How M2 Machine’s IROC Camaro set nearly made me quit the brand

As a life-long diecast collector, I’m no stranger to bad quality. At one time or another, nearly every diecast brand has sold cars that wobble when they roll, have loose and missing parts, paint defects, ill-fitting moving parts, or casting defects — but I’ve never seen every one of those issues in a single car…...until I opened M2 Machines IROC Camaro 3-pack.

As a big third gen F-body fan, I was THRILLED to find the new M2 IROC set at a local Wal-Mart. The red, white, and blue Camaros looked so hella rad that I could physically feel my mullet growing by the minute. The packaging looked like it was straight out of an 80’s Chevy dealership and the cars were spectacular — so much so that I just HAD to open them. All was well until I cracked open that nice plastic display case and unscrewed the cars from the base…

At first glance everything might seem fine, but upon closer inspection the cars were riddled with issues…one model, the white car, was so bad I had to stop my unboxing video and address the problems before continuing with the review.

See my initial reaction around the 5:05 minute mark:

After 30 years of collecting 1/64th scale cars, I can confidently say it’s the worst quality 1/64th car I’ve ever opened. The casting design itself isn’t bad, but this particular car looks like it was put through a 80’s cocaine filled, Dirk Diggler Saturday night.

It’s wrecked. Like, really wrecked.

For starters, the body is completely warped. The car is angled up on the driver’s side and angles down on the passenger’s side, and the entire roof is smashed down and bent towards the passenger side of the car. This issue has caused the windshield to pop out of place, making the hood unable to be opened without manually smashing the window corner down until it clears the hood. The issue becomes even more apparent when the white car is lined up with the other two cars (that have issues of their own).

Line the trio up and the varying stances make it look like you’ve recreated Sloth’s front teeth from The Goonies.

The bent body should have been more than enough to get the car kicked off the quality control line, but the missteps continued.

The ill-fitting front lower valence has a big gouge out of it, the hood stripes are off-center, the black trim that goes around the bottom of the car is crooked on nearly all sides, and there is a plastic remnant from the car’s assembly hanging from the headliner area.

The rearend is a mess. The spoiler on all three cars don’t fit correctly and overhang the sides of the body by a noticeable amount. The white car’s spoiler has a chunk of paint missing, the license plate outline looks like it was painted using Microsoft Paint ’95, the tail light accent paint is off and chipped, and the driver side taillight was overly smashed when assembled causing the pink plastic to ooze out from under the taillight onto the bumper. The rear “TUNED PORT INJECTION” and “Z28” tampos were applied at an angle, causing them to be stamped on different parts of the bumper trim.

A shot taken from above shows how badly the rear spoiler attaches to the cars…and the red car was the best-built car of the trio. Big yikes.
Different angles show-off different issues. This photo shows how bad the blue car’s suspension installation is.

The white car is a complete write-off. The other two both have issues, with the red Camaro being the best of the bunch. The blue car must have made it down the same QC line as the white car, but apparently earlier in the shift as it has far fewer issues. It leans like a boxer after 12 rounds and rolls with the suaveness of a toaster. The rear wheels were assembled at a bad angle causing them to only touch the ground on the outer edge.

The blue car at maximum lean – it appears to lean more in this photo because I rolled it and a oblong front tire exacerbated the issue. It almost looks like it could tip over.

While the blue car’s major issue was the lean, both it and the red car have strange issues with their roll cages. The a-pillar bars on both sides of the car have this odd pinched spot on them. Not only does this make them look bad, it cheapens the whole profile view of the car.

The red car is my favorite of the three and came out of the factory with a slight lean and the crimped roll cage issue. Still disappointing, but much better than the other two.

After opening these three and being very disappointed, I had to stop and really contemplate what I was looking at. These problems didn’t occur in transit, or by a single rogue employee, or by some wild accident after assembly. No, these cars were painted and assembled as-is — that’s the maddening part. There was a chance to stop these cars from going out into the retailsphere, but it didn’t happen — and therein lies the bigger issue at hand.

These aren’t no-name Dollar Tree cars, they are premium, adult collectibles that cost $6-7 per car. I hate to be this blunt, but it’s bullshit. While M2 has improved their QC over the years, it’s not enough. The white car specifically should have never, NEVER, made it out of the factory. The fact that M2 has the actual audacity to think it’s okay to package this trash and sell it, is insulting. I deserve better, you deserve better, collectors deserve better. Hell, Chevy deserves better. If I worked for Chevy’s branding department and received that white car, I’d pull the license. End of story.

Today’s diecast market is way to competitive to be making these types of mistakes and I’m almost done giving M2 chances to do better. I’ve bought M2s since they first appeared in retail stores around 2008/2009, but it’s getting tiring being disappointing by products I spend good money on. If this was the first time I had received a less than perfect product from M2 I’d be more forgiving, but unfortunately it’s not — and from the comments on competing diecast brand’s Facebook groups, I’m not alone in receiving subpar products from M2.

It’s truly a shame because these Camaros could be so good (I even chose the red IROC as one of my Lamley Top 10 Castings I added to my collection in 2020 because I thought it was so well done). M2 did a good job nailing the overall design of the car and the LS power-plants are such a welcomed addition. The cars also feature a cool rear axle design that allows the chassis to accommodate a stock sized tire, as well as a beefier rear tire, with the use of a thinner center diff area, almost “tubing” the car….but it doesn’t really make a difference what rear end is in a car if the entire body is warped and leaning to one side.

