2019 SEMA Show: A Not So Triumphant Return to Las Vegas

It has been – literally – TEN years since RevdCars attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Granted, the automotive aftermarket has morphed and changed during that decade. In “our”world of sport compacts and import cars, companies have shuttered their doors; those car shows that thrilled and wow’d us have been in dramatic decline for some time; import drag racing is all but non-existent; and, unhappily, those “import models” who made our hearts skip a beat have moved on and, frankly, the new generation doesn’t hold a candle to their predecessors.

With all that being said, there was a certain sense of excitement and curiosity as the 2019 SEMA show quickly approached on the calendar. A last minute decision was made to attend. Honestly, we can’t say it turned out the way we had hoped / expected.

  • Supras were all over the place, but save for a few there was nothing bedazzling about any of them; it was primarily cosmetic with some suspension and wheels
  • Trucks were EVERYWHERE (is this where the industry is headed?) with huge, ridiculous lift kits and equally ridiculous wheels (“brodozers”) – not a fan
  • Would say about 1/2 of the wheel companies in South Hall were those of the Chinese variety; can’t speak to any of them as their brands were unknown and quality probably just as suspect
  • The only real Import “tuning” companies on hand were HKS and GReddy, with the latter making a comeback in the market as I heard from more than a few talking heads
  • The North Hall, which WAS typically filled to the walls with mobile audio companies, was barren; most of the floor space was taken up by hand tool companies as far as I saw; as mentioned above, OE audio is so good, there’s an ever decreasing need for aftermarket head units and speakers

Underwhelmed, we probably won’t go back to the SEMA show again. The car business is just not the same anymore. We will adjust. In the meantime, enjoy the gallery below. We stuck to shooting only those things and people of interest inside the exhibit halls.

Next: 2019 LA Auto Show coverage in a couple of weeks!

2019 LA Auto Show: Debut Vehicles Update

The 2019 LA Auto Show is just around the corner and there’s much to be seen and experienced at Southern California’s premiere OEM auto show. According to the latest information provided to us from AutoMobility LA, here are some of the debut vehicles we can expect to see in November. We’ll be there to cover it all so stay tuned!

AutoMobility LA 2019 Poised To Have One Of The Largest Number Of Debut Vehicles In Show History

More than 65 Debut Vehicles Including 25 Global Reveals Confirmed for LA Auto Show’s Press and Trade Event

BMW, Hyundai, Karma Automotive, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen Set to Make News

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) today announced that it will have one of the largest number of debut vehicles in its history, as more than 65 are confirmed for AutoMobility LA, its press and trade days, taking place Nov. 18-21, 2019 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This year’s debut vehicles span across all segments, price-points, and powertrains, including electric.

New Automobility LA + LA Auto Show combined logo, March 2019

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, industry and media professionals at AutoMobility LA will share insights around the future of transportation and witness vehicle debuts from Karma Automotive and press announcements from innovative startups and suppliers, including AEye.ai and Vulog.

AutoMobility LA continues on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 20-21) with many more vehicle unveilings and press announcements by automakers introducing the latest advances in transportation innovation. Among the confirmed debut vehicles, 38 percent will be making their global premiere at AutoMobility LA, with 35 percent of those being hybrid or electric vehicles. 

Confirmed automakers bringing debut vehicles to AutoMobility LA 2019 include (but are not limited to):

  • Alfa Romeo: The debut of the 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia and 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio 
  • Audi: The all-new, fully-electric Audi e-tron Sportback and the new line of RS performance models, including the Audi RS 6 Avant 
  • Bollinger Motors: Bollinger Motors’ all-electric models, the B1 and B2, will be making their auto show debut 
  • Hyundai: Hyundai to reveal five vehicles; the marque’s lineup of concept and production models will showcase powertrains including ICE, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric 
  • INFINITI: The INFINITI Edition 30 line will make its auto show debut; the limited-quantity product line will include the 2020 Q50, Q60, QX50, QX60, and QX80 models 
  • KIA: KIA announced that it will have a debut for its press conference 
  • Lexus: Lexus has confirmed debut vehicles, including a global premiere 
  • Mazda: Mazda has confirmed the debut of several all-new and refreshed 2020 models for its press conference 
  • Subaru: Subaru will showcase multiple debut vehicles; two will make their North American premiere 
  • Toyota: Toyota has multiple reveals for its press conference, including vehicles with new and alternative powertrain options 
  • Volkswagen: Volkswagen has confirmed multiple debuts for its press conference, including the global premiere of its latest all-electric concept and the auto show debut of the Atlas Cross Sport

“From a new product standpoint, electrification continues to be the big trend across the spectrum of automakers,” said Terri Toennies, President of the LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA. “While Los Angeles is all about car culture, it’s also a city that takes environmental consciousness seriously. This makes AutoMobility LA and the Los Angeles Auto Show ideal destinations for our media, industry, and consumer visitors to experience all the latest and greatest ways to get from point A to point B.”

Following AutoMobility LA, nearly 1,000 vehicles will be on display during the 2019 LA Auto Show (Nov. 22-Dec. 1) for visitors to experience, alongside activations, displays and test drives from auto manufacturers including Acura, Audi, Fiat, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Tesla and many more.

