It never fails, every time I am going somewhere for a couple days all hell breaks loose at work. I showed up early to work so I could leave early with enough time to catch my flight with Paul. As time approaches for me to leave, I am asked to make some emergency changes in a project and I throw something together on the fly to make sure I can get out of there on time… which for some reason never happens.
Luckily we get to the airport on time and we check in our luggage. As we walk to our gate, I get odd looks and some fingers pointing my direction. I just smile. People were pointing at my tripod duffel bag/carrier, but nobody knew what it was. This time I was not asked what I was carrying inside by random people.
Flight 501 took off on time completely full. This is our first time heading to SEMA International Show and we both went in not knowing what to expect but we were really excited to be there. Once we landed, we jumped in the shuttle to the hotel, which took longer than our flight to get there. Later that night Matt from ICB Motorsport arrived and we had a delicious late dinner at Ping Pang Pong… lol, and we called it an early night to make sure we woke up and gave Paul ample time to iron his socks.
On our way to the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday morning, it slowly started to sink in the magnitude of this event. Buses were coming in and out all day from different locations. Once we arrived we made our way to pick up our media credentials and the adventure began. We grabbed some company press kits and made our way out to the floor.
I think I can speak for the two of us (Since Matt is a seasoned veteran) but as we made our way to the wheel section, we just were in awe at the ridiculous amount of boots from companies I have never even heard of. It seems as if they just kept going and going as if you couldn’t see the end.
Our first stop was the Wheels & Accessories aisles. I think wheels and tires are one of the most important areas of the aftermarket world and you could clearly see it around us. We saw wheels companies that I didn’t know existed. Wheels for low-end to high-end cars were on display with some with crazy booths. Some of these wheels were a little too much for me and if anything I thought they actually cheapen the car. Either leave the stock wheels or if you have some money to play at this level, get some proper wheels.
Two RAUH-Welt Porsches were in display at different booths and they did not disappoint. The lines of that wide body are so intoxicating it’s just ridiculous. Photos do not do them justice whatsoever. I don’t know what is more outrageous, the body lines or the finishing color combinations of wheels, paint and that famous front-windshield banner. I’m sold.
It is very easy to lose your group and find yourself playing catch up. We fought through the crowd and we stopped by the Mackin Industries to see what Rays Wheels had in the works. There are a few wheels coming out that look very nice…including a set of TE-37s intended for Eco-friendly cars like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight…just to name a few. Mackin and Matt made a floor deal… we are looking for Matt to begin making all the Honda heads real happy very soon.
Once we made ourselves to the Honda section we saw the Bisimoto Civic on display and it was hard not to admire the power this car produces… just mind blowing. Honda Performance Development Inc. (HPD) was at the show displaying new products that will be huge news for the track community. Track fanatics will be able to buy a 2012 Civic Coupe “Body-in-White” chassis for those who want to build a racecar from the ground-up. HPD also has racing parts that will be available through Honda Racing Line. These parts include engine mounts, brakes, brake hoses, brake ducts (both front bumper pieces and Carbon Fiber pieces for the knuckles), an array of suspension components, limited slip differential, and tow straps. All of these will be available sometime in early 2012. In a perfect world, you would be able to go through their catalog and pick an EK, EG or DC chassis. We think Honda would actually do well if this was ever possible… However, in the meantime it is nice to see Honda at least trying to give more options to us and I am interested to see how this is going to unfold. Maybe we will see more track products down the road. Besides a couple of new Civics and CR-Zs, the SEMA show lacked presence from Honda, especially track cars.
Scion was out in full force with their tiny iQ and their FR-S concept car. The FR-S was attracting a huge amount of people and you could feel excitement in the air. The FR-S is very sleek and has elegant, yet aggressive lines. With its FR layout, we think this is going to do well when Scion releases it to the public next year. Two iQs were in full track gear and I am not going to lie, looks like they would be a ton of fun to drive around. One of them had the engine in the back reminiscing a Porsche. I wonder how this handles at the track.
One of the last stops we saw was the Mazda booth. Mazda had a white Miata that had a hard-top that looked as if the roof was chopped. From far away it looked like a soft top but we found out it was a hard top. All three of us agreed the different roof-lines gave a different, refreshing, and more aggressive look. There were a couple race cars, a wide-body FC and a LM-P prototype. They also had a super clean white 1967 Cosmo. I wonder how much time this car sees the road nowadays. Mazda is big when it comes to road-racing and we could see that all around us. Even their Mazda 5 Compact Van looked like it was ready to attack the track.
I don’t remember walking this much in a very long time. I was so exhausted by the end of the day and I was glad when we got in our bus to go back to the hotel. The first day was a little overwhelming but so much fun that I couldn’t wait to go back for day two. A super nice dinner was the perfect way to end the day.
And now for the photos… stay tuned for day two.