Before the redesigned 1968 Corvette was introduced to the public, people got a sneak peek when they saw the Hot Wheels “Custom Corvette” 1/64th-scale toy car. Obviously, Hot Wheels and Corvettes have long and storied history together. Which makes sense, because both Hot Wheels and Corvettes have been the subject of desire for Americans young and old for as long as they’ve been in existence.
Chevy’s fiberglass sports car has been rendered in diecast metal many times over the years by Mattel’s Hot Wheels division. Nearly every year, and certainly every generation of Corvette has bombarded down the famous orange track sometime in the last 42 years.
Mattel Hot Wheels logo
Hot Wheels debuted with sixteen iridescent-painted custom cars in 1968. And over the years, they haven’t strayed very far from their original formula. In fact, when I was a kid, I could buy a new Hot Wheels diecast for about 97-cents. And today, I buy my own son new Hot Wheels cars for the exact same price. You can’t make that kind of claim for many other things these days.
The Corvette was the incarnation of a General Motors concept car. The production model arrived in dealerships in 1953, and although no one could deny how beautiful it was, it took a couple of years for the Corvette to find its performance legs and become the legend it is today.
As the 1950s wore on, and the Corvette was bestowed with Chevrolet’s fantastic small block V8 and a few creature comforts, the public began to realize the Corvette for the amazing performance bargain it became.
The second-generation Corvette was produced between 1963 and 1967. Often referred to as “Midyears,” these became some of the most popular and most valuable of all the classic Corvettes.
As we noted earlier, a new Corvette came on the scene in 1968, which also happened to be the first year for Hot Wheels cars. This generation was sometimes called the “Mako Shark” series, because it used several design cues from the Mako Shark II design concept car.
Chevrolet Corvette logo
The ’68 Corvette was radical and ultra-modern for its day, but early cars did suffer through a few teething problems. At the beginning of the run, Corvettes were treated more like regular Chevrolets in the walls of GM, but as it became clear that the new Corvette was a special car, more manpower was devoted to the project. Subsequently, the Corvette became a much more reliable car as the year wore on.
In spite of these issues, kids still loved Corvettes. And that first Hot Wheels version was extremely popular. Over the years, Corvettes have become one of the most common subjects of Hot Wheels diecast. And even today, it isn’t uncommon for Hot Wheels to be in the General Motors design studios, drawing up plans for new Corvette diecasts months before the cars ever meet the critical public eye.
The slideshow below contains several Corvette diecasts from throughout the years. Some of them are from my stash from when I was a kid, but most of them are straight out of my son’s collection. Today, just as it has been throughout history, kids are attracted to the simple fun of Hot Wheels Corvettes.
If you like this story, you may also enjoy yesterday’s installment on Hot Wheels hot rod diecasts.
CLICK ON THE SLIDESHOW BELOW TO SEE MORE PICTURES OF HOT WHEELS DIECAST CORVETTES FROM THE PAST AND PRESENT.
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