Between the race car builds that'll never go anyplace beyond the plush-carpeted halls of convention centers and the crackpot Chinese knock-offs that make you think a $178 turbo is a good idea, there's a whole world of genuine, go-fast performance bits at Las Vegas' annual SEMA Show. You've just got to be paying attention.
SEVEN PARTS YOU NEED NOW
Edelbrock '16+ Miata E-Force supercharger: You haven't even driven the new MX-5 yet and you're already thinking about making it faster. Which is exactly why Edelbrock wants you to have its new blower. The company isn't saying how much power it'll make, but considering Edelbrock's FR-S kit that's good for another 77 hp, you wouldn't be a loon for thinking you could be driving around in a 200-something-horsepower Miata.
HKS GTIII turbos: HKS took everything it knows about designing and building some of the most efficient compressor and turbine housings and paired that with the best MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) center cartridges. All that means to you is that its GTIII turbos that've been configured for Nissan's RB26 and SR20 engines as well as Subaru's EJ20 can get you as much as 700 hp without an external wastegate and with a quick spool and no surge.
GReddy Sirius meter: Forget what you think you know about gauges for a minute. Because that's pretty much what GReddy's done with its borderless, glass-like Sirius meters that use electro-luminescent displays for a unique, 3-D look.
Wilwood custom caliper coatings: Wilwood's assortment of multicolored calipers won't make you go any faster, but they will save you the trouble of disassembling, painting, and bungling up the calipers you've already got, which'll no doubt make you slower when those start leaking brake fluid come your next track day.
Project Kics Leggdura lug nuts: You didn't think the lug nut needed to be reinvented and you've never been more wrong. Project Kics' two-piece design includes a chrome-moly nut that'll probably get scratched like any other lug nut would and a Duralumin shell that covers it all up.
Toyo Proxes R888R tires: Toyo says that us Americans can now get the same DOT competition tire that Europe and Australia already have access to. Compared to the regular old R888, the R888R means more grip thanks to its unique tread design that puts more rubber to the pavement and reaches the sort of operating temperature you want even faster.
Hondata strain gauge: Want faster shifts at the dragstrip? You'll need a strain gauge to do it, which tells that ECU of yours to kill engine power every time that shifter's moved. You're on your own with that dog box you'll need for those lift-less shifts, but Hondata's got you covered with the rest of what you'll need.
THAT HONDA LIFE
PTP Turbo Blankets EK9 Civic Type R: Nobody was expecting to see a 16-year-old Civic Type R and nobody was expecting to see one with a 2.4L K-series engine swap that's good for about 1,100 hp. The Kinsler intake and PPG dog box make this CTR every bit as impressive as it is unattainable.
Injen FK2 Civic Type R: All you care about is the impending Civic Type R that Honda says you'll be able to buy; you weren't expecting to see the company's now overshadowed European-only model, also turbocharged and nearly impossible to have delivered to your doorstep. Unless you're Injen. In which case you do so and then bolt one of your cold-air intakes right into place.
2017 NSX GT3: Honda's going racing again, this year with its purpose-built GT3 racer. The GT3 car's powerplant is supposed to be similar to the production NSX's but is paired with a sequential gearbox that does away with all of that electronically controlled AWD mumbo jumbo and its electric motors in favor of a RWD layout due to class restrictions.
2018 Civic Type R: You think the new CTR looks like a WRX and you were never interested in it in the first place. Everybody else will care about the turbocharged mill that it's got that's expected to be based on the FK2 Type R's engine but also powerful enough to put the Focus RS to shame.
HPD Body-in-White performance parts: Imagine you're going racing in Pirelli's World Challenge or IMSA's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge but you don't want to go around hacking up a brand-new Civic to do it. Neither does Honda, who's made stripped-down body-in-white Civic chassis available to do just that. Or tear one down anyways and pick from the whole HPD parts lineup a la cart.
FIVE INSANE ENGINE SWAPS
Four-rotor RX-7: It's not entirely finished yet and it doesn't even matter. It's got a 1,200hp four-rotor engine swap, a massive turbo from Garrett, cantilever suspension borrowed from Ken Block's Hoonicorn, an AWD layout by way of an R33 GT-R's transfer case, and a six-speed sequential gearbox. It's also the FD RX-7 you never knew you needed and that Rob Dahm's gone on to build. But it's the four-rotor mill that's got you scratching your head. As it turns out, there's no such thing as a four-rotor Wankel engine, so if you want one, you're on your own putting it together. Like a piston engine that fires each cylinder individually, each rotor's got to be laid out and timed properly for even power strokes and for proper axial balance. Do it wrong and it'll run like a turd and probably not get you halfway down the block.
