Daily Overview Day 1 | SEMA SHOW
As we all went into the first day of the SEMA show, we had anticipations of some crazy new cars, new trends and new companies breaking through into the market. Our expectations were far exceeded just looking through one hall of the huge show. The vehicle of choice for this year’s show was without a doubt the new Honda Civic Si. With Honda sending out several cars to the heavy hitters in the industry, the Honda booth was flooded with customized brand new Civic Si models from the likes of GReddy, AEM, RJ de Vera and Skunk2 to name a few. One of the hottest ’06 Civic Si that was on the floor was built by TEIN. Sporting a crazy widebody setup and TEIN graphics, the Si was stealing the show as one of the nicest ones out. We got a chance to take a few shots for the public to see first!
Another new model that hit the floor hard was the new Mitsubishi Eclipse. Several companies have already jumped on the aftermarket with some great results. The drifting craze has continued to spread along with some pleasant surprises from the drag racing community. On display was a Sport FWD Scion tC baring the names of AEM’s Tyler Hara and the former Leslie Durst (now married as Armendariz) – be on the look out for this Sport FWD wonder hitting the track early on in 2006.
Other highlights that we are bringing from day one’s coverage are an interview with the one and only President and Founder of Spoon Sports of Japan. We touch on a few topics and what we can expect from Spoon Sports in the years to come. There just isn’t a JDM junky out there that doesn’t have a passion for Spoon Sports.
The Turtle Wax S14.5 built by Neil Tjin was also given away today. A lucky lady that is also a model will be bringing the car home at the end of the SEMA show. Congratulations!
Check back for more coverage of Day Two as we venture into the other halls including the Wheel and Tire hall to see how great of an impact the drifting scene has made to those manufacturers.
Daily Overview Day 2 | SEMA SHOW
Day Two of SEMA kicked off with a few surprises and new introductions. We wandered our way through the wheel and tire hall to see what our fellow manufacturers have been up to for 2006. To our surprise, fewer drift cars were scattered throughout the hallway as they were replaced by the likes of road racing vehicles and luxury and exotic vehicles. Companies like Falken Tires decorated their entire booth with Japanese tuned vehicles baring a VIP theme to each and every one of them. We also had a chance to sit down and speak with Darren Thomas of Falken Tires to explore the reasoning behind their marketing towards the VIP life style.
Wednesday also included the presentation of the NOPI NDRA XBOX Race Series awards. All the Pro class racers and the Sportsman class racers were present to accept their awards and checks after a season of rigorous racing. In the Pro Outlaw FWD class, Jason Hunt and Stephanie Eggum were present to accept their awards. In the Modified Magazine Pro 4 cylinder class, Gary Gardella claimed first place honors while Joe Demaree and Stephane Beauregard were in second and third, respectively. Pro Outlaw RWD saw the faces of Justin Humphreys, Paul Efantis and Brent Rau, in the order that they finished. Pro Compact class had third time reigning champion Ara Arslanian claming his crown. Pro Street Tire class had Krys Efantis finishing up first in the tight race and Nero Deliwala of Titan Motorsports claiming second place for Gary White. Pro Stock class was a Clutch Masters stand with Norris Prayoonto taking first and his teammate, Saul Salceda in second. Sportsman racers Loan Nguyen, Brian Ballard, Matt Keller and John Ferguson were all present to receive their awards as well.
The Scion booth was decorated with plenty of customized xAs, xBs, and tCs. Chris Rado’s FWD race car was also on display including the insane Five Axis custom xA. From the drifting circuit, Chris Forsberg’s new V8 powered 350Z Roadster was on display at the Nissan booth next to Verena Mei’s 350Z drifter. Another major announcement in the drifting market is the release of Kingpin’s redone RWD Subaru that will be driven by PaPa Gushi in 2006. Be on the look out for a full feature on this Subaru in the January issue of Modified Magazine!
Several new wheels were on display including JIC’s and Enkei’s – make sure you check those out in our products section. Check back tomorrow as we scope out the remaining hallway and what’s lurking outside the halls as the Yahoo! Evolution VIII build off challenge comes to an end.
