Welcome To The SEMA Show Floor

According to my smartwatch, I’d already walked five miles by mid-afternoon today, which in the SEMA Show scale of things is probably not even a third of it.

Over the course of the next few days I’m going to be doing a lot of walking around the Las Vegas Convention Center, but to kick things off (and give my feet a break), I thought I’d share some of the cars I found during my first quick pass through the show today.


I’m going to start off with the controversial subject of LS-swapped Mazda RX-7s. To be honest, I’ve never really understood why there’s so much hate when it comes to this particular FD3S engine conversion, because it’s all about having fun with cars, right? I found this Rocket Bunny-kitted FD at the Auto Meter booth sporting a serious-looking LS V8, complete with a large turbo feeding compressed air straight into a billet intake manifold. The lack of intercooler and ultra-short intake piping will no doubt give lightning-fast throttle response. With a setup like this you’d soon forget the car used to go brap brap brap


On the subject of cool engine setups, this Corvette Stingray stopped me dead in my tracks.


I’m a sucker for nicely executed restomods, which of course SEMA is jam-packed of, but this engine setup seemed to offer up the perfect balance of vintage and modern.


We all know the amazing restorations that ICON 4×4 does, but their latest project, based on an 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, is a little different. As part of their Derelict series, the bodywork’s natural patina has been left intact while all attention has been given to the underpinnings.


The chassis has been converted to run more modern front and rear suspension setups, while the original straight-six has been dumped in favor of a GM LS7 crate engine. With 550hp on tap, this thing is cool.


Of all the cars I’ve come across at SEMA thus far, this Camaro easily ranks as one of the best. Quality Custom Rides teamed up with V12LS.com to bring this beast to fruition, and as you can see, it’s pretty much defined by its engine.


With 9.0-liters of capacity (engines are available up to 9.5L) the V12 churns out 717hp, and must surely sound incredible doing it.


It’s literally an extended LS engine, as the layout and head cover designs hints at. Just check out those headers!


While I spent most of my day inside, our newest Speedhunter, Trevor Yale Ryan, was checking out the line-up cars in front of the convention center. As always, this spot turned up a great mix of domestic, Japanese and European cars of all ages and style.


Compound turbo setup on your Cummins diesel-powered Ford pickup? Hell, yes! ‘Old Smokey F1‘ was one of the most photographed cars at the 2016 SEMA Show, and it’s receiving plenty of attention again this year.


Paddy’s spotlight on the Gunther Werks 400R shows how the whole boutique custom 911 scene continues to thunder on. But Rod Emory’s latest project, which is parked up at the Momo booth, is something totally different. When it’s completed, this 964-based creation will look like a 356, but drive like a far more modern machine. It’s an absolute work of art in every respect.


On the subject of unconventional Porsche builds, the Kelly-Moss Safari 4 is one of the freshest things I’ve seen in a while. As I looked over it, I was conjuring up images of the late-’80s Dakar 959 in my head. Just awesome.


If you like Fox Body Mustangs – and you should – you’ll appreciate this 1979 Indy 500 Pace Car build. While it looks like a modified Fox on the outside, there’s a lot more to this car than first meets the eye, including an independent Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis (yes, it’s no longer a unibody), and a 500+hp Ford Performance Aluminator XS crate engine backed up by a Tremec T56 6-speed gearbox.


Toyota can always been counted on to create something totally wild and totally unexpected for SEMA (last year it was a crazy, 2,000hp Land Cruiser), and after navigating my way through a bunch of stylized Camrys, I managed to find their 2017 offering. You’re looking at the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned.


Unlike the Land Cruiser which was built for top speed, this C-HR was modified for circuit use, and it’s already set an impressive 1:25.22 lap time around Willow Springs’ 2.5-mile-long main track. Under the hood it uses a fully built 2.4-liter 2AZ-FE engine running a custom Garrett turbo setup, and with around 23psi (1.55bar) boost dialed up develops 600hp. Of course, the original CVT transmission is long gone; there’s now a 5-speed manual E-series gearbox pushing the power to the front wheels.

There’s no way something like this could ever make production, but we’re loving the C-HR R-Tuned all the same.


Let’s jump back in time for a moment to take a look at this Dave Kindig built custom ’58 Lincoln powered by a supercharged Falconer V12. Aside from the monster engine up front, the Continental features paint from the new ‘Modern Classikk’ Kindig signature line by AkzoNobel.


At the Acura booth, ‘NSX Dream Project’ – a collaboration between Acura and S2000/NSX specialist ScienceofSpeed – had me wondering if this is what a higher-performing production variant of the NSX could look like. Probably not, but it’s great to see a manufacturer actually supporting tuning of its halo supercar.


This NSX develops 37hp over standard (for a total of 610hp) through liquid injection inter-cooling and a free-flow exhaust. It also features automatic sensing suspension which raises the car 2-inches when an obstacle is detected, GT3-inspired aero, and Advan Racing GT wheels which suit the new NSX rather well.


It was Acura’s all-carbon GT3 race car that really had me drooling, though!


One place you’re guaranteed to find cool cars is the passage connecting the Central and South Halls, which at SEMA time becomes the Toyo Tires Treadpass. John and Edison Sarkisyan are no strangers to Speedhunters; we’ve seen their work on Outlaw-style Porsches a few times in the past, and these builds are the brothers’ latest creations.

It’s just crazy how many ways we’re seeing Porsches retro-modded these days, and there’s no faulting any of them. I loved the copper detailing, an influence that’s crossed over from the hot rod world.

The 912 had even more of a hot rod influence with intricate artwork etched onto the copper.


Rywire’s custom-kitted Honda S2000 sitting on 18×10 and 18×12-inch RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s was another standout for me.


