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Chevrolet Previews its SEMA Cars

An emphasis on accessories.

by on Oct.16, 2014

The SS Sport concept gives the V-8-powered sports sedan a makeover that screams high performance.

With the ghosts and goblins and candy displays going up at Costco that obviously means one thing: the annual SEMA Show is just around the corner. And another clear indication is the flood of previews landing in our e-mailboxes in recent days.

One of the lengthiest missives comes from Chevrolet – along with a passel of pics revealing some of the performance-oriented concepts the bowtie brand will squeeze onto its stand at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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“These concepts suggest possibilities of how to amplify Chevrolet’s heritage of performance and fun-to-drive spirit to make them even more personal,” Paul Edwards, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. (more…)

Kia Proves its Got Soul With Five SEMA Concepts

“Souls of SEMA” gives showgoers a glimpse of possibilities.

by on Nov.07, 2013

Kia rolled out five highly customized Souls during this year's annual SEMA show.

With some help from rocker Leona X and some hot DJs, Kia set out to prove it has plenty of Soul as it unveiled a quintet of new concept cars at the annual aftermarket extravaganza known as the SEMA Show.

The event has traditionally focused on performance but there’s a growing emphasis on customization, makers like Kia showing off hot products aimed at a new generation buyers – and showing them just how much products like the Soul can be customized to reflect their individual personalities and lifestyles.

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Calling them the “Souls of SEMA,” Kia spokesman Scott McKee noted that, “The music connection to Soul has been well established since the beginning,” especially through the use of the hip-hop animated hamsters that have become the spokes-, er, -rodents for the quirky box-shaped crossover. (more…)

Chrysler Shaking Things Up: The Shaker Hood is Back

New limited-edition Mopar ’14 Challenger Debuts at SEMA.

by on Nov.06, 2013

Chrysler is looking to make some noise, loud noise, with the 2014 Mopar Challenger it unveiled at the SEMA show this week.

Chrysler is going forward into the past. Some of the maker’s most important announcements at this year’s SEMA Show harken back in its history, notably including the decision to revive the classic “Shaker” hood that was a hallmark of some of Chrysler’s most fearsome products during the original muscle car era.

The maker’s Dodge brand also announced plans to revive the ‘70s-era “SCAT Pack,” with the introduction of three new high-performance accessory packages for a range of its latest models. They will likely be in hot demand for the third key Chrysler announcement at the 2013 SEMA aftermarket show, the unveiling of the Mopar ’14, a limited-edition version of the Dodge Challenger.

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Considering its traditional emphasis on performance, the SEMA Show was the perfect venue for the three announcements, especially the revival of the gone-but-not-forgotten Shaker hood, the name given to a top-mounted, cold-air intake scoop that helped feed the beasts that powered classic models like the original Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars. (more…)

Hyundai, Ark Team on SEMA Genesis Coupe R-Spec

Adding more muscle to Hyundai’s performance coupe.

by on Sep.25, 2012

Hyundai will reveal the Ark Genesis Coupe at the upcoming SEMA Show.

Hyundai has pulled off some intriguing surprises with the super-tuner Ark, including last year’s turbocharged Veloster – which offered a hint of what was to come to the Korean maker’s showrooms just a few months later.

And so, even with the Paris Motor Show still days away, Hyundai is already giving us a sneak peek at what it has in store at the SEMA Show next month.  The Koreans are once again teaming up with Ark to deliver a show car version of Hyundai’s latest Genesis Coupe R-Spec.

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The production version of the Coupe is no slouch, but Ark takes things one giant step beyond, squeezing a full 395 horsepower and 340 foot-pounds of torque out of the Genesis Coupe R-Spec’s 3.8-liter V-6.

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Low-Volume Makers Could Get Break

New bill would reduce regulatory burden.

by on Oct.31, 2011

The new rules could make it easier for products like the Pagani Huayra to reach U.S. showrooms.

When Lotus pulled the Elise out of the U.S. market at the end of the 2011 model-year it said it had no choice because it couldn’t meet strict new government safety mandates.

The British marque isn’t alone.  A number of low-volume manufacturers have struggled to keep up with ever-tightening American safety and emissions standards.  But they could be in for a break – along with buyers who’d like to get hold of some of their limited-edition offerings – thanks to what has been dubbed the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturer’s Act.”

