Posted by Shawn Church: Last night Jeff and I arrived in Las Vegas for the latest iteration of the SEMA Show, the epicenter of the automotive aftermarket in the USA. The SEMA show attracts some 100,000 OEM and aftermarket professionals, vendors and retailers each year to view the latest products, technologies and trends in the business.
The SEMA show has been around in one form or another since 1965 (it was officially called the SEMA show in 1967), but it is only in the last 10-12 years or so that import oriented cars and technologies have emerged to take a significant role in the proceedings. And of course, that means that TOV needs to attend and keep you posted on what is happening - especially on the Honda front.
2007 marks a relatively modest year for Honda and Acura at SEMA. For various reasons, the only new vehicle being exhibited is the Honda Accord V6 Coupe in stock and concept car examples. The rest of the vehicles comprise a mix of Civic Si and Fit project cars from last year, along with a few new S2000 race cars and a couple of Rotrex-supercharged vehicles from Kraftwerks (Oscar Jackson's new company founded in conjuction with Skunk2).
Since the Accord Coupe is so new (I have not seen one on the road yet), it naturally attracted a lot of interest. Honda's Factory Performance group decided to take a very OEM style approach to their concept V6 6MT coupe, starting with a polished metal example and applying some subtle, but effective modifications to accentuate the bold lines of the car. The most obvious and visible modification was a carbon fiber applique along the entire lower 8-10" of the body. On first hearing of that, I was skeptical, but it works well with the body lines and paint color to add some texture and depth to the sides of the vehicle. Larger wheels and upgraded brakes add some performance credibility, while electrically variable shock damping (stolen from the MDX?) gives us a tantalizing glimpse of what _could_ be (we really doubt it will happen any time soon, but it is nice to dream). The engine was left stock with an exhaust upgrade out back. The interior was tastefully upgraded with improved leather (two tone on the seats), a new shift knob and steering wheel cover, and strangely attractive orange accents (stitching, instrument lettering, etc).
On the project car front, S2000s made a serious comeback this year, with a wide spectrum of offerings ranging from a pimped out, jet black example with cartoonish camber (think of the drawings you see in some magazines) to the Honda/Car and Driver 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance racer S2000 CR. Kraftwerks brought along a 2006 S2000 with their new Rotrex kit, and a matching Fit with another Rotrex kit. Jackson told us that he hopes to have both kits released before Christmas, although that was not a guarantee and he even said it would probably end up being the first of the year with all of the things going on the next few months.
We may post more later, but for now enjoy the pictures. And BTW, the best launch or intro we saw was for the new Lexus IS-F. It was totally out of character for Lexus, but it demonstrated they are quite serious trying to take on BMW's M division and Mercedes Benz's AMG. I'm not convinced that the IS-F has what it takes to play with the best yet, but it isn't for lack of trying.
Full Photo Gallery
You can view the full photo gallery over in the Exhaust Notes Section by clicking here