let me preface this by screaming via [CAPS]…
I DROVE A HOT WHEELS CAMARO!
I grew up in a time in which your imagination was the biggest toy in your toybox (yes I had a toy box). A time when Star Wars was the blockbuster summer hit and you could not find a kid in town that did not have a Big Wheel. Back then, one of the hottest toys in the market was a model car company called Hot Wheels (founded in 1968). This company, which was owned by Mattel Toys made hands down the best 1:43 scale die cast car replicas of every cool car you can think of. Unlike it’s major competitor Matchbox, Hot Wheels had distinguished itself by creating custom versions of popular car models (specializing in muscle cars) that were tricked out by their unique rims and candy paint jobs. You can say they planted seeds in the imagination of future custom car enthuisiasts.
Needless to say I was an active collector of not only the cars, but a bunch of the iconic orange track raceway sets you can drive the cars on. You just were not cool unless had an opportunity to see your favorite car do stunts on any one of the orange track sto -n- go playsets. Hot Wheels really stepped up their game in the 80’s when they created the first licensed replicas of the Bat-Mobile, Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, The GhostBusters Ecto-1 car and every kid’s favorite, K.I.T.T from the insanely popular TV show “The Knight Rider”.
I can honestly say, my biggest dream second to flying a Star Wars Tie Fighter as Luke Skywalker, was to someday drive a real life Hot Wheels car. This is the dream that General Motors made come true for me.
I met the folks of GM Diversity on my way down to the Hispanicize conference this past April and got to know them, and more at the same time got to rekindle my love for a great driving experience. My first GM Loaner experience was the very practical and fuel efficient Chevy Volt which my community here has affectionately nicknamed Ruby Candela because of her sweet red paint job.
Now a few months later, I currently have no car due to an unfortunate flash flood and the folks at GM called me up to help me out in my time of need. I cannot even describe how I felt when the person handling the reservation for me asked me if I wanted to test drive a real life Camaro SS Hotwheels Edition. I literally felt like a little kid in Toys R Us the second before Mami would hand me over my a shiny new toy. I immediately called my son DJ Tommy Tunez to send him a screen shot from my smartphone as to what the car looked like. His reaction was the same… as he is a hardcore car aficionado, really into performance vehicles. Come to think of it, I do not think I stopped dreaming about the day it would be delivered for it’s one week test drive and even when it was delivered, it was hard to sleep knowing that it was in my driveway.
They nailed it in the authenticity department…
Hot Wheels special edition package including kinetic blue exterior, 21-inch black painted iconic Hot Wheel rims, RS appearance package, Hot Wheels badging & embroidery, interior with red accent stitching, unique rear spoiler, Hot Wheels decal package, side sill decals, premium floor mats, painted engine cover; dual mode performance exhaust ; navigation system and it was equipped with Onstar.
(This is also available in a neon green and black, that I happened to see on google but nothing beats the blue.)
Now my first indicator of whether or not I will like driving a new car is comfort. I am a road warrior and I need to be in a car that is comfortable and practical. I am a big guy so I was incredibly surprised that the car was extremely comfortable with a few different configurations for the seat that included lumbar support for my lower back. If you have ever driven 8-10 hours as I have, you would know just how important that is in a car. I was also very impressed with the dashboard and entertainment console, as I mentioned in my previous test drives Sirius XM and GPS Support is a must.
I know many smartphones have GPS but making it work in your car can be a nightmare when trying to organize wires, chargers and the busy influx of calls that I accustom to take on a daily basis during my commute. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten lost trying to toggle back and forth between GPS and an active call…not to mention how unsafe that is. Everything in this car is available within arms length and the steering wheel has some very cool manual / voice command options when synced up to my Samsung Galaxy 4. Overall a very functional experience for the driver.
I once owned a late 80’s Camaro z28 in a similar color blue and I thought that would be have been the closest I ever got to having the Hot Wheels experience but when I turned this car on and I heard this car rev, I was 10 years old again. Hearing a V8 rumble is one of the coolest sounds I have ever heard. I could not stop thinking..”THIS IS WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE LIKE!”.. every kids dream come true.
I did the unthinkable for someone who is as connected as I am to the social web. I made sure that I turned my phone off and I just released my inner child on the Meadowbrook Parkway in Long Island. and swung past my exit… all the way down to Long Beach and just cruised as I listened to one of my son’s latest mixes. There was no stopping me… as far as I was concerned every street and road was orange and I was waiting for the upside down loop. After this I proceeded to take my wife and each of the kids on a ride so that they see what Daddy wants for Christmas this year.
Everybody I encountered during my test drive commented on the car, people randomly walked up and snapped pictures, others asked if they can see the inside. This car was a show stopper no matter where I went. One of my dreams is to own a custom car so when I found out that there was a Fathers Day custom car show in Merrick Long Island (just around the corner from my home in Freeport) I decided to drive by and see how people would react to this version of the Camaro SS. I was suprised that they actually let me display the car… so I opped the hood and the next few hours I was the big man on car campus. I felt like I was a Chevy salesman, going over the sticker with folks interested in the specs and pricing. The reaction was insane… everyone seemed to really be into the car except for other Camaro owners. It seemed I was stealing their thunder. I was told that they may feel as if I did not earn my stripes because this car was factory customized. I must admit it felt pretty cool to have the most talked about car on the strip. This goes to say a lot about how GM nailed the design so much that it could really steal the show the way it did…every one knew it was a HOT WHEELS!
I can definitely understand the drive of customizing cars as I got a very unique glimpse at how it may feel to own something that has such an incredible wow factor. After this experience…I still want to be a custom car owner one day… it is addictive.
My favorite moment was when State Trooper that pulled me over just so that we can talk about Hot Wheels(we were about the same age) and he could snap a few pictures of the car details. He told me he is part of a Hot Wheels Collection Club and that he would really consider buying the car. I was happy to just know that I was not getting any kind of ticket. He even apologized and offerred to mail me a PBA card because he knew that he had broken the rules and interrupted my ride.
One of the saddest moments of my life was giving the car back… but I will always have the memories of a childhood dream come true.
My son put together a 2.5 minute video just showing off some of the details of the car for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed reliving such a special part of my childhood.
If you are interested in seeing the full specs of the Camaro SS Hot Wheels Edition visit Chevy’s Website
Thanks again to the GM Diversity Team!George Torres The Urban Jibaro Cultivando Cultura since 1997… Social Media | Branding | Event Management Follow me on Twitter… @UrbanJibaro and support the #PorTuFamilia movement