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The proposal, introduced by California Congressman John Campbell, is specifically aimed at helping out manufacturers who produce fewer than 1,000 vehicles annually, a figure that includes the likes of Lotus, Sweden’s Koenigsegg and Italy’s Pagani – whose 700-horsepower Huayra supercar has been at least temporarily delayed because it doesn’t feature the multi-stage airbags mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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SEMA 2009: Running, But Not Quite On All Cylinders

“More opportunity for survivors”?

by on Nov.06, 2009

Saleen brought its latest offering, the S281 Mustang, to this year's SEMA show, but there were plenty of no-shows at the normally SRO event.

Saleen brought its latest offering, the S281 Mustang, to this year's show, but there were plenty of no-shows at the normally SRO event.

Veterans of the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association convention can gauge the gathering’s health like an old-school mechanic with stethoscope.

Arriving in Las Vegas early Monday, the show’s last day for set up, taxi lines that in past years would have consumed hours were non-existent. Driving to the Las Vegas Convention Center, our cab circled the large parking lot in front of the three main halls. Normally the space features display vehicles and mobile marketing rigs. While there was activity, vast areas that had once held a veritable midway were largely open.

Keep in tune with the "tuners."

Keep in tune with "tuners."

In the pressroom, journalists arrived to have their hopes dashed about scoring yet another SEMA-logoed roller-wheel backpack (coveted annual swag for more than a decade). Even the more functional, but less glamorous steno pads went missing, both for lack of sponsorship.

People keep working on their cars, said one SEMA 2009 exhibitor.  They just don't spend as much.

People keep working on their cars, said one SEMA exhibitor. They just don't spend as much.

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Chevrolet Debuts Five Camaro Concepts at SEMA

Sold out pony car gets custom treatments needed to keep momentum going at a newly reorganized General Motors.

by on Nov.03, 2009

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Camaro Synergy has a new, limited-production exterior color due next spring.

Chevrolet unveiled five Camaro concepts at the annual Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association convention today.

Chevy claims each represents a “different vision of style, personalization and performance.”

Currently the retro Camaro is sold out at least through the end of this year. It is one of GM’s few clear-cut successes as it attempts to regain momentum after emerging from bankruptcy this past summer.

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A “race-ready,” twin-turbocharged V6 built for talk show host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno.

The Camaro concept vehicles include:

  • A “race-ready,” twin-turbocharged V6 concept built for talk show host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno.
  • The Camaro Synergy concept, which has a new, limited-production exterior color due next spring. Chevy says it is “accented” with a number of production accessories and custom touches.
  • The Camaro Chroma, an SS-based concept with a number of proposed future accessories.
  • The Camaro Dusk, which incorporates current and proposed accessories to create a “contemporary tuner aesthetic.”
  • Camaro Graphics, highlighting six proposed accessory graphics packages, with online voting by the public to gauge interest in potential future production of one or more of the packages.

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Yoostabe: Auto Accessories of Yore

When even mirrors were options...

by on Sep.04, 2009

Fog lamps, mirrors, radios, defrosters, Yoostabe a time when just about everything was optional.

Fog lamps, mirrors, radios, defrosters, Yoostabe a time when just about everything was optional.

Today’s cars come so well equipped, and factory-priced accordingly, that the auto accessory market has dwindled hugely compared to what it Yoostabee (used to be).

So today, Yoostabee, my alter ego, is going to turn back the calendar, a few decades, to the 1940s, and tell you how car nuts “used to” tailor their wheels for their needs and egos.

Indeed, in the sellers’ market right after World War II, new car buyers were compelled by new-car dealers, many of whom barely managed to stay afloat during the war years and now were playing catch-up, to accept expensive accessories on top of the full “list” price they paid for much sought after new cars.  Veterans returned from the war with cash in their pockets for a new car.  Prices of used cars were inflated.  There was pent-up demand from essentially four years of no new cars or trucks.

Make it a Standard Feature!

Make it a Standard Feature!

Some of the most common accessories mounted on new cars of the times—and buyers had to accept them if they wanted those new wheels—were fog lamps (twin, yellow, front bumper-mounted), sunshades mounted to the A-pillars and shading the two-piece windshields of the time, and straw-and-fabric seat covers to go over the factory mohair upholstery.  The last were fairly practical because, by protecting the original trim, they enhanced the value of the car when it was eventually sold or traded in.

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