09 December 2022

LEGO® Icons review: 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Posted by Zachary Hill

The latest LEGO® Icons car pays homage to one of history's most influential American automobile designs. The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro oozes cool with its strong lines and powerful V8 engine and is still one of the manufacturer's most recognizable designs today.

10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 1969 represents the other half of a generations-long "pony car" rivalry: this centerpiece of car culture is General Motors' answer to the Ford Mustang, which appeared as a Creator Expert car in 2019. Are you on team Chevy or team Ford? Either way, read on for the Camaro's new parts and smart building techniques, that are sure to appease both sides.

Products in this article were provided by LEGO®; the author's opinions are their own.
Chevrolet Camaro Z28
US$169.99/ £149.99/ 169.99€/ AU$249.99
1456 parts
26 Jul 2022
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We'll cruise through the build further down; first let's look at the new elements. Just a handful of new parts grace the Camaro, including several recoloured elements and a wheel arch which embodies the long flared fenders of the full-sized car.

New Mould in 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

  • 4x Vehicle, Mudguard 10 x 4 x 2/3 with Horizontal Arch Curved (6369942 | 80567)
This shape is the first instance of a mudguard element oriented with its studs not facing up. It's more like a 2-plate-thick tile made to be placed sideways on the car — fitting for Sven Franic's Z28 Camaro design which has sides mostly built with studs facing outward.

The symmetrical 4 x 10 fender piece, complex as its shaping may appear, fits nicely into the LEGO System. Two recessed 1 x 2 cutouts offer studs on top, and each upper inside corner has a 4 x 3 L-shape of antistuds. The lower curve matches 2-module-long curved slopes and the inside track fits two 3 x 3 macaroni curves separated by straight 2-module space. The flared edge extends half a plate outward. This piece certainly looks automotive in nature but it has potential as minifig-scale architectural details, spaceship engine cowlings and more.

Unique Prints in 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

  • 2x Tile 2 x 2 with Groove with 3 Silver Grills Pattern in Black (6312724 | 3068bpb2048)
  • 2x Tile 1 x 4 with 3 Silver Stripes Pattern in Transparent Red (6315054 | 2431pb805)
Only two unique prints made it into the Icons Camaro, both representing special headlights and taillights which came with the Chevrolet's Rally Sport option. With this package, retractable headlight covers (the black tiles) conceal the headlamps until the lights are switched on. On the real car, activating the lights pulls their covers inward behind the grille, and since the covers have cutouts in them, the radiator continues to receive airflow and the lights can shine through even if the mechanism fails. It's a smart design that might get past the anti-popup headlight regulators of today like the Ferrari Daytona SP3's retractable eyelids did, if it weren't for the Camaro's pedestrian-unfriendly angular front end. Speaking of which, there's some impressive geometry in creating that front end - more on that after the new parts.

Recoloured Parts in 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

  • 4x Wheel 30mm D. x 14mm (6384305 | 56904)
  • 4x Cone 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 2/3 Truncated (6411301 | 33492)
Nestled nicely under the new mudguards are 30mm wheels and stout 1 x 1 cones seen for the first time in Cool Silver Drum Lacquered/ Metallic Silver. Chrome best befits classic muscle, though silver ink is the next best thing.

  • 2x Slope 33 2 x 4 Double (6407991 | 3299)
  • 1x Slope 33 2 x 2 Double (6407992 | 3300)
  • 2x Arch 1 x 2 Inverted (6364637 | 78666)
  • 1x Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front (6382785 | 79128)
  • 2x Brick, Modified 1 x 1 with Bar Handle (6267415 | 28917)
Dark Red is prominent in the Camaro's interior, though the colour isn't as well-used as it is in 10290 Pickup Truck. Last year's Icons truck brought over a dozen parts to the colour — some of which reappear in the Camaro's seats and center console. Mainly used to complete the plush interior in its sultry colour scheme, the five moulds above appear for the first time in Dark Red. The one exception? The handle bricks aren't found in the car's interior.

  • 2x Technic, Liftarm Thick 1 x 2 - Axle Hole (6295148 | 40147)
Hidden under the engine you'll find two Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise Technic liftarms used as steering components. The dark red handle bricks from above keep the functional steering from veering too far in a similar fashion to other recent Icons and Creator Expert cars' designs, though the reason for recolouring these components isn't clear. Are they a favourite colour of Sven's? Used elsewhere in sets to come? Recoloured just because it's fun? Regardless of the reason, new parts in teal are always welcome.

  • 2x Minifigure, Utensil Axe, Pick End (6401960 | 39802)
  • 2x Ice Pop (6401957 | 32981)
Two shapes clearly not living up to their names in this set are new in Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray. The ice lollies form the Camaro's side mirrors and simply having two is where the customization begins: all 1969 Camaros rolled off the assembly line with only a driver's side (left for the US) mirror installed. A right-hand side mirror was a dealer-installed option.

