedly pointed out the Hot Wheels fender emblem to his mom. The Hot Wheels Camaro continually turned heads of those eagerly waiting to get their driver’s license. In 1968, Hot Wheels grabbed the attention of millions of young enthusiasts with musclecars such as the Custom Camaro; today, the Hot Wheels Camaro may be the car that brings young enthusiasts back into the musclecar fold.
|2013 Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$45,720|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||6.2L/426-hp/420-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3883 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||190.4 x 75.5 x 54.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.0 sec @ 109.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||103 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.95 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.7 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||16/24 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.03 lb/mile|
By Jason Udy