SEMA 2019 Coverage… Part 2…

Towards the end of the first day of SEMA, I wanted to go back to the Toyo Tires Treadpass area to get some good photos of the E-AT Civic that Rywire had recently completed for the show. It had been so crowded earlier that day and the lighting was so bad that it made it incredibly difficult to get any decent shots of the car. The sun had started to set pretty early, eliminating shadows from being cast onto the cars in an ugly way so I walked back to see how the Treadpass area was looking. Much to my surprise, not only were the shadows gone, but the people from Toyo Tires had come up with a great way to light this tented area and the cars never looked better. Not only was it well-lit, it was set-up in a way where the cars were literally under bright LED spotlights. It almost seemed as if they had planned to showcase the cars this way and the day time portion of the show was just a primer. Most of the people that had made the show so clutter earlier that afternoon had also left to go back to their hotels or to go grab dinner on the Las Vegas strip so the cars were ripe for the (photo) taking…

What I ended-up with were some pretty awesome photos. I don’t like to say I’m a great photographer or anything but thanks to the lighting guys who lit-up the Treadpass, the photos looked more like they were set shots for a shoot that was properly strobed. I was so stoked with them that I stuck around and shot some of the other cars that were still opened-up in the Treadpass area…

The following day, or day(s), I just walked around with some friends to look for some of the other more talked-about builds that debuted that week in Las Vegas. I didn’t really bother shooting too much inside the Central Hall or any of those areas because it was just so crowded. The one good thing about social media being so immediate and showing the hyped builds is that it makes it easier to find when you actually want to see them in person at the show. Sure, it’s great to be able to get an early look at the cars and what not but it never really compares to just being there in person to see them for yourself. Like I mentioned in the first half of the coverage, I set out to look for more details and to try to capture them this time around instead of merely shooting as much as I could. It takes away from the depth of the coverage but I think by now so many of you have already seen everything from SEMA that it’d be better to actually get some details that might have been missed by some of the other people who were covering the event. I actually had a lot of fun this year because I had the energy to just walk the show throughout the week and to shoot. And I think that translates into these photos. Enjoy them, and thanks for looking…

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The Rywire E-AT (or E-AH if you want to be correct or picky) is actually a customer project. The “Wonder Civic” has it has become commonly known in Japan is actually owned by Brandon Merlot. Ryan Basseri from Rywire did most of the work inside the engine bay and, obviously, the wiring, but the car wasn’t always in the greatest shape. The three-decade-old Honda was carefully restored by Will from Willywerx utilizing a lot of parts that had been collected throughout the years from Brandon’s good friend John “Supertwinz” Nguyen. The entire car was resprayed throughout and some of the discontinued parts that they could no longer acquire, like the factory side moldings, had to be remade by Willywerx…

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Sitting snuggly inside the refreshed engine bay is a Japanese B16B Civic Type R engine that was built internally by Ken’s Race Engines. The weekend before SEMA, Ryan actually took the car to go get dyno-tuned and everyone was delightfully surprised when the engine set-up made 240whp…

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Kinsler individual throttle bodies have almost become a signature of many builds to come out of Rywire Motorsport Electronics so it comes as no surprise you would see them on this B16B engine…

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Keeping with that factory-refreshed “look” is a mint OEM Honda valve cover, retaining its original finish but in the middle are modern K-series coil-packs…

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On each end of the small engine bay by the shock towers are remote reservoirs for the JRZ Suspension Engineering Motorsport Line coilovers…

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Also a signature of most Rywire engine bays are these motorsport-grade XRP hoses and -AN fittings which you will find throughout, replacing all factory cooling and heater plumbing…

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A view from up-top showing just how clean the B16B is after it had been built and cleaned-up for Brandon Merlot’s Civic…

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With the modern ignition coils in place and the car running an AEM Infinity engine management system, the distributor is no longer needed and has been plugged…

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Sitting perfectly on a mint set of BBR Competition wheels wrapped, of course, in Toyo Proxes R888R rubber…

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Through the small windows of the BBR faces you’ll find a set of front Spoon Sports brakes for better stopping power…

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The interior sees just as much attention and restomodding as the outside with a classic Mugen Steering Wheel III in place, complete with horn cover, and an AIM MXL2 digital display that replaces the factory instrument cluster, displaying only the necessary information provided by the AEM Infinity EMS…

