We all knew the Honda Fit would be a big success with people looking for an expensive, reliable small car, but who knew it would end up carrying the flag for Honda at the 2006 SEMA Show. The 06 show was touted as the year of the muscle car, and for the most part the description worked. Everywhere you looked there were booths overflowing with every kind of American Iron imaginable. Everything from street rods loosely based on 1930s production cars, to 1950s hot rods straight out of American Graffiti, to modern American Muscle Cars from the Big Three. Chip Foose was everywhere, making commercials, signing autographs, I didn't see it but I am sure he even kissed some babies during the show. I am just giving Chip a hard time, if you ever get to meet him in person, he really is as nice of a guy as he seems on TV.
I was expecting to see Civic Sis all over the place at the show, but they were pretty scarce. Everyone just seems enamored with Honda's little new comer. After a few booths with nice clean examples I could see why. They to take to tuning as well maybe better than anything that has come out of Honda previously. Everything you can do to a Civic can be done to a Fit. Engine swaps seemed popular. Although some people were wondering about the feasibility of swapping a K20 into the Fit, there were enough cars at the show to make me think it must be a pretty simple task.
Forced induction is always popular with tuners, and the Fit is no exception. There were several turbos to be seen at the show, but possibly the most interesting Forced induction kit was from Jackson Racing. Jackson Racing all but disappeared for a few years, but they are back with a new supercharger kit that brings the Fit from an under powered commuter to a tire smoking street racer.
The other notable sight at the show was the new four-door Civic Si. Honda showed both the standard Si and the Mugen version. The Mugen version looks to be a nice car, but those who have been around the Honda scene for a while are having trouble with the thought of a Civic that is nearing the thirty-thousand mark. I can't see spending that kind of money for a car that I will likely end up swapping out the parts that justified the exorbitant price to begin with.
The rest of the show was as you would expect, lots of wheels, intakes, shift knobs and mufflers. Several manufacturers showed things that at anyplace other than SEMA would just be considered obscene. There was a Benz completely encrusted with Swarovski Crystal taking bling to a whole new level. One company showed a wheel with a completely clear center. I would never think of combing an easily scratched polycarbonate/Lexan whatever with an environment that is constantly filled with an abrasive powder.
So what will manufacturers do next year to top 2006? I have no idea, maybe an Aston Martin covered in mink or maybe an exhaust kit made completely of glass. Whatever it is, it will be over the top, completely ridiculous, but totally appropriate for SEMA.