SEMA is packed full of an insane variety of cars, but as is the case with any show I attend, it’s always the Japanese offerings that I pay most attention to.
It’s a natural thing for me; I grew up around Japanese cars, have covered the scene for well over a decade now, and of course I do reside in Japan. So I guess the JDM – as they call it – runs through my veins. But cheesy statements aside, I just find it really interesting to see the different approaches people in other countries take when it comes to modifying the cars that I see on a daily basis back home.
And one that instantly caught my eye was this rather striking yellow Scion FR-S. I remember thinking it was a nice contrast to all the stuck on over-fenders and body kits we regularly see fitted to this chassis; a nicely moulded wide-body conversion always brings a sense of quality that riveted-on flares just can’t achieve.
It’s nothing new obviously, the blistering of guards has been done forever, but it was refreshing to see no shortcuts being taken, if you know what I mean.
I also like how the rear fenders were finished off at the back end, bent on the upper section along the top swage lines, but with a joint line where they merge with the rear bumper. It looks more aggressive this way, and not overly smooth. After all, shapes have to be broken at times to stand out more.
The unmistakable top mounts of an Air Lift Performance system mean the car can handle the corners but also be laid out on the ground when the time comes for show-off duties. And making this a complete build, performance is taken care of with a Sprintex supercharger kit.
Dino goes to a show, finds an R34 and spotlights it – no one saw that coming, right? It’s true, I can’t help it, but at least with this particular car there is a very specific reason as to why I have selected it.
It all has to do with the curious BorgWarner twin turbo setup, as created by the guys at Full Race and available in a variety of turbo sizes to match engine configuration. This particular car belongs to Toshi Hayama; he’s owned it for 16 years and it has around 30,000km on the clock from new.
Back to the turbo setup; Full Race is pushing this setup as it’s able – with the bigger turbocharger option – to generate over 1000hp without sacrificing low-to-mid-range response. As you see it here, Toshi’s car is making around 750hp on E85. It’s not the prettiest of applications, but if having killer drivability from your tuned RB26/28/30 matters the most this is a no-brainer.
The Skyline is also running a few sexy bits and pieces from Radium Engineering, which has given me a few ideas for my own car.
It’s great to see that the S2000 still remains a popular chassis for enthusiasts in the US, very much as it is back home in Japan. But this car does things in a different way.
In fact, its approach is so different it may very well upset some Honda guys!
Then again, LS swaps are the most common thing ever in the US, so I was probably the only guy at SEMA finding this quite exciting. Still, I think it must make for a lively car; I bet it’s hilarious to throw around the corners and slide all over the place.
Right at the bottom of the Central Hall I found a nice display by the guys from Voodoo 13. I’m always one to nerd-out when it comes to cool products, and these guys make all sort of adjustable links for a variety of Japanese cars, including billet uprights and arms for the R35 GT-R.
It’s the car that Voodoo 13 used to showcase its suspension bits that grabbed my attention though, as it was showing off far more than just uprights and arms.
It’s great seeing VR38 engine bays looking nice and aggressive, something easily achieved once you add top-mounted turbos and custom welded titanium piping.
The stock body was also treated to an aggressive carbon ducktail that hints at the extra performance hidden under the hood.
A couple of days prior to heading out to SEMA, Larry and I stopped by RAD Industries where Chris Forsberg was on a race against time to put the finishing touches to his refreshed, RB25-powered G-nose 280Z.
Like a typical SEMA car, with less than a week to go it looked like they might not even make it, but by working around clock the guys were able to pull it off.
When I saw it, the RB25 didn’t have its OCD Works head covers on yet, most ancillaries were not present and the turbo was being bolted onto its manifold so that custom piping could be measured up and created. The finished bay is impressive to say the least with a carbon and billet aluminum intake manifold, billet head covers and triangulated strut tower bars to stiffen up the shell. No doubt we will be seeing Chris smoke some serious rubber with this car in the not to distant future.
A ton of detail went into the interior with custom made gauges, lots of suede and carbon covering pretty much every surface.
Vintage bucket seats and Takata Racing belts complete the ensemble in what is a sweet resto-modded Z. I truly cannot fault this approach in any way, right down to the oh-so-’70s metallic gold color.
Dino Dalle Carbonare