The best display they've done in years. That's how I'd describe Honda's occupied real estate in their usual section of the Las Vegas convention center this year. Packed with more cars than I can remember, the automaker had a few tricks up its sleeve and didn't hold back.
Just like every year, the moment I arrived on site I headed straight for the Honda booth to see what the company brought to the show. Admittedly, I was excited to get another look at the Civic Type R after having been graciously given a sneak peek the week prior. I, along with some very good people who happen to be lifelong Honda enthusiasts, pored over the car for a few hours and discussed it in detail, and still I wanted to go over it again. Perhaps it's the fear of missing something the first time or just absolute fan-boyism about the fact that a real Type R is on its way back to the U.S., but either way, it's pretty amazing to see in person and realize it's only a matter of time now.
Here's a rundown of some of the vehicles Honda displayed at SEMA 2016 that caught my eye:
Body in White
Honda's HPD team brought this bare chassis to Vegas once again and meticulously labeled each of the components that are available for purchase. The chassis, or body in white, is ideal for building a race car as it's essentially a brand-new shell, ready to adapt to whatever competitive environment you choose to throw at it.
We all knew an NSX would make its way to the Honda booth once again. After the long initial wait and now the first models finally hitting the streets, it was a no-brainer. Nevertheless, it still carries that wow factor, and this "optioned out" version, with its huge brakes and carbon roof, probably carries a price tag far too rich for my blood.
NSX GT3 and MDX combo
So how do you outshine the new NSX? How about this NSX GT3 perched on a custom trailer with Acura wheels? Add to that a mildly but tastefully modded '17 MDX at the front of the convoy and you've figured out the magic combo.
Slathered in custom Axalta Sunrise Yellow, the aLL StaR/Tjin Edition coupe featured aftermarket bits combined with OEM optional equipment for a really nice combo. The Apollo Top One Auto Part front lip is matched by HFP side skirts and rear valences, and black Rotiform OZT rollers with Falken's new FK450 A/S tires offset the bright color. This has been one of the most heavily modified 10th gens I've come across thus far.
Olsbergs MSE put quite a bit of work into this '16 Coupe with the end result being a GRC competition vehicle that not only looks the part, but cranks out more than 600 hp from a custom 2.0L mill. And in my opinion, those well-earned battle scars add a little character.
Headed for the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill event in December, this Team Honda Research West-built coupe features an FIA spec 'cage, plenty of suspension upgrades, and a boost in power thanks to a Hondata system on board.
And that brings us to the Civic Type R. You've already seen the same group of photos at every turn on your social media space, read about the rumors and speculation almost daily—it's enough already. You want it to be here now. Well, the wait is just about over, and rather than show you those same angles that will no doubt pop up on your feed constantly, here's a look at a few different things that stand out:
All in a Name
In the aftermarket world, that badge and those letters have been cheaply copied and plastered on just about everything on four wheels. Everything, that is, except for an actual R model. Fortunately, that's set to change next year.
The mystery of the red exhaust tip still remains unsolved, and the Honda reps, always on their A-game, aren't spilling the beans.
Not Just for Show
Just above the taillights that, truth be told, we wish would light up all the way across the hatch lid sits the Type R wing. Aggressive in nature, it certainly flows with the rest of the vehicle, and Honda has confirmed that every bit of the aero you see on the prototype is in fact functional—not just for show.