Seems like just yesterday it was 1971 and I was about to turn 16 and snag my driver’s license. My Uncle Wink, a car nut like me, was happy to help me learn to drive a stick, and believe it or not, he taught me on his rocket-fast 1968 Camaro, a pale yellow with the black nose stripe. I’ve loved Camaros ever since.
We spent many evenings in the gravel, yep, gravel parking lot of Butler University’s Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Drop the clutch. Spin the tires. Throw some gravel. Uncle Wink would look a bit concerned, but ultimately laugh. I eventually got it right.
Now Autoart gets it very right with its latest 1/18 version of the newest rocket-like Camaro ZL1 and this time in a much brighter yellow than my uncle’s car. You can’t ignore this retina scorcher, and Autoart also rolls out a jazzy red, and bright blue model, along with more sedate white and black editions.
Camaro was Chevrolet’s belated response to Ford’s Mustang and rushed through General Motors’ labyrinth of paperwork and planning in just two years. The name Camaro was confusing, but went along with Chevy’s tradition of car names beginning with C, such as Corvette, Corvair, Caprice, etc.
Some said Camaro was a blended or slang word meaning comrade, or friend. Others at Chevy joked that Camaro was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.” It matters little now.
The 1967 model debuted with seven engine choices including a 6.5-liter 396 cu.in. V8 making up to 375 horsepower. There were Super Sport and Rally Sport editions and then the Z/28 with stripes on the hood and trunk. Chevy tried all sorts of visuals to spiff up the Camaro to compete with Mustang’s cool image. The first Camaro styling ran through the 1969 model year.
Fast forward to the current Camaro, introduced as a 2016 model, which borrows its styling inspiration from that initial lean sporty Camaro’s styling. But now riding on the same platform as Cadillac’s ATS, it is more muscle car than pony car with just three basic engine choices. That includes a massive 6.2-liter V8 in the SS model. It packs 455 horsepower, but the ZL1 supercharges the V8 to pound out an impressive 650 hp and now there’s a 10-speed automatic tranny that’ll shift quicker than a professional race driver. Top speed is 210 mph.
So in any color the new ZL1 would seem racy, but this bright mustardy yellow is spectacular and a flawless finish. The hood insert scoop resembles carbon fiber and touts a ZL1 logo on either side. All windows are trimmed in black on the insides and the rear window features a defroster grid.
Side mirrors are body colored with mirrored faces, there’s a shark fin antenna atop the roof, a black nose spoiler in front and a low yellow wing on the tail.
The nose features a gloss black grille insert that allows you to see through to a large chrome radiator. Meanwhile Autoart creates perfect thin LED style headlights that wrap around the projector beams Chevy uses to light up the road in its thin trim strip just below the hood and car’s beak. Of course there’s a blue and chrome trimmed Chevy bowtie emblem there too.
Just fore and aft of the front and rear wheels are body side reflectors and a gloss black aero skirt runs along just under the rocker panels. Thin door releases with painted silver unlock buttons grace the large Chevy doors.
In back are quad chrome-tipped exhausts, a ZL1 license plate and also a logo on the bumper’s left side. Red taillights frame the opening trunk lid and a brake light and another Chevy logo are centered below the rear wing. Nothing to see in the trunk other that flocking, but the intricate support hinges are pretty cool.
More importantly is the opening hood that unveils a black Chevy supercharged LVH V8 with that info imprinted atop the engine cover in silver. There’s massive tubing for the supercharger, a battery, plus brake, power steering, and window cleaner fluid reservoirs. Wiring and plumbing is well represented too, plus the hood’s underside is well sculpted and the top of the shock towers look realistic.
The hood’s support struts work flawlessly too so you can fully lift the hood for excellent engine viewing.
Tires are black on black Goodyear Eagles, so you might want to use a magnifying glass to read the tire labeling. These are performance tires and have an appropriate tread pattern to represent that, and the wheels are gun metal gray multi-spoke sport wheels that look terrific and include the Chevy logo on the hub. Behind the wheels are giant discs and silver calipers to match the real ZL1’s equipment. Oh, and the front wheels will turn, so you can pose the car as you want.
And while I’m all about the car’s exterior as that’s what generally lights the flame of any collector, Autoart does a superb job with the interior here. Start with the Camaro name on the black kick plate on the door’s lower sill.
Then check out the super detailed door panels with matte silver trim inserts, well-sculpted armrest and door patterns. There’s a matte silver door release along with power window, mirror and seat memory buttons too. Feel like I could start adjusting the seats right now!
The black interior’s bucket seats are beautifully shaped and look racy like the originals in the car, plus there are red seatbelts to liven up the interior a bit. Dash and console detail is strong too with chrome-trimmed air ducts, a flat-bottom steering wheel and oodles of buttons and switches obvious. Cool too is an indentation atop the dash that indicates the Camaro has a head-up display. Wonder how long before some DC maker shows that being projected on the windshield, but only visible from inside the car. Tricky, but I’ll bet it’s possible!
The passenger’s side dash is textured to reflect the look of the real car and the shift lever is giant, also as on the real deal. This may be Autoart’s finest interior detailing to date!
What else could you want in a fine DC model for less than $200? Maybe keys and an engine that will fire up? Better go find a Chevy dealer for that!
Vital Stats: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Stock No.: 71205