So you’ve found an old Hot Wheels car at a garage sale. You tried to find out more information but nothing matches the year on the base. This is a very common issue with all Hot Wheels.
The year is not an indication of when it was manufactured. It is the year that the casting design was copyrighted.
In the example, the ’57 Chevy has 1976 on the base. The first Hot Wheels ’57 Chevy wasn’t released until 1977. Most ’57 Chevys, regardless of when they were made, have 1976 on the base. In most instances, the date is one year before it’s initial release. The example above wasn’t produced until 2009 and was part of a 10 pack release.
A ZAMAC car is basically an unpainted car. ZAMAC is the material that Hot Wheels are casted from.
The term ZAMAC car was first used in 1998. There were 25 carded versions available at the ’98 convention along with a baggy Zamac and a 4 ZAMAC car set. Kay-Bee Toys also had some 2 car sets (Same casting, one painted, one unpainted or ‘ZAMAC’). In 2004, Mattel released some of the First Editions in ZAMAC. These were a Toys ‘R Us Exclusive but were later found at Target stores as well. In 2013, Walmart issued 18 unpainted mainlines for their exclusive ZAMAC series. These have a ZAMAC logo on the cards and are numbered 001 to 018. Walmart continued these releases in 2014 and 2015 (18 cars each year). Walmart also issued a premium ZAMAC exclusive car for their Rewards program in 2013, 2014, and 2015.