I have waxed on about this before. One of the Top 3 coolest things about this truck is its name. Champ. CHAMP! That is one awesome name. No numbers or dashes, no overly-descriptive names evoking a wilderness trek. Just Champ. It means that if you don’t have this specific Studebaker truck, second place is all it can hope for. The only word that can really accompany the name Champ starts with an “F” and ends with “cking” and there might be a “u” in there somewhere. Yeah, this truck is the F_ _ _ _ _ _ Champ.
And thank goodness it is this truck that got the name and designation. Because it is fantastic. Maybe the best, most unique front grill a pickup has ever sported. It was built for comfort, something other pickups of the era didn’t strive for. The cab was made from a sedan that was essentially cut in half. I have seen a couple in person, and they don’t disappoint. It is a truck that looks like none other, and in a good way.
Too bad they didn’t sell well, as the Champ lasted only four years, from 1960 to 1964. So thank goodness it lives on as a very good-looking Hot Wheels model.
The Champ does seem to be a unique Hot Wheels choice among a sea of Fords, Chevys, Dodges, Toyotas, and even Datsun trucks. Those are all well-known pickups, and the Studebaker definitely isn’t. Knowing that there is a story behind almost every Hot Wheels casting, there has to be one behind the Champ. In fact, there is.
The Champ was created by a Hot Wheels Team member as an homage to someone special this person really loved and admired. When this father-figure passed away, he was restoring a ’63 Champ, apparently in aqua, and the Champ was added to range in 2011 as an homage to that truck and that person. The truck debuted in red, and was later recolored in said aqua. Of course it was given the Hot Wheels race treatment with a covered bed, black rims on Good Year tires, as well as a lowered racing stance. Those three colors of the 2011 debut remain one of my all-time favorite Hot Wheels pickups.
We’ve had a few versions since its stellar debut, including a couple of Pop Culture releases, and really nice Boulevard version, and another basic version last year. It is a casting that I think deserves a ton of love, like as a Super Treasure Hunt, or in more premium outfits.
Well, here comes another premium version, and it is a must-have. Next week, on March 1st at 9 AM Pacific Time, RLC members, including you new members who just signed up, or need to sign up (quickly), will be able to buy the brand new HWC exclusive Special Edition ’63 Studebaker Champ.
6000 have been made, and it is definitely a premium version. Instead of sitting in a blister, the Champ has been nestled nicely into an acrylic case, which is protected by a fantastic Studebaker-themed box, which sits in another protective Studebaker-themed box.
And that is just the packaging. What’s even better is the model. I have expressed my opinion on the Neo Red Line wheels in the past, essentially saying I like Real Riders much better, unless they look appropriate on the model. Here, they look great. Classic as all get out. Add to that some racing decals, a Red Line logo, painted interior, and an awesome matte black roof, hood, and grill. The model is beautiful.
Yes, this model is not cheap by Hot Wheels standards. $19.99 plus shipping is definitely not a $1 basic. But if you are a packaging collector you will quickly see that it is worth it. Same goes for those of you who are openers. The model itself is such a stunner. Think about it this way. Get it now for $20, or pay a lot more once you realize how great it is and regret not getting one. This may not be a hyperfast sellout, but there will be a time when getting one will be very difficult. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in that situation somewhere down the line.
Be a Champ! Get a Champ!