Daily Overview Day 3 | SEMA SHOW
SEMA day three gave us a closer look at some of the major companies in the industry, as well as some of the newer, more groundbreaking companies developing products out there. First off we took a closer look at Mackin Industries and their new plans for the 2006 year including new companies and product lines that they are importing in. Check out our exclusive interview with Phillip Phong who does both sales and marketing at Mackin Industries. We also ran into Scott Miller and BDL Industries as we overheard rumors that they received a prize from SEMA for one of their products. We couldn’t help but take a closer look at what they had to offer.
We took some time out to also check out the Yahoo! Build off with the Mitsubishi Evolution VIIIs. With Paul Efantis heading one build team with likes including his brother Krys Efantis and Jason Hunt, against Chris Rado and his World Electronics team heading another – pioneers in the sport compact drag racing circuit are building cars in a record pace. Not putting up a fight we couldn’t help but enjoy the entertainment the Yahoo! Stage and dancers had to offer as well.
Once again we were able to catch Leslie Armendariz (formerly Durst) doing autograph signings of the new Scion Racing t-shirts for upcoming fans that will be able to see the Scions run. On the outskirts of the actual convention center, several dozen cars were on display for both manufacturers and show. The Jasper Supra has received a new face lift as it heads into the 2006 Formula D drift season sporting wicked new graphics throughout the chassis.
In the GM booth, several Cobalts of different shapes and sizes were on display. Rumor has it we’ll be seeing some Cobalts in the Sport FWD and Turbo 4 categories next drag race season, but only time can confirm such rumors. Out on the Modified Automotive Magazine group sponsored Proving Grounds, Yokohama paired up to deliver some action with several high quality vehicles including Lotus Elises. Nadine of Drifting Pretty was also present with her S13, and Tarzan Yamada was making exhibition passes in the Dodge Viper.
Rod Millen’s RX-8 was also on display on the outskirts, showing that his son, Rhys Millen might be up against some crazy competition next season. One of the trends we also caught on to as we looked around was the increasing use of air brushing. We spotted a couple cars on the lot that had insane air brushing jobs that literally cannot be compared to anything else in this world. We later found out that the same artist did both these vehicles.
A couple of cars caught our eyes as we headed up into the remainder of the wheel and tire hall. In the Renegade booth, Neil Tjin’s new four-door Skyline made its debut as well as Section 8 Motorworks’ Subaru. Both sharing a green’ish shade – they easily caught the crowd with gleaming giant intercoolers.
That is all for today as we head into the last day of the SEMA show. We will be buttoning things up in tomorrow’s coverage heading into the North Hall and checking out any additional new products that might be coming out.
Daily Overview Day 4 | SEMA SHOW
As the fourth and last day of SEMA started, we finished up by taking note of some feature worthy cars and what was in the North Hall. Filled with mostly car audio products, some Pro drag cars were also present. Marty Ladwig and Ed Berghenholtz’s car could be seen in the show area. Unfortunately when we passed through, Berghenholtz’s car was under wraps for the early morning. The continuation of the drag cars presence were also seen with Stephanie Eggum’s car, Tyler Hara’s car, Justin Humphreys’ car, and Chris Dye’s car. Gary Gardella’s Hot Rod Cobalt was also looking clean in the DuPont booth.
On the outside we spotted the Pepsi / Vivid Racing project RX-8 that we’ve been covering the build up for. A wicked carbon fiber wide body tC turbocharged by Turbonetics was also spotted. Look for this in an upcoming issue of Modified Magazine for sure. Many more show cars were present on the outside area giving spectators a look at everyday tuners’ possessions instead of manufacturer projects.
We also met up with Jason Hunt, Pro FWD driver and one of the crew members on Paul Efantis’s build team for the Yahoo! Evolution VIII build up. Check out our interview of the day to see his thoughts on the entire experience. As the announcer notified us that the SEMA 2005 show was over, everyone cheered and clapped as a laborious week had finally come to an end. For us however, the fun has just begun as we source out the baddest rides for 2006. Stay tuned however, as those cars will most definitely be in Modified Magazine as feature cars before anyone else!
Feature Interview Day 1 | SEMA SHOW
Interview with Tatsuru Ichishima
President and Founder of Spoon Sports Japan
MM: What are your goals in 2006 for Spoon Sports into the US market?
TI: Right now we are focusing on finding good distributorship on the East Coast, specifically in the Orlando / Tampa Florida area and the New York / Northeast area. We believe good distributors will help solidify our US market.
MM: What do you think of the SEMA show? Is this your first SEMA show?
