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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Nov 01 2011, 6:32 PM

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Forgiato, H&R Springs, Creations n’ Chrome and MRT Performance headlined Ford’s booth with four fantastic Pony creations that Henry Ford would be proud of. Showing off the versatility of Ford’s staple sports car, the four different builders/manufacturers truly created four different machines for us to enjoy.

Forgiato’s widebody Mustang did not disappoint, sporting massive 21-inch wheels in the front and 22-inch wheels in the rear. Ensuring that the wheels fit the body, Forgiato teamed up with TS Designs for a custom wide body while 3dCarbon’s Boy Racer body kit gives the Mustang plenty of bite in the styling department. To top it all off, the matte silver paint job from PPG makes the Mustang a true show stopper.

H&R’s Ford Mustang exemplifies performance while maintaining the Mustang’s classic and sleek lines. Even though we couldn’t see the Edelbrock E-Force supercharger under the hood, there’s no denying that this Mustang has the proper stance thanks to H&R’s RSS suspension kit. The Street Scene Equipment body kit and custom blue paint by Tri-Star Enterprise makes this one clean ‘Stang.

Clearly the flashiest of the four is Creations n’ Chrome’s Ford Mustang. Just one quick glance and the Spectra Chrome Boy Racer Red catches your attention like nothing else on the show floor – except maybe the Hot Wheels Camaro. The 18-inch HRE wheels nice and classy while the rest of the Mustang is contrasted by carbon fiber accents.

MRT Performance dubbed their Mustang “TKO” and clearly looks like a knock out. The orange and black two-tone paint job is offset by silver accents and the carbon fiber Forgestar wheels are a complete winner. H&R coilovers gives the Mustang a menacing stance on the show floor, backed by Baer Brakes and MRT’s brake ducts.

GALLERY: Forgiato Ford Mustang

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GALLERY: H&R Ford Mustang

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GALLERY: Creations n’ Chrome Ford Mustang

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GALLERY: MRT Performance Ford Mustang

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 6:31 PM

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Debuting along side the production GS350 F-Sport today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a wildly modified version of the very same car, built by long-time Lexus tuning partner Five Axis. Painted Glacier White it’s in stark contrast to the subtle silver-gray of the factory F-Sport model on display. The real drama, however, comes from a custom widebody, with Slate Gray accents, huge Five:AD S5:F alloy wheels and some truly massive exhaust pipes.

Certainly over-the-top, it’s yet another example of the artistic minds at Five Axis. Perhaps it’s time Lexus hired some SoCal styling talent to add some passion to its lineup?

GALLERY: Five Axis Lexus GS350 F-Sport

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 5:43 PM

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With plenty of dressed-up tuner cars on display at the Lexus booth at this year’s SEMA Show, the real star is the GS350 F-Sport. It might not have any power adders, but with 306-hp and a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds it doesn’t really need any anyway.

More than just bolt-on styling components (although it has those too), the G-Sport version gets a more engaging Adaptive Variable Suspension system and new bushings while rear drive models boast a Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) system. As for those add-ons, the F-Sport gains 19-inch wheels, measuring 8-inches up front and 9-inches in the rear, plus larger brakes with high-friction pads.

Styling is spiced-up with new front and rear bumpers, a rear lip spoiler, F-Sport badging and an F-Sport grille. Lexus will offer the car in three standard colors (Starfire Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl and Obsidian) as well as two exclusive shades: Riviera Red and Liquid Platinum. Inside the F-Sport gets a special aluminum trim, perforated black leather (Cabernet Red leather optional), aluminum pedals and a more highly bolstered 16-way power driver’s seat.

GALLERY: 2012 Lexus GS350 F-Sport

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:47 PM

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America’s most popular vehicle hasn’t gone unnoticed at the 2011 SEMA show, as Ford brought out a few customized concepts showing what tuners can do with the Ford F-Series pickup trucks.

First up is the 2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty by Superlift Suspensions, a show vehicle prepped in collaboration with Matchbox. Painted in an outrageous shade of orange, the truck features a 10-inch lift kit, 41 inch Interco IROK tires and all kinds of emergency lights, brush bars and other gear designed to resemble a Matchbox die-cast emergency vehicle. The truck is absolutely massive in a way that photographs simply can’t capture, but the effect is stunning.

Hulst Customs also showed off an F-350 Super Duty, though the aesthetic is very different from the Matchbox vehicle. Clad in a glossy black paint scheme with a silver hood and a custom stainless steel grille, the Hulst truck barely scrapes the ground, and is focused more on luxury than utility. Rear suicide doors with a Scissor Doors hinge kit allow access to an opulent, leather-and-wood lined interior while the gigantic alloys show that this truck is staying on the pavement at all times.

