2004 SEMA Show Highlights

November 1, 2004

Mustang Mania Revs Up at SEMA

This year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) gathering in Las Vegas, going on now, will be a sort of high-speed utopia for Mustang fans. That’s because Ford will show off fifteen new 2005 Mustangs modified by tuners who have wrenched past Mustangs to top speed. Among the concepts will be those from Saleen and Carroll Shelby. Ford’s interest in the SEMA show, which caters to the tuner market, is critical to the new Mustang: Mustang owners spend an average of $1500 each year on performance tuning pieces, for a total of more than $800 million each year. At SEMA Ford will also announce its new Ford Racing Mustang competition program, which will enable Mustang owners to race their vehicles with input of Ford’s engineering experts. The core of the program is Ford Racing's 5.0-liter Cammer V-8 engine, the most popular racing transplant into the Mustang body. Ford also is expected to show its ultimate Mustang, the SVT Cobra, as a 400-hp supercar sometime during the 2005 auto-show season.

Chrysler Selling HEMI Crate Motors
This week's gathering in Las Vegas at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show brings with it the usual array of go-fast hardware — and this year, Chrysler is back in the crate-motor business. The company says it's going to sell its 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 without the usual 300C or Durango or Ram wrapping. The as yet unpriced crate motor will be built in Mexico, with a new engine-controller interface meant for easier installation. Out of the box, the HEMI will churn out 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, and will join three other HEMI-branded engines: a 426-ci, a 472-ci, and a 528-ci. Chrysler Group expects to sell about a thousand of the engines each year.

Dodge Revs Up New Charger by TCC Team (10/4/2004)
But will four doors conjure the right image?

Acura Has RL A-SPEC

2004 Acura RL A-SPEC

2004 Acura RL A-SPEC

Following on the heels of its TSX A-SPEC package, Acura showed off similar add-on hardware for its new RL luxury sedan at the SEMA show. The RL A-SPEC takes the stock car's 300-horsepower, all-wheel-drive basics and adds to it a round of suspension upgrades. The body is lowered by 3/4-inch, 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport tires, and a decklid spoiler is attached to give the tweaked RL a hotter profile. Pricing hasn't been announced but the package will be available at dealers in spring.

2005 Acura RL by Marc K. Stengel (10/11/2004)
Acura's newest RL flagship redefines performance and sophistication.

Mazda Claims Fastest Import Four-Door on the Track

Mazda6 Dragster

Mazda6 Dragster

MAZDASPEED is laying claim to an unusual title: the Mazda6, by the company's reckoning, is the first import-branded, front-drive car to slam through the quarter-mile in less than eight seconds. At SEMA, Mazda said that Ed Bergenholtz's

PRO-FWD MAZDA6 dragster ticked off a time of 7.934 seconds through the quarter, clocking in at almost 184 miles per hour. The record was set Oct. 23 at Pomona. Mazda says, prior to its feat, only domestic-badged cars with multimillion-dollar factory backing have achieved the feat.

2004 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart concept

2004 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart concept

Ralliart Concepts Fire Up At Mitsu

Mitsubishi shrugged off a horrible sales year at SEMA by showing off a pair of concepts that took its Galant and Endeavor and gave them the Ralliart treatment. Ralliart is the Motorsports tag that Mitsu hopes to use to keep buyers in the fold, and the Galant Ralliart concept shows how the theme could work on the company's mid-size four-door. With a 260-hp version of the Galant's 3.8-liter V-6 — the same engine coming on the '06 Eclipse — and a six-speed manual transmission, the Ralliart Galant also rides on 19-inch Racing Hart F10 wheels shod with 245-series Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 tires. A new exhaust, new suspension braces and roll bars, four-piston Brembo brakes round out the mechanical package, while the deep skirts all around the body are matched up to a tweaked interior with Recaro seats.

2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor Ralliart concept

2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor Ralliart concept

The Endeavor Ralliart Concept, meanwhile, gets the same engine, with 20-inch Enkei wheels and 275-series Falcon tires. With its five-speed automatic gearbox, the Endeavor's a little less edgy, but only slightly so. It also gets four-piston Brembos, a tuned exhaust, a body kit and an interior with Ralliart pedals, Recaro seats, and a custom shift knob — as well as a Sony Playstation2 hooked up to a 30-inch Mitsubishi LCD monitor.

Treadheads

Treadheads

Dunlop Goes For Treadheads

While you're at SEMA, steer past the Celine Dion show and head for Dunlop's idea of a day spa — well, actually it's just a hair salon, but how many places do you know that skip the manicure for an artfully shaved head in the manner of a Dunlop tire tread? Dunlop took to SEMA by offering "treadheads" a chance to have their heads shaved into the pattern of the tread on its new Direzza DZ101 tire. It's free to any reporter or attendee with 90 minutes to spare - and the T-shirt you get along with the haircut is free.

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