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Franklin Mint 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Page 2

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The upgraded interior package plays well in the Franklin Z28—nice detail and good use of color.
All Camaros feature a crowded trunk. The F70-15 Goodyear tire takes up much of the space. Great touches are the correct factory stickers on the inner lid.
The handsome lines and race-bred stance makes the 1970 Camaro Z28 a car that has an improving desirability status. This 1:18 scale version is definitely the best we’ve seen.

Engine compartment. The crown jewel of the Z28 package was the 350ci LT-1 engine with 360 horsepower—and that was understated; some estimates put the number closer to 400. It was the highpoint for the classic era, as emission standards and insurance premiums forced horsepower down in following years. Franklin’s version packs an equally potent punch. The twin-horned air cleaner is decorated with the correct factory stickers. Under the giant chrome-plated dish is an aluminum painted hi-rise intake manifold that feeds the 11:1 compression pistons. Franklin resisted the urge to overdo the engine compartment.

There are just enough bright trim pieces to reflect an accurate account of what Chevy intended for its street screamer. A few items could have been better represented: a modern-style sealed battery sits in place of the factory-spec unit with its top-filler caps and side terminals. Although Franklin didn’t include all of the lines, wires and cables, there are plenty to get the flavor without all of the clutter.

Trunk. Few Camaro enthusiasts would agree that the trunk space in the second generation was an improvement over the ’67 to ’69s. It is just barely large enough for a couple of cruise-night lawn chairs and a detail bucket. This was mainly because of the full-size spare that took up the lion’s share of the space. Franklin used the same theory and filled the cavity with a Goodyear F60-15 tire. Missing is the trunk mat that came standard with the Custom interior option. The area looks as if it’s coated in gray Zolatone (which is more likely to have been the case after the car’s original owner ripped the mat apart trying to stuff anything into such a tight area). On the underside of the trunk lid are the two factory stickers: one for proper jack usage and the other is a caution regarding Positraction. It’s a nice touch to see both, but the positions should be reversed for accuracy.

Chassis, tires & wheels. Just as important as the engine upgrade for the ’70 Z28 was the Camaro’s suspension, tires and wheels. Significant improvements included a rear swaybar, five-leaf rear springs, stiffer front springs and improved shock dampers. Underneath, this Z28 is above average but not overwhelming. Proper use of color gives the undercarriage visual appeal. The correct spring and anti-sway package seems to be in place. An aluminized exhaust-system ending in a pair of chrome-plated tips looks factory installed. The 12-bolt Posi rear end (10 bolts were used beginning in ’71) dominates the back half. The front suspension is well done, and the steering works very smoothly.

There is, however, a major absence under this Z28. If this were the full-scale version, it could rocket from 0 to 60 in 6.8 seconds—but there would be no way to stop. Franklin omitted the front disc brakes and rear drums. There is nothing behind the perfectly depicted Z28 wheels with blue bowtie centers and Goodyear Polyglas GT tires. This was a disappointment but not enough to keep the diecast off my shelf.

SPECS

Scale: 1:18
Length: 10.25 in.
Wheelbase: 6.125 in.
Width: 4 in.
Height: 2.5 in.
Price: $69
Varies with dealer


FEATURES
» Operational steering
» Opening doors, trunk and hood
» Rolling wheels

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

Body, paint 5

Wheels, tires 4

Engine 3.5

Chassis, suspension, undercarriage 3.5

Interior 3.5

Presentation, proportion, stance 4

Collectibility 3.5

WRAP-UP
Collectors of modern muscle have an affinity for 1970; so many signature cars were released that year: Boss Mustangs, ’Cudas, Challengers, Chevelles, Roadrunners, GTXs and a new Camaro were all part of the great rollout. In the realm of pony cars, auction prices favor the ’Cuda AAR and Boss 302 over the Z28. In reality, the street version Z28 was the class of the field. For the time being, Franklin Mint can claim the same of its model of the second-generation Camaro. The diecast version has incredible shelf appeal and makes a strong statement for Chevy’s performance-car leadership in an era before the EPA and insurance industries took over the automotive world.

The Franklin Mint (888) 771-6468; franklinmint.com

Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM

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