Supercars and attainable performance during day one of SEMA 2012

The first day of our first day at the 2012 SEMA Show was filled with superhero-themed rides, DIY concept cars, and high-powered tuner cars. We can't wait for day two!

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is easily the largest aftermarket car show in the world. Hundreds of customized cars (dinged-up daily drivers, glossy show cars, battle-scarred race cars, and bench racing dyno queens) crowd the Las Vegas Convention Center every year. It's nearly impossible to see it all, but that doesn't stop us from trying. So after filling up an SD card with snapshots, we've sorted out the best of the first day for your enjoyment.

The Camaros, Corvettes, Sparks, and Sonics that populated Chevrolet's booth may look extreme, but a closer look at their upgrades list shows a plethora of parts that you can order from your local Chevy dealer. This year's concepts could be in your garage by this time next year. And if you're feeling impatient, you can always just buy one of two new production Camaros that debuted as concepts as early as last year.

Hyundai has gone a bit off of the deep end this year, but what do you expect from the automaker that thrust the Veloster onto the tuner scene last year? This year, the automaker has three cars tuned by Cosworth and ARK packing around 400 horsepower each, and a mad Elantra GT that Bisimoto Engineering was able to coax into producing over 600 wheel horsepower.

Mazda chose an unlikely, yet logical canvas for its themed show cars: the all-new CX-5. Three CX-5s have been lightly modified to better suit the active lifestyles of its target audience, including one that is named after and inspired by actor Patrick Dempsey. Those wanting a bit of motor to go with their sports should check out the MX-5 Super 25 concept and those who scoff at the thought of being impressed by a Miata can check out the modern classic Mazda 787 prototype racer.

Kia's Batman-themed Optima SX gets four new friends and the automaker's Justice approaches completion. These custom Kias inspired by the Green Lantern, the Flash, Cyborg, and (don't laugh) Aquaman have to be seen to be believed.

Over in Honda's booth, a pair of concepts (one track ready and the other a street fighter) that the 2013 Acura ILX is the Honda Civic. At least, that's the car that automaker is pushing this year. I have to admit that it was odd not seeing a Civic anywhere in Honda's booth.

The 2012 SEMA Show continues throughout the week, so stay tuned to CNET's coverage of the show for even more sweet rides and tuner trends.

 

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