Livery Hunting At SEMA

Does anyone else feel well designed liveries are taken for granted?

Presenting branding — whether personal or commercial — in an appealing manner is no easy task. Countless projects have been ruined by uninspired liveries that do little more than broadcast a company’s financial involvement as loud as possible. But for every three poorly done treatments, there’s one that lives forever; Gulf, Martini, Tic Tac, Rothmans, HKS, Falken, John Player Special; all examples of liveries that have outlasted the cars they were originally designed for.

These iconic liveries are so well known, they’ve transitioned from race car to street car, and in some cases, even fashion.


While determining a way to share as many of my remaining SEMA photos as possible, I noticed I’d subconsciously taken photos of several liveried cars. So, for the sake of appreciating good design, I’ve rounded up the best of the best from Vegas for one last rip through the Convention Center.

Steady Handed

Admittedly I might be stretching my self-constructed creative box with this Henry J, but I couldn’t omit a car with paint of this caliber. It’s a vibrant reminder that at one point in time liveries were done with paint and a steady hand, not vinyl.


All this car needs is a few sponsors handwritten in gold down the door, along with some stickers in the rear quarter glass to have all the makings of a campaigned drag car from the ’70s.


Sitting proudly in the Hedman Hedders booth was a very special Ford Maverick that represented the company’s long history in performance aftermarket. Standing behind their product from day one in the ’70s, Hedman Hedders campaigned their own Pro Stock Drag car.

The first, and fairly successful, car was as unfortunately stolen and later replaced by a second done up in the same patriotic red, while and blue.

This car, is not that second car. Instead, it’s a new take on their previous V8 powered mascot. While a lot has changed in the vehicle’s construction, the livery remains true to Hedman’s first two Fords.

In the brief time I spent near the booth, I overheard two people asking if this was the original car they remembered. It’s hard to find better proof of a memorable livery than that.

Fossil Fuelled

Oil company liveries have naturally been a part of racing since very early on. Race cars, well most race cars anyway, need oil to run so getting an oil sponsor onboard your program is usually step one to creating a long lasting racing team.


This JDM Legends built ’72 Datsun 240Z isn’t necessarily a race car ,but it still wore an Eneos Oil livery designed by artist Jon Sibal.


Integrating browns into the color pallet established by the Eneos oil corporate coloring works quite well. As do the horizontal lines running down the side of the car that accentuate the classic Z car lines.

In the Shell/Quaker State Oils booth sat another 240Z, this one a ’73 road race car owned by Canadian driver Bob Attrell.

This car wears neither green, red or yellow corporate colors. Instead, a Bob Sharp Racing flavored livery has been employed. The reds and blues somehow manage to make the Rocket Bunny kit look almost subtle.

Imagination Station

I can honestly say I never thought there would be a day I’d be talking about a KIA Forte on Speedhunters and yet, here we are. Built for promotional purposes, the ad campaign in which this car is featured uses the fitting slogan of “it doesn’t have to make sense”.

The Race Service built car borrows the Stinger GT’s 3.3-liter V6, and as of right now, video of the car being driven in anger seems non-existent. I can only assume some is coming because you can’t build a car with Red Bull Livery just to sit on ultra plush convention center carpet, can you?


The car you see above is Khyzyl Saleem’s first foray into making one of his digital renderings reality. Partnered with Eric Penelow, the pair have created Live To Offend, a brand where no idea is off the table.


Fittingly the car had an interesting techno/ retro livery over the top of the 24-piece carbon fiber widebody kit. Wearing Rotiform BM1s, featuring a multi level wing with dual gurney flaps and rear window louvers, the car has a lot going on and yet, somehow, isn’t too overwhelming.


S52 power brings this art piece to life and according to Eric and Khyzyl, production should start soon.


Calling the sticker placement on the ‘Scraptona’ livery may just be another stretch on my part, but again there are some cars I just can’t let fall through the cracks. Had it been parked in a slightly different location, Tred wear’s Scraptona would have made an excellent spotlight.


But time of day, combined with cramped quarters and intense foot traffic made capturing this car in its entirety a little challenging.

The vintage looking stickers found all over this car create a livery that gives the illusion the car was a former racer, long since forgotten. In reality the car was long forgotten, left in a field for 26 years, but never a pure-bred race car.

With nothing to lose, Tred Wear created something truly unique by widening the fenders and quarters to fit custom 20×12-inch wide wheels mounted to Wilwood Wide 5 hubs.

