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EVENTS: The 2017 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 5:27 am on November 29, 2017

 

SEMA was a blur this year—but that’s really no different than any other year for the most intense sensory overload in car show form on the planet. This trade-only show features all of the latest and greatest builds, technology, and creativity in our industry. While the show has historically been populated by American marques and their aftermarket support, in recent years the influx of Japanese metal (Nissan included) is undeniable.

 
 

We only attended the show for one day and while the crowds were as appalling as ever in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the quality of cars made it all worth it. It wasn’t just “cars” that got us excited, it was the astonishing number of vintage Datsuns/Nissans! The variety was astounding. We counted 16 cars from a 1972 Datsun 510 to 1983 Skyline and everything in between.

 

Year of the Datsun!

Our Datsun-hunting at SEMA started with Datsun 510s. Pro-drifter Chris Forsberg built this hot-rod 510 wagon for his wife. The Mazworx-built SR20DET is backed by an automatic transmission and even sports air-conditioning. Deep-lipped SSR MKIII wheels fill out the box-flares that are part of the “Hakobird” kit from Carbonsignal. This might be the closest thing to Hakosuka Skyline wagon!

 

Our friend and fellow 510 racer Troy Ermish built this ultra-clean 510 2-door for actor Daniel Wu. We dig the bronze Watanabe wheels and subtle paint color. A built L-series breathing through dual-Mikuni’s and stock-ish interior also makes us happy. You can learn more about the build from our friends over at JNC.

 

Our final 510 sighting was the legendary Pete Brock’s personal car in Braille battery booth. Affectionately known as “Datzilla”, we remember first seeing this 450hp small-block V8 beast back in 2008 at the MotoringJ Style show.

 
 

Z Car Fever

A total of NINE S30 Z cars were at SEMA this year. That may not seem like many, but consider just 3 years ago only two Z cars were present. It was hard to pick a favorite but we were impressed with the Gas Monkey Garage 280z and the ChasingJs 240z built by Big Mike and Dominic Le, respectively.

The Gas Monkey Garage 280z

 

Big Mike was commissioned to design/build this 280Z 2+2 for the TV show Gas Monkey Garage. We loved how he took a often un-loved chassis and created a unique car that Datsun fans and American-iron alike can appreciate. Some quick details that caught our eye: the huge void found in front of the 4-cylinder SR20DET was filled with an OEM-like air filer box. The stock interior features vintage buckets with matching rears. The body color choice was perfect against bronze Volk TE37V wheels. Watch for two episodes covering the build airing on Fast n Loud TV on the Discovery channel!
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EVENTS: The 2016 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 3:23 am on December 5, 2016

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What Happens in SEMA . . .

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.  Every year, people from around the world arrive in Las Vegas to look at the astonishing display of automotive tuning and customization.

 

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Within the 1 million+ square foot, 4-building Las Vegas Convention center there are hundreds of lowered imports, resto-modded muscle cars and those crazy lifted trucks.  There’s far more to the show than that including celebrities, extreme demos, parties and general excess.  Unfortunately, SEMA isn’t open to the public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience what it’s like to attend the craziest show on the automotive calendar. Enjoy the following highlights from our visit to SEMA in Novemeber. We will start with our display car, the OEMs, Datsuns and move on to the wild stuff!

 

The OS Giken TC24B1Z Skyline

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Last year at SEMA we debuted the legendary OS Giken TC24B1Z engine inside our ZCG-restored Datsun 240z:

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The Z was well-received but very subtle (by SEMA standards) so this year we stepped out of our comfort zone and helped build a “flashier” vehicle for display…a 1971 Nissan “Hakosuka” Skyline!

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This time the TC24 was treated to different induction: Jenvey individual throttle bodies and EFI. Aesthetics were livened up with a red valve cover and white coated exhaust headers. The entire car was wrapped in a metallic red replete with sponsor graphics and 17″ Volk TE37V wheels on Nitto tires. Our “show hood” mod was utilized again to highlight the glorious TC24.

