SEMA 2008 Summary


I’m glad that SEMA is over this year. While it is overall a pain in the ass, it’s a necessary evil to develop new business and show off your new products. This year’s SEMA was definitely slower with less foot traffic and booths had less “models”. Was it due to the economy? Probably since travel and women are two very expensive things in general. At the Cosworth booth, there were still quality inquiries and plenty of international visitors. Anyhow, it was great to meet some new people and overall I had a good time. Catching up with friends in the industry you’re too busy to talk to during work hours was cool too. It was cool to have surprisingly quite a few people hit me up with, “Hey are you Eric? I read your blog all the time.” If you ever see me, feel free to hit me up. It reassures me that what I write is good shit.


Mine’s had a booth in the Electronics hall. They were displaying their R35 GT-R and their parts for the car. While I am not always down with JDM style tuning, Niikura-san definitely knows GT-Rs and refinement. His cars are clean, simple, and fast. I have no doubt Niikura-san will be building an R35 with less parts, horsepower, and aero than some American tuner and still execute some smokage at some upcoming event. The funny thing is Jason, his man in the US, is a friend of mine’s from my high school years. Niikura-san and Jason came by the Cosworth booth to say hi to me which was cool of them.


The titanium muffler system is pretty nice. I would have gone with larger tube sizes myself, but I’m sure Niikura-san has a reason. Regardless, the titanium will no doubt drop some weight from the overweight pig of a whale we know as the GT-R.


Here we have the Cosworth 4B11T camshafts, fuel rail, and H-11 head studs for the EVO X. The fuel rail is a direct replacement for the stock rail with more flow capacity through the rail and can also be used when an external fuel pressure regulator needs to be plumbed in. The H-11 head studs are much stronger than the industry standard ARP 8740 head studs and are similar to the ARP L19 studs. L19 = fancy name for H11. Anyhow, the Cosworth studs have a proper dog tooth at the bottom (seats on cylinder block) to preload the fastener unlike the ARP L19 studs. Cosworth H-11 studs are available for SR20, 4G63, EJ20/25 engines.


Here we have the 2.23L 4B11T EVO X stroker kit complete with crankshaft, rods, and pistons. The crank retains the ability to bolt on the factory crank trigger wheel, rods are 4340 chrome moly, and the pistons are a brand new forging specifically for the 4B11T and machined with typical Cosworth precision. The pistons also feature the Xylan green skirt coatings, polished decks, and are completely deburred out of the box too.


Here we have the VQ35DE 3.8L Stroker kit as featured in the Castrol Top Shop Challenge. While we finished 6th place overall due to questionable rules (more on this later), the engine made 438bhp normally aspirated with virtually off the shelf parts. Same deal here: 4340 rods and crank and propietary Cosworth VQ35 piston forgings. On top are the VQ35 fuel rails too.


sema0894.jpgHere is the ARK Design EVO X sitting in their booth. The first time I saw the body kit, I thought it was a bit too much. In person it actually looks pretty good and the wheels are perfect with the car too. The wheels are available in 3 colors: silvery chromish, subaru gold, and a gunmetal type color. The wheels on this car are 19×9.5 +22 with 265/35/19 Hankooks for a zero rub fitment. The ARK booth looked pretty good too and they had all their new parts on display. The 6 piston 380mm front brakes and 4 piston 355mm rear brakes were the show stoppers for me. I can’t wait to test them out. They are 100% made in Australia and designed by an ex-Brembo engineer so no cheap ass China crap here. They have other fitments too like the R32/33/34 Skyline GT-R so I’m waiting for Andy to send me a set although he doesn’t know it yet.


sema0893.jpgHere’s the Cusco/Tomei GD Impreza which is supposed to be mighty fast. I guess we’ll find out at the Super Lap Battle next week. Tarzan will be piloting the car and he says although it doesn’t have massive power, the car is refined and fast. Looking under the car, I can see that it is one of the few JDM cars to sport proper suspension geometry at a glance. I would hope so since it is essentially a JGTC/Super GT GT300 suspension. It has hand fabricated front uprights and magnesium uprights in the rear! They look pretty race carish. Apparently this car was developed by Cusco’s Super GT team. Aero is by Voltex, suspension by Cusco, Hankook C91 tires, engine by Tomei, and fast ass driving by Tarzan. This is the car to watch.


I almost forgot this one. The Cosworth 4B11T EVO X cylinder head is coming probably in the first quarter of 2009. This head flows like a mother_ucker and will no doubt bring big power to the EVO X. The factory EVO X cylinder head is already very good, but the guys at Cosworth kicked up another 3 notches. The head will be complete with CNC ported ports, cc’d chambers, dual valve springs, titanium retainers, and all the other goodies. It will be available as a head assembly or complete with cams already shimmed with tappet buckets.


What is SEMA without parties? Although these days I am older and can’t hang with going to every party every night, I did make it out to the Pro-Motion party at Planet Hollywood. I was floating between two tables: Ark Design upstairs and the D-Sport table downstairs. If you add it up, there were 4 bottles of Grey Goose and 2 Bottles of Patron. Needless to say, everybody was pretty smashed. This year’s party was at a new venue and unfortunately they did not have any go go stands so Jimmy couldn’t get the kick ass go go pics like last year. Even without go go girls in your face, it was still a good time.


Top Row = Mike and Mitsuko from D-Sport, Roland from Pi UK, Troy from ARK Design, then its me (drinking a Rock Star and Grey Goose) and Saya on the bottom row. I’m not sure if Roland was used to pounding shots, but he was handling it pretty good. In the background behind Troy is Kitazawa-san from ARK Design Japan. He is the man responsible for several generations of earlier HKS EVCs, several generations of Apexi Power FCs, AVC-Rs, S-AFCs, V-AFCs, etc. Now he’s the brain behind ARK Design’s electronics and other goodies.


sema0892.jpgHere’s three overweight asian dudes (me, Daiji from C-West, Andy from ARK) and Tarzan. Usually in the US, Tarzan rocks the Dragon Ball Z style spiked hair and in other countries he rolls the more conservative hair style. This was the first time that I can remember in the US he was rocking the flat hair. We’ll see what he does with his hair at the SLB.


One other product that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of was the Garrett EVO X bolt-on turbo. It is a direct bolt-on to replace the factory turbo. I did run into Kheim at Garrett (the designer), but I was about to do a video shoot and didn’t get to chat too long. The turbo looks good and I want to try one too. Since we’ll have an engine going on the engine dyno very soon at Cosworth, it looks like I’ll have the ideal opportunity to do this with no bullshit chassis dyno variables. It will be available in two trims: GT3071R and GT3076R and with two turbine A/Rs: 0.73 and 0.94. I just jacked this pic from Edmunds.


There you have the bulk of SEMA from my eyes. There are way more images on the 8gb SD card, but I just have to go through them. Maybe more later…

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