Though it seems like it was but a few months ago, the massive SEMA show is back, and like clockwork Honda's stronghold at the rear of the Central Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center was resurrected once again. Always at the top of my list, I try to visit on my first full day at the specialty equipment mega-event.
Honda kicked off a press conference and announced a brand new concept vehicle dubbed the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept—a combination of the Ridgeline and a Pioneer 1000 (side-by-side vehicle). Developed and designed by Honda R&D Americas, the new creation is said to carry as much utility as it does off-road ruggedness. Using parts that are already being used in the real world, the body and suspension is Ridgeline, the doors and steering wheel come from the Pioneer and it even pulls a set of FK8 Type R seats from the parts bin.
We love the look of the new RDX and even the anti-modern Acura bunch can't help give the nod to updated SUV. This A-Spec version was modified by GRP, a performance outfit from the likes of IndyCar driver Graham Rahal.
Now, before you assume it's another basic wheel and tire package along with a fancy badge, don't forget to add in the 6-piston StopTech brake upgrade, new turbo, intake and exhaust manifolds, exhaust system and a PRL-built intercooler. The changes bring power up to 345hp with 370 lbs.-ft. of torque. Twenty-one inch HRE P101 wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and some subtle carbon fiber accents change the exterior without going overboard.
Everyone loved the aggressive, carbon fiber NSX GT3 and after a pair of successful racing campaigns with 5 wins and a second place finish in 2018's IMSA Weathertech GTD Championship, the GT3 Evo was born.
That sexy carbon fiber body has been slightly modified for reduced drag and better top speed as well as better cooling. Anti-lock brakes and a rather fancy Bosch display with data logging were also added.
This FK8 competed in showroom stock form last year but more recently, has been fitted with a number of upgrades like an Injen intake, Hondata tuning, a downpipe, and exhaust that help push power output to 380.
Adjustable suspension with H&R springs on board, bigger brakes, aero enhancements and a carbon fiber hood and tailgate from Seibon mean this car is back with a vengeance for 2019.
The legions of keyboard smashers that demand every car on earth be AWD were relieved to find the RealTime Racing TLX GT is in fact all-wheel-drive. A twin-turbo J35Z3 mated to a 6-speed Xtrax trans delivers the goods.
And with wheel ace Peter Cunningham at the helm the TLX mustered a first-in-class finish and third overall at the infamous Pikes Peak hill-climb this year.
The want is real! This Honda Pedal Car concept was inspired by the Project 2&4 concept that you probably remember from last year. It uses a carbon fiber floor and diffuser, and even has a lithium ion battery on board to power working lights and offer a cell phone recharge plug.
Touring Car R is a fairly new race series that dabbles in Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA. This widened version, piloted by Honda driver Ryan Eversley, nabbed top honors in the 2018 PWC series.
Suspension, aero and the gearbox are where you'll find the upgrades. Pitted against the best FWD cars on earth, this FK8 came out on top.
Some of the apparel on display at the Honda booth included vintageculturestyle.com who offer officially licensed Honda apparel that includes a bit of Honda's race history in most of the designs. You might not have ever seen it before, but the logo you see on the grey shirt (Honda Motors) was once used in the company's early days.