We were flattered by all of the fan pictures and even received a miniature scale replica of the Hako from Shingo!

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The Hako garnered attention from many social media outlets and drew significantly more traffic than last year’s display. Later in November it went on to be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show!
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Race Cars at SEMA
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Huge thanks to the crew from OS Giken and Alex M. Stay tuned we will have a full feature on the build soon!

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The Big Manufacturers at SEMA

As always, there’s a big presence from US manufacturers, but this year Honda and Toyota (among others) made an impact on the show floors. Here’s our round up of the big displays.

Ford

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Ford had the largest display in the main hall with an extensive showing of their hottest cars and trucks. My favorite was the new GT supercar complete with battle-scars from a LeMans race. It even sat across from an original Ford GT40. Ken Block’s “Gymkhana 9” Focus and other tricked-out Foci below:

 

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Honda

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Honda announced its return to the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2017 with this NSX GT3…being towed by Acura MDX!  Below, the new NSX looks great in white, the new Civic showed as body-in-white tuning platform and the new (for the US) Civic Type R:

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Toyota

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Toyota had a neat throwback-style displaying paying tribute to its heritage vehicles. They even brought out the entire generation of Corollas in celebration of its 50th anniversary! Below: 1951 Land Cruiser, 80’s Van and the “World’s Fastest SUV”: a 2,000hp twin-turbo’d v8 Sequoia

 

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Datsun Domination at SEMA!

We begin our coverage of all the Datsuns/Nissans at SEMA, and there were plenty! Let’s start with our OS Giken booth neighbor, ENEOS. Their display car was none other than Ginash George’s C10 Skyline. Ginash is the founder of the successful JDM Chicago and also owns a beautiful NSX.

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Ginash enlisted the expertise of JDM Legends to build this stunning Hako. All the right choices on this one! And he’s a wheel aficionado to boot as well. Super Street gave it a SEMA award!

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FOUR S30 Z cars were at SEMA. If we had to pick a favorite it was the ChasingJs 280z built by Dominic Le. You might be familiar with his last SEMA creation, the Hakotora that was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage.

 

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The build was based on a rendering from talented artist Jon Sibal…and built in Dom’s garage!

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The clever John Player Special striping was hand-applied by Dom himself. Note the rare G-Nose headlamp covers. Power comes from a single-turbo 2JZ-GTE with 1,000hp as the goal. We love it!

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The Liberty Walk Fairlady Z turned heads with its unmistakenable bosozoku style. Sporting their fender flare kit, “notchback” rear hatch, smoothed rear panel and small-ish 15″ wheels it seemed a bit out of place in the DUB nation booth, but still cool.

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Chris Forsberg’s 280z underwent a total makeover for SEMA.  The single turbo RB26 revieved a custom billet valve cover and the body showed off a new kit from Carbon Signal.  The kit really flows well with the G-nose and front spolier. The interior was also finished by Amir and his team in the UAE.

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The legendary Pete Brock displayed his personal BRE Tribute 240z in the Braille booth:

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A lone Datsun 510 slammed via AirLift suspension and 13B rotary power. The BBS wheels were mint!

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This Datsun Bluebird L320 pickup was a pleasant sight amongs the wild bodykits. You see those chunky rear tires on widened steelies? They’re probably necessary to reign in all the instant torque from the electric motor conversion!

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Late Model Nissans

Steve Pham’s unorthodox turbocharged BMW N54 turbo. This Rocketbunny “Boss” kitted Nissan 240sx (S14) had new BRE-inspired livery for the show. Below, a JDM model S15 Silvia with a widebody kit:

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…[read more]




EVENTS: The SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 6:55 pm on November 13, 2015

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What Happens in SEMA . . .
Every year the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) takes over the 3,000,000 square feet of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center for a weeklong trade show that covers everything automotive. Exhibitors feature cars, trucks or SUVs in their displays to showcase their products or simply to attract attention. In a town where weird is normal, the masses of over-the-top and extremely modified cars seem at home inside the multi-building center.

