The SEMA Show is undoubtedly the most car-crazy, sleep-deprived and alcohol-infused event of the year. During the first week of November, thousands of people visit Las Vegas for a four-day convention that takes nearly the entire 39-hours of the show to see everything. For many tuners and car builders, it's the grand finale of the year as the best project cars and newest parts are unveiled. We also get a chance to catch up and party with all our industry colleagues. It's something we look forward to every year, but usually leaves us running on a few hours of sleep each day with our eyes bloodshot, bodies sore and livers hating us.
As far as event coverage goes, this year felt a little different compared to past SEMA shows mostly because of social media. Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, we knew about and posted nearly every cool car you'd want to take a look at online before the show even started. Because of this, we decided to only showcase the best of the best cars here. Check out our social media channels and superstreetonline.com if you're still hungry for more SEMA photos.
It goes without saying that one of the more popular booths to visit at SEMA is the one curated by Mackin Industries. Here we always find the latest wheels to come from the RAYS/Volk Racing (new is the CE28NRT Pressed Black) and ADVAN families (a return appearance by the infamous R's Tuning GT-R, used in the Fast and Furious 6 film), Project Mu and their own performance line, MXP. R's Tuning brought out a new GT-R that's actually decked out in full carbon fiber but to sex it up for Vegas, had a yellow wrap added. You can expect to see more in-depth features on the Varis-kitted Evo X and the PMU FR-S shortly. mackinindustries.com
One of the first things we noticed is that this Mk1 Golf Racer is right-hand drive—this car was built at Forge Motorsport's UK headquarters and transported here to showcase in Garrett's SEMA booth as well as run in our Super Lap Battle (see P. 54). Under the hood of this bad boy is a 1.8-liter turbo swap that features a Garrett GTX2860 and mated with a six-speed gearbox. The exterior boasts custom arches, side skirts, front bumper and more that are tribute to its Berg Cup hill climb heritage. The car is a complete one-off package that's not just built to break necks but be one of the quickest old-school Golfs ever built. forgemotorsport.com, turbobygarrett.com
Although SEMA is a nonstop party for all attendees, Scion likes to take things one step further by treating industry heads to a party before the party. At their SEMA preview event, held in downtown LA a week prior, they unveiled the three competing cars for the tC Tuner Challenge and the other supporting booth projects, including GReddy's 2J-powered FR-S (also voted "Best JDM" at the Sony Playstation GT Awards), the "Strictly Business" Cartel Customs xB limo, Bulletproof's ultra-JDM FR-S and the Urban GT Sport Coupe FR-S, which was built by J-TACS, a sub-tuning division of Toyota Japan. But it would be the City of Sin where the winner of the tC Tuner Challenge would be announced. A first for us this year was working with Scion to help assemble the three competitors and providing our feedback for judging. It was really a tough game to call, and we can tell you that the points difference between the cars was minimal; each tC had their strong positives but small flaws as well. In the end, Young Tea came up on top with the "Simpli-tC" concept; a turbocharged, bagged and very clean build that really hit all categories, plus the bragging rights and $10K. Walter Franco's L-DZ concept, a VIP-inspired/nitrous-fueled project might've come in Second but killed the social media world, capturing the Scion Tuner Challenge Fan Vote, where people voted for their favorite build through Scion Racing's Facebook and Instagram pages; that netted Walter a $7K prize and a special Super Street Fan Favorite cover award. Third place honors went to Josh Croll for creating the WSD tC, which was converted to right-hand drive, turbocharged and its engine bay shaved clean; his efforts pulled in a nice reward of $5K.
Tucked far off in the upper new vendors hall was this pristine RX-7. TCP Magic GT widebody and wing, plus a fresh set of ISS Forged GT7s... oh lordy! Keep an eye out for this guy in the future pages of SS. Alongside the FD was this breathtaking RWB 993 aka "Catalina." issforged.com
Lexus turned to the Deviant Art online community to help create their SEMA IS project; from over 500 entries and 25 finalists, they chose Rob "psas" Evans's design and had VIP Auto Salon bring the car to life. As you can see, the front and rear fenders have been flared out nice and wide, the car brought down low by an AccuAir air suspension and one-off 20x10.5"/20x13" Nutek wheels. lexus.com/sema
Rauh-Welt Begriff made waves at SEMA two years ago with Mark Arcenal's phenomenal green 964 turbo widebody (also graced our cover 6/12). Founder of RWB, Akira Nakai has made a return this year with his own personal 930 built for the show. It flosses RWB's signature super widebody kit, painted BASF Rubystone red, slammed on KW coilovers and 18x10/13" Work Meister M1 wheels and houses Recaro Pole Position seats. One of the cleanest RWB examples we've seen to date! rauh-welt.com, toyotires.com