As is always the case with SEMA, there’s a ton of stuff to see, and a lot that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories (or any category, for that matter). As our senior editor Dave Yuan puts it, it’s an orgy of automotive excess. Here’s all the rest of the JNC-relevant sights and sounds from this year’s show.
One of the coolest newcomers we came across was Miami-based FJ Company, which restores and resto-mods FJ40s. It was their first time displaying at SEMA, and they were thus relegated to a section outside the main convention halls. However, their booth car, a Land Cruiser swapped with an FZ inline-six from an 80-Series, looked like it had left the factory that way.
Company spokesman Keith Ennis, who came to Land Cruisers from restorations in the Porsche 911 world, says they are not about V8 swaps. They want to keep everything Toyota-centric in their builds, and documents each with a hardcover book showing the before/after photos and progress.
Land Cruisers were a popular platform. Aaron Brown and Ed Goff’s 1970 FJ40 was driven 4,000 miles across some of America’s most desolate off-roading terrain — from the Trans-America trail to the Bonneville Salt Flats to Moab — and straight into the convention hall with no repairs or washing. Mud from God-knows-where was still splattered across its sides.
On the opposite end of the vehicular spectrum was a twin-turbo Honda CBX. Its inline-six engine was equipped with two prominent snails designed to peel your face off with wind.
A Mazda B-Series pickup was slammed on a completely custom frame. Old school touches like a vintage “Mazda” logo stripe and “ROTARY POWER” embossed on the tailgate paid homage to the REPU.
A turbo 13B that spits exhaust and flames straight into the windshield lay dormant in the engine bay, while custom-made control arms connected to a backbone frame filled the “bed.”
Nutty engine swaps are par for the course at SEMA, and so here’s drifter Ryan Tuerck’s Toyota GT486, a GT86 swapped with the engine of a Ferrari 458. Sometimes doing something because you can trumps any reasons for why. There are YouTube videos showing the end result in action, drifting.
For no discernible reason, there was an S14 painted in BRE livery but running a BMW N54 inline-six. Wearing a Rocket Bunny Boss kit and “stanced,” it was the convergence of every automotive hipster trend happening right now. Why it wasn’t a BMW M3’s S14 engine in a Nissan S14, we will never know.
There was also the reverse of that, a BMW E36 with an RB26DETT motor.
After winning the Gran Turismo Best of Show award last year with his 240Z, Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift star Sung Kang returned with his latest creation, the “U3” Ford Maverick. Under the hood where a straight six or V8 should be is instead a turbo 4-cylinder Ford Ecoboost. Basically, when you add the fender flares and fender mirrors, it’s a an American car done in the style of a Japanese tuner.
At the Mopar booth, Speedhunters‘ Mike Garrett debuted his Japan-inspired Dodge Dart, complete with fender mirrors, SEV Marchal driving lights, and a custom chin spoiler.
At the Toyo Treadpass the opposite tack was taken, with an R35 Nissan GT-R chassis and drivetrain mounted by the body of a widened 1970 Ford Mustang.
Nearby was the US debut of the Rocket Bunny kit that fuses the nose of a Mazda RX-3 onto an FD3S RX-7 body and (of course) makes everything widebody.
You can’t get much more American than a Toyota Camry NHRA Funny Car.
So. Many. Widebody. Kits.
Your dekotora-inspired shifter is no longer special. Now there are US-based companies making them.
The Garrett Turbo booth showed off an insane, tube-framed, four-rotor FD RX-7. The suspension appeared to be derived from an F1 car, it had a front-mounted transfer case to convert the car to all-wheel-drive, and a turbo the size of a large watermelon. The entire front fascia and fenders were one piece, and it will probably eat small children for breakfast.
Where Hondas once dominated, we could only find one Tuner Era son of Soichiro his year, a fourth-gen Prelude with Martini-inspired livery.
We found only one Mitsubishi 3000GT.
There were, however, many Mitsubishi turbochargers throughout the halls. Here are a couple attached to the HKS “RB28,” an RB26-based engine like the ones that powered HKS’s famous R33 drag car.
And last but not least, an ND Roadster (widebody, of course) and an Infiniti Q50 that are heavily modified but almost count as a restrained respite from the spectacle that is SEMA.