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Suzuki showed-off some hot-looking versions of their newest street car, the 2008 SX4.
What the Suzuki display at SEMA told us most of all was what every SEMA nut wants to hear --- That numerous bits and pieces improving the performance and/or appearance of their stock vehicles will be available through Suzuki dealers and the Web.
Suzuki says they have made a decision to be part of a new USA rally series designed to prepare racers and their vehicles for World Rally Championship-level competition. While this turbocharged all-wheel drive Suzuki (based on their new 2008 model year SX4) looks like something we might have seen two weeks earlier at the Tokyo Motor Show, this race car was built in the US by Suzuki engineers using available parts.
Yes, "anything goes" at SEMA, and catching the attention of tired show-goers is all-important. Thus, this Tiki Torch god, looking like something stolen out of a San Fernando Valley back yard from the 1950s, at least got a lot of people to stop and wander through this company's display. Trouble is, we can't remember which company!
Custom motorcycles, while small in number, are still a vibrant part of the SEMA Show and its displays. SEMA showcases not only car and trucks parts, but also those for bikes, trikes (Bombardier's new three-wheeler was a particular hit with the crowds) and marine engines ... In fact, many of the stoutest racing engines get their heaviest testing while powering boats through rough water ... Lessons learned from those beatings, about the toughest you can give any engine, are used to build better racing engines, and eventually those experiences "trickle down" to the stock engines engines in our street cars.
Hummers and several different new Pontiac models were the "show vehicles of choice" for many of the SEMA displays. And while it is difficult to tell exactly what product this Hummer is promoting, due to the huge number of sponsor stickers on the back of this behemoth, it is actually the strands of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights strung and mounted inside and outside this GM vehicle which this company wants you to notice. LEDs were big-time popular at the show, and exhibitors told us that while neon lights are still popular, they are being replaced by the less expensive, safer and longer-lasting LEDs.
A detail shot of the LEDs on the showcase Hummer.
The gigantic Ford Motor Company exhibit was one of the SEMA Show's most popular, as usual, located as it is at the meeting point between two of the show's biggest exhibition halls. FoMoCo didn't fail to show-off some new product which ranged from street appearance products to turn-key race cars and the various competition packages which go with them, such as this all-new FR500S. It will be competing in the all-new "Mustang Challenge Miller Cup", a brand-new series currently under development by Ford and Miller Motorsports (owners of the new race track just outside Salt Lake City, Miller Motorsports Park). The car uses the basic underpinnings of the proven and successful FR500C, and the new car and series will debut officially in 2008. Get out your checkbook now! Much more on this car and the rest of the Ford display, including their SEMA Award for the "Best Design" of this year's show, soon on this site.
For a new Mustang body modeled after the original car, which can be placed as one piece on a running chassis, and for a Ford SUV sporting many new bits and pieces from FoMoCo and available from Ford dealers and through the Web, Ford was honored with SEMA'S "Best Design" Award for 2007. The award does not merely pick the best designs visually, but also their ease of installation and performance/usefulness --- Two key ingredients for the do-it-yourselfer and the stores which sell to him/her.
At last year's SEMA Show, Volvo shocked the crowd with some outlandish and wild takes on their own staid and conservative cars ... Exhibiting that, perhaps due to Ford's ownership of the company, some of Ford's racing and sporting heritage is "leaking through" from Dearborn to Sweden. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the "Little Duece Coupe", the 1932 Ford V8 engine mounted in what we now call a "hot rod" body, made from the original Ford coupe bodywork. Ford's 2006 SEMA display was a tribute to that epochal car and engine. Now, perhaps a year late and maybe less than a dollar short, Volvo hit the SEMA Show with their own take on that crucial car, and they did a good job of it, again taking the SEMA crowd a bit by surprise. But one must wonder why Volvo is displaying at SEMA in the first place --- It's nice to show-of your company's divisions, but how many Volvo buyers/owners are going to want to outfit their little baby-haulers with anything from SEMA? We think if Ford ownership was not part of the Volvo story, the company would (and could) just as well stay home.
Not to be outdone by their Michigan neighbors elsewhere in the gigantic North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, General Motors, as always, went head-to-head with Ford at SEMA, and we think Ford came out the winner by a nose (all of this happening even though Toyota was the "official" displaying OEM of the show). One of the vehicles in the GM exhibit knocked our socks off, though ... this Jaguar D-type-inspired road racing take on the Pontiac Solstice. The Solstice was one of the most-seen cars at this year's SEMA Show, used by many companies to exhibit their SEMA-market products.
At the General Motors exhibit at SEMA, the 2009 Camaro convertible was given one of its first public showings. With the car definitely slated for production, this prototype drew more than its share of rapt attention, including from many folks in starched white shirts with pen caddies, holding tiny digital cameras and folding yardsticks, shooting photos from every angle and, when allowed, crawling all over the car, under, inside and out, taking measurements in order to create what may be their own company's future aftermarket parts to be ready for sale when this new Camaro hits the streets late next year. That's another big part of what SEMA and the SEMA Show is all about ... and something about which the general public rarely hears.
The 2009 Camaro droptop kept the GM display area packed throughout all four days of the 2007 SEMA Show. It might have been the single most photographed (and measured) car in any display, turned-out as it was in its very attractive and classic Camaro factory colors (which are also my personal favorite on the car, by the way, and someday we'll own a '68 model in these same tones ... And by that I mean "1968" ...).
Someone say "Honda performance"? How about this blown example of Japan's finest, outfitted with so many performance (and appropriate appearance) parts that we lost count ...
You never know what you'll find at SEMA ... and we found this streamliner from "Poteet and Main" in the show's parking lot! Called "Speed Demon", this little number hit 353.414 miles per hour at Bonneville, all that power coming from its blown "L'il Hemi" four-cylinder engine ... Wow! That must be one hell of a ride! This racer is supported mostly through public donations, from people who appreciate what these engineers and racers are doing with this "old" technology. See more at "www.speeddemon.us".