The fire axes appear moulded in a single colour for the first time. Previously only available in combined silver and red plastic, the axe notches opposite the blades fit snugly up against the rear bumper as vertical supports, nicely framing the license plate.

Rare Parts in 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

  • 2x Technic, Brick Modified 1 x 2 with Hole and 1 x 2 Plate in Bright Red/ Red (6385920 | 73109) in four sets
  • 1x Technic, Axle and Pin Connector Toggle Joint Smooth in Dark Stone Grey / Dark Bluish Gray (6353304 | 53501) in three sets
  • 3x Tile 2 x 2 Corner in Dark Red (6369265 | 14719) in four sets
  • 4x Plate, Modified 1 x 1 with Open O Clip Thick (Vertical Grip) in Dark Red (6359695 | 44860) in five sets
  • 4x Bracket 2 x 2 - 1 x 2 Centered in Dark Red (6359692 | 41682) in five sets
A handful of pieces in the Camaro appear in fewer than five sets, with the clip and bracket both also present in 10290 Pickup Truck and 10294 Titanic. The Technic toggle joint is found strictly in vehicles after appearing first in 42129 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck last year.

Building the Chevrolet Camaro Z28

For builders who have enjoyed the long-running Creator Expert and Icons cars, you'll find many of the same techniques as in previous cars. After all, New Elementary alum Sven Franic also designed Icons 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van and 10300 Back to the Future Time Machine so I suppose it's fair to say he's just as into cars as some (not all!) current members of New E.

One such recurring Creator Expert and Icons feature is the functional steering introduced on none other than the Camaro's competitor, 10265 Ford Mustang. At the bottom of the above image you can see the recoloured elements mentioned earlier: teal Technic liftarms and dark red handle bricks. The customizable Camaro lacks the hop-up rear suspension found on the Mustang, so steering is the only Technic mechanical system installed in the car.

With a visceral THUNK akin to a Camaro's shifting Powerglide transmission, two hinge bricks are inserted to rest atop a complex support system for the front of the cabin. Holding up the hinge brick tops are bulb elements (29380) inserted into Technic half pins, which are in turn inserted through 2 x 3 hole plates to keep the dashboard and windshield from budging, even when building the car as a roofless convertible.

When this set was unveiled, the geometry of the front grille had us at New E properly confounded. After all, putting bricks at the subtle angle of the '69 Camaro's nose without unsightly wedge stud gaps isn't an easy thing to do. Shown here partially built, the solution Sven employed uses 6 x 2 wedges (78443/78444) turned almost 90 degrees and reconciled with the main body's grid via hinge plates. 4 x 4 wedge plates (41822) fill the center gap and other assorted plates fill the rest of the symmetrical bumper with just two studs showing.

As you approach the end of the build, you're offered a number of customization options much like 10265 Ford Mustang and 10295 Porsche 911. Superchargers and spoilers are not options in this set, instead builders pick either a hardtop or a convertible, one of three stripe colours, a black or yellow license plate, and open or closed headlights. Custom red or grey stripes look handsome on the black paint, though the only true factory stripe colour on a black '69 Camaro is white. If cool factor affects your decision, instructions for hanging fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror only come with the hardtop.

If you choose to build the Camaro in fixed-roof flavour you'll notice a new connection affixing the rear window to the trunk. The small bar sections at the forward end of the trunk are three relatively new Vehicle, Bases 2 x 4 with Suspension (69963) which form the turnable suspension of a few recent LEGO City cars, buggies, and ATVs. The Icons Camaro is the second set to eschew the turning function, the other being Buzz Lightyear's 76832 XL-15 Spaceship which uses them only as greebles. Here ordinary clips are placed where the axle counterpart (69964) would reside to make a surprisingly strong angled connection.

Building the open-top version instead? The suspension bases are still installed but nothing clips to them. This leaves more room in the trunk, a surprise for a convertible!

Test Driving the finished Chevrolet Camaro Z28

With small gaps and smooth bodywork, 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 keeps in the Creator Expert and Icons tradition of being a perfect representation of its pony car parent. Some new tricks add even more realism to this model compared to its predecessors, such as a small mechanism to restrict door movement to the degree shown above.

The body is a smidge narrow by about half a brick when compared to the proportions of a real Camaro but the spirit is certainly the same. Black is a sleek colour but it's not the colour I would choose to build this car in. Other colours have a stronger association with the Camaro (I'd pick Hugger Orange) but neutral black was likely chosen to allow more customization.

