Event>>sema 2008 Notes Part1

It seems that part of the life of a Speedhunter is that you need to learn to keep finding new ways to increase your productivity. “Go! go! go!” is the operative term. So with this in mind I am going to jump straight in to talking about my day 1 experiences at SEMA. I’ll try and walk you through my entire day on the show floor…

This is the first time BTW I’ve messed with one of the EA digital SLRs that we have kicking about the studio. Figured it was about time for me to do a bit of shooting on my own!…

Anyway… There were a few nice looking Hyundai Genesis coupes at the show. I’ll have to go back and shoot them some more before the show is up. Above is the HKS USA-built car.

Muscle cars were out in force at SEMA this year. It seems like the interest in these cars continues to be the mainstay of the American based scene. This is a vintage Pro Stock car from the first years of the class.

I love the look of this Petty ’73 Challenger. I’m not sure if this was used for NASCAR or Trans Am… will have to go back and read the info card in more detail next time!

A sea of wheels. This photo gives you a good idea just how overloaded SEMA is with wheels, wheels and more wheels. Most of the companies seem to be pushing the blinged out Dub style of rims.

I do have a soft spot for the later, larger muscle cars from the late 1960’s and early ’70s. This Plymouth Roadrunner was on display at the Mopar booth.

Bulletproof Automotive had two R35s on display at the show…

I’m not 100% sure if the livery on this R35 is as successful as it could be…

More successful to my eye is this version. Ben has slammed this car right to the ground. Looks great.

Strolling over to the Falken booth we were greeted by this honey in a little Xmas outfit…

…. however being automotive purists we wasted no time in getting a snap of this new Falken race project. Gone is the Ford GT program and in it’s place is this brand new Porsche GT3RSR. Should be good for Falken’s road race tire program to have a competitive chassis to work with. Smart move.

And moving round the front of the car…. err…

A moment of distraction….

Right… back to the car….

I was also very pleased to see that Falken is showing our latest Speedhunters film on their screens. It looks quite good in the context of the booth IMO.

Falken also had this cool tuned up Smart car on display. Car looks great don’ t you think?

CJ gives the camera a look…. and here I was thinking that she only looked at Antonio this way hahaha…

Gotta love the retro funny cars…

Everyone’s favourite AE86 pilot: Yoshioka.

The Revention. One of the most amazing new car designs I’ve seen in a while. It appears to have the ability to absorb light…

It seems that no booth is complete without a tuned R35 on display… Hankook had their own version…

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the headlight design…

The other “it” car of SEMA 2008 is the Dodge Challenger. There are many, many modded up versions of this car on display at the show.

Our Need for Speed Edition Shelby Mustang Terlingua was on display at the Shelby booth. I realized that I didn’t include a shot of the engine setup in my review of the car from last month, so here’s shot of the supercharger set up.

We’ve also got a few game consoles set up in the Shelby booth, and some of the Need for Speed team are at SEMA doing some press interviews and so forth. I caught this nice snap of the video cameras getting set up for the start of a shoot.

Some of the Shelby personnel has these cool one-off Terlingua Need for Speed shirts… very cool!

Parked up next to our Terlingua was this crazy looking land speed record prepared Shelby Daytona. I don’t know exactly what the plan with this car is, but it certainly looks the part.

Mister Rado… the chops are back, hurrah!…

Note the Speedhunters sticker on his Time Attack Scion tC.

Also representing is Vaughn Gittin Jr…

His Mustang is on display at the Bosch booth. The engine looks great all lit up…

You can see JR there manning the booth.

JR is all lit up blue too! Hmmm perhaps I should go to bed here.. these captions are getting to be a bit non-linear.

I’m noticing a few muscle car builds that are moving away from the over-done Pro Touring style and instead are built up as retro Trans Am style track cars. More preferred IMO.

Normally I don’t like cars in this direction, but for some reason this Cadillac was working for me. Perhaps it was the deep red paint that caught my eye, as well as the deep dish rims..

I seem to be more attracted to Muscle cars this year than anything else. This is my favourite car of the show so far, the Onelap Camaro. This car has been built to participate in open road events like The One Lap of America and the Silver State Challenge.

