We obsessively covered Day 1 of the 2012 SEMA Show
We'll have a whole 'nother helping of SEMA goodness for you tomorrow (and the tomorrow after that), but for now, have a look below at what we've managed to capture so far.
Scion made a huge investment in the 2012 SEMA show, and its spanking new FR-S coupe, by putting hundreds of cars in the hands of tuners. The result on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center is unmissable, as just about everywhere we turn we find another FR-S peeking out at us.
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the SEMA Zone.
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is known as "Smoke" to many, and the custom Camaro ZL1 he helped create for SEMA reflects his sometimes mysterious personality. Chevy design manager Dave Ross worked with Stewart to come up with not only the flat red and silver tribal theme, but the custom gray-metallic paint and the red-haloed headlights, as well.
If there's one legitimate complaint that can be hurled at the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport, it's that it has no more power than its less-sporty siblings. It's not that 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque isn't enough for good performance – as the GS 350's 5.7-second sprint to 60 can attest – it's that a separate model that's billed as a performance version could use a few bonus ponies to keep enthusiasts buyers from feeling snubbed.
It's easy to forget it was Holman & Moody that helped first put a Ford Mustang on track in competition. Well before Carroll Shelby ever spun a wrench on one of the pony cars, H&M served up a set of race engines for Alan Mann Racing. That team took four specially prepared 1964 notchback Mustang models to the 4,000-mile Tour de France Automobile and brought home first place in the Touring Car class. Holman & Moody have chosen to celebrate that milestone with a special 2014 Ford Mustang
It is unlikely that anybody has ever accused the Audi R8 GT of being a slow car, but like everything else on display at the SEMA Show – where the unofficial motto should be "if there's a will, there's a way" – Underground Racing has proven that fast can also get faster. Starting life as a 560-horsepower R8 GT, Underground Racing has developed four stages for the car ranging from a "mild" 700 hp up to a ridiculously wild 1,000-hp version... and that's just on pump gas.
Chevrolet Performance worked over the Chevrolet Sonic just for this year's SEMA show to create this B-Spec racecar concept. Built to conform to all of rules and regulations of the B-Spec subcompact classes in both the SCCA and the Grand-Am series, the five-door features new coilovers on all four corners with revised mounts, adjustable front stabilizer bar links and a rear axle shim kit. The requisite air inlet restrictor has also been shoved in place, and the ECM and EBCM have been recalibrated
What's so special about the customized Mustang you see above? Well, first of all, it's very well done – nicely designed and assembled with care – but that's not its main claim to fame. In an industry dominated by persons born with both X and Y chromosomes, the XXs don't want to be overlooked, and so this Ford Mustang Powered by Women came into existence.
We're all still a little taken aback at the sheer number of Scion FR-S mods we've seen at SEMA this year. Not only did the FR-S win the Best of Show award for the Sport Compact class, but based on gross tonnage the rear-drive Scion has got to be one of the most popular models in the tuner world today.
Electric carmaker Fisker has partnered with car-wrapping specialists 3M for an interesting demonstration of what could be at this year's SEMA festivities. As we reported in greater detail earlier, the folks from 3M are wrapping up the Karma in a few fairly wild shades and stripe packages, to have a little fun with the already drop-dead gorgeous Fisker.
Acura has used the occasion of this year's SEMA show to unveil a 2013 ILX that is remarkably different from the road-going car that we are familiar with. A far distance from the rather mildly performing street car, this ILX Endurance Racer is actually prepped to race at the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill in Willows, California.
There's a soft spot in our hearts for well-done resuscitation of vintage off-road iron. Perhaps the most notable company performing such restomod work is Icon 4x4, but the Californian outfit isn't the only company turning its attention to the down-and-dirty side of the vintage scene.
When Bisimoto took on the challenge of tuning the rather pedestrian Hyundai Elantra GT into a proper performance vehicle for SEMA, it took no half-measures. Rather than simply dropping in a turbocharger and bumping up output by 50 horsepower or so, the tuning house completely revamped the engine, added forced induction and fed the thing a bottle full of methanol. The result is a 600-horsepower car that has a singular appearance package to match its utterly jaw-dropping performance.
Chrysler first introduced us to its Ram Runner exactly two years ago at SEMA, but for buyers of this Raptor-like truck who don't want to go through dealerships for the upgrades, VWerks has just the thing. Looking every bit as mean as the dealer-built Ram Runner, the VWerks Ram KTS gets a wide-body treatment and upgraded off-road performance suspension similar to its Mopar contemporary.
Lexus has brought along a LFA Nürburgring Edition to its SEMA booth this year, apparently for no better reasons than to (a) show us the car in color other than the orange we saw for its Geneva debut and (b) let show-goers take turns running the car on a dynamometer. We'll admit, that last part is pretty good... we're waiting for the crowds to die down to take our turn, and to verify the alleged 562 horsepower output.