TI: This is my first visit to SEMA in Las Vegas. In 2002 I had gone to the IAS show in Los Angeles. It is really a huge show, and I believe it has to be the largest trade show in the world within our market.
MM: What are some Japanese trends that you think might make their way into America in 2006?
TI: The tuning world in Japan is constantly advancing. In the prior years many tuners would sacrifice comfort for performance. More recently however, drivers desire a balance between power and comfort. I think this trend will continue onto the stateside as well.
MM: What are some benefits for Spoon Sports’ visit to America and their presence at the SEMA show?
TI: We believe our presence makes a great effect on the retailers and shops. We are able to directly interact with people nad have direct contact to talk and gain information on the US market. Communication between our US consumers has become a priority for us.
MM: How do you think the rarity of the Spoon Sports product in the United States has helped shape the name? With the entire JDM craze, do you feel that the not-so-easy to obtain parts of Spoon Sports has helped or hindered the development of the brand name?
TI: Spoon Sports isn’t like a Coca-Cola for the aftermarket world. We desire to be recognized throughout the consumers but we want them to recognize the technology, material and the concept that goes into each product. But like we said before, right now as a company we want strong distributorship in America.
MM: As we can see at this year’s SEMA show, one of the biggest cars is the new Honda Civic Si. What will Spoon Sports bring in 2006, especially in regards to this car?
TI: Right now the main target in the US is the 06 badged Civic Si. In Japan, we will probably be receiving a Type-R badged model. We mostly race the Type-R spec vehicles in Japan and through that model we develop products for them. Right now we will be racing the car in our booth at the Thunderhill race to help gather information. We will be pitted next to Honda’s ’06 Civic Si and will be trading information with them as well. Right now in Japan we have the Japanese 4 door that is similar to the ’06 Si in America. Besides the obvious differences in the chassis, the power train and drive train components are similar – we are currently researching this.
MM: Thank you very much for your time Mr. Ichishima!
Feature Interview Day 2 | SEMA SHOW
Interview with Darren Thomas
Director of Marketing Falken Tires
MM: As a tire manufacturer, how would you compare this year’s SEMA show compared to last years? How about the trends?
DT: Overall the show is very similar to last year. The trends however have shown a shift over the recent years. It’s been a nice change from the SUV market and it’s becoming clearer that the sport compact market and its focus on the wheels and tire industry are dying. There just aren’t as many sport compact cars on display, as well as the SUVs.
MM: How would you describe the new trend that is rising? How about the shift for Falken Tires to a VIP Style of tuning?
DT: We are looking at the sport compact market that started 10 years ago. Now in the present time, many of the kids have grown up. Their lifestyle, inspirations, theories and incomes have all changed. With that shift, they’ve been reconciling new needs in their lives. No longer do they want to get into a Honda Civic, but we all know that many of us can’t economically jump into a BMW 7 series either. We are looking at what is available to the consumer. One huge car we’ve noticed is the growth in the 350Z and G35 market. Looking at that price market, we are able to look back to one year old, or even two year old vehicles that are in the same bracket. Many of these vehicles are in the range that young professional adults can afford and have the equity that the sport compact doesn’t have anymore. There is an established maturity – the look towards VIP.
MM: Continuing on those thoughts, what would you believe will be the hot new car of 2006?
DT: The new Lexus IS will definitely be the hot new car of 2006. It’s a perfect small to mid size sedan that carries the Lexus equity that plenty of consumers wish to go towards. It’s a great Japanese tuning vehicle with plenty of reliability and will be a great platform for the VIP style.
MM: What company (ies) will Falken Tire be working with towards the VIP style?
DT: Right now we are mainly working with the Osaka based company, Junction Produce. We will be exclusive in building cars and marketing with their company. Both Falken Japan and Falken USA work tightly with Japan’s Junction Produce.
MM: What venues do you see the VIP style being marketed through?
DT: As of now we are honestly not sure how it will be marketed. Many companies recently have addressed the VIP style like Mackin Industries. The problem is we haven’t really found a media that focuses on the VIP style. Independent distributors do not create segments – the media must help invest time to market that segment. We are hoping to help convince the media to make some money by featuring some VIP content.
Look towards Falken’s new FK452 tire for more information. www.fk452.com
Feature Interview Day 3 | SEMA SHOW
Interview with Phillip Phong
Marketing and Sales of Mackin Industries
MM: What do you think of the 2005 SEMA show compared to the past years? We understand this is your sixth SEMA attendance.
