Hot Wheels selected a 1981 Chevrolet Camaro as a finalist in the 2023 Legends Tour, and the judging panel’s choice makes a lot of sense. Extensively modified, this one-off convertible looks pretty much like a life-sized Hot Wheels car thanks largely to a custom-made body.
Michael Scire of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, brought his Camaro to the Legends Tour’s stop in Atlanta, Georgia. He purchased the car when he was 15 years old and spent about 18 years turning it into a one-of-a-kind roadster with the help of a friend and his father. While all projects require a tremendous amount of work, Scire’s was more challenging than most because he suffered a spine injury during the build.
Instead of throwing in the towel, Scire pressed on. He created a distinctive new front end characterized by a big grille, round headlights, and open front wheels. There are no doors, so the passengers need to jump in. The big pods on either side house the mirrors, and the back end features six round lights on either side of a center-mounted fuel filler door. Nothing suggests that this green roadster is based on a Camaro. It’s shorter than a regular-production Camaro, too: Scire explains he shortened the donor car by approximately 18 inches to fit the body.
The interior received a full makeover complete with a three-spoke steering wheel, an instrument cluster from a newer car, a more modern-looking gear selector, and a Pioneer head unit. Scire also added specially-made seats to alleviate pressure from his spine.
Power comes from a hand-built, 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8. It’s part of the popular Small Block family of engines, so it’s relatively easy to tune, and it exhales through a custom-made exhaust system with side-mounted outlets. Scire kept the Camaro’s automatic transmission. Hot Wheels hasn’t released performance specifications, but we’re betting this roadster is considerably faster than an unmodified 1981 Camaro.
Scire’s Camaro already looks like it was beamed from the Hot Wheels catalog; is that enough for it to win the 2023 Legends Tour? We’ll know in November, when the car participates in one of the two semifinal rounds. To join the brand’s catalog of 1/64-scale cars, it will need to fend off competition from a growing list of semifinalists that includes a turbodiesel-powered 2015 Chevrolet Colorado rock crawler.