Viva Las Vegas
Six showstoppers from SEMA 2018
NISSAN MOTORSPORTS PROJECT CLUBSPORT 23
Described by Nissan as a “parts development platform”, the 370Z-based Project Clubsport 23 combines original equipment, aftermarket and fabricated parts that would be within the reach of an enthusiast owner.
The biggest change involves replacing the standard 350bhp 3.7-litre V6 engine with a 400bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 unit from the Infiniti Q60. The Clubsport 23 marks the first time that this turbo motor has been paired with a manual transmission, in this case the 370Z’s standard six-speed.
Nissan teamed up with noted Z car modifier MA Motorsports to complete the powertrain upgrade and other modifications. Track-day-friendly chassis changes include the fitting of both Nismo and third-party components.
Nissan is coy about whether the package might become available to the aftermarket, saying only that components “may appear some day, alone or packaged together, at Nissan dealership parts departments”.
FORD MUSTANG RTR
Ford took the wraps off a new, drift-friendly performance package for the Mustang at SEMA. The catchily named Series 1 Mustang RTR Powered by Ford Performance has been developed with the RTR Vehicles team of professional drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr.
“The unique thing is the adjustable suspension,” Gittin told Autocar. “You can move the sway bar [anti-roll bar] links to dial in oversteer and change the balance. I wanted something that owners could adjust to their style behind the wheel.”
Ford first marketed an RTR version of the Mustang in 2010 and the expectation is that Gittin will continue to draw younger buyers to the car. Just 500 of the Series 1 Mustang RTR conversion kits will be sold at selected US dealers, complete with factory-backed limited warranties, beginning in early 2019. It can be fitted to any Ecoboost or GT Mustang that has the (entirely separate) Performance Package 1.
DUB KIA STINGER
The high number of Stingers at SEMA – and not just on Kia’s own stand – suggests that the car is proving successful in changing the brand’s image among car enthusiasts. As drifting Stingers gave thrill rides outside, among those on display indoors was a fully wrapped, Air Force-themed example as well as one heading to the Queensland police service in Australia as the force’s first foreign-made pursuit vehicle.
The car pictured has an Avery brushed steel/carbon wrap and was built by California custom shop DUB. Staggered 22in Dropstars forged wheels fill the arches and roll on Nitto tyres and air suspension. Engine modifications are limited to a custom exhaust and air intake. Behind the tinted windows, the interior has been retrimmed in red leather and black suede and it features a custom audio system.
TOYOTA PIE PRO TUNDRA
Shunning the typical SEMA trends for big wheels and even bigger sound systems, Toyota unveiled a one-off hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Tundra pickup. Developed in collaboration with Pizza Hut, it has been converted to frontwheel drive and uses the powertrain from the Mirai.
As well as driving the truck itself, the fuel cell is also used to provide power to an on-board, self-contained and robotised pizza kitchen. The unit, mounted in the load bed, includes a fridge, a Turbochef high-speed conveyor oven and two robot arms that take the pizza out of the fridge, place it in the oven and, at the other side, cut, box and deliver the pizza.
Toyota says the on-board kitchen can produce a pizza within six to seven minutes, but there are no current plans to put anything into production.
HOONIGAN TOYOTA COROLLA
Toyota brought no fewer than five custom 2019 Corollas to SEMA, including this camera car put together by Ken Block’s Hoonigan organisation for shooting professional videos. Noted cameraman Larry Chen oversaw the project.
The camera boom can be disassembled when not in use and stowed in the car, enabling it to be driven to the next shoot. The car itself received a performance makeover, with new springs, wheels, tyres, intake and exhaust components.
Inside, custom seat brackets and a harness bar were fabricated to take bucket seats and six-point harnesses. Outside, the design of the greyscale wrap is a tribute to the 1999 Wrcwinning Castrol Corolla.
The Hoonigan Corolla was displayed alongside hot rod, AE86 and track-day-inspired Corollas. The fifth machine was a drift demo car created by Papadakis Racing, whose rear-wheel-drive Corolla finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Drift championship with driver Fredric Aasbø.
HONDA RUGGED OPEN AIR VEHICLE
Honda grabbed attention with the Rugged Open Air Vehicle (ROAV) concept, an interesting cross between the Ridgeline pick-up that it sells in North America and its Pioneer 1000 ATV. The vehicle was created by Honda engineers in Ohio with input from the California design studio.
The ROAV retains the standard Ridgeline powertrain and chassis but the upper body is replaced by a steel tubeframe. The lights, doors, window nets and steering wheel are all Pioneer 1000 parts. The Atv-esque styling of the new front end was 3D-printed. The seats come from the Civic Type R but have been reupholstered in the waterproof material used on the Pioneer.
The short build time – just two and a half months – means that the ROAV is only around 90kg lighter than a Ridgeline, but principal engineer John Barlow told us that as much as 450kg could be saved, were the ROAV ever to be cleared for production. For now, it’s just a concept.