BMW-powered S14: Forget about the SR or RB engine swap that you think this S14 needs and consider the N54 BMW mill that you never even thought about. But that doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't; turns out 335i engines like these are about as popular for engine swaps throughout Europe as things like 2JZs and RBs are here. There's a good reason for that, too. Those direct-injected, already-turbocharged, twin-cam engines are good for a minimum of 300 hp right from the start and are easier to source than that inline Nissan engine you thought you needed.
RB26-swapped E36: Think M3 and the last thing that comes to mind is a Nissan engine swap. This here E36 features the venerable inline-six sans its ATTESA driveline but with a dog box transmission to make it all go. It's not the inline BMW engine that you know the car came with and it isn't the one you've seen swapped into place before from any twin-turbo Supra, and that's OK. From the looks of it, the cast-iron short-block fits rather nicely into place and has been set up to play nicely with all of those BWM bits by way of an AEM engine management system.
Ferrari-powered GT86: Engine swaps that cost more than the car they've been bolted into will never make sense. There's also nothing in this world that's better, and drifter Ryan Tuerck's 458-swapped Toyota is proof of that. You don't think an Italian V-8 was made to fit in Toyota's little compact sports car and you're right. To get it to sit into place, the windshield frame had to be lopped apart, the engine's intakes had to be pointed toward the driver, and the exhausts stick right out of the front bumper. It's unconventional, it's prohibitively expensive, and it's the best possible engine swap you've never thought of doing.
13B Mini Truck: This B-series pickup features a right-hand-drive FC RX-7 dash swap, 13B rotary engine swap, and an intense level of fabrication that's shown off by way of its custom-built independent rear suspension and frame. It's the 13B underneath the hood that makes you forget for a second that you're staring at a mini-truck, though, and not an RX-7. The rotary's been fitted with a fairly large Comp turbo and elaborately fabricated with a pie-cut exhaust and wastegate dump tubes exiting through the hood.
THE BEST STUFF YOU CAN'T HAVE
Garrett's 2,500hp turbo: Nobody's stopping you from buying Garrett's all-new GTX 5533R turbo; you just wouldn't know what in the world to do with it. Garrett's latest GTX is so powerful that its recommended range doesn't even hover below the 1,000hp mark that your 240 will never see.
HKS' blow-off valve classics: Blow-off valve choices were few in the early '90s and nothing captures that deprived era better than HKS' assortment of classic turbo hardware like these.
OG DRAG RACERS ARE (SORT OF) BACK
Import drag racing's never fully recovered from the hit it took by way of the NHRA's abandonment in the mid-'00s, but that doesn't mean its founding fathers have all disappeared. All-motor CRX champ Jeremy Lookofsky's been busy crafting Toyota's Extreme Corolla that features a custom turbo kit good for 250 hp, and that's based on Garrett's GT2560R ball-bearing turbo. Chris Rado, who piloted a DC2 Integra across the quarter-mile long before he set his sights on Time Attack records represented with the World Electronics-built 911 parked inside the Turbonetics booth. Also by way of World Electronics, '90s turbo kit maker and one of the first in the 10s, Rev Hard's Myles Bautista helped build up and deliver a ninth-gen Civic Si onto the show floor. All-motor Honda champ Bisi Ezerioha's prints could be found all over the place, too, by way of the slew of 911s he's been churning out as well as builds for both Hyundai and Honda. And finally, RX-7 pioneer Abel Ibarra got his hands dirty with much of the fabrication work on Rob Dahm's insane four-rotor RX-7.
THE REST OF THE BEST
Full-Race Focus RS: Ford's Focus RS is already here and Full-Race Motorsports wants you to know what it's capable of. The turbo kit maker that made its mark in the Honda world fitted the RS with a larger BorgWarner EFR twin-scroll turbo that's good for 450 hp and beefed up the bottom end with JE pistons and Manley rods for when the Civic Type R's released and the boost has to be turned up.
Corolla time capsule: It's hard to imagine how the Corolla's gone from the RWD and capable AE86 that you still want to do burnouts and slide around in to the FWD commuter that your little sister uses for getting back and forth to the mall.