Fire up the overdraft and pack the Red Bull, because SEMA week is here. That means a solid seven days in Sin City, salivating over some of the maddest automotive creations the good ol’ US has to throw at our eyeballs.
The past 72 hours have involved a trip from London to Los Angeles, lots of sleep deprivation, and a handful of photoshoots in various locations across a couple of states. Usually we’d have Dino on hand to deliver his stories about Japanese tuning at SEMA and shoot some cars, but since Typhoon Hagibis hit Tokyo, our man in Japan has been working on getting his house and office back in shape. Japan is very close to our hearts here at Speedhunters, so it’s positive vibes to the Land of the Rising Sun.
So, here I am, tapping on my keyboard trying to get this story over to Brad before he cuts our expense account down for missing yet another deadline. I better be quick with the rest of this story…
As many of you may know, Speedhunters is powered by Electronic Arts (EA) and Need for Speed, and we’ve been working closely on the launch of the about-to-be-released NFS Heat. Well, on Friday night, right after we landed in LA, we went straight up to SEKRIT STUDIOS in Hollywood to grab some shots of the just-finished car.
You might have seen this thing get taken from one of Khyzyl Saleem’s renders to reality over the past 30 days. Personally, I love the Polestar 1 and am a massive fan of the way this has been executed. It’s absolutely fantastic to see the Need for Speed franchise walk the walk, as well as talking the talk, by bringing their latest video game cover car to life.
We were lucky to catch this at night just before it was loaded onto a transporter for the NFS Heat launch event going down in Miami. So, the Polestar 1 won’t be at SEMA. But we do have a story coming later this week where we’ll be taking a look at this nutty piece of car culture fun in more detail.
SEMA wouldn’t be SEMA if we didn’t drop into LTMW to check out what last-minute shenanigans Long and his team were up to. I can tell you now, these guys still hate sleeping and absolutely love fitting overfenders to supercars. This Audi R8 instantly had our attention with its RAYS Volk Racing TE37 wheels. Sometimes keeping it simple is best.
Speaking of site sponsors, over the past few weeks we’ve been working on two special features with our friends at Air Lift Performance and CSF Race. These brands that we work with throughout the year help make Speedhunters what it is, so at SEMA time we always like to do something extra cool.
Given that over 160,000 people will gather at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, it’s sometimes tricky to photograph cars on SEMA’s intensely busy show floor. With this in mind, we headed to the famous Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night with CSF and Tyspeed to get some shots on the road course circuit.
This was swiftly followed by a quick trip to the Strip to meet our friends at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and celebrate 70 years of Air Lift. These stories will be with you later in the week once we’ve had our yearly dose of Chicken Dippers.
This year, Brad’s set us a task of finding five unknown builders; real people with real cars who build just for the love and not the fame. These covert creators are either too busy on the tools to be posting on the ‘gram, or just simply don’t give a shit. What are we going to do about this? Hunt them out, of course.
In 2012, I met Magnus Walker standing by a random car we were both looking at. Back then he didn’t even have an iPhone, let alone an Instagram account. Urban Outlaw had just been uploaded and he was, at that time, a relatively unknown builder/driver who had snuck into SEMA on a borrowed pass.
There must be more of these low-key legends out there with some hidden treasure in their workshops, so the hunt is on at SEMA 2019. We’ll be scouring the halls and outside spaces for the next few days looking for these real deals. Brad, expect our report due in on Friday.
Anyway, if I take any longer to write this I’m either gonna get fired or pass out, so that’s me done. I’m off to bed, and hopefully the next time I check in here I still have my dignity and my overdraft isn’t in complete tatters.
Photos by Ryan Stewart