What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Or does it? One thing’s for sure: they never tell you about the aggravating road thousands of people in the aftermarket automotive industry must endure to get their latest builds to the annual SEMA show on time. Come late October and American petrolheads really start feeling the crunch when the final weeks, days and inevitably hours of last-minute preparation run out.
With the stress placed on everyone – sponsors and builders alike – it’s become a bit of an accepted fact that the majority of the cars on display at SEMA are ‘show cars’ in the most literal sense. Late nights, missing parts and other gremlins often lead to bandaid fixes meaning very few of the cars entering the convention center do so under their own volition.
But that doesn’t apply to all. The car you see here is indeed a SEMA demo car, but that’s about where the similarities to the typical Vegas-fare end. The engine bay might look as though it’s incomplete and inoperable, but that’s exactly what Chasebays specialize in. Chase McMaster and his team offer custom wiring harnesses and other slick tucking solutions for a variety of cars. Most recently they built this FR-S from the ground up to demonstrate a practical application of tuning parts.
At first glance this FR-S might not strike you as being very fancy, but once you start taking a closer look you realize this is a man-hour monster, not your typical fly-by-night SEMA build. Starting by stripping the car down to the bare shell and going from there, the guys built a clean, high-performance car that was reliable enough to drive from Alabama all the way across the country to SEMA, but not before a quick detour the long way around through LA.
When Chase arrived, the car had its share of bug guts from the two-thousand-mile trek to the west coast. Fortunately I knew just the spot to rinse the teal FR-S off before our photoshoot.
What I hadn’t counted on was the fact that daylight saving had just come into full effect and the sun would be setting a full hour earlier than I had anticipated. No sweat. With just a few moments of daylight left we drove to downtown Los Angeles, went to an old faithful location and I frantically made my way around the car.
After taking a look up close at the craftsmanship put into this car it was a breath of fresh air compared to many of the SEMA cars I’ve shot in the past. It’s an honest example of a car that can be daily driven, flogged on the track, hooned in a parking lot, trekked across the entire country and put on display in the largest aftermarket exhibition in the world. It gives me hope that cars like this will continue to be built; cars ticking all the boxes indeed.