So many cars, so much square footage to cover - picking out our favorites from any SEMA, the annual Las Vegas trade show for the automotive aftermarket industry, is seriously like locating that proverbial needle in the haystack (or 10 needles, as it were). But for you, dear reader, we'd do anything - here then are our top 10 favorite car builds on display at the 2014 SEMA Show.
Rocket Bunny NSX
We can't have a SEMA top 10 list without some Rocket Bunny love... You're looking at the one and only Rocket Bunny-converted NSX in North America. Owned by our good friend Robert Chew, the '92 NSX broke necks at the Nitto Tire booth. The body took six days to complete, but the result is nothing short of ah-mah-zing. Unlike most Rocket Bunny kits, the NSX doesn't use exposed bolts or rivets on the fenders. Adding to the show factor is a blue chrome wrap—not easy to do by any means. In addition, the NSX is complete with Enkei 6666 wheels, Nitto NT05 tires, a Gruppe M supercharger kit, custom GReddy exhaust, AEM engine management, and much more.
Toyota Camry Sleeper
"Fast" and "Camry" are words used together about as frequently as "vegan" and "meat sweats." But at SEMA, an exception was made. The exterior of this '15 Toyota Camry looks bone stock, but underneath is a monster built by Toyota's Motorsports Division. To the trained eye, the wide 335/30R18 slicks in the rear are your first indication that this family sedan is more than meets the eye. The engine fires up, and it becomes apparent something special is under the hood. If the initial whine of the TRD supercharger doesn't get your attention, the 5.7L 3UR-FE V-8 engine and transmission (from a Tundra) will. When the entire exterior shell lifted on a rear hinge, we lost it! The red-tubed race skeleton and exposed hardware are enough to have even the non-performance enthusiast stop in their tracks. The trunk houses an arsenal of nitrous bottles that feeds the wet setup. Official power numbers and speeds have not yet been confirmed, but Toyota tells us this car could run down a quarter-mile in the sevens (due to NHRA safety requirements though, the rollcage would need to be revised). In order to achieve Camry Sleeper status, though, it had to look full stock (no parachute included), so you're more likely to see it run a projected 9.8-second quarter-mile.
Team Rocket Bunny Racing Nissan Silvia
Are we dreaming? Not only was this '99 Nissan Silvia parked in the courtyard at SEMA, it's also a new professional drift car to be campaigned under Team Rocket Bunny Racing! In true TRA Kyoto fashion, it sports the Rocket Bunny widebody and Enkei 6666 wheels. Taking a look inside, everything is stripped albeit a seat, steering wheel, STACK clutch, and shifter. The biggest surprise lies under the hood. Gone is the SR20, and forget the LS—this S15 rocks a fuel-injected Dodge R5P7 motor. That's a NASCAR engine, fellas! Build manager Jerry Yang mentioned it could be tuned up to a naturally aspirated 900 hp and will be piloted by Formula D veteran Kenji Yaminaka—former driver of the Signal Auto S13 and JIC S14. We can't wait to see this S15 in action!
Evasive Motorsport GT-R
There was no shortage of awesome GT-Rs at SEMA. The body style may be six years old, but they're still one of the most fun to drive and aggressive-looking sports cars on the road. Walking into the Mackin Industries booth, we noticed Evasive Motorsport revamped its R35 with the BenSopra Race Version widebody kit. The GT-R also received a fresh set of Advan GT wheels in Mag blue, Advan A005 slicks, Voltex swan-neck GT wing, and a GReddy single-exit exhaust. Evasive isn't done yet with this car, as the company plans to develop it into an all-out track car. Stay tuned!
Fortune Auto Lexus IS
We've seen photos of this Lexus IS300 on the web, but seeing it in the flesh made SEMA rewarding for us. The track-prepped sedan was built by Faiz Rahman from Washington D.C., one of our regular contributors. The car was transported to Las Vegas and highlighted in the Fortune Auto booth, showing off its suspension, but also the Gram Lights and custom aero (fenders, front splitter, rear diffuser, GT spoiler mounted to rear bumper, etc.). Under the hood is a 2JZ-GTE swap from a Supra. This car is too sick!
Spoon Honda Fit
Every year, Honda offers certain tuners and enthusiasts the chance to build one of their latest vehicles. With the release of the redesigned Fit, it only seemed "fitting" (pun intended) to give tuners the chance to modify them for SEMA. And it wasn't just three or four Fits; Honda packed its booth with nine Fits—six built by build teams around the U.S., one B-Spec race car, one with dealer-installed accessories, and finally a Bisimoto-tuned Fit for Norm Reeves Honda. The Spoon Sports Super Taikyu Fit was our favorite. Like something you'd see at Tsukuba Circuit, the Fit rocks a signature Spoon livery, plus plenty of performance goodies such as the Spoon-developed intake manifold, titanium exhaust, throttle body, calipers, dampers, rotors, and more. The exterior doesn't disappoint, either, with Spoon and JDM Fit RS aero, plus Volk Racing CE28 Club Racer wheels.
Lexus Tuned RC F
There were three Lexus RCs at SEMA, and two of them were built by Gordon Ting (you da man!). We dug his RC F -- not too flashy, rather understated and easily overlooked at SEMA. Parked in the Mackin Industries booth, the flagship Lexus coupe sported a custom kit developed by Evasive Motorsports, which includes the front lip, splitter, and side skirts. The Yokohama Advan wheels fit the coupe perfectly, the brakes have been upgraded to Brembo parts, and suspension lowered via TEIN coilovers. Not all show, custom reinforcement bars were fabricated along with a GREddy exhaust and intake for the RC F's V-8. To top it, off, there's a 100-shot wet Nitrous Express kit at Gordon's disposal. We wouldn't mind taking this on Gumball 3000 this year.
Blood Type Racing Genesis
Like other manufacturers at SEMA, Hyundai lets a handful of builders go buck wild on their latest cars for their booth. The project car that caught our attention most was this Genesis built by Chicago-based Hyundai specialist Blood Type Racing (BTR). The exterior might remind you of something you'd see on an FR-S/BRZ. Kei Miura of TRA Kyoto had a hand in designing the widebody, which is modeled off his existing Rocket Bunny stuff. Under the showstopping appearance is a motor and chassis built for racing. The standard 2.0L turbo was bored and re-sleeved to a 2.2L to cope with a much larger turbo. All said and done, the car is capable of 800 whp. Everything from the wheels, clutch, diff, driveshafts, axles, big brakes, and suspension has been updated to handle heavy abuse. Props, BTR!
Team RLL BMW Z4
Chalk up another OE to embrace the aftermarket world! BMW USA made its first showing in SEMA history, and they did it in style. Their booth flaunted its lineup of M Performance parts, plus a M4, i8, JCW MINI, and this gorgeous Z4 GTLM race car used in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship by Team RLL. This particular Z4 was raced full-time in '14 by drivers Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx, finishing second at the 24 Hours at Daytona and third at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Ken Block Mustang
We typically don't dig Mustangs, but Ken Block's new toy is just too badass to ignore. It's taken him and his build team (RTR and ASD Motorsports) two years to develop this '65 Mustang notchback. While it looked wicked under the spotlight in the Ford booth, it was designed for mayhem for Ken's latest Gymkhana video. Basically everything about the car has been modified and strengthened minus the roof. Under the hood is a 410ci Roush V-8 with individual throttle bodies that make 845 hp. The motor is mated to a one-of-a-kind all-wheel-drive system that powers 295-series tires all around. If you haven't already seen the video, better hop on YouTube and prepared to be amazed, for the seventh time!