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2014 Corvette Stingray steals crowd’s heart at Chicago Auto Show

Damien Fisher sales representative for Napleton's AstMartDowners Grove sits 2013 silver DB9 2013 Chicago AuShow Sunday February 10 2013 McCormick

Damien Fisher, sales representative for Napleton's Aston Martin in Downers Grove, sits in a 2013 silver DB9 at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show Sunday February 10, 2013 at McCormick Place. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 12, 2013 6:26AM



They were together, onstage and on display, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Exhibit A: Tifarah Aragona. Blond. 6-foot-3 in heels. Wrapped in a bandage-style dress. She looked like a model, but she was billed as a “product specialist,” trained to answer all kinds of questions about Exhibit B.

Exhibit B: the 2014 Corvette Stingray. Torch Red. Just shy of 15 feet long. Curves in all the right places.

Guess which one drew more stares?

If you guessed B, you’d be right.

The crowd around the Seventh Generation Corvette on Sunday was as thick as at Taste of Chicago — if they were giving out free deep-dish and turkey legs. It was Chicago’s first look at the 2014 ’vette.

People held up their cellphones as if they were at a rock concert, asking Aragona to step away from the car so they could capture images of the sweet, sweet ride.

“There’s so many people around [who say], ‘Can you move out of the way? I want to get a full picture,’ “ Aragona said.

The interest in the new Stingray — redesigned with more aerodynamic curves than angles — illustrates an increasingly strong market, with a public that wants better fuel efficiency, style and safety, said David E. Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. Automotive sales for 2013 are forecast at 15.5 million nationwide, compared with 14.4 million last year, he said.

But statistics don’t explain the lure of the Corvette — especially a red one. (A 1998 book about the history of the car, by James Schefter, was titled: “All Corvettes are Red.”)

The mystique has only grown since the car rolled out in 1953. “It’s going to be the fastest base Corvette, and most fuel efficient. It can go from 0-to-60 in under four seconds,” Aradona told the gapers.

Todd Davis, 53, drove four hours from Robins, Iowa, to see it. He owns a 2008 model, but he’s already on his dealer’s list to buy the new one.

“I just think it’s a lot of performance for the money,” said Davis, a manager at Rockwell-Collins aviation. He races his Corvette in Autocross events. He likes the new model’s increased horsepower and torque — and it’s billed as getting 30 mpg on the highway.

Base price for the coupe will be well under $60,000, according to Chevy officials. “If you can afford the old one, you can afford this one,” Davis said.

The car drew fathers and sons together, like Paul Mendez, Jr., and Paul Mendez, Sr., both of Brookfield. They came to the Auto Show just to see the new model.

“The lines are just phenomenal,” said Paul Jr., a 15-year-old sophomore at Lyons Township High School.

Paul Sr., 56, plans to buy the car — if he wins the lottery. “It is a little difficult to get out of, with bad knees, but it’s worth it,” he said.

If the Corvette is a dream car, then how to describe the vehicles in the Auto Show’s “Supercar Garage?”

They aren’t what the other half drives. They are what the other half of the other half of the other half drives. Visitors could look but not touch — they were behind a Plexiglass fence.

There was a “Lambo” with enough horsepower to turbo-charge a bunch of rodeos. The Lamborghini Aventador, with a sticker price of $455,025, has an astounding 700 horsepower, and goes from 0-to-60 in 2.9 seconds.

The most expensive car was a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, with an asking price of $497,125. Ed Triwush of Steve Foley Motors in Northbrook outlined its features, including:

♦Lambswool floor mats and seats crafted of leather from Northern Europe (where there are fewer bugs and barbed wire fences to mar the finish.)

♦Concierge service in any major city. You can call your Rolls dealer, and they’ll make reservations for you at fine restaurants, rather than relying on GPS and your Smartphone.

♦A customized $1,600 umbrella that fits in a hidden compartment. The umbrella is perfectly calibrated to be pinned inside so it doesn’t create vibrations.

Gazing at the car popularized by James Bond were Anthony Green, 30, of Chicago, and his nephew, Dorien Baker, 13, of Homewood.

“I have an Aston Martin at my home in Cali — if I could travel back in time 20 years and perfect my jumpshot,” joked Green, who said he’s proud to sell cars at Arlington Kia.

Two 18-year-olds from St. Joseph, Mich. stood lost in reverie next to a McLaren 12C Coupe.

“Can you imagine picking a girl up for a date in that?” asked Mitch Conrad.

“Any girl you want,” said his friend, Stuart Coulston.



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