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Mugen S1 bucket seats look perfect inside the cockpit of this ’87 Civic hatchback. Brandon actually has a complete Mugen body kit for this car, which is extremely rare, but currently does not have plans to install the kit as of now…

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The rear JRZ Motorsport Line coilover reservoirs strapped to the custom roll cage of the Civic, with the lines running out from the spare tire area to the dampers…

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The rear is completely gutted and resprayed with only the front half utilizing the factory door panels, carpet, and dashboard. The rear section is as bare as it gets with just the cage and chassis visible…

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Giving the face a little bit more style is a Purple Speed (Doobie Inc.) front lip which has been color-matched to the lower silver half of the vehicle…

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I was so excited about the lighting being so good that I then started to get more photos of Riko Gutierrez’s 1984 AE86 Corolla SR-5 which is parked right next to the Rywire Civic. This car popped during the day time but under these bright lights, the gold paint really caught my attention…

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All the windows have been replaced with Lexan panels and the once beat-up SR5 body runs a Japanese Levin front face and a period-correct TRD-style widebody kit. From what I read, Riko claims that the paint alone on this car costs about $25,000. Maybe he means with body work and all, I cannot confirm but if its anywhere near that, good lord, this man must love his Corolla…

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Inside the engine bay which has been carefully smoothed-out, stripped, and painted is a newer Yamaha-built Toyota 3S-GE BEAMS engine swap running a set of individual throttle bodies…

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I’ve always been a fan of how great the BEAMS engine looks and I thought this angle was perfect, showing both the ITBs and the gold-painted engine cover which even has the “YAMAHA” insignia on it…

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Just a very good-looking engine bay, particularly with the long runners of the exhaust manifold and the high-angle throttle bodies…

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Matte gunmetal face and black anodized lip on these Work Equip 40s wrapped in Toyo Proxes R888R….

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No dashboard within, just a fully stitch-welded chassis and roll cage. No door panels or console either. What you see is what you get with the custom switch panel, Link digital display, and an Illest x The Hundreds steering wheel…

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The Toyo Treadpass area was filled with interesting cars of all makes and models. Right across from Riko’s AE86 was this Mercedes Benz 190E Evo built by F7LTHY Fabrication. The 190E features a custom widebody kit, front splitter, and swan neck rear wing, along with a set of Fifteen52 Turbomac wheels in black. Check the exhaust that exits through the front fenders…

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Under the hood of the “Evil Evo” is a twin-turbocharged GM LS3 engine swap which fits more snug in the engine bay of the 190E than the B16B inside the Rywire E-AT Civic…

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Daniel Song’s Pandem widebody A90 Supra debut with some nice color accents and a set of Volk TE37 Ultra wheels to fill the widened wheel wells…

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The 3:16 Speed Lamborghini Huracan rocking Libert Walk Performance LB Silhouette WORKS aero and a Sheepey Race twin-turbo kit which we spotlighted in Part 1. Had to get another shot since it was so well-lit…

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The lighting also provided us with a better look at the beautiful paint on the Autofashion USA Speed Forme 240Z, applied carefully by the guys from Buddha Concept Designs…

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Brandon has a couple different sets of wheels for his Civic, but perhaps there is no better look than these BBR Competition wheels…

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The following day, myself and some friends made our way to the Meguiar’s section of the SEMA Show to catch-up with our friend RJ de Vera. He was nowhere to be found, probably in a meeting or doing something important, but we were greeted with this BMW E30 coupe built by Rebellion Forge Racing. The Olive Green-painted coupe wears a “Live To Offend/LTO” widebody kit designed by Khyzyl Saleem…

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Inside the engine bay is a GM 6.0-liter V8 LS swap running a custom-fabricated 8-1 exhaust manifold created by Kyle Ray from Rebellion Forge Racing…

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The engine bay is finished off with some custom metal panels to give the bay a different shape and behind the headlights are remote reservoirs for the KW coilovers…

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The rear of the LTO widebody kit along with a custom rear diffuser and center-exit exhaust…

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Forged Rotiform WGR-M wheels with custom Rebellion Forge Racing spoke decals…

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If you want a car to attract a shit ton of attention for your display, all you need is a 8-1 header and all the showgoers will come flocking…

