Sometimes at retail there is a car (or a whole series) that eludes you at the pegs. Recently I have been searching for the Walmart Exclusive Camaro Assortment, but haven’t even found one car from that series — instead, its the leftover #Hot Wheels Racing Circuit that shares the same $2.14 peg hook. So a couple weeks ago on a day I was feeling frustrated after striking out again, I was broadly searching “Camaro Anniversary” on eBay and came across this 1997 release: #30th Anniversary of the Camaro Set. Just judging by what it sells for ($20 to $30-shipped), its a set that many collectors have overlooked. Out of my mind was that 2018 Camaro Assortment, as this 4-car set was my new target. A little patience paid off, as several days later, I grabbed this set (shipped) for less than it would have cost me to buy the new Camaro set at retail. Quality over quantity here as this set is far superior to those “mainline” cars.
It felt good to break those 21-year-old tabs that were on this Hot Wheels #Cool Collectibles box. Out slid this long, acrylic case with the four #Camaros you see above screwed to the plinth (thanks HWCVan for that word). All four Camaros are great in their own respect, but man, the star of this one is definitely the #’67 Camaro. NOTE: I’ve seen several instances where this ’67 Camaro sells for more than the whole box set.
Its a replica of Mark Donohue’s 1967 Camaro that was raced in the 1967 SCCA Trans-Am season. This Camaro is actually quite famous in the racing world as it was nicknamed “Lightweight” due to the fact that after it won several races, it was discovered to have been run through an acid bath which reduced its weight by nearly 400 pounds. The car’s frame was softened so much, that a NASCAR-style roll cage had to be installed to keep the car stable. This acid bath tactic was deemed unethical and the car was banned from any SCCA races. Feel free to read more about this car which was featured in a 1994 issue of Car and Driver.
While the #Mark Donohue name is absent from the inner package of this #1997 Hot Wheels release which reads as “1967 Sunoco Z28”, there is no missing the Roger Penske & #Sunoco sponsorship on this car, along with the car’s signature #15.
As you can see, this #’67 Camaro is quite detailed and fits right in with the increasingly popular #Vintage Racing line from 2011. #Mark Donohue’s ’69 Sunoco Camaro was released in that line and the going rate for that is about $30 to $40-shipped. So given the fact that this is the more popular ’67 Camaro casting and the fact that it goes for less, you should be able to see why I think this gem of a release is undervalued. I mean, as a set, I pretty much paid $6-shipped for each of these cars which is a great deal considering the set’s original retail price of $40 back in 1997 and the fact that premium cars nowadays retail at $5.50+tax — and that is not even counting the long acrylic box, which I won’t even factor in.
So while its easy to get caught up in the Hot Wheels rat race from time to time, explore those great deals to be had on the older stuff. There are 50 years of great Hot Wheels releases out there! … there are bound to be some.