Top Rank Importers Open House: October 13, 2019

I’ve known the gang at Top Rank Importers for a very long time and we recently reconnected at the SPOCOM show in Anaheim. Dating back to the days of Motorex in Gardena, CA – which had afforded me the opportunity to play with R32, R33 and R34 iterations of the Nissan GT-R (and shoot two prints ads. a “fashion” feature in Super Street magazine featuring the well known “Blackbird” R34) – these guys love cars. And started the Top Rank business in earnest to bring various Japanese cars into the US market LEGALLY (I won’t get into the fine details about the challenges of making a car legal in California vs. the rest of the United States, for example).

But I digress. Doors were opened to the public to take a peek at the vast selection of GTRs, Supras and many other RHD Japanese gems. I found a new favorite of mine in the Mitsubish Delica Star wagon – the looks of an old school Japanese minivan combined with 4WD and turbocharged diesel engine.. and in stock at Top Rank.

If you’re hankering for your next RHD build or just curious about the importation process, give the Top Rank team a call. I’m sure they’ll do their best to answer your questions.

Top Rank International Vehicle Importers
5595 Corporate Way
Cypress, CA 90630
(844) 523-2233

Vettel: Leave Formula 1 ASAP

I won’t go into the details of Ferrari’s complete debacle at the Russian GP. Plenty of bigger media outlets have covered it in detail. And Sebastian Vettel has put up his usual baloney line of excuses and half truths to cover his ass. That his MGU-K failed mid-race was pure karma.

RevdCars has covered Vettel for nearly 10 years now in some shape or form. We have never been a fan of his. He’s over-rated. Only won the 4 titles thanks to Adrian Newey. And can only win when starting within the first 2 rows. Can’t handle competition. It’s clear that Charles Leclerc is showing who’s boss at Ferrari. And Vettel can’t stand it. He will forever be a petulant child. He’s no Schumacher. Not even close. He can only aspire to that role since he’s a fellow German.

It’s time for Vettel to leave and free up a seat for someone else. Someone who is far more qualified for a seat at the Scuderia. Go raise your kids. Go do whatever you want. But it’s time for you to leave F1 for good.

2019 Japanese Classic Car Show

The 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, CA

Nostalgia is all the rage these days. Media companies are paying half of a billion dollars for the rights to stream old shows like Friends and Seinfeld; “mom jeans” are back in vogue; fanny packs have magically appeared around the waists of hipsters all around. Perhaps it makes people feel good to relive old times, when things weren’t so complicated, when life wasn’t so unpredictable. Whatever the reasons may be, people are longing for the past.

Perhaps that’s the reason why, or perhaps it’s the showcase of 400+ cars on display, that drove automotive fans to the 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, CA. Featuring Datsun 510s (many with SR20DET swaps), Z’s, Mazda Cosmos, Toyota Mk1 Supras and much, much more, it was pleasurable walk down memory lane.

Without further ado, enjoy the photos!

Adieu, Robert Kubica

We all love a comeback story. We all know what it’s like to be doubted. Feel undermined. Perhaps not even trusted.

The beginning of the 2019 Formula 1 season brought good tidings in the form of Robert Kubica’s return to the calendar. Having been out for a number of years due to the horrific accident which virtually left him without use of his right arm and hand, it was welcome news to see his return.

Sadly, looks like Robert will leave F1 at the end of the current season. I’m sure the completely undermining performance of the Williams Considering how many young drivers are waiting in the wings and experienced drivers without a ride – Nico Hulkenberg being a stand out – there’s probably very minimal chance Robert will find a ride. Regardless, what a heroic year it has been. It’s a shame the romance couldn’t last longer.

Nismo? Gazoo Racing? Just Stop Already

Back in the day, Nismo meant something. TRD meant something. And, until recently, Gazoo Racing meant something. They all held the deepest level of respect among car enthusiasts as these sub-brands of OEMs went racing. And they won. And these brands were attached to some of the most iconic Japanese supercars of yesteryears – namely, the Nissan GT-R, the Toyota Supra and, most recently, the Toyota TS050 LMP1 Le Mans and WEC champion. So, I ask, why take such respected names and just, well, screw it all up?

Basically, Nissan and Toyota have taken the Nismo and Gazoo Racing brands, respectively, and slapped it on any ‘effin car they deem fit. Hell, the new Supra isn’t even powered by a Toyota engine but they felt it was appropriate to slap the GR moniker on that car as well. With an even greater level of shameless-ness, they’ve slapped the GR name to a hybrid Yaris that tops out at 108mph.

Didn’t know Toyota had so many Gazoo “Racing” models in development. Horseshit.

Nissan isn’t doing much better either. They’ve managed to slap the Nismo branding onto the 370Z and the Sentra. Neither of the Nismo versions offer any performance advantages over their non-Nismo brethren. It’s all exterior bullshit. Might as well add a bunch of stickers to the non-Nismo versions (don’t forget the “NOS” sticker!) and save some money. The stickers will add as much horsepower as the Nismo versions!

For shame!!

Toyota and Nissan: instead of making these cars “sticker-fast,” why not start making some cars that are actually fast? Yes, the R35 GT-R is a fast car, but it’s a bit long in the tooth (probably an understatement) and the latest additions have made the car about as attractive as Pete Burns, lead singer of an old band who’s had one too much plastic surgeries.

Current Nissan GT-R. Oh so hot! (NOT)