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Diecast GMP Street Figher 1968 Camaro Page 2

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The single most appealing feature has to be the SLC 77 Rebel wheels. They were CNC’d using original CAD drawings from Billet Specialties, snd they look as real as anything you’ll find in die-cast.
The Chassis is lowered Trans Am-style, but some more modern suspension parts would have been nice. The Tremec T56 tranny is a welcome addition.
The racecar-sourced fuel cell looks all business under the Camaro’s trunk lid.

Interior. Inside, the Street Fighter Camaro is an authentic mix of bare-bones street performance with a few speed-oriented style items sprinkled around. Open the doors, and the first thing that grabs you is the six-point roll cage. It looks right at home, just as it did in the T/A Camaro. The two-tone racing seats with five-point harnesses (anchored to the roll cage) add a modern flair, as does the custom console. I was a little bummed, though, that the knobs and switchgear on the center panel weren’t more detailed, but the center-mounted tach makes up for that some. The bare-steel floorboards are true to character but yield a uniform blackness to the interior that masks some of the detail. The same casting in the T/A Camaro looks more intricate in gray. All that black, however, does make the Billet Specialties Rebel Half-Wrap steering wheel stand out like a beacon.

Under the ducktail spoiler, the trunk sports a racing fuel cell—another place where Trans Am technology works perfectly. Color and detail are spot-on, though I wouldn’t mind a bit more definition on the quick-fill port at the top of the filler neck.

Under the hood. Oh, what a difference a little fuel injection makes! The engine in large part is taken straight out of the T/A car, and why not—a small-block Chevy is a small-block Chevy, right? Not so fast—or perhaps we should say, “Not so slow.” The EFI 383ci stroker gives the Street Fighter a bigger punch than the high-winding 302 that the Trans Ams made do with in ’68. The data panel quotes the 383 at 500hp—probably 50 or 60 more than the race 302—but the real difference is in torque. The 383 is quoted at 475 lb.-ft.; the little 302 would be lucky to get within 100 lb.-ft. of that, and the 383’s peak comes at a much more broad and friendly rpm.

So, the Street Fighter has the goods, and thanks to John McBride’s creativity, the model looks the part. As stated, most of the parts are carryover, but a few selective and effective additions make all the difference. Dominating the view is the awesome dual-plenum EFI manifold. The sculpted shape and conical high-flow air filters are perfect: I could have sworn I’d seen a real version of this manifold somewhere, but the design is straight out of John’s head. Read the “Five Questions” sidebar to learn how he came up with this totally convincing design. Bracketing the intake are NASCAR-style raised rocker covers that give the engine a broad-shouldered look. Finally, an ignition box that sprouts from a bracket on the inside of the left fender is a dead ringer for an MSD setup. All this adds up to one seriously potent-looking package.

  DIECAST SPECS

Scale: 1:18
Length: 10.27 in.
Wheelbase: 5.98 in.
Width: 4.23 in.
Height: 2.85 in.
Price: $120

FEATURES
• Opening hood, doors, trunk
• Operational steering
• Extra pieces—fender pads


DIECAST RATINGS (scale of 1-5)
Body, paint 3.5

Wheels, tires 5

Engine 4.5

Chassis, suspension,
undercarriage 4


Interior 3

Presentation, proportion, stance 5
Collectibility 5

Suspension, wheels and tires. Flip the Street Fighter on its lid, and you’ll see a pristine undercarriage. If the flat black color hides detail inside, it seems to enhance it underneath. The frame sections are crisp and clean. The Camaro platform is fairly uncluttered, and the side exhausts open things up even more. The tube headers, collectors and side exhausts are suitably racy and modern, though the blackout panels in the mouths of the pipes are too flush and don’t look as real as the rest of the car. I would have liked to see a few more modern touches incorporated into the suspension. John talks about wishing for coil-overs, and those would be killer, but even a set of subframe connectors would be cool. The transmission helps a lot, though: a state-of-the-art Tremec (formerly Borg-Warner) T56 six-speed backs up the burly 383 engine.

Let’s turn to the rolling stock. The soft-rubber tires have a very believable aggressive street tread. Overshadowed by the glitzier pieces but deserving of praise is the tire size: this car has wide, low-profile tires—245/40-18s up front and 295/35-18s out back—but they’re totally appropriate for real-world ride and performance in this category. I doubt that the GMP guys were tempted to slap on pizza-plate dubs or steamroller slicks, and the car is vastly superior for it. Other die cast manufacturers take note: when upsizing your rollers, keep it real, and use restraint like this!

And now, those wheels … oh my! GMP is rightly proud of its relationship with Billet Specialties. These wheels are stunning—maybe the best execution I’ve seen on a die cast of any scale. The only brand that even comes close is Exoto. I looked them over with a magnifying glass, and even then they looked flawless. The fine cut-lines on the spokes are crazy! John told me they lathed the hub as one
piece and then CNC’d the spokes separately. The CNC cut-lines were left in and not smoothed to preserve the vane pattern on the spokes. Even the lugs are separate pieces. Behind the wheels are slotted and drilled big brakes with red Brembo-esque calipers that would be a highlight on most cars, but behind those wheels they are hardly noticed.

WRAPPING UP

Pro Touring is such a force that it’s no wonder it has come to die cast; the bigger wonder is, what took so long? Now that it is here, the time is right for an emerging model to champion the genre, and this is that model. It isn’t perfect by any means (which model ever is?), but it is the first premium Pro Touring die cast, and it perfectly captures the essence of the movement. Get yours, quick; these won’t last.

GMP—Georgia Marketing & Promotions (800) 536-1637; gmpdiecast.com.

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM

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