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Camaro, Sonic fill the Chevrolet stand at SEMA

Tue, 01 Nov 2011

Custom Camaro and Sonic models lead the way at the Chevroletstand at SEMA this year, with a green electroluminescent Hot Wheels Camaro leading the pack.

The paint on the Hot Wheels car was not actually plugged in to an electrical source to make it glow so bright, but it sure seemed like it was. The idea was to get the same metallic finish that shined on the first 1:64 scale Hot Wheels Camaro, one of the original 16 die-casts that debuted from Mattel in 1968. Four painters worked spray guns while the body of the 2012 coupe rotated on a rotisserie. What you see is one of the upper layers of coating, a chrome finish with ionized metal tinted green dubbed Spectraflame. Look closely and you'll see a subtle flame job, too.

"We do this to kind of see what you can do with paint," specialty vehicles design director Phil Zak said.

General Motors designers collaborated with their counterparts at Mattel to complete the design. Some cues are lifted straight from the same Hot Wheels model you used to crash as a kid: the hood, the big black racing stripe down the middle, the red stripe around the back, and those wild-looking wheels. The LED lamps and fascia are there to remind you that the Camaro is sold in Europe.

Among the Sonics on the stand, we liked the Pratt & Miller Super 4 best. It had a lowered suspension meant for racing, with 18-inch wheels and tires and a Chevrolet Z-Spec ground-effects and wing package. It looked ready to enter the many B-Spec racing series that look set to go in 2012, competing against Mazda 2s, Ford Fiestas, Honda Fits, Fiat 500s and Kia Rios.

Several Sonics sported Z-Spec performance, styling and personalization parts available now at Chevy dealers. Other parts were concepts that may or may not make it to Chevy showrooms. The Z-Specs 1 and 2 were loaded with them. The Z-Spec 4D concept was a sedan, showing that customization isn't limited to the more stylish hatchbacks.

This was the second year in a row that Chevy has won the "Hottest Car" award from SEMA, given to the most accessory-friendly vehicle based on the volume of accessory parts on exhibit. The car in question was the Camaro, but if you gave the award to a class of vehicles, don't be surprised if those little B-Spec Sonics lead the way next year.

By Mark Vaughn