by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

In late 1966, Chevrolet Motor Car Division of General Motors Corp introduced their 1967 Camaro contribution to the pony/muscle car community . No one knows for sure when the first muscle car was introduced. Some experts think the first muscle car was the 64 Pontiac GTO; a light weight car with a super-tuned high power engine! Now after 35 years of production, GM has announced this car will be discontinued after this year. Although my efforts to buy a new 67 car never came to fruition, I have been able to compensate by collecting over 50 models in this approximate scale.

Most toy/ model manufacturers have contributed tooling of miniature replicas of these cars. I have no idea whether or not my knowledge of all the models produced is complete. I have recently become aware that different areas of the world are privy to availability of lesser known models while other parts do not have this privilege!

In order to assist collectors in the identification of the year of manufacture of a specific model, I wish to summarize the styling history of the Camaro as follows.

1967 Introductory year
1968 Addition of front and rear side marker lights and vent-less doors
1969 New sculptured fender line with simulated vertical air slots in front of the rear wheel wells

1970 New front grille with semi-fastback roof-line
1970 1/2- 1971 Fender lips introduced
1972 Revised grille mesh . Parking lights set between headlights and grille. The bumper was split and only in place on each side of the grille
1973 Larger grille moldings with a full width bumper with black rubber faced guards. parking lights were set under the bumper.


1974 Soft urethane grille panel introduced with a radical forward slope. Large single tail lenses in use
1975-1977 Wraparound backlight introduced
1978-1981 New grille introduced set partially below the bumper

1982-1985 Restyled dual headlights with an open rectangular grille above the bumper. The fog lights and parking lights were set below the headlights
1986 Introduced 3 tiered taillights
1987-1992 Reintroduced the convertible

1993-1995 New sweeping body style introduced. Side view mirror line flows into front fenders. Rounded grille area introduced.
1996-1997 Grille is set below top of bumper and enclosed except for parking lights
1998-2002 Use of a larger open grille and more prominently slanted headlights

I find the best way to summarize these small replicas is by listing each toy/ model producer/ manufacturer in alphabetical order and then inventorying each piece in chronological order. The problem exists that some producers did not identify the specific year of manufacture on their baseplates. This is why the above styling history can be useful. Part 1 of this story looks at manufacturers A-M with part 2 looking at N-Z.

AMT Pups produced in diecast a 68 hardtop # 452 prior to 1982. This model was introduced by a plastic kit manufacturer.
Aurora Cigar Box produced a 67 model # 6115 . This was a plastic body set on a metal baseplate.

Blue Box produced an unusual convertible model from style 4 . It was sold by Woolworths and featured a manual flip top to raise the roof.

Eldon from Spain produced a 69 hardtop in plastic which was joined to a metal baseplate. The body has a metallic finish.

Ertl produced a 1970 Z-28 hardtop in their recent American Muscle series. Their 73 'Hardees'/'Chuck E. Cheese' hardtop model # 1898 appeared around 1980. It features an engine blower protruding out of the hood. A 1981 hardtop Z-28 was also issued in 1981. In their 'Speed Strips' series they offered a new casting of the style 4 Camaro, including a viewable comic strip in the base.

1970 Camaro Z-28

1973 Camaro

1981 Camaro Z-28

1985 Camaro

Hot Wheels issued a 67 hardtop # 6208 in their initial Red Line series in 1968. This was followed by the 'Heavy Chevy' # 6189 in 1970 in which the same basic casting was used with the engine hood removed . This same casting has been used many times since. A 78 Hardtop Scorcher Z-28 # 2644/ 2895 appeared about 20 or more years which was followed by an 80s Blown Camaro #5901 in 1984. This casting reappeared in 1996 with a smooth hood in which the protrusion of engine parts was absent. In 1993 a stylized Hardtop Racer was issued under # 2115 and 2738. Some collectors at the time questioned if this model might originally have been intended to be a Dodge Stealth . But most serious collectors now recognize this model to be a Camaro. Also, Hot Wheels introduced a 95 Camaro convertible in 1995 as # 13340. Hot Wheels ( Mc Donalds licensed) produced a similar 93 race car to the # 2115/ 2738 . Close examination shows this cheaper casting has variations indicative that it came from a different set of dies.

1967 Custom Camaro

1967 Heavy Chevy

1967 Camaro (1982 casting)

1978 Camaro Z-28

1984 Camaro

1993 Camaro

1993 Camaro racer

1995 Camaro Convertible

Imperial Toy Company produced a 67-68 hardtop in their Chevy series in 2001 .The detail is greatly improved over previous issues from the last decade which included a style 3 Camaro.

1967 Camaro

1978 Camaro

Jet Wheels , a division of AMT Pups is reported to have produced a 70s model more then 20 years ago. No further info is available.

Johnny Lightning has produced models to date inclusive of the following years: 67-72, 75-77, 82, 92-93 and 97. The 67-68 hardtops # 536 and convertibles # 535 were all issued in 1999. The 69 convertible # 537 is from the Classic Gold series in 1998. A 69 Pro-street Hot Rod # 551 was issued in 1997. The 71-72 hardtop # 538 was issued in 1999 and the 75-77 hardtop # 539 appeared in 2000. The 82 hardtop # 484 appeared in 1995 and the 92 LAPD Drag Car # 331 was issued in 1995. The 93 and 97 hardtops # 3658 were both introduced in 2001.

1967 Indy Pace Camaro

1967 Camaro

1968 Camaro

1969 Indy Pace Camaro

1969 Camaro

1970 Camaro

1970 Camaro (Polar Lights)

1975 Camaro

1976 Camaro

1977 Camaro

1982 Indy Pace Camaro

1982 Camaro

L.A.P.D. Camaro Funny Car

1997 Camaro Pace Car

Kenner Fast 111s produced an 80s Z-28 Outlawer. This model featured an enlarged rear bumper to hold one of various state license plates that were collected to be attached to the cars. These cars were available over 20 years ago.

Kidco, a division of Universal Products produced a T-Top from the early 80s # 152-2 over 20 years ago.

Lindberg, a plastic kit manufacturer produced a plastic 67 hardtop #9 in their Mini-Lindy series in 1990. The only metal items in this model were the axles and the small lead ingots that were added for weight.    

Maisto produced a 78 car #15027 in 1996 .

Mandarin produced a somewhat larger model # 103 of a 67-68 hardtop over 20 years ago. The detailing was somewhat crude and the wheels were much to small.

Marx produced a 67 model. in their short-lived effort to take advantage of the Hot Wheels craze of the late 1960's.


Next month we will continue the Camaro story beginning with Matchbox. No doubt one or two or maybe more have been left out. I have recently come to the realization that not all models are available in all parts of the US and even more so - in the world! Any additions are always welcome.

Major sources:
Ragan, M. 'Tomart's Price Guide to Johnny Lightning' 2001
Strauss, M. 'Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels' ( Ed #2)
Viemeister, P. 'Microcars' Hamiltons 1982
Wieland, J and Force, E. 'Detroit In Miniature' 1982