Also on display was an F-650 customized by Mobsteel, dubbed the “Hollow Point”. Said to be “a huge dose of pure gangster attitude”, the Hollow Point rides on 24″ rims and features a Caterpillar C7 engine and a 6-speed Allison transmission. PPG paint and a 2600 watt JL Audio System round out the whole package.

Gallery: Ford F-Series

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:28 PM

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Looking rather lonely and out of place in Mopar’s massive SEMA booth was Mopar Underground’s Fiat 500 Carbon. Amidst all the heavy American muscle was this customized Italian compact featuring an Anodized Azzurro exterior with blackened accents. Peering behind each 17×7-inch Dark Hyper Black wheel were bright red calipers, giving a solid contrast to the matte blue finish.

The Fiat 500 Carbon also incorporates satin carbon fiber foglamp bezels and lip spoiler in the front. Mopar Underground also lowered the Fiat 500 with their own lowering springs while a strut tower brace tightens up the chassis. Lastly, the 500 breathes a little better thanks to a cold-air intake.

GALLERY: Mopar Underground Fiat 500 Carbon

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:23 PM

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Mopar Underground has unleashed their Dodge Challenger SRT8 ACR on the Las Vegas Convention Center show floor and it’s every bit as awesome as we expected. The Challenger SRT8 392 has been influenced by the Viper SRT10 ACR’s styling while the 392 under the hood packs even more punch with Mopar’s custom headers and cat-back exhaust.

On the outside, the white body has been contrasted with subtle red accents, a charcoal roof and plenty of carbon fiber on the hood, deck lid, rear spoiler and tail light surround. 20-inch black wheels were fitted to each corner that sits nicely on the rear fenders thanks to a set of coilovers.

The interior is clearly race-inspired, sporting carbon fiber door panels, red roll bars and carbon fiber racing seats that have been covered in Katzkin leather. We still hope that Dodge or Mopar will announce some sort of availability on this model but we’re sure avid enthusiasts will be able to build it on their own through Mopar’s extensive parts catalog.

GALLERY: Dodge Challenger SRT8 ACR

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:21 PM

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What’s better than a 2011 Dodge Ram R/T? Mopar Underground’s Ram 392 Quick Silver of course. The 392 6.4L HEMI V8-powered Dodge Ram made its presence known in the Mopar booth, tossing out the factory 5.7L V8 for the 470-hp counterpart. Boosting performance is a cold air intake, headers and a cat-back exhaust system courtesy of Mopar.

The bright silver pickup has been contrasted by bright red wheels, mirrors and a matching front grille. Smoked headlights and taillights further enhances the already menacing appearance while a subtle Mopar body kit really sets the Ram off.

Massive 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers from Brembo gives the Ram plenty of stopping power, which is needed with the 22-inch wheels that are seen on each corner of the pickup. Clearly those looking for the perfect garage-mate for their Dodge Viper should be knocking on Mopar’s door to produce the Ram 392 Quick Silver.

GALLERY: Dodge Ram 392 Quick Silver

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:16 PM

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Amid the rally cars, modified Impreza STi hatchbacks and performance parts in Subaru’s booth was a bit of 1980′s nostalgia, a perfectly restored 1986 Subaru XT Turbo.

At the time of the XT’s introduction, the car was the most aerodynamic on the road, with a 0.29 drag coefficient. A turbocharged flat-four, all-wheel drive, a hydropneumatic suspension and awesome period graphics are just some of the neat features from a couple decades ago. The XT has been largely forgotten by car lovers, but Subaru and Drive magazine lovingly restored this example back to showroom condition.

Since so many parts were discontinued or unavailable, the team had to restore things like fasteners and bolts, which had been worn away by a couple decades of neglect. No word on what Subaru plans to do with this automotive relic, but it’s almost too good for anything but a museum.

Check out AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here

Gallery: Subaru XT Restoration

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 3:40 PM

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Kia has unveiled four custom models at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas today, with each car featuring a different sport as its theme. A custom Soul, built by West Coast Customs, is inspired by Michelle Wie, Kia’s official golf ambassador. A Rio 5-Door was built in partnership with Antenna featuring a Retro Surf theme. A custom Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick” sports a hockey theme while Kia continues its Blake Griffin collaboration with a “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid, also built by West Coast Customs.

