Viva Las Ve­gas

Six show­stop­pers from SEMA 2018

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - By Gra­ham Heeps


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 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.


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.


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.


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 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.

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