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Tens of thousands attend the SEMA Show each year, and while a trade show and not open to the public, it’s the one auto show every enthusiast wants to attend. Despite the propensity for depravity that comes with a no-last-call town, SEMA is never anything short of a legendary gathering and we had a blast during our 2-day visit.

 

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SEMA 2015 marked a special milestone for the crew at Z Car Garage as we prepared a special 1971 Datsun 240z for display at the show.  Through an exclusive collaboration with OS Giken we unveiled the world’s first North American (LHD) S30 to be powered by the legendary TC24-B1Z engine. This mythical twincam cylinder head bolts onto an L-series block giving it crossflow breathing and high revving operation.

 

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The Z was well received by show goers stopping by the OS Giken booth which featured video displays of the engine being assembled and tested at ZCG. Jaws dropped at the sight of the TC24 and we also heard admirable reviews from fellow Datsun/restorers for the build. Our friends at Japanese Nostalgic Car (JNC) and Speedhunters featured the car in their SEMA reviews:
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Speedhunters

 

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The lucky owner of this OS Giken-equipped Z is our friend and customer Gary Stephenson. In short, his build highlights our restorative powers and sports full suspension (allowing 255/40/17 tires under stock flairs), our ZCG Big Brake Kit, nos OEM glass, integrated roll cage,  KA24 transmission, Recaro Competition seats and more.

 

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In current tune/configuration the TC24 produced 376hp/281tq to the wheels on 91 octane, proudly displayed by the car at SEMA. This Z will be driven on the street and track so stay tuned for videos!

 

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Huge thanks to the crew at OS Giken for a killer booth and memorable experience. Look for an in-depth story about our collaboration with OS Giken and TC24-B1Z build on the blog soon.  Long Live the Z. Here comes the TC!

 

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Datsuns Everywhere at SEMA!

Our favorite vintage cars were in great numbers this year. One of the most prominent of course
was Sung Kang’s 1973 Datsun 240z affectionately called “FuguZ”.

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Sung ( “Han” of Fast and Furious movie fame) chronicled the build through social media, enlisting parts from around the world with final assembly by Kenji at Greddy. Sporting the latest Rocket Bunny body kit, Volk TE37s and an ITB’d RB26 drivetrain this was a crowd favorite and inspiration to all. Congrats to Sung and the Greddy team for an epic build!

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For the first time in SEMA history a Datsun roadster was on display courtesy of Socal specialist Kevin Desirello.

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This fully restored 1967 SPL311 was treated to a complete S15 SR20DET drivetrain swap but Kevin and his team didn’t stop there. By adding a VVL head and punching the displacement out to 2.2L, they essentially made an SR22VE-T with power levels of 450whp anticipated!

 

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Garret wanted the car for its SEMA booth and it was placed alongside the famous Mad Mike Whiddett’s insane twin-turbo FOUR-rotor powered Formula-drift Miata. We are especially proud of Kevin and his roadster for making it to the Top 21 in The Battle of the Builders competition!

 

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This Datsun 520 pickup was actually a contender in the Optima Batteries challenge with a Mazda Miata drivetrain and double A-arm suspension F/R!

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Hakotora! Take one Sunny ute and graft a Hakosuka front end on for a mean little pickup. This build had some great details and a built SR20DET under the vented hood.

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This BRE 510 was on display in the Tokico booth. A celebrity driver car, this is now owned by Datsun-freak Adam Carolla. Our hero Pete Brock was not too far from the dime!

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Eric and Josh from JDM Legends made the trek from Utah and displayed their superbly restored Ken and Mary Skyline. The C110 had all the choice parts from the triple-carb’d L-series, Comp seats and Watanabe wheels.

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There’s a New Boss in Town . . .

Not Datsun per se, but the following Nissan 240sx (S14) sports cars all have one thing in common: The “Boss” aero kit from RocketBunny/TRA Kyoto. The kit transforms the front end of an S14 into a B110/Challenger looking vehicle… it takes some time getting used to, but we dig it.