Hyundai has brought along two high-performance Genesis Coupes to the SEMA Show to augment is huge fleet of Velosters, Elantras and other modified Korean goodies. We've already dropped the knowledge on both the Cosworth Genesis Racing Series Concept (above, right in blue) – tuned by Cosworth, as you can probably tell – and the Genesis Coupe R-Spec (above, left) that was tuned by ARK Performance.
The 2013 Ford Fusion is a seriously pretty car, and every time we see one, we can't help but notice the styling influence from brands like Jaguar and Aston Martin. That said, the modified Fusions that Ford brought to this year's SEMA Show don't enhance the already attractive midsize sedan. In fact, to our eyes, it's quite the contrary.
Four Chevrolet Spark concepts lit it up at SEMA, celebrating Z-Spec accessories, five-kilometer runs, breast cancer awareness month and the mere awesomeness of being sinister. The Salsa Red Z-Spec Spark wore a basket of parts currently available from Chevrolet dealers like a ground effects kit, Carbon Flash and Dark Argent accented trim pieces, split-spoke wheels and a lowered suspension.
It seems the Pontiac Trans Am steadfastly refuses to die. Ever since Chevrolet was granted a retrofied Camaro to compete with the Ford Mustang, Pontiac lovers have lamented the loss of this 1970s icon. And, looking at the Hurst Edition from Trans Am Depot, shown here at the 2012 SEMA Show, may explain what all the fuss is about.
What does comedian Jeff Dunham have to do with cars? We have no idea. That said, his name is attached to a pretty cool concept that debuted here at the 2012 SEMA Show. Called UltraViolet, the project is a collaboration between Mopar, Chrysler's in-house performance division, Dunham and Palmer's Customs, and the automaker says no body panel was left untouched.
The 1940 Ford Coupe body shell from Ford Restoration Parts presents a clean canvas for those people who've always wanted the perfect hot rod. The durable body is a far better starting place than similar kits made from fiberglass, and is much easier to source than an original 70-year-old car.
What would a new toy be without tons of new toys to accessorize it with? That's the question Mopar asked about the 2013 SRT Viper, and they answered it with more than 50 Mopar add-ons to go over, in and under the 640-horsepower coupe. The straightforward and inexpensive includes the $158 black leather shift knob, $205 door sill guards and $325 fleece-lined car cover in a choice of three colors.
The Hyundai Veloster has been a popular base for customizers at this year's SEMA event, as its accessible performance and funky looks lend themselves to embellishment. But not all of the Velosters on the show floor are one-offs or flights of fancy; Hyundai has brought along this Re:Mix edition that will eventually show up on customers' option sheets.
Don't be confused; for every low, fast and/or sleek looking car at the SEMA show, there is at least one towing truck or SUV. The off-road and working vehicles of the world are well represented here in Las Vegas, as typified by this Ford F-250 XLT Crew Cab by Kelderman Air Suspension Systems and Tim Nicolau Designs.
We at Autoblog do love us some Mazda CX-5 – it is, without a doubt, the best-driving compact crossover in the segment. And since 2013 is the CX-5's first model year here in the States, it only makes sense that Mazda has used the 2012 SEMA Show to give us an idea of just how far its CX-5 can reach in terms of design and functionality.
The retro-coolness of the Fiat 500 is such that it naturally lends itself to customization. So, when we first heard tell that the company was preparing a stripped-down Café Racer concept, a beach-ready 500C and a brace of Magneti Marelli cars for this year's SEMA show, our interest was piqued.
The totally new 2013 Honda Accord has just now started trickling into dealerships across the country, but here at SEMA, we're already getting our first look at what the future has in store for Honda's midsize offering. Arriving in Honda showrooms next spring is this limited-edition HFP performance edition of the 2013 Accord Coupe, and although no power upgrades are on tap, there's some extra kit that will indeed make things more interesting out on the road.
One of the greatest aspects of the SEMA show is the freedom it gives automakers and tuners to play around a little. Where other shows' bread and butter are more serious conceptual pieces or production-bound unveils, cars at SEMA are very often flights of fancy that are really only intended to bring some excitement to a model or brand.
Last year at SEMA, Chevrolet absolutely stole the show with its COPO Camaro Concept. Not to be upstaged by their Bowtie counterparts, the boys over at the Blue Oval have countered with the car you see here, the Mustang Cobra Jet Concept. Built by Ford Racing and based on the 2013 Mustang Cobra Jet, this one-off racer features a pair of twin turbochargers attached to a 5.0-liter V8 using the same technology as Ford's EcoBoost engines.