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The Hot Wheels Camaro: no longer just a toy

Chevrolet

Hot Wheels has been producing replicas of the Camaro since 1968, a year after the real Chevy pony car first landed in showrooms.

Chevrolet and Mattel have had a long and prosperous relationship. The toy company has been producing matchbox-sized replicas of the Camaro since 1968, a year after the real Chevy pony car first landed in showrooms.

At the upcoming SEMA auto show in Las Vegas, the automaker plans to return the favor, introducing the first production version of the Chevrolet Camaro to bear a Hot Wheels badge.

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Chevy has used the Hot Wheels theme for several years at its SEMA stand. Last year, it positioned a bright yellow version of the Camaro at the base of a life-size track.  But now the automaker plans to actually add a Hot Wheels edition to its lineup.  It will come as a $6,995 upgrade on both the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro and Camaro convertible. Sales are scheduled to begin early next year.

For the money, the special edition will get a bright metallic paint scheme, special graphics, red-lined 21-inch wheels and Hot Wheels flame badges on the fenders and trunk lid.

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The Hot Wheels Camaro will feature matte-black touches around the hood and taillight surrounds. And the upgrade will also borrow some trim pieces from the high-performance Camaro ZL1 package, including the rear spoiler, front grille and front splitter.

The black leather-trimmed interior will boast Hot Wheels logos embroidered on the front seats, which are finished in red and black stitching.  The Hot Wheels flame will adorn the door interiors with special Hot Wheels Edition sill plates completing the package.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment package will come standard.

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The Hot Wheels Camaro can be ordered with either the Chevy 2LT package with its 3.6-liter V-6, rated at its stock 323 horsepower, or the 400-hp 2SS package featuring the 6.2-liter L99 V-8.  The 2SS will be delivered with a dual-mode exhaust system, as will the 2LT equipped with a manual gearbox.

Chevy can only hope to match the success of the 1:64 edition Camaros that Mattel has sold by the millions over the last 44 years. The pony car was one of 16 original Hot Wheels models — a favor being returned as the Chevrolet Hot Wheels Camaro becomes the first production car to carry the toy series’ name.

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The project was launched in 2010 and initially was focused on the concept model unveiled at the SEMA show last year. The final production design for the 2013 street car was taken from one of five sketches worked up by Hot Wheels chief designer Felix Holst.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since I started designing cars for Hot Wheels and I have yet to drive one home,” said Holst, the vice president of creative for the Mattel Wheels Division. “Personally, I can’t wait to open the doors and see the Hot Wheels Camaro sitting in the garage.”