Their 1:18 Scale 1967-68 Camaro Casting: Brilliant Optimization of Resources
By Frank Koh
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
The ingenious utilization of carefully-designed body castings in order to create numerous variants of a certain type of model is what spells maximum profitability. This is the story of a 1:18 scale casting by GMP, which was used in diverse automotive genre, including vintage Trans Am and road race cars, Pro Touring and concepts and a host of other themes.
Take a 1:18 scale Camaro body, slightly modify the fender contours and valance panels, lose the front and rear bumpers, design a variety of hoods and trunklids for relevant automotive applications and create various interiors, powertrains and undercarriage componentry and related systems and accessories to suit a daunting diversity of automotive themes. Then, suddenly you have one of the most versatile lines in model vehicle history. Trans Am and road racing legends, Pro Touring, custom vehicle and styling concepts, and more, all based on one body casting. It worked for the original Georgia Marketing & Promotions under the stewardship of founder Tom Long.
The GMP 1:18 scale 1967-68 Camaro body shell served as the basis for fabulous replicas of the #6 and #36 Penske Racing Camaros which included the car of 1968 Trans Am overall champion Mark Donohue, the #13 Smokey Yunick “cheater special”, the awesome Pro Touring cars from the GMP Street Fighter series, special commemorative models such as the Lateral-g.net car and the #08 Biante Touring Car Masters (TCM) tribute racer commissioned by Biante Models Australia, and much more, including today’s GMP releases as a subsidiary of Acme Models. One basic “tweaked” body style, so many possibilities!
Penske and Yunick
The winningest Trans Am racer of 1968, the #6 Penske Racing Mark Donohue car that won the championship that year. Next to the Penske is the infamous #13 Smokey Yunick ’68 Camaro that came in first on a few occasions but never won a race due to numerous equipment violations and disqualifications. Definitely not a matched pair, but it’s always cool to display these two long-discontinued GMP Camaros together.
The #6 and #36 Penske Camaros featured removable air cleaners so the owners of these models could better appreciate the intricate details of the 302 cubic inch Z/28 V8 engine, including of course the Holley 4-barrel carburetor. GMP thought of everything!
George Follmer drove this 1967 Camaro for Team Penske.
The classic, traditional Trans Am racers and the modern Pro Touring vehicles used the exact same basic body in all GMP variants of the ’67-’68 Camaro. Only the hoods, trunk lids, and of course the appropriate powertrains, suspension, wheels, grilles, lights, interior and other componentry differed from model to model. How ingenious of GMP to have designed the Camaro body to work perfectly on such diverse automotive themes!
Two of my favorite Pro Touring Camaros: the red 1967 Z/28-style coupe from the Street Fighter series, and the very exclusive green Lateral-g.net 1968 Camaro commemorative model, #995 of 996 units produced. Lateral-g.net, also known as the Protouring Network, is an online presence for Pro Touring modifications, culture and lifestyle.
All GMP had to do was design year-specific grilles for the 1967 and 1968 Camaros (plus the different taillights, of course), and instantly two different model years were created. The green Lateral-g ’68 Camaro was fitted with a “traditional” Small Block V8 with the Cross Ram intake and dual quads, whereas the red Street Fighter ’67 Camaro came with a more modern LS powerplant.
Everything opened on the GMP Camaros. Poseable steering, full diecast baseplates, complete engine wiring, plumbing, hoses and belts. Whether the theme was Pro Touring or Vintage Racing, all requisite componentry was finely and accurately replicated.
This one’s my favorite variant of this highly versatile GMP Camaro casting. It’s the Australian market-only Biante Touring Car Masters (TCM) series tribute car that celebrated the overall championship of Steve Mason, who piloted a first generation Camaro. This particular unit is #107 of 2008 pieces made. My uncle and aunt were so kind as to hunt down and procure this model for me when they went to Australia in 2008.
Dual quads and all the plumbing, tubing, braided and rubber hoses, belts, wiring and even the accurate hood hinges would serve as adequate motivation to display these lovely, exceptionally realistic GMP Camaros with their hoods in the open position.
The 1:18 scale miniature model of an American car (1968 Camaro), produced by an American company (GMP), commissioned by an Australian company (Biante Models) was only available in Australia! Two wonderful people from Texas went on vacation to Australia and bought it for me. What could be more special, and global, than that?
Since these Camaros were acquired, ACME Trading Company has purchased GMP, and several more variants of the casting have been issued