Michelle Wie’s “Hole-in-One” Soul features unmistakable original artwork by Wie herself, Kia’s official golf ambassador. The “So Blue” exterior paint scheme is offset by the custom artwork that can also be seen on the 20-inch wheels. Wie’s personal logo and artwork has also been embroidered in the Soul’s “Snow White” headrests while the dash has been painted baby blue and the headliner now rocks a stylish pink. Plenty of entertainment is in the rear with an Xbox 360 with Kinect while two of Wie’s tournament-used golf bags are mounted behind the 26-inch LED TV.

The “Retro Surf” Rio 5-Door is outfitted with everything a surfer needs in a retro-styled package. An authentic Grain wood surfboard has been mounted on the roof while a set of 17-inch Rotiform gold wheels really sets off the sunset-metallic golden-brown paint scheme. A custom body kit features a front splitter made of wood. On the inside, plaid boardshorts-themed brown and beige fabric adorns the interior while the center console features a retro wood grain theme. And to ensure everyone is nice and safe at the beach, the rear center console features a shelf to hold sunblock and other beach accessories.

Following up on Blake Griffin’s amazing dunk off a Kia, the Optima Hybrid built by West Coast Customs is probably the most basketball we’ll get during the lockout. The outside orange paint features a unique basketball theme further accented by 20-inch wheels and Griffin’s personal logo on the hood. Basketball-court flooring is in the front, rear and trunk areas while a “Pop-A-Shot” basketball hoop has been mounted in the trunk for some off-court entertainment.

The cleanly-built “Hat Trick” Forte 5-Door by Antenna features an ice-metallic gray exterior paint contrasted by 19-inch six-spoke blue wheels. A custom body kit was built onto a Forte Koup front bumper that also features carbon fiber accents and LED “hockey stick” fog lights. The headliner inside features a built-in hockey coach’s board while the rear-cargo houses four carbon fiber hockey sticks, two jerseys, an ice skate rack and glove hooks.

 

GALLERY: Michelle Wie “Hole-in-One” Soul

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GALLERY: Rio 5-Door “Retro Surf”

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GALLERY: Blake Griffin “Slam Dunk” Optima Hybrid

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GALLERY: Forte 5-Door “Hat Trick”

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Click here to see AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage

 |  Nov 01 2011, 3:35 PM

Chevrolet revealed their COPO Camaro, Hot Wheels Camaro and a special Chevelle yesterday and AutoGuide was on hand for the reveal at the Wynn hotel.

We also managed to get some video with representatives of both Hot Wheels and Chevrolet to walk you through the cars. Hit the jump to check it out.

For more SEMA coverage, click here

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 01 2011, 3:15 PM

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The Ford Fiesta B-Spec is intended to be Ford’s offering for the newly created B-Spec racing class, which allows racers a (relatively) affordable way to go road racing in production cars.

Based on the same Fiesta available to consumers, the B-Spec cars have their interiors gutted to make way for a rollcage, a bucket seat, race harness and ballast, designed to keep weight levels even among the various cars. Engine work is minimal and rules are still in flux, but certain vehicles will have restrictors fitted to the intake – no word yet if the Fiesta will be subject to this handicap.

Tires and suspension will also be subject to the same strict regulations, but again, rules are still being worked out. Ford is evidently behind the program in a big way, and we’re looking forward to a full field when racing gets under way in 2012.

Gallery: Ford Fiesta B-Spec

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Check out more of AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 2:45 PM

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As promised Kia has unveiled its Rio B-Spec race car at the 2011 SEMA Show today, based on the brand’s all-new Rio 5-Door sub-compact.

More of a kit than an actual race car, this is a project for the do-it-yourselfer. On top of the $13,600 price of a Rio, Kia’s racing partner Kinetic Motorsports will sell you a B-Spec kit for $14,000. It includes everything you need to transform the sub-compact into a budget racer, including a roll cage, racing seat, quick-release steering wheel, race harness, shocks, light weight wheels and spec-series tires, plus an oil sump pan expansion kit and…. (cue the Sweidsh IKEA voice) instructions.

Want to go fast for cheap but don’t want to do it yourself? No problem, for a modest fee of $6,000 you can ship it all to the Kinetic Motorsports facility in Buford, Georgia and they’ll build your race car for you.

The B-Spec Rio will be able to complete in various sanctioned events including World Challenge, GRAND-AM, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Auto Sport Association (NASA) races starting next year.

