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SEMA Show 2008 - The Hotness

Jonathan Wong
Feb 1, 2009
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Another SEMA Show has come and gone, providing a quick snapshot into what lies ahead for this year. If you happen to own an Evo X, STI, Hyundai Genesis or are ballin' enough to scoop a Nissan GT-R, you're going to be glad you made that purchase. But even more budget-conscious platforms, like the new Honda Fit, will have some great accessories coming your way, and all-time favorites from GReddy and AEM, to name a few, will also be launching a lot of new performance products for vehicles all across the board. Here's a look at what caught our attention at the 2008 SEMA Show:

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Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge Winner Announced!
For months you read about the Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge where we teamed up with Honda single-cam legend, Bisi Ezerioha of Bisimoto to build us a killer NA F22A to go heads up against an army of turbocharged engines being built by our sister publications. Well, the win went to Modified and AMS Performance's 4G63 that managed to pound out 1,035hp and 647lb-ft, well above our 360hp F22A! The $25K bonus was well-deserved by AMS but don't count us out just yet. Bisi is building another motor for fun and will also turbocharge it to show you just how much power the F22A is capable of making! Congratulations to Modified and AMS Performance for winning the Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge!

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Lexus Turns The IS-F Loose And 5Axis Returns To Build The Ultimate GS460
Lexus returned to SEMA to finalize their IS-F build-off between various tuners and publications, such as RJ DeVera of, Brian Fox of Fox Marketing, Import Tuner and 0-60 magazine. You can catch a full feature on RJ's IS-F in this issue. Lexus also collaborated with Troy Sumitomo at 5Axis for his take on the GS460 sedan, which features a slick matte black finish, 5Axis wheels and aero styling.

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At Honda's booth, two new vehicles were displayed: the Honda Civic Factory Performance Concept and Mugen Fit. The Factory Performance Concept was developed by Honda Access America alongside Keiichi Tsuchiya to create a car similar to that of a race version, Super Taikyu Civic Type R. It sports HFP accessories, such as a body kit, lightweight alloys with aero covers, exhaust and suspension. The Fit is outfitted with all authentic Mugen accessories, which you'll be able to purchase through Honda dealers as upgrade options, not as a Mugen edition Fit. You're limited to primarily aesthetics for now, but maybe performance parts are on the horizon?

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Ok, so it's not a Japanese race car, but at the RAYS booth, the new Letterman/Rahal BMW M3 GT-R receives our nod for one of the craziest cars at SEMA. And yes, this is just a display version; the actual race model is kept under wraps. And yes number two, we're talking about David Letterman.

ARK Designs is coming on strong for '09, especially in the Evo X and STI markets, offering aero kits, wheels, full exhausts and tuning parts to boost power. But be on the lookout as they debut power adders for Toyotas, Nissans and Hondas!

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The DME booth caught our eyes not once but twice, not only with these firme heinas but with their single and dual exhaust systems for the Evo X.

GReddy May Not Have Been At This SEMA,but they've been working hard to bring you these fresh releases despite the hardships they faced last year. Check out the new intercooled-twin turbo kit for the HR/DE 350Z and intercooled turbo kit for the S2000; Intelligent Informeter Touch, Spectrum Elite exhaust, Racing Ti-C exhaust, Type-RZ blow-off valve, titanium GT-R exhaust, GRacer GRB aero lip and Type-R coilovers.

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AEM launched a grip of electronics to their existing line with a Fuel & Ignition Controller (F/IC), Water/Alcohol Injection Kit, Cold Air intakes for the Evo X, Subaru WRX/STI and more; Wideband Air Fuel Ratio gauge, Electronically-Tuned Induction Systems, Series 2 Programmable Engine Management System and AEMTUNER software. For full details, visit

Another powerhouse offering mega performance for '09 is Cosworth. Parts we wouldn't mind scooping if we had the cars to build: cams, head gasket, pistons, rods and stroker kits for the Evo X; Miata supercharger (find the viral video if you can!), and dry sump, tuned ECU and an intake manifold for the Subaru STI.

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Falken 2009 Drift Team Roster
Falken announced their '09 drift team lineup at SEMA with returning stars, Vaughn Gittin Jr. in a new 2010 Ford Mustang, Darren McNamara in a RHD Saturn Sky, Calvin Wan taking over the former Pacific Rim/HKS Japan Nissan S15 in traditional Falken colors, Tyler McQuarrie in a V8-powered Nissan 350Z and Dai Yoshihara in a rebuilt 500hp Lexus IS350. Could this be the dream team to take the podium this year? We wouldn't be surprised with all of these superstars onboard!

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Scion always comes hard at SEMA with a much-anticipated party that annihilated JDMWong by the night's end as well as this year's tuner competition where the tC was the platform of choice. Assigned to industry tastemakers - Mark Arcenal of Fatlace, Eddie Hahm of Fast Eddie's Garage and John Pangilinan of the iD agency - all gave their individual spin on the two-door coupe for a chance to win up to $10K and bragging rights. John's Porsche Blue, wide-body and GReddy turbocharged rendition took the top prize with Eddie and Mark following in second and third respectively. We followed the build-up on Mark's streetwear influenced tC so stay tuned for that in an upcoming issue along with the full feature.

Even the Ruckus heads got in on SEMA this time around as the boys from Bowls LA were invited out by SEMA to build a Ruckus throughout the entire week, from stock to shock. They completed the project with the help of Japanese Ruckus tuner, Yoshifumi Sekizawa from Tokyo Parts. You can also find the full feature of this special Ruckus in an upcoming issue.

By Jonathan Wong
493 Articles



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