Just a minute ago that title did say "The best Mattel '69 Camaro is a Matchbox", but come one, that's easy. The Hot Wheels '69 Camaro is...uh...okaaaayyyy, so the competition isn't that fierce.
Expand it out to all Mattel Camaros, and it is on. That Hot Wheels '70 Camaro is really nice, and there is a '67 Camaro some people seem to like. Even the '85 Iroc is pretty darn nice.
But our vote goes to the Matchbox '69 Camaro. Not the dreadful convertible, but the awesome hardtop. For a lot of reasons. For one, it goes stock. At least as stock as a standard Matchbox can go. No large rear wheels, no lowered stance, and even an RS option (more on that later). It is solid, it is big, and it looks really damn good.
And when you look at what castings Matchbox has chosen the last 10 years, you think more Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and Austin Mini Van than you do a '69 Camaro. '69 Camaros are about as commonplace in diecast as anything else, and that is not what Matchbox seemed to be about.
But back in 2003, there was a sliver of time when the powers that be thought taking Matchbox in a premium direction was the way to go. Matchbox had been producing the Premiere line for awhile, and there was thought continuing that direction with models like the '69 Camaro, or 1970 Plymouth Cuda, or Mercury Cougar, or other signature muscle cars. Realism would be the goal, and the castings were made.
And all was set until the idea was killed. So Mattel had all these fantastic castings and nothing to do with them. Enter the New Superfast line in 2004. It was an ambitious plan, and one that worked for a few years, where Matchbox would do a separate 1-75 line of realistic models with realistic decos, and those muscle cars would be the series' anchor.
The '69 Camaro was used twice in the first Superfast line. There was an RS version with concealed headlights, and one with exposed headlights:
Yeah, the wheels on the first issue of Superfast left quite a bit to be desired, but we miss that line a ton now. The model selection and execution was fantastic. And the '69 Camaro was always part of it. In fact, this casting has never been part of the standard mainline. We have seen it in premium lines, 5-packs, and 10-packs, but nowhere else.
And that makes collecting the '69 Camaro somewhat difficult. Actually you can find most models on eBay, but if you are a completist and want all versions, there are some variations to look for. Variations like the wheel change on the Muscle Car 5-pack model:
Or the most difficult of all, the two headlight variations on the 2005 Burger Zone 5-pack in black:
(The RS version is the hardest of the two, but it is to the point now that finding either is difficult. Unless of course there is a 5-pack for sale right now. Which there is.)
Nonetheless, have a look at the photos. You may still have your Mattel Camaro preference, but there is no denying this one is a looker...
Matchbox '69 Camaro:
2004 Superfast RS
2005 Burger Zone 5-pack
2005 Superfast US
2005 Superfast ROW
2006 Superfast 5-pack
2009 Superfast America