Now its my turn to post! I'm here in Las Vegas on Need for Speed business, collecting reference for future projects, but thought I would squeeze in a Speedhunter post or two.
I have been to the last four SEMA shows and its a real love-hate affair for me! SEMA is huge, although with the economic problems, it is smaller than last year. If you are armed with a camera, it will take you a good 3-4 days to see the whole show, so by the end of the week, I can't wait to leave, tired and worn out…..but I always come back for more. Its a fantastic resource and is a good key to future trends, just like Fashion Week in London, Milan or Paris!
I thought I'd flag a few trends and patterns that appear to be emerging this year, but first I'll touch one one of the most significant stands at the show.
Hyundai, shown above, has a big presence. In addition to their Genesis Coupe, their new luxury sedan has also been given a make-over. I'll admit, I wasn't convinced of either when I saw the press photos, but these two cars impress and I'm sure the Coupe will be a big hit. Hyundai's sister company, Kia also have a stand, but that hall is on tomorrow's agenda.
Modern Muscle dominates the show this year. The Chevrolet Camaro is the 'Official Car of the Show' but I've only found a few examples on the GM stand. Its main challenger (get it?) is all over the place. The Camaro RS shown above, with lip kit from the GM aftermarket part range received lots of attention.
I like how the Camaro has a retro feel about it, but is still a modern design. Something, I feel is a little lacking with the Dodge Challenger.
Antonio already showed the front view, but this concept is my favorite, no surprise with my racing interest. This racing concept takes you back to the end of the 60's when Roger Penske had success as a driver in a Blue and Yellow Sunoco Camaro. Just the start for Mr Penske, as the success continues today with Porsche, Grand Am and in the IRL.
Still on the motorsport theme,,,,just. Dale Earnhardt Jr worked with GM Design on this concept. Clean two-tone, showing off the rear lip spoiler and diffuser that's available as OEM parts. Black, White and Red reminds me of the GM Goodwrench colors of his Dad. May have looked better in Silver. I think the Camaro will be a big success and with GM's own extensive range of after market parts, lots of owners will be tweaking their Camaros, just as owners did in the 60s.
The Dodge Challenger dominated the show. They were everywhere, but not always with success. I'll spare your retinas and won't show the Blue Yellow and Green one found in the corner of the Wheel hall. The star was the new Formula Drift Challenger, which took center stage on the Chrysler Group stand. The star was the new Formula Drift Challenger, which Rod posted. It looks very impressive and does move the game onward and upward (is that a good thing?), but I dont think the livery works that well on a Challenger.
I liked this Mr. Norm Challenger,above, with the Black picked out with a bright green keyline. I saw a few cars like that.
Another Mr.Norm project, but this one has some styling tweaks to give it a Cuda look. It works relatively well, but its origins are obvious
Another Challenger masquerading as a Cuda!
Includes new rear light treatment
Another Cuda influenced part is this fender extension, inspired by the HEMI graphic of the old car. It looks a little tacked on, with this white car, but the Black car I saw with it looked much better.
As you can see muscle cars play an important role at SEMA this year. A few years ago, it was limited to old muscle, but now its a mix of both, at the expense of JDM which seems to have a much smaller presence than recent years.
Not exactly new, but a few cars are using different styles of Camo graphics. Our lead image shows Hyundai in 'traditional' camo, while SPT's Subaru Impreza has the 'Pixel Camo' which we have seen on a couple of other cars this year.
The biggest trend at the show is the rise in popularity of Satin Paint finishes. Sometimes called Flat, or Matt Black, they really have a Satin look. This paint finish is popular with Rat Rod owners and over the last few years, the finish has become popular on muscle, tuner and now, luxury and exotics. Last week we noted a couple of cars which used Satin Black with a secondary gloss color.
We picked this out as a possible future trend when we were designing the Need For Speed Undercover Porsche cover car. It seems we were not the only ones thinking this.
The two Nissan R35 GT-R's show different treatments with the Satin Black and Gloss. The Black car has the Satin finish extend onto the c-pillar, while the white car has the Satin finish, framed by the roof strips. We saw quite a few cars with Satin Black elements on a White Gloss car. Satin was everywhere!
Just to clarify, Satin Black does have a lacquer, when done properly. Its just a Satin finish. You can still clean marks off it!
One of the most disctinctive cars at last years show was the Five Axis designed Lexus IS-F. It was pretty extreme, but it was a very well resolved balanced design. Add the Satin Black to the mix and the now aggressive looking car was a crowd puller, despite being hidden away in a Lexus Marquee. This IS-F was back this year, situated outside, next to a cool Candy Orange IS-F. I love that color, but I did hear two people who disliked the color, just in the time I was taking the above image, so its all subjective!
Five Axis were back this year with the Lexus GS. In my opinion, this works even better than last years effort. If you look closely, the color is a dark Grey and appears to have a slight metallic to it. Its quite cool to walk around the car and watch the light on the different forms of the car
One nice feature that I did see on a couple of Toyota's and Lexi (Fans of Alan Partridge will smile at that). Rear lights have a frosted Satin look to compliment the bodywork it worked really well.
Even this Lexus SUV didn't escape. This works really well, helped with the removal of the chrome trim
Dodge also got into the act with their Challenger Blacktop concept. Chevrolet did something different on their Camaro Black,
A number of Toyota Tundra trucks also had Satin Black or Green finishes.
Some companies also tried using the Satin look with other colors. Greens and Browns work well, but other colors are harder to crack. The Ford Flex worked very well and was just the right shade of red. Elsewhere at the show, a Mercedes GLK has a similar effect, but it came out Pink!
I suspect that will be the first and last time, a Ford Flex appears on here
There also seems an increase in Satin or Matt Carbon finishes. Again, this does have a lacquer or gel-coat but has a Satin finish. You can see visitors wanted to feel it.
One last trend, or rather fashion, as this is nothing new.
Spoilers and Splitters with a fabricated, hand made appearance. This was mainly limited to Muscle cars but worked really well. I've seen it lots before on road cars and race-cars, but there seemed to be more interest in it this year.
The One Lap Camaro had both front and rear.
Form follows function.
Dodge went a stage further by riveting a carbon lip spoiler on the back of the Challenger SRT-10 concept.
I'll leave you with one of my favourite cars at the show. This Orange Camaro 'Velocity' has featured in Chevy Performance recently. It has been dyno tested to 614HP! I would happily take that back home to Canada!
Keep checking Speedhunters for more reports from Las Vegas!