PP: Each and every year there are new products, new cars, and new generations of tuners. Every year our entire industry continues to grow bigger and get better. This year we’ve noticed more companies coming out with more diverse products as well as broadening their specializations and applications for their existing products.
MM: What trends do you see coming in 2006?
PP: We see more companies and tuners looking to buy and sell higher quality products. For many years now the products we have been importing are strictly the highest quality. In the most recent years more people are demanding a higher quality product knowing what they’ll be getting with our products. We are expecting to see a shift from consumers purchasing lesser products to consumers demanding the higher quality products for their vehicles.
MM: What is the hot new car for 2006 in your opinion?
PP: Hottest car right now has to be the new 2006 Honda Civic Si. With 200 horsepower, a six speed transmission and GPS navigation it’s a great car. Honda is also broadening the choices and modifications that will be available for this year to help target against the market of the Scion tC and Chevrolet Cobalt for example.
MM: As a major importer of some of the finest JDM products, what 2006 product trends can we anticipate?
PP: Consumers will continue to see high quality additions to our already existing product lines (ARC, Project mU, Espelir, Volk Racing, Gram Light, Yokohama and Lexion). We are also importing more new US spec applications faster than some US based companies.
MM: What are your thoughts on the entire VIP lifestyle and how it is now affecting our industry?
PP: The VIP styling is great. We would like to see more of it in the US. The market right now is kind of niche, but Mackin Industries has already carried many products to support the VIP style of tuning. We will also be introducing new wheel lines that have great applications and look for the VIP style of tuning.
MM: Volk wheels have grown a huge fan following in recent years – what are some of the things that have made that possible?
PP: Volk Racing has the hottest wheel designs every year. They continue to bring out new designs that cater to every consumer out there. Volk is also the #1 choice for all the toy tuners, race teams, and show cars out there. With an extremely high quality product and designs that fit almost everyone’s needs, the more recent growth in Volk Racing’s demand shows the consumer shift for a desire towards a higher quality product.
MM: What are your thoughts on imitation products and how do they affect your primary target market?
PP: Since we do carry one of the most copied products, Rays Engineering wheels (Volk Racing, Gram Lights) – we feel that consumers are being cheated into purchasing a lower quality alternative. It may look slightly the same, but in no way will it stand toe to toe in performance and safety testing. You literally get what you pay for when it comes to the products in this industry. It might look good from far, but it’s far from good!
For more information on Mackin Industries and the products they carry visit www.mackinindustries.com
Feature Interview Day 4 | SEMA SHOW
Pro FWD Driver
Crew Member on the MSP Racing / Lucas Oil Evolution VIII Build Team
AKA The only one that had ever seen an Evolution VIII
MM: As Honda and Supra guys, how did your team fare with the build off? Did you guys find the 4G63 technology foreign?
JH: Well, both teams were built around the fact that neither of them really work intensively with the Mitsubishi Evolution VIII. I am personally a Honda guy and Paul E and his brother are major Supra and 2JZ tuners. We definitely were able to work out the minor differences – but a car is a car and we just love playing with them.
MM: Can you give us a quick breakdown of the competition and how you were approached to be part of the team?
JH: Mike Meyers of NOPI and Yahoo! Custom Autos came out with this great idea to help promote the website. It’s the first time doing it and they are definitely coming back. Both teams were given identical cars and parts, including basic suspension upgrades, an AEM EMS to tune, upgraded turbo kit, injectors, a full body kit, roll bar, gauges, etc. We had 3 days (Tuesday – Thursday) to work on the cars from 8-5 with a one hour lunch break each day. Paul Efantis came up to me and asked if I’d like to be part of the team – without even hesitating I jumped onboard!
MM: What were your major roles in the buildup? Did you guys run into any major problems?
JH: I mostly focused on the clutch / transmission part and tuning of the AEM EMS system. This entire project was a major team effort however, we all helped each other out if an extra hand was needed. We didn’t run into any major problems, some minor ones including the power steering pulley and a release bearing. Thankfully Matco Tools supplied us with all the tools we needed to get the job done right.
MM: Any real time constraints or pressure during the build up? What were the prizes you guys were aiming for?
