by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt
In 1998 GM reintroduced the functional storage trunk in the convertible. A fixed roof coupe was introduced in 1999. Other exterior styling changes to date have been minor.The only noticeable addition is a door guard side strip located midway between the top and bottom of the front fender scallop. This addition appears to have been introduced in about 1998 or 1999. The only way for a model/ toy collector to determine the representative year of manufacture for each miniature is to hope that the toy car maker imprinted it on the base of the model!
The best way to review the following models is in chronological order.
Both divisions of Mattel produced models for this introductory year.
The Hot Wheels (HW) car model #515 (First Ed # 11 in 1997) was a fastback
model as was the Matchbox (MB) car # 38. Yet close examination and comparison
of the castings indicates the cars were made from separate dies. Matchbox
also offered the C5 in their Premier edition series with rubber wheels and
detailed paint. Maisto produced a fastback coupe with full interior. This
model is a very nice casting and at $.50 each, a good value. However, the
best replicas were made by Racing Champions in their Mint Edition series.
A fastback model # 84 was introduced in 1997 and the convertible # 216 followed
in 1999 ( near the end of this series) . Both models are excellently detailed
replicas of the real car .
The HW Collectibles line offered a convertible in the Corvette Showcase
#2 set in 1999. This model also is a highly detailed replica of the full
size machine! MB also introduced a follow up model convertible in their
Motor Trend series which also was highly detailed. Both of the Mattel models
had opening hoods as part of their enhanced detailing. Johnny Lightning
has reintroduced a convertible # 735 in their latest Official Pace Cars
set in 2001 . It was first available in 1999 and is offered in stock form
Indy Pace Car - Johnny Lightning
Welly # 2023 has issued a fastback coupe in their Series IX Street Wheels
set. Although it does not have enhanced features, the detail provided for
the cost is commendable. I noticed the base identification for the year
shows evidence of being modified for some unknown reason. This model does
have the above mentioned side strip cast on the body of the car. The Welly
model is also offered with rubber tires and chrome wheels, as shown here.
This greatly improves the appearance of the model. Another model, possibly
representing 1999, was made under license for Mattel as a Mc Donalds promotional.
Detail is lacking and there is no year identified on the base plate except
the copyright year 2000.
This is the final year so far for any replica models. MB has just issued a nicely detailed convertible model # 57 in their 1-75 series. The only criticism is that the wind- shield is on too much of a slant! Even the pre-production picture in the 2001 Poster does not portray this defect and design error to such a radical degree. Motor Max by Red Box currently offers a nice C5 convertible. The quality of the casting is superior to the Matchbox convertible with a better detailed interior and diecast windshield header. Also last year, Road Champs introduced a 2000 coupe model in their Car and Driver Shock Racer series. Produced under new ownership by JAKKS Pacific, this model was accompanied by a small wrench to adjust the suspension of the model.
In 1998 HW issued a model of the Calloway C-7R ( model # 677 / First
Ed #31) This model represents a radically modified C5 Corvette. This firm
located in CT has been modifying Corvettes to the best of my recollection
for about a decade. Their most recent products hardly resemble the original
car at all
Calloway C-7R - Hot Wheels