SEMA 2012: The Final Countdown

There are a number of times every year where I avoid my Facebook news feed like the plague. In no particular chronological order, these times include election season, major sports finals, whenever it rains in California, and the weeks leading up to and after SEMA. Why do I avoid checking my feed then you ask? Because everybody is posting the same frakkin thing. You see sites across the internet posting about the same cars, kits, builds, on and on. It’s madness.

Needless to say, SEMA poses a unique coverage challenge to enthusiast sites unlike any other show on the automotive calendar. Do we write about the recognized heavy hitters and risk becoming “just another SEMA article” floating around the interwebs? Or do we cover the cars just out of the spotlight – and risk the lack of an established audience?I’ll make it easy on you. In no particular order, here are 20 SEMA 2012 standouts that should have caught your eye:

Bomber Lead Sled

When I was younger, I was pretty dead set on joining the Air Force so I could fly jets and call my wingman a bomb nickname. A part of me still has that dream and I love seeing cars integrate vintage fighter/bomber visual touches. Especially if those cars are ye olde lead sleds of the 40’s and 50’s. Classic.

eGarage RWB 993

I don’t think this needs any introduction or explanation.

Stancelabs E-Class

This guy or girl is probably not welcome on Mercedes forums (do those exist?). I on the other hand, love their work. The E-Class is a straight up classy sedan and as a brand, MB really doesn’t get a lot of tuning love and attention. The massive fitment and negative camber work so well together and the flat white CR Kai on red Carlsson body is a favorite color combination of mine.

Fatlace Ben Sopra R35 GT-R

Obligatory. While not my absolute favorite kit in the world, it wins some points for being outrageous with an equivalently loco price. When a body kit is worth over 2/3 of your family’s garage, I guess it has to have some cool factor to it.

Ebay Racing Ford Mustang

Because JDM wheels on a Mustang.

034 Motorsport Audi TT RS VLN Racer

To me, the TT, not the Miata, was the real hairdressers car. The first generation was never that sharp of a car (in both shape and handling dynamics) and initially, had the potential to offer free flying lessons to its drivers. The second generation was definitely an improvement, but if they could, I’d love for them to come out of the factory the way 034 Motorsport has done up theirs: with just a sprinkle of DTM and racing influences.

High End Performance Veilside FD RX-7

Call me rice all you want. I love the Fortune widebody kit on the RX-7.

GSR Autosport #builtfromebay 1984 Porsche 911

I love rally-inspired 911s. While the current generations look like they’d cringe at the thought of getting dirt between their very serious German engineering, classic 911’s can make some tough little crawlers. As demonstrated here:

Acura/Honda NSX Supercar Concept

Whatever its official name ends up being, the new NSX will be a much-needed swish of automotive Listerine in the uninspiring mouth that is Honda’s current stable of cars. I don’t care if it’s powered by a hybrid powertrain, gets 4 meters to the gallon or has seats made of paper mache. Plain and simple, Honda needs a sports car. Although they could do the right thing and just give us the HSV they’ve been campaigning in Super GT…

Toyota Fishing Team TRD Tundra

I don’t know what the hell they’re fishing for with that Tundra, but I wanna come along. Maybe they’re planning on towing a giant squid the size of the Space Shuttle out of the ocean… Sea what I did there?

Liberty Walk Performance Lamborghini Murcielago

How is it that the Japanese can always make Lamboghinis crazier? One of the growing number of what I’m terming “artisan tuners” out of the Land of the Rising Sun, Kato-san has made a name for himself riding and taming some of Italy’s fiercest bulls. Check out his work here.

Lingenfelter Corvette Stingray

My favorite generation of Corvette (although the C5 makes a pretty good argument for itself as well) from some nobody Corvette specialists. Just kidding. While I’m not a huge fan of what LPE has done to the unmistakable lines of the C2, they didn’t earn a name for themselves by making American muscle pretty.

Maxtrax Local Motors Rally Fighter

Sometimes people come together and produce, much to the distaste of the public, less than desirable ideas. Jar Jar Binks and the Thanksgiving song anybody? At the other end of the spectrum, a group of dedicated individuals can produce magnificent results. Case in point, the offroad-ready and open-source designed Local Motors Rally Fighter. More than 18in. of suspension travel in the front and rear good enough for you? How about Kevlar-laced tires and a 430HP V8? Your cup of tea?

Evasive Motorsports FR-S

Glad to see one FR-S with an aero kit thats being properly grabbed by the scruff of its supercharged neck and thrown around a track.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo Velocity Concept

The Veloster was always a bit of a strange looker. I could never quite fully take in its proportions. In addition, the almost Audi-esque front grille was somehow that much less interesting to look at when you compared it to the rear. Unbelieveable to think that a number of aero additions could make the car appear even more bonkers. I will say that the Velocity Concept does improve the Veloster’s looks department, but it should have more prominently displayed the work by Cosworth to bring the little 1.6L to output 400HP…

AccuAir Suspension Audi AIR4

Maybe its the Audi snowplow design language up front. Maybe its the flared fenders and black on black on black. Maybe its the superb wheel choice and fitment. And maybe it’s all the above.

SR20DE Datsun 510 Bluebird

A car that would be completely within its comfort zone at a show like JCCS, this 510 Bluebird made for a refreshing taste of SoCal culture in the all-too-often-corporate-sponsored-widebody world of SEMA. Never mind the SR20 swap or the fact that the car itself was simply immaculate.

Continental Tires Grand-Am Ferrari 458 Italia GT

While not really a SEMA car, everyone should be able to appreciate a good race car. Leaving the same production line as its more tame road-going sibling, a finished 458 Italia GT heads straight to Michelotto, Ferrari’s “tuner” arm (if such a thing could be said about Ferraris), for race spec preparations. Having prepared Ferraris for racing since the 70’s, Michelotto knows a thing or two about making the prancing horse prance just that much faster.

Jeep Mighty FC Concept

Silly Jeep concept. Thinks it’s a Tonka truck. Wearing eight-lug Mopar portal axles and 40in tires, the Mighty FC concept pays homage to the Jeep Forward Control of the early 60’s – at a price. The axles alone on the Mighty FC cost over $23K. Imagine how many Forward Controls you could have purchased at the time…

67 Shelby GT500

More commonly recognized in a grey paint scheme with black stripes with a certain Nick Cage behind the wheel, the Shelby GT500 is the sort of car that’ll put hair on your chest if you look at it for too long. Although I apparently am immune to such effects, even after making multiple walks around this particularly clean example.

And that’s it. SEMA 2012 ladies and gentlemen. As always, looking forward to next year to see what us enthusiasts can dream up next.

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