Drive a Real Hot Wheels Camaro SS

But it’s not a toy.

My first car was a Hot Wheels. A firebird funny car to be precise. I loved that thing, and today my 7 year-old son is enjoying it just as much as I did. As a youngster I imagined driving that car in the quarter-mile, and flipping up the body to dial in the engine and make my necessary repairs. I know I’m not alone in fantasizing about driving a real-life Hot Wheels, and when Chevy offered me an opportunity to take their 2018 Camaro SS Hot Wheels edition for a spin, I couldn’t refuse.

My son always asks why we stick to the slow lane in my 1989 Land Cruiser, and he’s always disappointed with the “boring” rental cars we get—so this was a prime opportunity to cash in some dad points. But wait, does the Camaro have a back seat? Spoiler: it does.

I enjoy driving a responsive vehicle, which is why it seems puzzling that our household consists of the aforementioned Land Cruiser and a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300D, two absolute dogs. I’ve learned to navigate LA traffic with no issues, but jumping behind the wheel of the Camaro gave me a whole new perspective on getting from A to Z in this town.

This is Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary, so they worked closer than ever with Chevy to create this limited edition vehicle.

The six-speed Camaro begs for you to run through the gears. It’s been a few years since I’ve driven a stick shift, and never with 455 horses behind it. But, the thrill of it all rushed back to me, that is until I hit some traffic.

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Sitting behind the wheel of the Hot Wheels Camaro is as close as I’ve come to driving a track race car. The low-slung aggressive stance makes for poor visibility, but mean styling. After a few hours driving you get used to the short windshield, and with the help of driving sensors and rear camera, you become acutely aware of your surroundings.

Excited to take the Camaro for an extended run, I packed my family of four into the Camaro for a quick trip to San Diego. I doubt Chevy ever tested to see if the back seat would fit two kids car seats, but I can confirm it does! I did have to comically hold my 5 month old son horizontal to slide him down into his seat, but hey, this ain’t no minivan.

Muscle cars are fun, and there is no sense trying to stifle the roar of a 6.2 liter V-8, but with the Camaro you have that option. The dual-mode performance exhaust system, features electronically controlled valves in the mufflers.

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These valves are designed to improve performance and allow the rumble of more or less exhaust sound to be emitted from the vehicle. You can choose from stealth so as not to wake up the neighbors, tour as a default, and track, which offers the most performance and head-turning (or scratching) from bystanders.

Adjusting the driving mode in the Hot Wheels Camaro makes for a completely different driving experience. Available modes include snow/ice, tour, sport, and track. Each mode modifies a variety of systems on the vehicle, including: throttle and transmission response, suspension, exhaust modes, and interior lighting.

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Track mode is the most fun to use, and where the Camaro really shines. The responsive handling is the biggest difference, as I felt stuck to the road in all situations. I must mention the wheels. The 20-inch Satin Graphite machine-faced wheels are a thing of beauty. Not only do they give the Camaro a tough stance, they are track-specific built wheels that you’ll never find in an off-the-lot vehicle.

Fun Fact: The Custom Camaro was the first Hot Wheels vehicle released in 1968 and was part of the original 16 Hot Wheels. The toy was originally offered in about 20 color combinations, with Gold and Creamy Pink being among the rarest—and most collectible—hues.

Fast forward 50 years and Chevrolet has maintained and built upon all of the features that make Camaro an iconic muscle car. And, dress one up with Hot Wheels badges and paint it orange crush, and you’ve got an absolute stunner. The placement of the Hot Wheels logo throughout the vehicle is subtle, but everyone of all ages takes notice.

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Mattel and Chevy actually put a lot of time and effort into designing the perfect logo to represent both brands and pay tribute to Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary. Note the brilliance of the “50” being Hot Wheels famed orange track. The racing stripe over the hood also mimics these tracks.

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Don’t forget the Hot Wheels 1:64 scale diecast replica of the exact 2018 Camaro SS you’re driving—included with every car purchase.

The Camaro is everything you could ask for in a muscle car and more. I was surprised at the relatively nimble handling, and enjoyed using all of the customized driving modes. I’ll never choose to take the Camaro on a road trip with the kids, but thankfully this car exists. One that doesn’t try to please everyone, and truly delivers on what its made its bones on for years, pure power and fun at a reasonable price.

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