The intelligent aforementioned trickery in the front bumper comes together to form the exact subtle angle seen on the real car. All that impressive geometry sits cleanly away and shows just four studs on the car's front, of only eight total visible on the convertible's exterior.

Even with the bumper geometry extending backward under the engine, a race-ready 302-cubic-inch Chevy small-block is stuffed into a neatly-designed engine bay. Around the circular air filter is a ring representing the rubber seal which would fit up against the Super Scooper cowl induction hood. Other details here include an alternator and a radiator shroud with a "CAUTION" sticker reminding you to not let your flowing 1960s locks be swallowed by a V8-powered fan.

Plenty of other authentic badges, lights, and body pieces have been miniaturized as stickers in the Icons Camaro. The low number of printed pieces might be a bother to some (I don't really mind stickers) but there are a number of details missing to build the most authentic Camaro experience. Cars with the Rally Sport package — this one is even if you build it without headlight covers, as the taillights are a dead giveaway — feature a prominent "RS" emblem on the center of the grille and "rally sport" lettering where this set has "Camaro" badges on the front fenders.

© 2020 Motor Trend. Owner Steve Shauger

Letting builders customize their own Camaro is likely the main reason for excluding these specific badges, though the size of those badges and the incidental overlap across bricks is just as much of a limiting factor. The only accent I'm really missing is one a new 1969 Camaro wouldn't be seen without: faux louvers on the rear fenders.

Those three chrome stripes ahead of the rear wheel would overlay the new fender piece and at least one piece forward of it. The missing "quarter gills" by no means make the car unrecognizable, but for diehard Camaro fans those iconic louvers are a telltale sign it's a '69.

Instead, other accents a gearhead would appreciate are scattered around the interior.

Hot rod magazines were all the rage for showing off the best muscle cars before the Internet. Full-colour pages of glossy paint and monstrous engines are a sight to behold even today, and the Icons Camaro comes with its own issue of "Model Team Magazine". This stickered tile hearkens back to a line of Creator Expert predecessors which rolled off the production line in 1986. The Model Team name lived until 1999, though the magazine's pictured 5541 Blue Fury hot rod was re-released in 2004 and a smaller version of it was a GWP in 2020.

The center console is host to a five-cent coin (road tolls or drive-in sodas, naturally) and a grey slope ahead of the shifter which plays the part of four oddly-located optional gauges in the real Camaro.

Two sprue marks on each front seat look suspiciously like burns from a bygone cigarette-tolerating era. These pockmarks are the backsides of 1 x 1 vertical clips (44860) and since it's a clip, the part can't be rotated to hide those smudges. If the piece were moulded with its sprue on top as some of its variations were, those sprue marks would be hidden inside the cushions. 

In addition to the functional hood and doors, 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 also sports an opening trunk almost big enough for a tire with its hubcap cone removed, or three to four minifigs. The new grey fire axes slide way under the trunk to keep just their heads exposed and two extended Technic connectors (65443) make perfect exhaust pipes, attached under the car.

Like real cars of the era and fellow Icons cars, the Camaro body sits atop frame rails. The frame of the Icons Camaro is made up of Technic bricks, a reliably sturdy solution which usually isn't worth closer inspection. However, both variations of the 6 x 8 Technic open brick (32532) which have either open or closed bottom pins arrived in my copy of the set. It's common to see parts with this variation so what's the big deal? A hole in a pin does offer an extra connection point. Despite the minor functional difference, both versions of the 6 x 8 Technic bricks here use the same Design ID: 32532.

Few builders may utilize such a niche connection (especially on these big ol' bricks) but it can be used to impressive effect: Markus Rollbühler placed three Belville bows on the front of a juggling jester using 1 x 2 plates' pin holes to create a Brickscalibur 2021 trophy.

Final Thoughts

Few cars can say they've had more of an impact on American car culture than the first-generation Chevy Camaro, and few LEGO cars are more accurate than LEGO ICONS 10304 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 1969. For the premium price on Icons vehicles, this £149.99 / $169.99 / 169.99€ 1456-piece set does what is expected for such a sum. A sturdy build with smart techniques faithfully recreates this piece of automotive history and even brings fresh ideas to the long-running adult-oriented car theme. If you're ready to hit the boulevard and are buying this set from LEGO.com,  please consider using our affiliate links, we may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop..

Meet me and my Camaro at the drive-in?
Editor: Chris Baginski

READ MORE: Caz Mockett heats up with new Monkie Kid sets and builds a holiday wreath

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  1. Not so easy to see from the pictures, but is it possible to connect a clip to the rounded fender flange area? It could look like the dimensions are like a bar

    1. Nope! The flange edge has square corners and is thinner than a bar, so it can't be connected with a clip. Would have opened up some interesting possibilities if so.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.