Event>>sema 2009: Day One

Ah yes, the chaos of SEMA.

After a an early flight from LAX I rushed to the Las Vegas Convention Center this morning for the first day of the 2009 SEMA Show. Although my legs are already numb from walking so much, I've only been able to get through a small portion of SEMA's exhibit halls.

Here are some highlights and observations from what I've managed to take in so far -

This should shake up things in Formula Drift next season. You are looking at an R35 Nissan GT-R that will be driven in 2010 by Robbie Nishida. Although Blitz has been teasing their drift R35 for a couple years now, it looks like this car might be the first GT-R to lay (or smoke) tire at a pro drift event.

One of the greatest things about SEMA is the variety of the cars shown. Everything from Japanese compacts to Italian exotics to classic muscle cars can be found sitting alongside each other in the halls. Check out this badass 'Cuda found in the Pirelli booth.

The debut of the new Five Axis Scion project seems to coincide perfectly with our theme this month on Speedhunters. More on this later.

Falken's booth is sporting a nice mix of both street and race cars this year. This 370Z looks to be done very well.

Everyone from giant car companies to small family-owned businesses bring out their toys for SEMA. As you'd expect, Mopar's booth is full of muscle cars of both the classic and the modern variety.

I like the raw looks of this "1320" Dodge Challenger, especially the small diameter black steelies. Is classic drag style gonna make a comeback?

I don't typically get excited but custom trucks and SUV's, but there's no denying the coolness of this slammed old school Suburban.

SEMA wouldn't be SEMA without blinged out exotics sporting questionable styling. Hmmm….

As expected, the show is full of 2010 Camaros customized in every possible way. Nice job on the wheel fitment there!

The Papadakis S2000 drift car returns with new livery.We'll have to find out exactly what the story behind this one is…

Multi-colored wheels seem to be pretty big at SEMA this year. Here's Enkei's selection of custom-colored RPF1's. Cool!

Ford's booth is HUGE this year, seeing as they are the featured automaker. The Ecoboost V6-powered '34 coupe was getting a lot of well-deserved attention.

The current model USDM Ford Focus isn't known for being a particularly good tuning platform, but I'll be damned if this turbocharged Focus Coupe by FSWerks isn't sexy. Do nice Japanese wheels make any car automatically cool?

Sometimes the cars at SEMA are insane in a not good way, and sometimes they are insane in a very good way. This 427-powered Fiat 500 funny car falls under the latter category…

Sierra Sierra's Evo time attack car is the centerpiece of the Cosworth booth. Hopefully we'll see this sucker in action next week at the Buttonwillow Super Lap.

When your internet videos get a billion views, you too can have a rally car with tank treads.. Ken Block's latest toy was the talk of the Subaru booth.

The good: Subaru shows a nicely fixed up Legacy Wagon in their booth. The bad: Subaru does not offer the new Legacy Wagon in North America. Let's hope this is a teaser to build interest for a future release.

When I walked past this Camaro I knew I had seen it somewhere before. But not in the United States – in Japan. Indeed Akira's Camaro was built in by Hot Style Customs in Kyoto, Japan and sent to the US for SEMA. How cool is that?  More on this unique machine later.

Just one of many Hyundai Genesis Coupes I saw today.

Japanese VIP builders seem to take a particularly big interest in SEMA and the US scene. This Job Design JZS161 was parked in one of the lobbies.

The Bowls Scion xB pickup turned out great, in fact it was one of my favorite cars I saw all day. Nice job guys!

The NHRA has a huge display this year – dominated by Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's funny car 'Cuda and matching transporter.

I noticed a lot more Nissan GT-R's being shown than I expected. Here's one with some big rims and a Wald Black Bison kit.

And finally, a Factory Five Racing '33 Hot Rod kit, powered by a mean-looking Ford V8.

This hardly scratches the tip of the SEMA iceberg. For now though, it's time for some dinner and a visit to the premiere of the new Speedhunters/NOS Energy Drink film about Chris Forsberg.

Let us know what you guys want to see more of, and we'll make sure to keep an eye out as we wander the halls of SEMA.

-Mike Garrett



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i bet that carpet was murder for static shocks...


Bleh....too many colored/matched wheels on the cars reminding me of a DUB show. However, some of the colors on the Enkei wheels don't look too bad.


it's too bad you guys aren't more into bikes on this site, i wouldn't mind seeing more of the Ruckus sitting in the back of the Scion truck :)


Also i hope Ken Block is still rocking the treads at the Tall Pines rally in a couple weeks :D


Go Robbie! Baller FD driver next year!


must...see...5axis...build....and the Terracudas baddass =)


Do you have more pictures of the Genesis coupes? Did they unveil the R-Spec 2.0T yet?


That Rockstar S2000 is sexy.... But I'm totally in love with the colored RPF1's. Yes, please!! D: I'm a sucker for 'em I guess. (2/3 of my cars are rocking RPF1's.)

Let's just see more of all of it!!!! Or better yet, take me along next year. :)


Cool on the R35 drifter. More Genesis coupes too!


More on that scion with the flares!


I want to see more on that R35 with Bison kit!!


If Robbie is going with the GTR then Saito should come over to FD and get his Z.


the two(hankook and wald) r35 gtrs and the 370z are the nuts!

ill get to sema one day haha


How about more of the eco boost '34 ford!


Good coverage some of the TAF.com guys parked cars sunday. We got a in depth look at some and we all agreed the coolest thing this year is the diesel rat rod and matching flatbed out by the BBQ vendor in the parking lot. By far one of the most eye opening things I have seen in my 5 years of attendance.


