The 2001 SEMA International Auto Salon (IAS) had a new venue, a new slant and a new feel. The new venue, the Long Beach Convention Center, was an overwhelming hit, giving the Salon a more professional look. The new slant was the association with NOPI and a full-tilt car show in the Pine Avenue parking lot.
The NOPI event was not as big as expected, but poor weather played a role in the showing. There is also a growth curve at work; NOPI is not as well known on the West Coast as it is in the East. We hope to see a bigger and better show in 2002.
The new feel materialized in the form of justification and legitimacy. Ford and GM were on hand with booths and a grip of concept cars to further illustrate domestic involvement in the scene and Honda's RASR program had a big presence.
The Salon has always been a haven for us to find new material for Turbo. One of the more notable items spied at IAS was the Hondata system. Although some of the tuning maps are a little limited, the system blew us away. The Hondata system allows enthusiasts an entirely new avenue of tuning, all by way of the stock ECU and stock wiring harness.
Something like the Power FC by APEXi, but for older model cars (Power FC is only available for the newer Civic Si and GS-R), the Hondata system works with all OBD-I systems, which is about 70 percent of the market. As much as the Power FC revolutionized plug-in stand-alone systems, the Hondata system gives the average enthusiast the capability of data-logging software, along with fuel and ignition map tuning at an affordable price. Look for a full tech feature in an upcoming issue.
Also of interest was the amount of roller rocker assemblies available for Honda VTEC engines. Hy-Tech exhaust and Crane Cams both had systems on display. FAL had Eclipse GS-T/GSX fan kits and announced the addition of a rear hatch to its Civic Flexite lightweight window kits. Innovative Turbo Systems unveiled its dual ball bearing turbos at the show.
The bearings have such low friction that a stiff breeze could spool them. In fact, we spun the wheel on a cutaway and when it finally came to a halt, the factory-balanced wheel backtracked to the heaviest point. Toyo Tires showed a 23-inch tire, Eshleman's Carbon Works debuted a carbon-fiber valve cover to join the intake manifold introduced at the 2000 SEMA Show in Las Vegas and Motegi Racing unveiled its Ro-Ja wheel line. A five-spoke gets the ball rolling and it will be followed by a seven-spoke offering and numerous other designs in coming months.
On the racecar side, there was plenty of action. Stephan Papadakis has a new sticker scheme for his hatchback, Abel Ibarra has landed Toyo Tires as a sponsor, Jojo Callos has a new look and JG/Edelbrock backing, Chris Rado's Celica engine internals were under glass in the TRD booth, Jeremy Lookofsky has a 2001 tube-frame Civic in the early stages of development, and last but not least, the Ferrea Valves/Duttweiler Ford Focus looks ready to attack the track. The yellow Focus is a wild twin-turbo V6-powered, rear-drive proposition that has been rumored to have made shakedown runs at Palmdale. We hear the Ford made a pass to half track, shut off and coasted through the lights with a 9.0-second e.t. What will a full pass produce? We can hardly wait to see. Out at the NOPI show, we saw a 3g V6 Eclipse from Doug's Dyno Power with a turbo kit on it.
Will the International Auto Salon continue to grow? Will trade buyers in the scene use it more to do serious business? These questions will be answered at the 2002 edition. One of the big differences between the Salon and the SEMA Show is consumer interaction. The Salon is open to the public two out of the three days and there is a car show held in conjunction with IAS. This gives enthusiasts an inside look at the industry, while providing a safe, family atmosphere to enjoy a day at the car show.
The APEXi Japan Drag Integra stopped many show-goers in their tracks. The Apexi booth had a serious EK Civic that also got plenty of attention.
This rear-drive drag Focus flexes 1400 Duttweiler-designed horsepower from its twin-turbo V6 powerplant. Rumors indicate the car has made shakedown passes-look out, 200 mph.
Innovative Turbo Systems has expanded its line of turbochargers. We were impressed with its dual ball bearing design that is so sensitive it could start spooling when you merely think about dropping the hammer.
Turbo's Project IS 300 had a front-and-center location outside the show. We are laying out an aggressive build-up plan as this issue goes to press.
Eshleman's Carbon Works introduced a carbon fiber valve cover at the IAS. The cover contained the workmanship we have come to expect from the company, which debuted a carbon fiber intake at the 2000 SEMA Show.
Hey! Hey! Get away!Oh, it's you Steph.
Flex-A-Lite introduced a new fan kit for turbo DSMs and had Flexite lightweight glass kits for the rear hatch of Honda Civics.
King Motorsport, the exclusive distributor of Mugen components, is looking to step it up in 2001. The company had trick brakes in its booth and a seductive S2000 in the display area
GReddy had two cars with turbo conversion kits in its booth-a 240SX and a Civic Si.
Crower displayed its all-motor race car, trick 1.8-liter GSR cams and its wide array of valvetrain components.
Lancer Evo-The car Mitsu should be importing. Hey, Subaru is sending the WRX; wake up.
This award-winning Diamond Star was ready to show.
Doug's Dyno Power from Las Vegas showed its Gen-3 Eclipse turbo kit for the V6 Eclipse GT. Looks tight; stay tuned for more info in our Dyno Cell section.
Holley is looking to make major inroads into the import scene in 2001. This Complete Digital Annihilator (CDA) System is an ignition set-up designed to work with the existing factory harness. It is one of many products Holley has developed especially for the compact performance market.
Hotchkis showed its entire line of Celica suspension parts, The company has made some interesting design changes we hope to outline in a future feature.
Jojo Callos has a new look and big backing for the 2001 campaign. The JG Engine Dynamics/Edelbrock Civic is ready for Quick Class domination.
Jeremy Lookofsky's roller chassis is destined to be a 2001 all-motor Civic. He has made some crazy power on the dyno in the CRX and we can't wait to see that power put to the track.
The NOPI-sponsored car show drew some nice cars, but the overall numbers were low, due to poor weather forecasts.
This MR2 was straight jammin'
Man Of Steel taking in the scene.
Motegi Racing unveiled its first of a series of wheels in the R.J. DeVera line, dubbed Ro-Ja.