The car harks from Alberta, Canada and is THE nicest Camaro I’ve ever seen.

This car has much tighter wheel fitment than most Pro Touring style Camaros. Much better IMO. You can read more about this car here.

Want a brand new, vintage Mustang? Well now you can get a full reproduction shell to start off your retro Trans Am project… one day, one day. I wonder if we’ll see reproduction AE86 shells in the future!

The Scion booth had a fairly big group of show cars. This is our own Speedhunter, Chris Rado’s Scion xB Time Attack show car.

Yes you heard that right, this car will be run in the street class of Time Attack events next year.

Can you make out the 4x race bucket seats? Interestingly, the car has subwoofers installed, but they are placed as low as possible in the floor to drop the CG height down…

The dashboard has been fully felted to minimize glare… Interesting concept huh?

A detail on John Pangilinan’s wide body tC. It has a quasi-DTM look going on.

Some of the Scion show cars were pushing some limits… pure show style creations.

More retro Trans Am goodness…

or how about some retro NASCAR style. This is a street-track car that has been built to capture the look of old school stock car racing.

I think this is really damn cool. Hey NASCAR, put some vintage races together for these types of cars!

One more……

Another fav car of mine. Will look at this machine in more detail in a separate post…

I was well pleased to see the famous Big Red Camaro on display. This is THE car that started the whole Pro Touring style over 10 years ago. This one is a serious track car though, built for top speed runs and open road races.

Check the width of the rear tire…

Ryan from Formula D.

The big event at the end of the day was the reveal of Samuel Hubinette’s new 2009 drift car, This wild looking Challenger.

Notice the chopped top…

This is pretty interesting. The car has been designed to slide along walls via these rubber wheels…

You can see here they are mounted directly to the chassis. This is a full carbon-bodied tube-chassis big budget build. It shows you just how far the bar is moving in the American drift scene.

This car sits LOW. Can’t wait to see it on track…


Ok time to get some sleep here, enjoy the snaps. Also let me know if you want me to shoot a particular car in more detail.


SEMA 2008 Coverage



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Hubinette's car is very interesting, I don't really know what to think of it initially but as "Innovative"

The thing seems to be worth quite a bunch of coin so fingers crossed we never see it in a crumpled heap after an event.

As for the other pictures, they're great, That crimson Camaro from Canada really stands out for me, it looks amazing. I am a huge Reventon fan as well, any chance you could snap a few more shots of that beast? It's always fun to look at pictures of that car =D

Thanks, and awesome work!



Awesome coverage. PS, The Big Red Camaro was built 20 years ago. It made me want to start road racing.


Rod, quick question is that road race/street roadrunner belong/built by Bill Goldberg?


Hey guys some background info on that 1974 Petty Challenger. It was a full kit car from Petty and Dodge for people that wanted to go short track racing in the mid 70s. They made them from 1974 to 1980. Only one year was a Challenger after that they were Darts from 1975-76 then were Aspens from late 76- 80. So one of the Challengers ones are very RARE. They came with a full NASCAR roll chassis and a 360 C. I. that about 450- 500 hp. The most well know one was a 1980 Aspen that was sold about 5 year ago up here in Michigan for about $3500. You got to give it to mama MOPAR. thats whay they make the best cars. Love Sam's new Challenger. I think he will be champ in 09 unless Bubba Drift comes back :) Rod you guys should do something on them. To take a $750 car do about $7000 of work into it and be good thats just to cool. They are my 2nd favorite drift team next to MOPAR. They are the reason I'm looking form a 1970-74 Cuda that I want to build into a full blown drift car. Keep up the very good work guys.


That Challanger is sweet! Bringing back the chrome was a good idea. For half a sec I thought that Falken Porsche might be getting sideways but oh well, they do need something to keep up w/ the GT2 cars, especially since Corvette is gettin in the game now. I do think their GT2 could be competitive with more development though


Good coverage Rod. Some real nice cars on display.

Few things - SpeedHunters.com stickers - you guys need a shop for them!

Is the Hubinette car a (chopped) silhoutte or just a heavily modified car? I would hate to see drifting going down the route of such huge budgets killing the sport.

