First, it was a Hyundai Veloster recreated as a Zombie-hunting machine. Now, it’s a full-size Hot Wheels car and a fleet of Kias decorated with superhero themes.
Currently on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels® Edition is billed as “the first full-size, production Hot Wheels® car offered for sale by any manufacturer.”
While most of the flashy cars on display at SEMA are special, one-off vehicles, the Camaro Hot Wheels Edition is slated to be a limited-edition production run and cars should be arriving at Chevy dealers in early 2013.
“Millions of us grew up playing with Hot Wheels,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “Offering a special production model of the Camaro Hot Wheels is an opportunity to bring those memories to life, for kids of all ages.”
The original Hot Wheels Custom Camaro debuted in 1968 as one of the first 16 models issued and remains one of the most valuable Hot Wheels toys among collectors. It was designed by Harry Bradley and the first blue version with its black top was the only issue that was actually produced in the U.S. One of those cars still in the package can be worth up to $5,000.
The Hot Wheels package will be a $6,995 add-on to the 2LT (V-6) and 2SS (V8) coupes and convertibles. All will be painted in Kinetic Blue and have special exterior Hot Wheels graphics. Toss spice up the appearance, Chevrolet is adding some ZL1 bits such as the front upper grille, rear spoiler (on coupes) and ground effects. Also included are black 21-inch wheels with red outline stripe, a two-tone matte hood graphic and rear taillight panel “blackout” graphic, fender “flame” graphics and Hot Wheels grille and decklid logos.
Chevrolet notes the car will not be supplied in the traditional blister-pack and is not suitable for use on Hot Wheels track and playsets.
“It’s been nearly 20 years since I started designing cars for Hot Wheels and I have yet to drive one home,” said Felix Holst, 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.”
Kia and DC Entertainment joined forces to create with five show vehicles inspired by the superheroes of the Justice League. The collection includes the Flash Forte Koup, Aquaman’s 5-door Rio, the Cyborg Forte 5-door, Green Lantern’s Soul and the previously unveiled Batman Optima.
The cars were built by West Coast Customs, RIDES and Super Street and feature custom artwork by Jim Lee, co-publisher at DC Entertainment and a renowned comic book artist. Unlike the Camaro, these are one-offs intended to raise awareness for DC’s “We Can Be Heroes” charitable campaign that helps fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.
A specific Kia vehicle was selected for each of the Justice League characters based on the personality and key superhero attributes. The Flash was paired with the Forte Koup, which matches the Scarlet Speedster’s superpower with real-world racing performance. The car was built by West Coast Customs and has a red, orange and yellow airbrushed exterior paint job and hood cutout with The Flash logo. Although one would think more of a boat or submarine for Aquaman, he got the Kia Rio 5-door, which Kia says symbolizes his role as protector of the environment. Since the Rio is 85% recyclable, it was deemed the natural automobile for Aquaman. The Aquaman Rio is another West Coast Customs job with special gold, green and orange exterior paint, custom-fabricated fins and lots of Oracle LED lighting effects. The striking Green Lantern Soul has a green and black two-tone exterior paint scheme applied by Super Street magazine’s build team along with touches like widened wheel wells with one-off 18 x 10.5-inch deep-dish wheels, blacked out projector beam headlights that glow green and customized Green Lantern-logo fog lights in the front fascia. RIDES magazine created the Cyborg’s Aztec silver Forte 5-door that features coilover suspension and widened custom metal fenders. The Cyborg Forte rides on 18-inch Rotiform TMB wheels with chrome lip and red anodized bolts.
RIDES also built the Batman Kia Optima that made its debut at New York’s Time Warner Center. This special Batmobile has a matte- and piano-black paint job, a lowered coilover suspension and ground effects kit, Ksport performance brakes, custom 20-inch black wheels with Batman-logo center caps and a performance exhaust system. There’s also custom fabricated front grille shaped like a batwing that took over 40 hours to create.
“Working together with DC Entertainment, West Coast Customs, RIDES and Super Street to create a fleet of superhero-inspired machines has been an incredible collaboration and the end result is five one-of-a-kind Justice League cars that bring each of these legendary comic book superheroes to life,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s executive vice president, marketing & communications. “We are proud to be raising awareness for the ‘We Can Be Heroes’ giving campaign and look forward to unveiling three more crime-fighting Kias at future auto shows and comic conventions as our 10-month partnership with DC Entertainment continues.”
“It was a thrill to see custom cars based upon my Justice League artwork and sketches revealed at SEMA,” Jim Lee commented. “I have to tip my hat to the teams at West Coast Customs, RIDES and Super Street on their innovative work creating cars that represent iconic characters like Green Lantern, Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash – all to benefit a great cause, ‘We Can Be Heroes’, and I’d like to thank Kia Motors America for supporting ‘We Can Be Heroes’.”
The five custom Kias are the first of eight Justice League-themed cars. Future additions include Wonder Woman and Superman and an eighth car with all the characters. While they won’t be available at Kia dealers, it will be possible to own one of these cars: they will all be auctioned with the proceeds going to the “We Can Be Heroes” program.
While they haven’t been Kias, Hot Wheels-sized diecast models with superhero themes have been offered from time to time. Perhaps some enterprising diecast manufacturer will get an inspiration from the cars on display at SEMA.