Underpinning it all is a custom square tube chassis with integrated roll cage. Sitting beneath the clear lean hood is a Petty Motorsports  R5P7 NASCAR spec motor capable of 750 horsepower. If there’s any car worthy of a revisit, with a video camera and lots of open space, it’s this one.


It feels a little weird, almost sad in a way, that this is my last overall SEMA post, but all good things must come to an end. Of course, before returning to scheduled programming I’ve included a few more livieries below…


Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Cutting Room Floor


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Minor correction - the Canadian Z is wearing Bob Sharp Racing colors, not BRE.


The ADVAN liveried Supra is missing. :(


SEMA is staggeringly large. The second you enter you have to make peace with missing a few things.


submit an IATSH


Amazing to see how simplistic yet eye grabbing the Worthouse liveries are. Good pictures of great cars, please find sometime for that Scraptona!


scraptona definitly needs an in depth feature, looking over the images of it on instagram isn't enough!


I just want a photoshoot with a proper backdrop to happen so I can score some wallpapers.


A suggestion - could someone do an article on Police livery worldwide? I did spot the Australian Queensland Police Stinger in the background.


A photo each, from each SpeedHunter, and maybe some from IATS - maybe even a competition?


The Dutch win.... Maybe Dubai, but those were all seized cars iirc. Buy the way, there is a website called police-car-photos .com lol


Nobody wants to see the Irish police vehicles. Nobody.


Their only redeeming feature is at least they look better than the English ones


Great article Dave! Glad to see you are doing so well--been a fan since you took on the Ford Probe "theme Tuesday"! Keep up the good work!


It's awesome to see Saleem's creation become reality


I guess you could say providing coverage on Kias isn't your forte....


Dad jokes are great.


I was REALLLY hoping the new corrolla hatch was going to be a hot hatch but as usual its almost as tame as my 4 door sedan corolla s that is my daily. You'd think as much as toyota pushes car in our face with the TRD body kit and such and the drift car that it would be better. Just like the WRC VITZ or whatever its called now. OH well think my next daily is gonna be rwd brz or somthing that is fun. Since my forever project fd3s is still sleeping.


I really like that ENEOS 240Z,

regarding the Khyzyl E30, I like the widebody, like the idea behind the car. and it looks like a cool e30.
but I just can't get over the worst brandname ever chosen. "live to offend". You do not offend anyone by building another e30 widebody, although being extremely well done. they could have chosen for so much better brand names. now it just sounds like a teenage backpack sticker.


The name is purely for fun Haha. Gotta enjoy what you're doing, and I enjoy the name. Also a throwback to all my old renders, id use it when turning 250 GTO's into Drift missiles etc and people would get pretty riled up.

Some will like it, some will hate it, I for one, enjoy it. Appreciate the comment though!


Definitely right about the "Gotta enjoy what you're doing' part.
Just checked the build break down you guys had with Larry on the hoonigan channel, and you seem to be doing just that!

To be honest, If my budget would allow it, I would rock this widebody kit on an e30 because it is the closest thing to drive one of your renders in real live. just without a #livetooffend sticker on the side.

Also, My 10 year old is absolutely in love with this thing! Won't stop asking me to build one.
Thanks for that ;)


diggin' the livery feature! Will you guys be doing a piece on all the S30/Z-cars at SEMA? Every year I say "man it's the year of the Z car" at SEMA but this year I lost track how many were present.

Ps, what the heck is the think bigger project?(emblazooned on Daniel Song's Eneos 240z) Please interview Big Mike, I still don't get it after seeing his website.


I can't speak for the team but I'm about tapped in terms of photos. But a theme to consider next year for sure.

As for Think Bigger, I have no idea.... Yet?


Those have to be the coolest liveries ever!


Anyone know the pricetag of the LTO kits?


Early next year more information on this will become available! Cheers!


The Scraptona is so much awesome badassedness my computer spontaneously rebooted just enlarging the pictures O.O

Ohh my indeed....


If you're looking for videos about the Red Bull Kia Forte then check out Colette Davis' YT channel, she's documenting the build with the guys at Race Service


Thanks! Weird there was nothing on Kia corporate.


Great write up! Almost any car can look awesome with proper livery. Not so into drift cars, but those Worthouse cars sure look insanely good. Great design there.
And god, the wheels on the scraptona are stunning. They look like pure function over form to me, which always ends up looking sweet


Thanks Dave! The Scraptona is in Alabama I believe which is a hike for me but I really think it deserves a feature.


RE: Race Service Kia Stinger. Search Collete Davis on Youtube, she has the build going on for the car so any driven in anger videos will probably surface there first