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"Go to any Corvette enthusiast event and you will have a hard time finding a factory-stock vehicle," said Chris Perry, VP of global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet. This impetus to personalize our rides is fueled by things like the SEMA show, where the aftermarket offers a dizzying array of possibilities. At this year's extravaganza, Chevrolet has brought two special Corvette models that help underline how and why this car has become such a major feature on the American motoring landscape.

The Carlisle Blue Grand Sport Concept celebrates exactly the kind of enthusiast bash to which Perry was referring, the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, meet that has been taking place in late August for 30 years and is one of the largest annual Corvette events in North America. This car comes in a new exterior color for 2012 only, Carlisle Blue Metallic, set off with pearl white racing stripes and silver wheels. This color might not come out well in photos, but it's a kind of gorgeous metallic/mica finish. True to its "Grand Sport" name, an aerodynamic body kit includes a front splitter and rear wing. Although this is a show car, all the installed components - including things like the Cyber Gray headlamps and the racing pedals - are available over the counter.

The Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows "Hall of Fame" Tribute model is more esoteric. Its graphics feature the on-track accomplishments of renowned 'Vette racer, Ron Fellows, who was inducted into the National Corvette Museum's Hall of Fame this year. But other items - such as the seats and suede-trimmed steering wheel - are part of the 2012 Centennial Edition Package. In celebration of the Chevrolet badge's 100th birthday, this treatment is available on all 2012 Corvettes and includes satin-look Carbon Flash paint with red highlights like the brake calipers and wheels.

See more coverage of the 2011 SEMA Auto Show.

 

COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.
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