Could someone, like Mike Garrett, please confirm the name on the SIerra Sierra Evo is J. Bomarito????


this just in: alex says" sema im happy for you, and imma' let you finish, but cars that i like are the best of all time"


I agree, that Xb is sick. Should be named the Xt (truck). Stretched and dropped the way I like it.


@Driftwest.ca: yes, the driver of the Sierra Sierra EVO is indeed Jonathan Bomarito.

I personally think Robbie Nishida should have sticked with the Z, it's proven, it's balanced, and make more than enough power. The GT-R is just a pig, way too big and heavy, not to mention it's way more expensive to mantain....(broken parts and what not).


Wish I were there...


Alex I would be inclined to say that with the powertrain swap and race spec strippin of the car, it won't be a pig at all. I'm guessing that he may even use his old 350's VQ setup for the GT-R. In any case, this has got to be one of the most exciting cars in Formula Drift... and as if his Z wasn't cool enough!!! First Hankook gets a Porsche GT2 drifter and now this?

Cobalt_Griffin, I totally agree with you. Saito should definitely at least consider it. Seeing him wear a Hankook shirt at FD leads us to think so... and its not even his tire sponsor in D1GP so yeah.

"Cool on the R35 drifter. More Genesis coupes too!"

Yup! Agreed, hechtspeed. Personally I'd love to see a spotlight/feature or whatever on Rhys Millen's "RM460"

David W. yes the R Spec was released. It's all over blogs and the like... check it out on Autoblog or something.

Sorry for UBER long post. I'll get back into my dungeon now~


i just love the fact that Block is sponsored by BFG, but he'd prefer to trundle around on tracks


I just NEED to see more about Muscle Cars !!! Please !


BlueSlug said:

it's too bad you guys aren't more into bikes on this site, i wouldn't mind seeing more of the Ruckus sitting in the back of the Scion truck :)


Uhhhhhh, that's a moped. Not a bike. Barely even a bicycle for that matter. lol


What is going on the with the wheels of the Porsche in the background of the black & orange Lambo?

Desktop of the Sierra Sierra Cosworth Evo X pretty please :)


That R35 from Hankook is not the real car. Thats just a bone stock R35 that they borrowed from a friend a wrapped in Vinyl. I was at DA a few weeks ago getting my downpipe installed on my EVO and their service guy Eugene gave me tour of the shop and showed the car to me.

I saw The Real R35 that they will be using. It is a salvaged car that they bought from some wrecking yard. Right now its sitting in their shop somewhere with the firewall 2 ft into the cabin!

I can just imagine the wiring nightmare that thing is going to be!

On and the colored RPF1's. Ill believe it when I see them in a shop! They have been teasing colors for years now.


Hey Mike! If you get a chance, poke your head inside that Legacy Wagon when you get a chance. My buddy here in Detroit worked on it and it happens to have a badass Go-Kart in the cargo space!! Good diversity in photos and I'm digging that Scion truck.


Could we please get coverage on the following:

the Hennessey Tuning School 500hp Genesis,

the Ford area particularly the Ecoboost coupe and if we could, the Raptor!

Could we see more on the 1320 Challenger as well? I'm thinking of building a replica on Forza.



@ryoga81-- incorrect, the Ruckus is not a moped, it has no pedals. It could more accurately be described as a scooter.



I still think the size of the GT-R is way too much. Put it right next to a AE86 and you understand. Heck put it right next to a S13, and you'll notice the size difference. WAY too big. Despite his tech prowness, I don't think the GT-R will do well. In stock trim it weights about 3800 lbs. Let say they removed the front diff, stripped the car to bare-metal, install the cage, and tweak the engine (with God knows what), and put it on a diet with carbon panels.....the car still well above 3000 lbs, which it isn't considered very light by today's standards. Race cars should be light, nimble, have a 50/50 weight distribution (or close to that) and have the least amont of electronics in the way.....the new GT-R is totally the opposite, and considering its ECU and wire diagrams......it's just a PITA to work on it.

....but that's just my opinion, best luck to Robbie Nishida !




Steph Papadakis drifts? If he does half as well as he did in the drag scene, that should be fun to watch!

Nice pictures, that Bowls Truck thingy is bad ass. Love it!


looks really awesome, my bro ken gushi is there! http://jake.dingblog.com/


@ Alex:

People have been drifting 3000lb+ four doors in Japan for years with less power than that 35 will have. I'm sure Robbie will be fine plus who wouldn't want to see a 35 in Formula D? He works right down the street. I'll ask him some time how he feels about it.


more... more... more... pics of the time attack evo and the bowls scion..


@ Alex:

Have you ever drifted or ridden passenger in a big drift car? They feel amazing. Much smoother than a hachi roku or s13. Robbie grew up here in Japan drifting touge and is very talented. I have witnessed people in Japan drift JZX90's with exhaust, suspension, diff, full interior, and auto trans in the mtns and KILL IT! Robbie will be fine. Thanks for the concern, but him and his team are professionals and know what they are doing.


@ Rich Hobo

I am not sure that Daigo will go to FD, but he IS friends with Robbie and was there to show his support for Robbie. Robbie may be trying to convince Daigo to go to FD though.


370z is on point


Yeah you're right Billy but please let me dream of him in the 350.... :P

Hope its a tight battle between Falken and Hankook next year... but it can't get tighter than a 1st place tie for podium spots by Falken, Hankook and Maxxis. All three had 6 podiums this season!


Camaro esta lindo de mais,o GTR esta perfeito show de bola,agora o Fiat 500 ta muuuito loookoooo caramba como que serviu um motor daquele tamnho naquele carro hahah lindo perfeito o fiatinho.


Nice coverage!!!

Please more pictures and info on the 370z on the Falken booth.