SEMA Show 2016 Coverage…Part 1…

It seems like I go to the SEMA Show less and less every year. I mean, I still enjoy it but not with as much child-like enthusiasm as I had when I first started going. Back then, it was something to look forward to every year. Whenever SEMA time rolled around, it was a reason to be excited. Nowadays, I think I find myself getting more excited just to get away from home for a few days to chill in Las Vegas. The city just has this allure to it that can’t be matched. I don’t really gamble much, nor do I drink much anymore, but I still enjoy my time there. If anything, I think it has more to do with the ambiance of Las Vegas. The food is great and I think the best part of it is being in Vegas with all your peers. It is a time to go to another city and run into your friends. You never know who you’re going to run into because a huge chunk of the import automotive industry is there that week. You run into people in the casino, share a drink or some chatter, and move along. Later at the industry party, whichever one is happening that particular evening, you run into some more people and you chat like you haven’t seen each other in forever. By the end of the night, everyone is just fucked-up beyond all recognition and you go to sleep for a few hours and do it all over again. It’s a lot of fun. Tiring, but entertaining. I partied A LOT when I was younger so I don’t really have that urge to get that crazy anymore now that I’m in my 30s but I always find it interesting to see people go full-on at the club, haha. It’s fun to see people let go and have a good time, especially people that you know in the industry who you don’t expect it from. I still have some drinks and get a little crazy but never to the point where I completely forget what I’m doing. Still, I think I find myself going to the SEMA Show later and later every day. This year, my average time of arrival was like 12:30 PM or later, haha. Most of my friends who are working in the industry are up by like 8 AM, out and about, waiting to get to work at the show. I’m just covering the show for myself so I have a bit of a relaxed schedule, if you know what I mean. This year was more entertainment than anything. I’ve done the grind before while I did a project for DC Comics and Kia Motors so its nice to just be able to go to the show whenever, if at all…

Much like my relaxed afternoons at SEMA, I have also taken a much more relaxed approach on my coverage. I used to go crazy and shoot everything in sight but then I realized that most of the stuff is not even stuff people really care to see anymore or they’ve seen it on social media. I think the problem with doing coverage these days is that so many outlets of different types of social media exist now that it is incredibly hard to show people things that are deemed “noteworthy” that people haven’t been exposed to RIGHT AWAY.  People sacrifice a lot of quality these days to be the first one to show the world something. I’m not gonna complain about it, I understand how it works, so I just continue to do things as I’ve done. I’d rather show people the finer details or give people a better perspective of these cars that “blow up the Internet” on my own time. There were some pretty good cars this year so I knew exactly where I needed to go to find them. Everyone had posted all the crazy stuff before I even got to the show so it acted as a virtual map to know exactly where these cars were displayed. You saw many of them in the Vlogs I posted on YouTube already but I’ve taken the liberty of posting up the photos for you here as well. Everything has been really condensed now. I try to shoot the cars that best capture my attention and just walk the show to take in the cars myself. The rest of the time I’m just re-visiting my friends’ cars at the show to make sure everything is going well with them. This year I had some friends who were there to make some big debuts so I guess we were there more for moral support than anything…

I don’t know if there is anything else left to say about the SEMA Show other than that. There was some cool stuff this year. I like that the economy has recovered enough to the point where the industry is in a good state overall and good cars are being built. There is a strong influence from Japan with all the crazy new kits coming out from overseas and I love to see it. The show is usually overrun by trucks and mostly domestic vehicles so its cool to see such a strong presence by the Japanese tuning community. I’m sure many of you have seen or heard that Big Mike’s Prelude is back. It’s pretty nuts. Mike has been putting this thing together for a lengthy amount of time now and I’m happy for him. It is nice to see his car out and about again and for it to capture so much attention. Much like Ryan from Rywire’s Integra Type R last year, it also competed in the SEMA “Battle of the Builders” competition where it ended up in the Top 10 list. That’s pretty amazing. Big Mike’s Prelude has come a LONG way since you first saw the build come together here on The Chronicles and Big Mike is certainly doing big (all puns intended) things now. Congrats to him, the people that contributed to his build, and the Rywire team for putting together a build worthy of a Top 10 finish in the highly competitive “Battle of the Builders” competition…

Now, we have photos…

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One of the first cars that we set off to go find was Dominic Le’s S30Z build. He had made a lot of noise last year when he put together the Hakotora (Datsun pick-up with Hakosuka front) for the SEMA Show and has continued to gain quite a reputation in the industry since. Le decided to build an entirely new car for this year’s SEMA Show and put together this Toyota 2JZ-GTE powered S30Z…

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The black paint looked like it was still wet while parked within the Toyo Tires “Treadpass” area of the SEMA Show and fitted under the widened body are huge Work Meister M1 wheels with matching black faces…

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The livery, for those who don’t recognize it, is an homage to the classic John Player Special livery seen on many racecars of years past. Since it wasn’t a true John Player Special livery, Le and friends put their own twist on it by calling it the “Chasing Js Special”…

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Phaze2 Jaycray’s freshly finished Rocket Bunny Lexus RC painted in BMW Laguna Seca Blue. He is one of the first to acquire the brand new Work Meister L1 wheels from Japan and have them on his RC…

