There is no doubt that automotive customization is a fluid art form. When you can see little old ladies with iridescent pink and sky blue hairdos cavorting up and down Miami Beach in convertible Chrysler Sebrings, you know that auto art is in the eye of the beholder. For some, all-but-stock-appearing vehicles with drastically ramped performance is the ultimate goal for customization, while radically altered chassis, suspension, and interior accruements are the standard for others less interested in competitive racing. All of which solidifies the subjectivity of auto personalization.
Brian Davis of Louisville, Kentucky, has tried to wave the banner of "I wouldn't modify a car past the point of no return." Meaning, that were he to alter or customize a car of his own, he wouldn't journey past the point of not being able to return the car to stock trim. He also claimed he wouldn't modify a car past anything that couldn't be offered by the factory. But Brian failed to adhere to these two credos with his '96 Collector Edition. Brian once owned a '93 40th Anniversary Edition Vette, which was his second Corvette. But with the introduction of the new C5 in the fall of 1996, Brian got the itch to "trade up." But his efforts were sidetracked by a LT4-equipped '96 Collector Edition that sat on the showroom floor.
Dealerships had loaded up on the final year of the C4 body style, trying to get their allocation up for the new C5s. They were also hoping with the impending demise of the chassis that many enthusiasts would rush to snatch them up. Rather, the opposite occurred as many placed their names on waiting lists in anticipation of the new super-sleek coupes and roadsters, leaving the dealerships with an over abundance of C4s. One of those overstock Corvettes was the aforementioned silver on Torch Red interior Collector Edition. It was "that Torch Red [that] just set off the [Sebring Silver Metallic] paint, along with having a LT4 and a stick. it was love at first sight," says Brian. After taking possession of the Collector Edition, Brian immediately purchased a set of aftermarket Enkie V1 three-piece chrome rims. Other than the new rims, Brian says, "no modification should look like it comes from the factory," because, "if you're going to do anything else, you're going to screw it up for sure."
Equipped with a bevy of factory goodies to offer the pilot a sure and comfortable ride, the C4 Corvette came equipped with power driver and passenger sport seats, dual removable roof panels, F45 Selective Real-Time damping, a low tire pressure warning indicator, a Bose CD player, and a spare tire delete. Brian started mildly, adding an expensive red background for the dash gauges and a silver carbon-fiber dash kit, along with a Momo Sphere-style leather shift knob (with a fine red pinstripe applied by Brian himself).