GALLERY: Kia Rio B-Spec

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 2:43 PM

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The best part about SEMA is that every now and then an automaker shows something incredible. The worst part is that these cars aren’t even concepts, they’re just marketing hype show cars. Is that the case with the Rhys Millen Racing Tau-V8-powered Hyundai Genesis Coupe? We certainly hope not.

Unveiled today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the RM500 Genesis Coupe delivers 450-hp from a 5.0-liter V8 borrowed from the Genesis Sedan R-Spec.

“From the moment I saw the Tau V8 engine in the Genesis R-Spec sedan, I knew it would be a perfect fit for the Genesis Coupe, adding even more performance and power to the dynamic coupe,” said pro racer Rhys Millen, owner, Rhys Millen Racing, which built this impressive show car. “The sleek and practical exterior modifications would allow this Genesis Coupe to look good parked in your driveway or turning laps at the track.”

In addition to the big V8, the RMR500 gets an RMR stainless steel exhaust, GReddy rear muffler and titanium tops, plus an oil cooler and differential cooler. Other upgrades include an RMR carbon fiber front lop, carbon spoiler, carbon rear diffuser and carbon side skirts. Plus, there’s a set of HRE 793-RS 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes and a suede interior package.

While Hyundai has yet to confirm as much, the 2013 Genesis Coupe is expected to get an upgraded 2.0T with as much as 274-hp, while the V6 will get upgraded to deliver 333-hp. Will a V8 Genesis Coupe ever be offered. We’ll keep hoping and praying.

GALLERY: Hyundai Genesis Coupe RMR500

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Click here for AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage

See video of the RMR500 and Hyundai’s Supercharged V6 Genesis after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 01 2011, 2:22 PM

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Following our coverage of the Chevrolet Sonic Ricky Carmichael Concept and the Chevrolet Sonic Super 4 Concept, AutoGuide got to sit down with both Ricky Carmichael and John Buttermore, the men behind the two vehicles.

Carmichael and Buttermore were kind enough to walk us through the two cars and explained the philosophies behind the two very different Sonics. Check out the videos after the jump.

For more coverage of the 2011 SEMA Show, click here

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 01 2011, 1:45 PM

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Ford brought four of its new Explorers to this year’s SEMA Show, each customized by some of the top builders in the nation. Galpin Auto Sports, Stitchcraft Interiors, Tjin Edition and DSO Eyewear put their spin on Ford’s “SUV” with each sharing the spotlight at Ford’s massive booth.

First up, Tjin Edition’s features 24-inch iForged wheels lowered on Eibach Springs while Baer Brakes gives the Explorer upgraded stopping power. Custom orange pinstripe accents the otherwise blue exterior while a Thule bike rack gives plenty of utility to the SUV.

Stitchcraft Interiors’ Business Edition Explorer sports a lowering kit from H&R set off by a custom set of 22-inch wheels. The two-tone exterior features charcoal with a contrasting orange while much of the focus was on the interior with UltraSuede and leather amenities. Extra horsepower is courtesy of a Nitrous Express system and a Magnaflow exhaust.

DSO Eyewear’s Explorer features an immaculate white exterior accented by 24-inch wheels from Niche. Inside, a Midnight Tuscany interior is set off by Raven Suede accents. Upgraded performance comes from a Gibson and K&N air filter.

Last but not least, Galpin Auto Sports flexed their Ford customization skills with a matte dark gray Explorer. Plenty of audio upgrades were done with JL Audio pumping out 2,000-watts of pure sound.

GALLERY: Tjin Edition Ford Explorer

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GALLERY: Stitchcraft Interiors Ford Explorer

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GALLERY: DSO Eyewear Ford Explorer

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GALLERY: Galpin Auto Sports Ford Explorer

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Click here for AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show Coverage

 |  Nov 01 2011, 12:45 PM

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Vintage car lovers who live in fear of terminal oxidization now have a last resort in the fight against rust. Ford displayed a ’65 Mustang body shell at the 2011 SEMA Show that was stamped from entirely new steel that OE supplier Dynacorn International (producer of bodyshells for Ford) says is far superior to the steel used on the original cars.

Dynacorn’s bodyshells are far from cheap at around $15,000 a pop, but it’s hard to argue with the value of having an entirely new, high-grade steel bodyshell for one’s muscle car project. Furthermore, the bodyshell can be combined with a full suite of Ford performance parts to create what is technically a brand-new Mustang that can be configured like a ’64.5, ’65 or ’66 Mustang. Aside from the philosophical conundrum of whether this is technically a “new” or “vintage” car, those who opt for this route will have to register their vehicle as a kit car, a lengthy and involved process in many jurisdictions.

