If I had loads of money to spend on Hot Wheels cars, this #’67 Camaro from the 2008 #Custom Car Show in Japan would have been in my collection a long time ago. I do not. In fact, I still consider myself somewhat of a thrifty collector. You may laugh, but I have been incredibly opportunistic over the years to snag quote a few deals — and have caught a few breaks — to obtain what I call the “gems” in my collection. This is one of them.
The Japan conventions in the last couple decades have had some of the most ornate Hot Wheels ever produced as the design team has always had strong #Convention Vehicles to back their showing there. The #Custom Car Show in Japan (2003 to 2010) was unlike the conventions here in the United States as the event centered around customizing Hot Wheels versus straight-up collecting product.
In 2008, Mattel made a strong showing sending several designers, and releasing a couple new variants of the ’67 Camaro & #’55 Chevy Panel. Sold as a 2-pack in an acrylic display, the ’67 Camaro & ’55 Chevy Panel came in a similar black and orange deco — limited to 1,500 pieces. If that wasn’t limited enough, there was a chase / dinner set that had the orange paint replaced by the light gold you see in the ’67 Camaro here. These were limited to 500 pieces. Both vehicles were jaw-dropping awesome, and I was certain I would never fork over the cash to own the ’67 Camaro from the set. HotWheelsCollectors.com sold a chrome-wheeled variant of the ’67 Camaro (on a blister card, limited to 2,500) as some sort of “Virtual Convention” deal back in the day, but the shiny chrome rims seemed to detract from this stunning deco. The deep copper rims on this one was the way this #’67 Camaro was meant to be released!
Yes, wheels are as important to a car’s aesthetics as paint and deco — and Hot Wheels graphic designer, Wayne Scott knew it at the time when he brought the heat with this Japan “rat rod” duo with deeply darkened rims to match the top of the car. Sadly, Wayne passed away several years back but his unique style (and name) could be found all over Hot Wheels vehicles from this era. Even his beloved #Skull & crossbones made it onto this release just like his dinner car — a ’57 Chevy 150 Sedan — from the fall before, marking his 10th anniversary with Mattel.
I expressed how awesome that release of the ’57 Chevy 150 Sedan was a couple weeks after Wayne passed in 2017. The Custom Car Show #’67 Camaro could almost be seen as a companion piece to the ’57 Chevy as Wayne clearly carried over some of the aesthetic. The most notable? It would be this semi-glossy ghost flames that will pop off the matte-finished body at just the right angle. It’s a subtle detail that truly rewards the holder of the piece.
This release was not impervious to the flaw however. Despite the deco being spot on, the Custom Car Show #’67 Camaro was failed by the dreaded rubbery-plastic band that often adorns high-end Hot Wheels releases. In order to keep the #Opening Features from moving while in transit, Mattel — to this day — still affixes these bands to the cars. Sometimes they can damage the paint immediately, but most times the damage comes years later as the band slowly dries up, slowly rubbing against the paint/deco, smearing and/or removing it altogether. I think the reason why I was able to get this release at a deeply discounted rate is because of the damage. Notice how I’m only showing one side of the car? Let’s just say the other side isn’t as pretty. Honestly, I think that plays a huge role as to why we don’t see this variant going for more.
ESTIMATED MARKET VALUE (Loose, June 2022)
What is staggering about this car is that, loose, it goes for a little over $200… to get the carded one sold online with the chrome rims it would cost you over $500 for it carded. The — in my opinion, less stellar — carded release had a run 5x that of this variant. Then again, if we saw one of these come on the market that was truly in mint condition, we could see that value rise substantially. Even the 1995 Treasure Hunt variant which had a run 20x that of this one (10,000 versus 500), goes for several hundred dollars loose.
The point of this all is: I am extremely fortunate to have been able to add this piece to my collection. I hate using the term “grail”, but this one was certainly at the top of my wish list as it is my all-time favorite release of the Hot Wheels #’67 Camaro.
Categories: Collection Reflection