With so many huge turbos around the place, it’s nice to see a Honda sticking with natural aspiration. This super-clean build features a number of interesting touches, including a 2.5-liter F-series build and Kinsler ITBs with custom Rywire drive-by-wire throttle control.


We won’t go into too much detail about Willy Izaguirre‘s newest build as we’ll be doing a proper feature after the show, but this 1973 3.0 CSL wide-body replica is hands down one of the top three cars of the show for me.


There’s a lot of love and passion that has gone into putting it together, and you can tell that through all the details. If the ultra-wide fender treatment, iconic wing and single-lug BBS Motorsport wheel don’t do it for you, the turbocharged S52 motor certainly will.


But I’ll end transmission from day one at SEMA here, finishing up with this Pandem-kitted Lexus RC F sitting on Work Wheels’ newest Emotion model, a 3-piece design that allows you to get massive dish for more stance-oriented applications.

We’ve got tons of SEMA Show content coming your way over the next few days, so make sure you check back regularly.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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rx7 is rotary thats what makes it special if you don't understand then don't own one


hopefully it made its way to a 4 rotor build...


Or you could allow others the benefit of owning whatever car they like in whatever fashion they like, your Highness.

While I also like rotary engines, the Duke Rotary is far superior to the Wankel (if you've never heard of it, you really should look it up). Unfortunately, I blame the large automotive companies for the fact that the Duke project has gone silent for a couple years now. My guess is that car manufacturers aren't crazy about paying someone else for patented technology, and would rather wait until those patents expire before "miraculously" coming up with a similar design in their own R&D departments that "revolutionizes" the auto industry...


Have you ever heard if LiquidPiston? They have a really interesting rotary engine design that sticks closer to the original wankel style than the Duke engine does. A shame that car companies don't buy into anybody else's patents like you said.

Daniel P Huneault

I owned one and its the reason why I would never own a rotary engined car again. What a POS. I would love to own a LS swapped FD someday - such a beautiful car!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

V8 swaps, generally speaking, are still very rare. The Japanese, Aussies and Kiwis will keep making sure of that...


Hell yea.


That old copper detailed gray Porsche, isnt that a 912 rather than a 911? Looks like it has a 4cyl


Okay, I see it has been edited now.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yep all sorted thx


The CH-R.........................600hp to the front wheel is just pure stupidity


Modern tires, suspension, engine management and aero make it so that hp like that can be put down effectively in front wheel drive cars. Look up MIghtyMouse CRX when you have a chance or the Vibrant Performance civic as well. Its controlled stupidity.


It has 275/35R18 Toyo Proxes RR tires up front, much like most FWD time attack cars nowadays.


It can be made to work. It's been happening in time attack quite a bit recently, and drivers are seeing serious lap times out of them.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Mechanical grip aside, there is much that can be down with modern day engine management systems. Boost limiting per gear and traction control alone would make this very easy to manage

Oswald Hoogeveen

When did "no hood" become a thing?
Or is it just to show what you are running under there?


Are you new to car shows?


Never been! I think that answers my question

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I certainly don't mind it. Makes it easy to shoot so nice engine bays aren't massive black holes sucking all light into them


Agreed! Any chances of doing a "best engine bay" for this SEMA show?


Love the cars, and builds. Ring Brothers had a couple top notch builds that SH should have covered.

That 1973 3.0 CSL, is pure s*x

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah don't worry we are slowly seeing everything and will continue to update! Third day in and I still haven't seen all!


So, a 1:25.22 lap time around Willow Springs. With a 600 hp CH-R. 600 hp to the front wheels. Which maniac drove this death trap? Insanity. I love it.


That 3.0 CSL would be just perfect if they'd left it naturally aspirated. But I guess it's a must in sema build that you go OTT with power figures

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Such a good build. Does it matter? The owner wanted to build something unique I guess


I like the toyota CH-R and that they built the 2AZ-FE up finally so I dont have to do it like I was gonna in my 2008 rav4 I used to own.

I'm kinda glad that CH-R wont make production that massive wing is just way too impractical for the average toyota driver [joke]

SEMA like always is amazing! :D


Wow. I need to make it to this event one day.
That CSL............wow.
I think I'd be on sensory overload out there.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Pretty much, it's overwhelming that's for sure!


I think if someone put a rotary in a old corvette c2 splitwindow people will don t call it "fun"


Best call in a long time haha


The pace fox is one of my favorite builds ever Sinis Built did an awesome job on it.


That's not actually the Sinis Built Mustang, just a yellow copy built by a whole team. :) Dunno why they had to start with a 27 mile car though..... That really rubs me the wrong way. Why not start with one that needs saving, considering they kept nothing from the original car?



Huh.. that's unexpected (that there's 2)


Looking forward to more! You guys should track down the red Toyota Tacoma Xrunner that's at the show. Has a custom wide body and 2JZ

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Still looking for it haha That will be SEMA for you...


Anyone else think of Blackpanthaa on YouTube when they saw the pandem RCF? It has almost the same wrap!


I was hoping the C-HR being AWD, so it can be hoon machine

Dino Dalle Carbonare

4WD donuts all day long


Yup, it has a 600 horsepower 2AZ, plus TNGA allowed easy rear differential mounting, although probably need a different knuckle or even the suspension mounting point, but should be "do-able"... come on someone please turn a C-HR or even the latest Prius into hoon machine!


Ah, SEMA...you never cease to amaze us. Keep the awesomeness coming, Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Will try!


Great round up Dino! And that CSL.. wow


That white S2000, clean wide-body and great fitment, any more pictures?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah was very nicely done!


Spotlight Feature on the Fox Body and Kindig Lincoln PALEAZE!!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Funny you mention that. Out of all the stuff I keep seeing I continue to think about that car. Might well make you happy and go back and spotlight the thing!