Nonetheless, we think that the reproduction bodies are a very cool idea that can save one a lot of time and effort on the road to a high quality muscle car project.

Check out AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here

Gallery: ’65 Ford Mustang Convertible Bodyshell

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 12:35 PM

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After taking the championship in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge street tuner challenge this year, Kia is announcing further commitments to the world of motorsports.

In addition to the 2012 Rio B-Spec racer, built by Kia Racing and Kinetic Motorsports, Kia has unveiled an Optima Hybrid pace car for the United States Touring Car Championship. The Optima, built by GoGoGear.com, actually replaces the modified Soul that severed last year.

It may be a hybrid, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring, already deliver over 200-hp in stock form the car gets a Magnaflow exhaust system and air intake kit. So it’s not sloppy when out on parade laps the car also gets a coilover suspension, and looks the part with a new aero kit (including front splitter and rear spoiler), plus the usual light bars. And no SEMA car would be a SEMA car without an over-the-top 2400-watt Infintiy audio system.

Look for the Optima Hybrid Safety Car to first hit the track at the USTCC in March of 2012.

GALLERY: Kia Optima Hybrid USTCC Safety Car

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here.

 |  Nov 01 2011, 12:16 PM

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While AutoGuide got its first glimpse of the Ford Focus ST at the 2010 Paris Auto Show last September, this was our first chance to take a good look at the car without security guards and PR staff circling like birds of prey.

We know so far that the Focus ST will have Ford’s 2.0L Ecoboost motor displacing 247 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, with a choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch gearbox, along with ATE brakes and some very supportive technicolor sports seats. Peeking inside also revealed a Sony headunit that looked like it was ready for the much-loathed MyFordTouch infotainment system.

Check out AutoGuide’s coverage of the 2011 SEMA Show here

Gallery: Ford Focus ST

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 11:54 AM

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It’s plenty of fun even with just 100-hp, but Mazda isn’t called the Zoom Zoom brand for nothing. Revealed today at the 2011 SEMA Show is a tuner car concept dubbed the Mazda2 Turbo. Rather than some bolt-on turbocharger this sub-compact gets a complete swap from its big-brother, the Mazdaspeed3.

Borrowing that 2.3-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder, power more than doubles to 263-hp with almost triple the amount of torque at 280 lb-ft.

Other upgrades include a custom aero kit, 17-inch OZ racing wheels and a Brembo big brake upgrade.

GALLERY: Mazda2 Turbo

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Nov 01 2011, 10:08 AM

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As expected, the focus on Honda’s SEMA Show display this year is its all-new 2012 Civic - the Si in particular. Rather than display dozens of cars like in the past, Honda has chosen just a select few tuners to create the most wildly modified Civics they could dream up.

Stealing the show at the Honda booth is the Fox Marketing car. The team at Fox Marketing has been building SEMA Show cars for years (perhaps decades) and this might just be the most extreme example yet – although apart from the oversized 20-inch Vossen wheels, it might just be the team’s cleanest. Of note on the car, apart from the obvious custom widebody and aero kit provided from CarBodyKits.com, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine has been tuned to make 450-hp. And for a touch of trivia, the turbo used to generate all that power is the very same one used on Honda’s LMP1/LMP2 race programs as well as on the 2012 IndyCar engines.

Next up is the Bisimoto car, taking Honda’s “a Civic for everyone” approach and applying it to the race track. While Honda says there’s a Civic for everyone, ranging from young males who want a fun-to-drive Si, to a hybrid for the granola types, Bisimoto has designed this show car to serve triple-duty as time attack car, a touring car and as a drag racer. And in true over-the-top SEMA style, it makes 1,004-hp.

Sitting between the two wildly modified cars on the show floor is a mildly customized Civic Si sedan, built using Genuine Honda Accessories and some custom Honda Factory Performance wheels. Plus, it’s been wrapped by Wraptivo in a matte-silver to help it fit in at SEMA.

In addition to these cars, Honda is displaying several CR-Z models and a supercharged Accord. Two cars are still kept under wraps, but out spies have uncovered that one is a Compass 360 race car, while the other is the 2012 Civic Si HFP, a factory modified version sporting a more aggressive aero kit, larger 18-inch wheels and an upgraded suspension.

GALLERY: Fox Marketing 2012 Honda Civic Si

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GALLERY: Bisimoto 2012 Civic Si

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GALLERY: Custom Honda Civic Si Sedan

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Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Civic Si Review

Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com and see AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 1:18 AM

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Chevrolet hosted a special event at the Wynn in Las Vegas to showcase three new muscle cars, as well as the special edition Sonics already brought to you by AutoGuide.

