The US influences Japan, and Japan influences the US. This is something that has always made me laugh, but having seen it from both angles it’s totally understandable. Call it human nature – lusting over what is hard to get or obtain. It’s what we do and it’s something that has defined this sharing of tuning cultures that we have. Think of it as a sort of showing of respect, and it begins to make sense…
The mishmash that has spawned from this borrowing of ideas is the car culture that we see and live today. It gives inspiration to those craving to create something new, which is what I’ve tried to portray in this Spotlight-O-Rama – a collection of cars that join two nations and two modifying methodologies together.
That all said, I just had to include the Rocket Bunny NSX in my five-car selection. But before you dismiss it as simply being the same old recipe applied to a different chassis, I invite you to take a closer look. Miura-san is the first person to admit that, sooner or later, the whole overfender craze that he has created will eventually become old and tired. But as you will see through this post, that point in time has definitely not yet arrived. In fact, SEMA 2014 has gone overfender crazy! With this Acura NSX build however, Miura-san has attempted to do something a little different than usual by integrating flares into the replacement fenders he has designed and crafted. We used to see this sort of style in the ’80s and ’90s, and who knows – perhaps the simple, blistered wheel arch is going to make a return…
To make the NSX that little bit more interesting than a stock car with an FRP kit fitted on top of it, its transversally-mounted V6 is force-fed bigger gulps of air thanks to a supercharger. And that is very good, because it instantly gives more substance to the whole build. And substance is good!
The entire front end is a one-piece, front-hinged cowl that replaces the bumper, fenders and bonnet with something that has much more impact. I particularly like how Miura-san has integrated five LED DRLs on each corner like the V2 ZN6 kit, which instantly gives the car a more modern appearance. Not that the NSX has aged that much over the last two decades!
Of course, Miura’s cars are all about the way they sit, and the NSX runs a set of 6666 Custom mesh wheels, sized just right to fill up the wells. The rear end is all about impact – the cut-out lower section of the bumper connected up to a carbon diffuser, and of course the two spoilers – one a ducktail and the other a monster GT wing!
Japan once again meets the US at the Vossen booth, where a collaboration with Lexus is the order of the event.
Of all the cars on display here, it’s the RC F that we were most interested in. To me, this is the model of the moment, and I think that fact will become very apparent when the Tokyo Auto Salon rolls around in January.
But what makes this particular car truly stand out are the carbon fibre panels from Lexon – another Japanese company that over the last few years has been making a big impact in stance and VIP circles. What I like the most is the sheer simplicity of the parts. They’re there to compliment the already daring Lexus design cues, and tie them up with a sprinkle of extra aggression – from the front lip spoiler to the thin side skirt strips what runs under the stock sills.
Then of course there’s Vossen’s own touch, accompanied by an obvious drop in ride height, as you’d expect a wildly-colored show car to sport.
The RC F’s front end may well be its most aggressive feature and something that truly generates that initial impact with the car, but the rear end isn’t lagging too much behind. The creases in the bumper, the complex taillight design, the classy Lexon diffuser addition; it all comes together nicely.
Where will the overfender craze take us? If the AeroFlow Dynamics Subaru Impreza WRX STI is anything to go by, most likely wider… and wider. I just had to share this car as it embodies the extremities of this Japan-born style – the Works look that vintage Japanese racecars rocked during the ’70s and ’80s, and then what Rocket Bunny and Liberty Walk have interpreted as their own.
This means fitting almost the entire width of the wheel outside of the stock car’s dimensions, and then containing that newfound girth with massive flares.
The Impreza featured another styling cue that has been slowly becoming more widely used too – gooseneck wing stays, as adopted from modern day GT racecars.
But again, it’s those fenders that you just can’t keep away from.
I think we have well and truly reached the furthest boundaries of this experimental envelope right now. So again, what will the next big thing be? Will the narrow look come back in fashion again?In Substance We Trust
One of my greatest ‘Dream Drives’ was the one I took with the Overtake GT-R right after the Tokyo Auto Salon back in January this year. If you liked that particular ‘less is more’ approach, then you might like this one even more. The R35 I found in the Motul Oil booth pretty much follows the same concept of refining and fine tuning the factory package – shedding weight with the use of composites, and adding a touch more performance with the aim to create a more focused and ‘real’ supercar.
This US interpretation of that concept has been spectacularly executed by the guys at Bulletproof Automotive who spent two whole years getting this car to where it is now. That included taking inspiration from the attention to detail that Horacio Pagani extends to his cars, and applying it to Nissan’s flagship performance machine. That’s why you’ll find acres of custom carbon fiber and hand-stitched Alcantara replacing pretty much every surface in the interior.
And the carbon of course extends to the exterior, where every single body panel has been swapped out for a lighter equivalent. The main difference with the Japanese car that I drove and this one is that the carbon is buffed to a high-gloss finish here.
Even the Advan GT wheels have had their spokes inlayed with carbon fiber to give a sense of continuity to the overall feel of the car. And the brake discs are Overtake carbon items which help shed precious unsprung weight.
Under the hood it’s the impossibly-beautiful, hand-fabricated Overtake titanium intake plenum that commands your attention – one of many upgrades that have been fitted to the VR38DETT. The attention to detail trickles all the way down to the bolts, and each one you see has been replaced with a lighter titanium equivalent. Every little bit helps!
ZN6s, 86s, FR-Ss – whatever they are badged as, SEMA 2014 had them in as many flavours as you care to name. But out of all of examples I’ve come across during my travels around the Las Vegas Convention Centre, this build from Raw Heart really took it in my book.
It’s great to see so much attention being given to the FA20/4U-GSE, with close to every car I have come across at the show running some type of forced induction solution. This particular ZN6 features a Vortech supercharger to keeping things interesting, and the presentation under the bonnet was boosted with a variety of carbon dress-up parts and a little color matching. The small touches always count.
Visually, the full Varis aero looks spectacular in red, with the contrasting carbon fiber additions really setting it off. However, the new SSR Professors TF1s are what really bring the whole package together.
And that is especially obvious when you look at the car from this angle – the whole rear fender treatment and the rear wheels’ massive lips setting it off just right.
And it seems like the GT wing isn’t quite as liked over in the US as it is back in Japan – the simple trunk spoiler or ducktail being a pretty popular style to go with. In fact, I was quite surprised to see so many de-spoilered R35 GT-Rs around too. Perhaps it’s a good way to stay under the radar out on the street?
Our 2014 SEMA Show coverage will continue very soon with a look at some old school cool and the European showing. Stay tuned!
Dino Dalle Carbonare