For the second year in a row, we teamed up with former Super Street writer and industry icon, RJ de Vera of Meguiar's, to pick the top three cars for the Super Street SEMA Awards. There are several trophy ceremonies that take place during SEMA week, mostly for the hot rod community; however, there isn't an award that addresses the large and growing community of today's younger enthusiasts who are passionate about Japanese and European cars, guys like our awesome readers and fans. The Super Street SEMA Award was created in '15 to fill this gap and honor builders that deserve as much respect and attention as the rest of the aftermarket.
The criteria for the awards include factors such as overall style, execution, and cleanliness. The ultimate goal isn't to seek out the most funded, powerful, or "corporate" builds but recognize vehicles that make use of a well thought-out theme, as well as employ parts that work well together. Ideally, the Super Street Award should go to a vehicle owned, built, and driven by an enthusiast that is representative to the core of the Super Street community.
After four days, over 1,500 vehicles, and more than 100,000 visitors at the SEMA Show, the 2016 Super Street SEMA Awards went to Phil Barone with his 1993 Mazda RX-7, Ginash George with his 1972 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-X, and taking home Best of Show was Chris Forsberg and his 1975 Datsun 280Z.
BEST OF SHOW
Chris Forsberg, 1975 Datsun 280Z (S30)
Booth: K&N Engineering
Chris Forsberg needs little to no introduction. He became the first three-time Formula DRIFT champion last October, and in Las Vegas he unveiled an immaculate Datsun 280Z that he's been wrenching on over the last year with the help of partners like RAD Industries and K&N. Every inch of the Z has been addressed, whether the custom CarbonSignal G-Nose body kit and dashboard, RB25DET engine swap, or the strengthened chassis that's been updated to handle drifting abuse. The car is a beautiful and modern take on a Japanese classic and it won't be long until this Z lives sideways at the track.
Phil Barone, 1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)
Booth: Central Hall Midway
Phil Barone is a hardcore Mazda rotary enthusiast from New York. He's owned several RX-7 projects but this is his latest and greatest build. He called on the help from companies like Ravspec to get this FD to the level it's at today. Under the hood is a ported 13B rotary with BorgWarner turbo upgrade, top-mount intercooler setup, and more. What's most striking is the Mazda's exterior, which features rare RE-Amemiya bodywork with a Porsche front-end conversion from Japan. Add a Lamborghini paint job, new Advan wheels, plus many more details, and there's no question why Phil's RX-7 deserves to be honored as one of the best of SEMA '16. Stay tuned for a full feature in the next issue of Super Street as well!
*Accepting the award on behalf of Phil Barone is Calvin Chan of Ravspec.
Ginash George, 1972 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-X (Hakosuka)
Booth: Eneos Oil
Ginash George is an active member in the aftermarket community, running a popular Chicago-based website called JDM Chicago. After falling in love with the original Skyline dating back to a trip to Japan eight years ago, he's since connected with Utah-based company JDM Legends to help him source a limited-edition Skyline 2000 GT-X. While not a GT-R, the 40-year-old car is still rare and needed some restoration, which JDM Legends helped him with. Together, the team rebuilt a Hakosuka that any Japanese car enthusiast could appreciate. They used several GT-R styling cues and upgrades, an L20 engine with Weber carbs, Watanabe wheels, and more.
2015's Super Street SEMA Awards Presented by Meguiar's Winners