JH: There really wasn’t any pressure, as race teams we’ve gotten used to working hard in any given conditions. The first place winner was awarded $5,000.00 and the runner up was getting $2,500.00.
MM: Can you give us a basic summary of what happened with the dyno tuning and the racing? We heard it was monumental.
JH: (laughs) – Well we had the car complete and we did some tuning on the highway on the way to Dynojet’s facility. We drove it on the race gas and we had one hour of tuning and three runs for maximum power. Unfortunately we ran into a boost cut issue so we had to utilize a 75 shot of NX nitrous to help us out on the power. We reached 520whp at 19psi with the 75 shot. Rado’s team unfortunately edged us out with 550whp at around 30 something psi with nitrous on the intercooler. The race took place right in front of the Frontier with thousands of people gathered around to check it out at 2am. It was only about 500 feet long and we were putting on one hell of a show with the two step action. Funkmaster Flex flagged the race and we still think Rado left a tad too early! We had figured out the boost cut issue so we had the car ready to go at 30psi, and Paul Efantis felt he needed to his the nitrous to catch up to Rado’s head start. At the end of the first race, Paul E was telling me he had to turn on the wipers as coolant was just going everywhere when the headgasket blew. As he pulled around for a second run, we hit the two step and threw a rod straight out of the block. It was a bad way to lose, but the crowd loved it. Everyone was collecting parts from the car as souvenirs and it was just wild.
MM: Sounds like a ton of fun out there, any plans on doing this again?
JH: We are definitely trying to stage a rematch for a mile long race. It was without a doubt a ton of fun.
Hot Products Day 1
Check out these cool products we found at the SEMA Show.
Dryflow Synthetic Filter
One of the newest products out on the market at the SEMA show is AEM’s new dryflow synthetic filter. Never having to oil a filter again, the new dryflow filter from AEM Is extremely durable – nearly bullet proof in construction – and extremely easy to clean. It also offers the best filtration out on the market, independently tested to 99.4% efficiency to one micron of particulate. Major flow numbers have already been benchmarked on this filter and plenty of applications are already released.
Hot Products Day 2
Check out these cool products we found at the SEMA Show.
Venturing around the wheel and tire hall, it’s easy to spot new wheels and tires in production. We had a chance to stop by the Enkei booth to check out their new stuff for 2006. Their RP03 Type RC wheel is their new two piece wheel with a five spoke design that will look great on a staggered setup. Their JS+M wheel is geared towards the front wheel drive market including the Hondas and Acuras out there. Again, a nice simple five spoke design with a racing heritage makes the JS+M a possible new favorite to the front wheel drivers out there. Their RFF1 Type RC wheel was on display with Ben Schwartz’s Team Falken S14. A multi spoke design with a nice polished lip gives it another great staggered setup. Lastly the thicker 5 spoke Tarmac is released and was demo’ed on their display 350Z. Tobin Honda of Enkei told us they are mostly focusing on their staggered wheel setups – including applications for drifters, 350Zs and G35s.
Hot Products Day 3
Check out these cool products we found at the SEMA Show.
As we wandered around all the booths at SEMA, many products caught our eye today. However, when we approached the booth of BDL Industries we were taken by surprise that not only had they had outstanding new products on display, a plaque was displayed proudly showing that one of their products was a runner up in the SEMA’s hunt for hottest new product of the year. What product was this? Well, BDL Industries has designed and manufactured and extremely high quality vacuum spacer. It’s the first of its kind which eliminates vacuum t-offs while ensuring maximum vacuum pressure. It has already been used to increase plenum length and torque and is available for several applications. Their new fuel filter, billet regulator and K series throttle body were also on display.
Hot Products Day 4
Check out these cool products we found at the SEMA Show.
As we all know the Scion tuning crowd is getting larger and larger. GReddy as a major manufacturer of hardcore parts has noted this as well. They have introduced a brand new supercharger for the Scion xB and Celica GTS. This is what they had to tell us about their new product.
Chosen vehicles with limited space for modification and vehicles with close-coupled catalytic converters are ideal for GReddy supercharging. State-of-the-art Magna-Chargers with internal by-pass minimize drag while fuel tuning is optimized for smooth linear power, with our pre-programmed e-Manage and hi-flow cast intake manifolds. Included is a GReddy belt and pulley system that makes this a complete bolt-on upgrade.
Make sure to keep your eyes out on another method of forced induction from GReddy Performance!