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Dionne Mascunana’s TRA Kyoto Pandem-kitted Porsche Cayman on Rotiform wheels…

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Bulletproof Automotive’s Varis Nissan R35 GTR looking straight out of a Japanese Varis catalog…

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This particular BMW parked in the Toyo Treadpass area was an interesting one. The Nissan “Midnight Purple” iridescent paint was a major clue as to what was going on and upon closer inspection…

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….sure enough, there was a Nissan Skyline GTR RB26DET engine sitting inside the engine bay of this E36 BMW…

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The RB fits pretty tight inside the E36 engine bay and a larger single turbo replaces the factory twin-turbo set-up from a Skyline. The hood exit dump pipe has been polished as has the intake plenum. Definitely an unusual swap by the guys over at LTMW but so, so, cool…

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The interior is a bit more rough with most of the panels just blasted with [HOONIGAN] decals along with a digital display and Renown steering wheel…

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Liberty Walk Performance widebody Lamborghini Huracan Spyder on Savini Forged wheels…

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One of the first TRA Kyoto Pandem Boss kits in the U.S. belongs to this blue FD3S RX-7. Didn’t expect to see this in the U.S. so soon after seeing the first one by RE Pro Shop Miyoshi in Japan but I guess with all the communication going on now between the two countries, it was bound to happen sooner than later…

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Wearing a custom Rotiform graphical livery was this Liberty Walk-equipped Ferrari 458 Italia on Rotiform’s newest LSR 3-piece forged wheel…

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Bruce Harvey’s 1970 Dodge Charger featuring a R5 NASCAR engine from Eatmon Race Engines, 3-inch chopped roofline, handmade cowl, hood scoop, and door vents…among other crazy modifications. This thing was just insane to see in person…

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Rilber Li’s Mode Parfume widebody 3GS…

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This was one of the more interesting things that we encountered on the first day of the show. Yes, it looks like a Mustang but kinda not…and the wheelbase is a bit longer than you would remember… As it turns out, this is actually a body-swapped R35 GTR with a (obviously) modified Mustang body to fit. It’s still very much a GTR, kind of an Mustang, and also something completely unique, with the builder, Pit Garage, dubbing it the “Muzilla”. Why do it? Hell, why not?….

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The main attraction inside the Toyo Tires booth located within the Wheel & Tire Hall of the 2016 SEMA Show was Mikey Cristi’s IDL Design USA-built “Old&New Japan” Porsche 997. The name comes from a Japanese company who worked closely with Kei Miura to develop this aero kit that takes inspiration from classic slant-nose Porsches. The result is a really wide 997 body with a completely new front end, along with front fenders that eliminate the factory headlight altogether. Mikey is the first to have this kit here in the U.S. and the IDL Design USA team did a great job of fitting this kit before repainting the entire car in a Sea Blue hue….

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A closer look at the vented front fenders…

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…and the L.E.D. turn signal lights. Instead of headlights, it now has two huge fog lamps on the front bumper to provide light for late night driving…

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GT3 Cup rear quarter glass…

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Brightly mirror-like finish on the Rotiform LSR wheels…

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Another angle of the front fender and wheel airred down on Airlift suspension…

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Rear shot of the 911S and the Old&New rear wing and rear bumper…

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Liberty Walk McLaren MP4-12C converted to a 650S to have the kit fitted before it was vinyl-wrapped by Impressive Wrap. If you’re from Southern California and you enjoy Afters Ice Cream, one of the owners from Afters actually owns this car…

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Origin Labo widened Nissan S15 Silvia freshly assembled and on display in the Zestino Tire booth…

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Outside, I spotted this British Racing Green Rauh Welt Porsche 964 convertible…

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Tiffanie experiencing SEMA for the first time, snapping away…

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Liberty Walk R35 GTR with some interesting wheels that have been color-matched with some gold accents…

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Tourists from Asia (I hope, otherwise I’m just guessing and assuming) getting a close look at a Ferrari 458 GT3 race car…

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Right next to it was this Shelby GT350CR that apparently no one was looking at even though it had some Jesus light shining down on it…

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Beautiful Lamborghini Huracan pasted to the ground via Accuair and the guys from Boden Autohaus …

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Big body Benzs always looking great low to the Earth, especially when they are on Rotiform wheels…

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Rocket Bunny R35 GTR also prepped by the great people at Boden Autohaus…

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The gangs all here for SEMA. Yuta probably telling a story about how a sandwich fell on the ground but one side hadn’t touched pavement yet so he just ate that side…

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Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 at the DUB Magazine booth…

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Kato from Liberty Walk always spares no expense when it comes to the SEMA Show. This year, he decided to ship his Datsun S30Z over to the U.S. to display. I think he ended the week doing a fat ass burnout at the show and got kicked-out. Not sure if the story is true or not but it sounds like something he’d do so I’d venture to say that most of it is probably on point…

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Der studying all the little intricacies of the Datsun while the crowd looked on…

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Fender flares…EVERYWHERE…

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Super cool to see this thing over here in the States though. I first saw it at Tokyo Auto Salon in January but it was roped off and we couldn’t get a real good look at it…

That’s a wrap on Part 1… I got a flight to catch to Jakarta in a few hours so I’ll see you all when I get back (fingers crossed)

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