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SEMA 2013 Pictures!

Filed under: Events,Performance
by Alvin G @ 2:54 am on November 10, 2013

 

The 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show continues its tradition as the world’s largest aftermarket trade show for automobiles in spectacular style, with cars and trucks to suit everyone’s taste. We visited the show for two days and it was both incredible and overwhelming to see all of the muscle cars, imports, trucks and thousands of new accessories and products spread across the multi-building convention center and outdoor venues.

 

The big domestic automakers like Ford, GM and Dodge had huge multimedia displays with one-off/tuned vehicles. Honda, Mazda, Hyundai and even KIA had their own displays but sadly Nissan was absent. We did not spot a single Datsun at SEMA(other than the Fatlace Kenmeri) but there were plenty of Skylines and late-model Z cars in all stages of modifications. This Liberty walk LB Performance R35 was treated to over- fenders adding a dose of curvaceousness to its sharp lines:

 

LB Performance also made its mark on the BMW E92 M3 and ultra-exotic Ferrari 458. Watch owner Wataru Kato rev and shoot flames for the crowd HERE

 

Surprisingly devoid of huge wheels or fancy bodywork, this R35 paid tribute to Nissan’s historic racing heritage by sporting Datsun stripes seen on the Scoville and BRE cars of yore.  In true Nissan competitive spirit this GTR was also a contender in the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car challenge being held today!


On the wilder side was this R’s Tuning GTR with a BenSopra aero package and many Seibon carbon fiber panels. You might recognize this car from the latest Fast and Furious movie. Modified Nissan 350z’s and 370z’s, Infiniti G35 and G37’s were found in greater numbers outside the main exhibit halls. From simple and understated to absolutely bonkers these Z’s and G’s were parked amongst Hot Rods and other cool imports.

 

OS Giken displayed their legendary TC24-B1 engine. To Datsun/Nissan fans this is the “Holy Grail” of drivetrains for the Z car. Thirty years ago OS Giken created a DOHC, 4-valve/cylinder head to run on the traditional L24  six-cylinder engine.

The head has recently been re-casted and revised with modern materials to the tune of 420hp at 9,000rpm! A gear drive, specially tuned intake trumpets, Weber carbs and equal-length stainless steel headers make for the best-sounding inline-6 on the planet.

 

The most prolific Japanese sports car at this year’s show must have been the Scion/Subaru FR-S/BR-Z. I love these cars and often wish that Nissan released an equivalent but such is life! Their aftermarket support is tremendous and it was fun to see all the different takes on modifying these affordable sportscars including forced induction kits.  I have never seen so many Rocketbunny bodykits in one place, at least 9 cars sported the tacked-on flares and bodywork.

 
 

This BR-Z was my favorite and it did not have a Rocketbunny kit 🙂 Just a mild drop on Enkei wheels and a Crawford turbo kit kept it simple but cool!

 

Plenty of modified Hondas outside too but I think the show-stopper was Bisimoto’s Honda Odyssey minivan with a 1,000hp turbo-charged J-series V6…you know for those soccer moms that can’t lose to that Ferrari at the stoplight:


Boosted K-series drivetrains seemed to be the popular engine swap into different Civic chassis and even this 4th gen Prelude:

 

I always wanted to see a Porsche RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB)  in person. This purple 930 had their trademark fenders and ultra-wide deep dish wheels. I was shocked to see the massive 315-width tires but the use of (2) 2″ spacers stacked was weird. The Rotiform 964 on oversized replica Fuchs was beautiful:

 
 

SEMA was a muscle car/Hot Rod paradise with eye-candy at every corner. I’m a huge fan of late model-power combined with old-school looks and I got a healthy dose of Pro-Touring machines to the point of saturation! If I had to narrow it down here were my top three favorites:

Troy Trepanier 1969 Ford Torino-Talladega

This was a modern take on the Talladega racer from Troy of Rad Rides. It’s all in the details! GT40-style wheels, Glasurit gold paint, Hilborn intake converted to EFI, an interior with exposed rivets, Holman Moody gauges from Classic Instruments and a extensive roll cage complete the Talladega racer effect. Fit and finish were impeccable on this car. I could stare at it all day.

