The 72 Hours Before SEMA

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.

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photos by Ryan Stewart
Instagram: 7.nth

The SEMA Show on Speedhunters



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You know when it's all about to go down


That Wings West Civic. I had the Hot Wheels 1:18 Die Cast of that. Good to see it's still kicking haha!


Me too, you win me posting this comment. I still own it.


That’s a good spot!


Awesome! I remember that car from my magazines back in the 90s. Super Street mags! Wish I still had those kicking around.


I had it in green and my brother had it in red. Yes it came in two colours! I sadly gave mine along with about 20 other die casts to my nephew when I moved out as I didn't have enough room for them all. I had to just keep the really good ones.


Cool, I have the red, green and purple (pepboys) diecast model


since yall are so close to nfs why do you allow them to put out trash games year after year?
why cant we get nfs most wanted physics with the current graphic dexterity we have now? how hard can it be


Cause MW05 physics were generic arcade-y crud and it would be ludicrous to spend the time and money porting the physics of a 14 year old game to modern platforms.


I think it is safe to say that isn't how sponsorship works. Promoting content doesn't give you the right to tell Ghost how to build their product.


Freshhkiicks spotted!


Need for speedhunters. This site is going in the toilet.


Oh hush, EA/NFS are partners of Speedhunters.. Do you just expect this site to never say a word about the franchise? I'd be willing to bet, that articles with sponsors/brands that Speedhunters are partnered with, amount to a very small percentage out of the total amount of articles that are produced.

Shakespeare’s gossamer

Franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, franchise, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand, sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire...

This is what the American vocabulary has been reduced to. With this post, the site has achieved its buzzword quota. At any time, please feel free to resume (or revert to) human communication.


Someone sure is cranky today.. Speedhunters is a company after all, with employees who I think, like to get paid. Sponsorship are one way for an individual, or company in this case, to make a good deal of money and keep themselves employed.. Sponsors help pay the bills, SH employees get paid, and are able to keep producing content for us. SH wins and so do we, the viewers/readers.


Hahahaha. I don’t think that guy can speak English


Couldn't agree more. It always shocks me when people complain about the very reason they get constant content for free.


Speedhunters has been sponsored by EA since it's inception. How are people only just realizing this now???


exactly, can't call yourself a speedhunters fan if you didn't know that factoid.


The Polestar and the Supras are the reason(s) people get called ricers. I understand SpeedHunters has an affiliation with NFS, but these games continue to miss the mark and seeing it plastered all over SpeedHunters is a drag.


Keep up the good work. We all know the site has to be paid for somehow. The content is good and even the sponsored stuff is not pushy.

Speedhunters took the comments seriously in the past when it needed to be more transparent when writing about their sponsors. Now we get honesty and great content.

And so help me god if I don't get at least one sweet retro BMW pic out of the SEMA coverage!


What about the guy that brought the insane Mazda R100 with the dual rear tyre set up last year? I'd love to see more cars from him.


95% of these cars will be forgotten, abandoned and sold on craigslist next week for chump change - The other 5% are usable automobiles.


If only the Polestar 1 comes with a pure ICE config...


That looks like Freshkick´s Audi R8 with those TE37´s