a Hot Wheels Camaro you can drive!

Mattel Inc. and Chevrolet are teaming up to produce a special Hot Wheels version of the 2013 Camaro. This is the first time the El Segundo company has licensed production of a Hot Wheels-branded car since the toy line arrived on retail shelves 44 years ago.

The Camaro, which will first be shown at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. show in Las Vegas this week, will be available early next year for about $37,000 to $44,000 depending on whether it is ordered with a six- or eight-cylinder engine. That's about $7,000 more than comparable versions of the Camaro.

The two companies won't divulge financial details of the venture, but both said they expected it to be profitable. Based on previous special editions, GM believes it could sell about 1,500 of the cars during the first six months of 2013.

Hot Wheels' red flame logo adorns the trunk lid and front panels. The 21-inch wheels have the same red stripe that has been a hallmark of the toy car since it first sold in 1968. Chevrolet also is using the red stripe to outline the grille. Inside, there are Hot Wheels logos on the passenger and driver door sill plates and embroidered into the front seats.

The original toy cars zipped down suspended orange tracks and were propelled by gravity, but the real-life version won't need a boost from physics. The eight-cylinder version can generate 426 horsepower.

Mattel has wanted to license a production Hot Wheels car for years, said Felix Holst, vice president of creative for the Mattel Hot Wheels division.

The toy company got its opening during a meeting with Chevrolet in which executives from the automaker said they were looking to do special editions of the Camaro. Previous limited runs included a car based on the distinctive yellow Camaro in the "Transformers" movies and a special high-end Neiman Marcus edition.

"There is a lot of shared history between Camaro and Hot Wheels," said John Fitzpatrick, Chevrolet's Camaro and Corvette marketing manager. Both the toy line and the car came out in the late 1960s, and Mattel has featured a Camaro almost continuously since then, Fitzpatrick said.

"If you lived your whole life playing with Hot Wheels, this is a chance to park one in your garage," Fitzpatrick said.  (Chevrolet photo) [10/29/2012]