So what’s next? Do I give M2 another chance or just stop buying the brand all together? I want so badly for M2 to succeed as I am a fan of so many of their castings — including this IROC casting — but don’t know how much longer I can continue to deal with the often poor quality I receive.

I want to hear from you: what would you do if you received that white IROC? Does quality play a factor in your diecast purchases or are you okay with some shoddy construction if you collect the particular model? Let me know in the comments below.

Why couldn’t all three cars look as good as this?!

13 Replies to “How M2 Machine’s IROC Camaro set nearly made me quit the brand”

  1. One thing that works in M2 vehicles’ favor is the ability to take them apart and perform your own QC. I’ve had to disassemble & refit multiple Skylines & Datsun 510s just so the hood opens or so the interior is somewhat straight. Granted, at this price we shouldn’t have to, but when I get a Hot Wheels model with ill fitting windows or bad rollcage, there’s nothing I can do short of drilling the car apart. M2 will create models the other companies aren’t or not often enough (I LOVE the ’66 Charger gasser they just did). That’s what keeps me going back.

  2. I gave up on M2. It became tiring opening up a package to have loose parts fall out, doors break off, and so many other dumb things. It’s 2021. There is no excuse for a “premium” brand to suffer so triumphantly.

  3. I’ve not been impressed with M2 quality for the reasons mentioned above and rarely, if ever, purchase them anymore. And PLEASE stop using the screw-down platforms. They add no value and perhaps contribute to quality issues—see wobbly wheels. For $6-$7 per car, we shouldn’t have to take them apart to fix them.

  4. The 50’s era sedans M2 came out with when they first started showing up, were so impressive that I thought I might start collecting M2’s even though they scale much larger than my other diecast. Then I found out that they were doing chase models too. I knew from collecting hw’s, that the collection is not complete until you get the chase, which I rarely find and will not pay premium price for in the secondary market. So, my initial M2 sedans are a prized part of my diecast collection, but I do not get any other M2’s. The square body trucks and IROCs have been tempting. HW does the IROC very well and needs to release some more paint varies. Auto world also has nice ones that scale well with the HW. The nicest in my collection is the rlc IROC which is outrageously priced, but is very well done.

  5. Vote with your money. If people stop buying them, they’ll listen. You can send them a hotlink to your post (in case they aren’t aware of their issues) and the fact that it’s getting exposure will hurt more. Personally, I wouldn’t consider them. Tons of die cast manufacturers make what I’m looking for in top quality:value ratio and M2 isn’t one of them.

  6. Even though this was more of a ranty post, I completely agree with you and I feel you. I’ve had multiple troubles with unscrewing the cars from the plastic bases (sometimes the screws do not want to come loose no matter how hard I try). I also had hard times with removing the clear box that goes on top of the base (they were so hard to remove that I had to use pliers to get the clear box separated). I do think the cases look nice and give the car a somewhat prestige feel and they also allow for more storage options, but I sometimes wish the cars came without the cases and the case was just an optional extra for those who don’t want to through the hassle of having a hard time separating the car from the base. I also heard about M2 having shoddy build quality compared to its competitors. I remember having a dark blue M2 1949 Mercury Coupe with a passenger side door that does not want to stay shut.

  7. I’ve been buying M2 product since the beginning, and nearly gave up on them as well at one point over these kinds of issues.

    However, there has been a vast improvement in their QC over the last year or two. I’ve had very little to complain about recently. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

    .

  8. I don’t have any M2s in my collection for this very reason. Every time I look at them in the store I see wonky construction, sloppy details and loose and broken pieces floating around in the boxes. I certainly can’t justify spending $10+ for something like that.

    I remember being interested in a certain release of their ’59 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan. I looked in every Walmart I went to for a month, and never found a single sample that met my standards for quality, which I don’t think are unreasonable given the price point and the quality I see from some other manufacturers.

    I hope M2 see these comments and make some changes. The squeaky wheels get the grease, after all.

  9. That experience is so disappointing. The only car I’d really want is the more stock-looking white one, and it is totalled from the get-go. I used to buy a lot more M2 years ago, but am completely bored by the endless sponsor deco muscle cars. Evidently I’m in the minority, because they seem to sell well at all locations carrying them.

  10. Great review! No, QC issues are NOT okay. I do tolerate errors (even TLV has them), but the 1:64 diecast marketspace is very competitive these days. AW cars are simpler and higher quality. GL – well, at least they product lots of new castings with amazing liveries (QC is well….bad – as is casting quality on many cars). But then you have Mini GT selling for only 30% more – with very good quality. I think M2 either needs to simplify their castings to improve QC or raise the price and improve QC that way. Personally, I had exactly the same lean on the blue car, but if I push the wheels all the way out it sits reasonably okay on one part of the tires. My red one leans like yours. Luckily my white one was almost perfect. If the Asian brands start producing US casting then M2 may be toast…

  11. Unacceptable in this day and age, I collect M2s, but these would be sent back to the M2 headquarters with a letter asking for a job in QC, because no-one is doing their job properly.

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