 

1969 Plymouth Valiant

This Mopar caught my eye because of its true “patina” exterior combined with sanitary detailing in the engine bay and interior. The ITB’d HEMI was fanatically detailed with tasteful finishes and colors. The interior on the other hand was super-luxurious yet still managed to look utilitarian.

 

Dodge Challenger

To me this car was the epitome of old soul meeting modern go. On the outside this Challenger looked like your father’s 392. Sure, the larger than stock OEM-style wheels may stand out, but pop the hood and you’d see that this wasn’t your father’s 392. It’s a crate motor from Chrysler’s new muscle cars residing in a uncluttered, super clean engine bay. No chrome or bling. Simplicity. I love it.

 
 

Wheels!  Great new releases from SSR, RAYS and ADVAN. Even the domestics are lucky to have companies re-popping oldies but goodies like GM Rallye-style wheels, 80’s Camaro/Firebird IROC/Trans Am wheels, etc.

 

Do you like Turbos? We do! Garret, Borg-Warner, Precision and others showed off their latest hair-dryers. Turbo kits are available for virtually every car/application. We really like the new Ford Coyote engine seen in the Mustang GT. Dig this twin-turbo setup for the 5.0:

 

One of the wonders of SEMA is the sheer number of equipment/tool companies on display. From chassis dynos to cylinder boring machines to tractor tires; things we take for granted are crucial to businesses and important to consumers! Where else can you demo a new tire-mounting machine or watch a fuel-injector tester before before buying one?

 

We aren’t huge truck fans but SEMA made it apparent that there are plenty of folks modifying their rigs from gargantuan monster-truck style builds to slammed and tubbed street machines. Ford displayed this go-anywhere truck (L) complete with tent and also showed a custom F100 from KISS’ Gene Simmons. This Hot Rod had a complete Shelby Mustang drivetrain:

 

SEMA is also known for showcasing the latest trends for better or worse. This year I noticed that bright, shiny gold wheels seemed to be the craze on economy cars all the way to Lamborghini’s.  The vinyl wrap has become more pervasive than ever. LED lighting on trucks has gone mad. You can’t lose with 22’s but 26’s are even better.  Crinkle coat finished paint on entire bodies. Here is a R33 Skyline GTR with XXR wheels?! A matte green wrapped F10 BMW M5.

 

The most sacrilegious engine swap award goes to this E92 BMW 335 with a Coyote drivetrain from a Mustang. Even had the BOSS intake manifold for an extra in-your-face to BMW owners. I like it!

 

Weirdest Automobile: The Spongebob Highlander. Yes, that is a fish tank occupying the entire area behind the seats!

 

Our two-day adventure at SEMA was impressive. The aftermarket is still thriving with companies continuing to innovate and meet enthusiast’s demands.  Equally impressive were the Hot Rod builds that displayed an ever-increasing bar of perfection and creativity. I think that is what SEMA is all about.  I could not possibly capture the grandeur and scale of this event in one blog post so please check out the photo gallery!


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ZCG – Thanks To All

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects
by Forbes @ 1:37 pm on November 4, 2008

The response to the R35 GT-R that we just finished for SEMA has been amazing. It sounds like almost everyone likes the appearance and the tasteful modifications that were done. Special thanks go to the owner of the car as well as all of the sites that have linked here to zcarblog.com.

Thank you.

There will be more updates as I get them and expect a few more posts today on some VERY IMPORTANT news in the Nissan/Z Car Garage universe.

I will also try to get out some pictures and updates of the THREE simultaneous RB 240z / Fairlady builds that are taking place at the shop. Things are rockin!

Forbes

www.GTRBlog.com
www.GTRCenter.net
www.GTR-World.net




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