First up was the Chevrolet Camaro COPO concept, a preview of what Chevrolet says is their potential NHRA Eliminator class dragster. While Chevy says that the car is a concept, Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet means that the COPO will almost certainly go into production just to make sure that Chevrolet has a dog in the fight. With a 9″ live rear axle conversion, roll cage, 2 speed Powerglide transmission and a choice of two crate motors (a supercharged 327 or a 427), the COPO could be a serious contender on the dragstrip.

Chevrolet also unveiled a special Chevelle commissioned by Dale Earnhadrt Jr, which was designed to show off their new crate motor program. Chevrolet will now offer a turnkey package featuring a motor, transmission and all wiring and ancillaries that will enable hot-rodders to simply drop in a complete drivetrain with minimal work involved.  Two 4-speed automatics will be offered with either a naturally aspirated smallblock or a blown LSA V8.

Lastly, a special edition Hot Wheels Camaro Concept, commemorating 45 years of Hot Wheels toys. The concept features a special paint treatment similar to the original die-cast cars, designed to give the Camaro a shimmering paintjob, with a process involving the entire car being chromed as well as painted.

Gallery: Chevrolet Camaro COPO, Hot Wheels Camaro Concept and Chevelle Crate Engine

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 |  Oct 31 2011, 8:08 PM

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Aping the roof structure of the Porsche Boxster Spyder, Mazda has unveiled its own lighter-weight drop-top at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Using a light-weight tarp-like design, the Spyder’s top is affixed in the front to the top of the windshield, while the rear buckles into mounts located in the truck. Mazda has yet to reveal exactly how much weight this removes from the vehicle, but it’s certain to shed at least a few pounds – and on an already light weight car like the MX-5, even pound counts.

Of note, Mazda goes out of its way to mention that the top was developed in association with parts supplier Magna – perhaps a solid hint that such a roof structure is being planned for the next-generation of the iconic roadster.

In addition to the roof, this SEMA Show concept is kitted out with a long list of performance goodies, from Yokohama Advan wheels, to Brembo brakes, not to mention a Racing Beat header, intake and exhaust.

The doors to the 2011 SEMA Show officially open tomorrow, so look for an update as we hunt down details on how much weight this innovative soft-top sheds.

GALLERY: Mazda MX-5 Spyder

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 SEMA Show coverage here

 |  Oct 31 2011, 8:00 PM

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Chevrolet unveiled the first of what will surely be many concept cars based on their new Sonic compact car, with a lifestyle/tuner car designed with input by Motocross legend and NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael, and a ready-to-go racer intended for SCCA competition.

The Sonic All Activity Vehicle – Ricky Carmichael Concept features a full suite of interior and exterior accessories, including OEM Z-Spec body treatments, an interior made by Fox Motocross from their board short material, and the familiar 1.4L Chevrolet turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to ensure that there’s some go to back up the “show” element.

The Sonic Super 4 Concept, despite the goofy name, is a full-blown race car that is intended to be a turnkey, SCCA-legal car with a proper rollcage, harnesses and a fire suppression system, the Sonic Super 4 is the perfect counterpart to the Ricky Carmichael Concept – it ain’t pretty, but it’s probably very good at its intended mission. The Super 4 uses the same 1.4L turbo 4-banger and 6-speed gearbox as the Ricky Carmichael Concept, but in this application, definitely gets put to much better usage.

Check out the rest of AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here

Gallery: Chevrolet Sonic Ricky Carmichael Concept and Super 4 Concept

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 |  Oct 31 2011, 6:59 PM

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The 2011 SEMA Show isn’t officially open yet but we’ve obtained a few snap shots of one of the two Honda‘s being kept under wraps. Called the 2012 Civic Si HFP this more hard-edged version of the new Si might just be the car enthusiasts were hoping for.

While the list of the modifications includes such trivialities as floor mats and LED lights, there are some important changes that are sure to appeal to the enthusiast crowd. For starters, there’s a more aggressive aero kit – something this car desperately needed. But most importantly there’s a HFP suspension setup (the exact specs of which aren’t yet known), plus the car gets larger 18-inch wheels with some 215/40/18 Yokohama tires. These updates should hopefully address some of the complaints we had about the car’s softly spring suspension.

As for the other car, we don’t have any snap shots, but it’s purpose built race car by Honda-backed racing team Compass 360.

GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Si HFP

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