That superbird is stunning.

Oh and the "felt" on the dash - we call that a flocked dash. See lots of Rally cars with it.


Dammit! Screw muscle cars, those are for the rednecks and hillbillies!


Hubinettes car is serious fail. You should've smacked Ryan when you saw him for allowing that thing.


That onelap Camaro is stunning =) There are always awesome cars at this show, great article Rod!


st3ph3n it looks like Hubinette's new ride is just a tube-chassis that's been covered in (relatively) stock-looking body panels


i really like the wheels on the old red mustang! as a euro fan i've always had a soft spot for mesh wheels ;D


any more details on the orange Smart car? it's always interesting to see what kind of wheel setups people can manage, obviously this one is a five-bolt arrangement, but the only other five-bolt smart i've seen was rocking BBS LM and had the heart of a Hayabusa


Greaet pics! Thanks for the coverage.

The Bulletproof R35 looks pretty good. I think those little box tickers up front gotta go tho. How bout the Cusco/Voltex Sti I've been seeing.

Sam's new car is ok, I dont like the whole chrome looking front end thing. The Viper was a lot better for that type of style.

Lookn forward for more!


Great article Rod.. kinda beats down that show we went to in Birmingham so many years ago! :)


some awesome cars at sema this year, great coverage so far. but i have doubts about how well those skate wheels will hold up when sams car "bumps" a wall. interesting idea regardless.


Hubinette's new car sucks as well as the old one. The only US cars I found nice (both by the look and how they slide visually) on the drift championship are the Mustang and the GTO.

By the way I was also wondering about some AE86 "replica's" few times ago.


god im in love

muscle cars are so hot now


Im really liking Hubinettes challenger, Rod can you confirm if that superbird belongs to Bill Goldberg? I've been hearing bits and pieces of the build, and I think it is. Please get some great pics of the "Lexuses/Lexi?" that are supposed to show, specially the IS-Fs


The Mopar Challenger is further proof the Chrysler is in a downward spiral with no end in sight. They need to spend more time designing a new Neon and cars that will actually sell, then making poor attempts at latching on to the Drift scene. The Viper was decent, the Charger was great looking and fun to watch, but the Challenger project is out of touch. Similarly to the fella that lost an election last night.


so tube-frame chassis are allowed in Formula D? I have a feeling tis car could could create a lot of controversy especially since it's most likely going to do so well...


And lastly, who is the Graphic Designer at Mopar, that icey squirt on the side of the Challenger is atrocious. And I'm not trying to sound like a jerk, I really think it does a disservice to the look of the car, you can't see the underlying design of the car because the graphics are overwhelming. Bring back the old school Purples and Greens and do something classic, not that squirt thingy. I thought that graphic was banned after the Ford Ranger Splash was retired.


I think Hubinette's tube framed drift car is the beginning of the end for the average drifter who wants to make it big. The works cars have already began the trend and now this will finish it.


Please tell me that Challenger is a joke. Rollerblade wheels? WTF. The car is disgusting to no end and Hubinette should be ashamed to get behind the wheel.


liamsil80 - Don't worry about the tube chassis, as long as they don't put another Chrysler's lower arms on the Challenger they'll be fine!


^I agree with worker bee.

and is it just me, or are the girls getting uglier at car shows?


Awesome Coverage!! I went to SEMA in 2006, but haven't been able go since cause of school. These are some awesome pics. Is there gonna be a drift exhibition again this year?


Great coverage, more pictures please ... + don't forget the girls .. hahaha ..


wow,Sam Hubinette is going to drive The Dodge Challenger next year? COOL!


God... How did they manage to make the challenger so ugly? And arent full tube frames illegal in Formula D?


some awesome cars at sema this year, great coverage so far. but i have doubts about how well those skate wheels will hold up when sams car "bumps" a wall. interesting idea regardless.


If it is just a tube chassis and some panels then it's really quite sad for the sport in my opinion.

It's no more a Challenger than my WRX is! How long until we see custom space frame designs purely for drifting that don't look anything like a road car?

