I’m not a fan of the Corvette Stingray cast Hot Wheels
launched in 1976. With no hood or door cutouts and muted styling curves, it
looks like it was based on a distant photo of the C3’s rubber-bumper refresh.
I bought the Mild to Wild version earlier this year and was so underwhelmed that I didn’t even bother featuring it. I begrudgingly bought this Zamac version because Zamac.
As any well-versed Hot Wheels collector should know, the Custom Corvette cast was one of the original Sweet Sixteen that launched the brand in 1968. In fact, the story goes that Chevrolet’s C3 debut was upstaged a bit by the toy car’s release since it beat the production model to market by a few months. However the Custom Corvette only made the rounds for two years, leaving Hot Wheels without a Corvette as Chevrolet started making changes.
The Corvette got a nose job in 1973, introducing the infamous rubber bumper and bringing it into compliance with federal laws (no damage in a 5 mph impact). The rear was updated in 1974 and the design remained largely unchanged until the coupe’s greenhouse update in 1978.
Considering the body style had been around for a couple years by the time Hot Wheels released the Corvette Stingray in 1976, it’s too bad they didn’t make it look any better than it does. It almost looks like a fantasy cast that’s loosely based on the Corvette. It reeks of cheap knockoff.
The plastic base’s attempt at replicating the C3’s rocker panels
isn’t the worst thing about it, but it definitely stands out. The rocker panels
remained largely unchanged across the entire C3 production run (1968-1982) and
blended pretty seamlessly with the rest of the body. When chromed, they’re an
appropriately 1970s accent. However the Corvette Stingray cast attempts to
replicate this with its plastic base, but it doesn’t flow into the body the way
the real thing does. It stands out as an off-colored piece of plastic
Hot Wheels has produced some solid C3s in recent years and, to their credit, they occasionally bring them back into production (they even launched a new one with the 69 Racer this year). However they should really let this cast die after 40 years. It is literally the oldest HW Corvette cast in production. Only the ‘80s Corvette cast comes close (itself being favored over the superior Custom Corvette Convertible of the 1990s). Can we just get more chrome bumper C3s and Greenwoods please?
Now if I can just find that Zamac Greenwood. Far less of those being left on the pegs...