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One of the builds that I was excited to see in-person was this Japanese EG4 Civic race car put-together by Raul from Checkerd Sports in Nevada. Raul had been updating his social media platforms with many detailed photos of the build leading-up to SEMA but I was keen on seeing how the car looked as a whole once it was completed. The outside features a new Tracklife Composites front lip, PCI sides, custom vented front wide fenders, and a roof-exit wing which is actually chassis mounted…

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Raul does much of his own fabrication and dedicated quite a bit of time into the engine bay with the cage incorporated into the firewall and shock towers. There is chassis reinforcement throughout with custom dimple dies wherever possible. The K20 engine swap hosts a full catalog of Checkerd Sports products including, but not limited to, a CS coil cover plate, oil cap, AC/PS delete, fuel rail, fuel pressure gauge, and custom titanium intake…

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Check out the custom coolant reservoir with black -AN plumbing to the tucked radiator under the core support…

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The custom-fabricated bar running from the firewall to the shock towers also has an bracket welded in-place to mount the reservoirs for the JRZ coilovers…

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Angled and tucked radiator under the custom core support with dual fans and -AN plumbing…

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Underneath the EG4 Civic is a custom titanium center-exit dual exhaust along with a complete array of Hardrace Suspension pieces. The subframe is also boxed and connected to the shock towers which also ties into the cage…

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I wish I had taken some photos of the interior of the car but I only had a short amount of time there that day and Raul, unfortunately, was not around to give me the full tour…

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There’s no shortage of custom fabrication work inside and out. It should be interesting to see how this car does when it actually goes onto a race track in the near future…

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One of the more polarizing modifications on the Checkerd Sports Civic is the swan-neck wing which exits from the cage through the roof of the car. It’s a detail that hasn’t really been approached by many other EG-chassis enthusiasts and is a little shocking when you first see it in-person…

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Jonny Grunwald’s TCP Magic Type TT RX-7 hit SEMA this year with a refreshed look, now adorned in matte blue vinyl…

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Love how the security dog was just seated behind the FD here and how it looked almost as if it were done on purpose as if the car required that type of security…

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Luigi Arroyo gets to be the first in North America to have the brand new Varis front bumper for the FK8 Civic Type R. It’s so brand new that this is actually the original Varis bumper that they produced. It arrived in the U.S. just in time for the SEMA Show and Luigi was probably a pretty nervous guy being stuck with the responsibility of not destroying the prototype…

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Car Style Japan and GReddy Performance presented SEMA-goers with a look at a car that most in the U.S. would not see very often, if ever. This is a JDM Suzuki Jimny Sierra wearing a custom widebody kit, Volk Racing TE37 wheels, and a prototype GReddy turbo kit for the 1.5-liter engine…

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Pandem widebody E30 BMW coupe wearing traditional BMW colors…

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It was nice to see Tommy Ha’s full ASM S2000 getting some love at the SEMA Show this year. His AP2 was actually in an online competition to win a spot to go to SEMA and he actually lost, lol. He didn’t end-up with enough votes to get the feature car spot at the show but in the end, he was able to get a spot anyway, and ironically (or not) was parked right next to the car that won…

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The S2000 has been complete for many years now, but for SEMA, he added a set of baller Brembo Monoblock GTR brakes which barely clear the Titan7 wheels…

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If you want a great example of how a full ASM-adorned S2000 looks, there is probably no better example, except from Autobacs ASM Yokohama themselves…

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The car that actually did win the online voting competition was Chris Montano’s 2002 Acura NSX, which was once silver but has been completely reimagined now in Honda Green Tea Metallic paint. The widebody kit is from famed NSX tuning shop Route KS and is from their Super Madonna line. It also features an NSX-R style hood, staggered and powder-coated Volk TE37 wheels paired with front/rear Lucky big brakes…

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Super rare NSX Ganador mirrors are a must…

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The widened rear of the Madonna NSX with a BackYard Special rear wing…

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Oh and here we are at the very end of my SEMA coverage this year. On the last day the only photo I took before flying back home to L.A. was of this Pandem Supra sitting on the carpeted floors of the show via Airlift suspension. Certainly one of the better-looking A90s in a show that probably had 1 or 10 too many, but hey, I enjoy those cars so let’s keep cutting them up and putting wide panels on them, haha. Thanks for looking folks!…

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