I think it defeats the whole purpose of the drift scene. It makes a car completley unobtainable to your average guy at the track. I'm all for the manufacturers getting involved in the sport, but by taking their base cars and modifying, not by building silhoutte cars.

I know some of the current crop of cars have been seriously modified. The Driftworks S15 as featured here instantly springs to mind when it comes to attacking the chassis too. But they all started life as showroom spec, or there abouts.


ok Lexus and more detail on the Smart car... no problem...


Pro drift (wherever) = buisness and show, rather than fun and affordability which IMO is not good.

I rather prefer to watch at an even like the All star bash which is what I call the real drift scene (in my opinion again) than at some Formula D and even D1 (which get worse year after year).


All i have to say to mopar and sam hubinette is EW. That is disgusting. I wont even get into specifics just start over

and i see falken picked up the porsche, i am sure now that tyler mcquarrie is on the team that he will feel right at home on the circuit in that GT3 after having driven a gt2 for the last couple years.


You guys are going to be pissed at me but Sam's Challenger is not a full tube chassis. If you look closely you can see the factory crush zones in the front and the factory floor in the rear. The car started life as a base Challenger or one of the factory drag cars that anyone can buy for around $30000. Formula D rules say that the front and rear sub frames must be stock between the wheels. The only thing that I think needs work on it is the paint. They should do it in blue camo like the Charger from 07 with black out rims with the smaller parts of the bumpers chrome so it look like an old Challenger from a far. Now tell me that won't be bad ass. And if you do you suck at this. I'm 22 and been working my and my dads hot rods since I was 4.


interesting point about the Driftworks S15,but that car is based on the original unibody with changes to firewall and fender wells. The "Challenger" is a whole new car, I don't see how this could be allowed to run if you can't even use OE suspension bits from a Laurel on an R34.


Well im definately in love with all of the american muscle! Especially all of the TransAm cars! And im definately digging all of the R35's! But Sam's Challenger.... Well it basically just looks like a big chunk of metal with some wheels and a friggin airplane wing in the back... The wheels and design just kill this Challenger for me...


worker bee, unfortunatley i think you're right. as drifting gets bigger and bigger more money goes into the pro series. i think sams charger/challenger/vipers are all very good examples of this. but i'm a little confused, Formula D rules say no tube frame chassis cars are allowed? i thought... can anyone explain?


I'll put my .02 in.

I've never been a Sam Hubinette fan nor a Mopar fan; and to these days I still not digging their stuff.

However, The new Challenger seem to have some major R&D in it. (no I'm not talking about those lousy rollerblade wheels, which will break out right away after crashing into a wall). Anyway, that Challenger has some serious work done.

I also dig very much the new Falken Porsche 997 GT3RSR.....that thing is just WOW !!!!


I also want to add. American drifters and tuner companies involved into drifting (expecially Formula D) are spending $100,000 into works cars, R&D and the latest technology available......

On the other hand, you have those Japanese fellas (that have been drifting for a way longer time)....that beat people like Hubinette/ Millen and the like with scrape AE86. Hibino, Toshiki just to name a few.

Japanese definitely spend more time working on their technique rather than dumping money into the cars.....I find it amusing.....haha


Love that Superbird!!! Also, I'd like to know more about that land speed Daytona Coupe.


I agree with warren.


who would have thought scions on wires would look good i wish i was there


i meant GT not GT2 an I agree with Alex about the wheels and $$$ vs. skill


not to say anything bad about the nuformz team, but what were they thinking when they did this challenger? wheels on the back bumper to ride off the wall,chop top, way over the top paint , semi-tube chassis? why? this is just like when rhys millen said that drifting needed jumps. what happened to the grassroots cars from like 04'/05'. they are spending way to much money on the cars. got back to the basics. and do mods that regular people and afford.when some of the fd guys do cars like this it makes me (and others) feel like drifting is very out of hand. not many people can afford a full carbon body, or a rwd tc. i know that it is uniqe to the sport but the d1gp has never turned into nothing like this. how is that car even legal to compete?


Samuel car is for win in the red bull championship... but he can have the best car (isn't) but when he run with the japanese crazy racer he will lose.


Daaaayuuuuuum! O_O

sexyness all over! O_O