Top 10 Imports Photo Gallery – SEMA Show: The SEMA show might have started out being all about speed equipment for American muscle cars, but the imports have strong-armed their way to a prominent position. The sheer number and variety of imports at the sprawling convention center site is astounding. We saw as many as we could cram into two days and came away most impressed by these 10. Sometimes it’s one thing that makes a car stand out, other times it’s the entire vehicle, but overall a balanced execution is make or break here.
by Bob Beamesderfer
Photo Credits: Staff
2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
Danish anyone? This blue roadster spent a month at sea traveling from Denmark to Las Vegas. Owner Jonas Overgaard won the 2007 Danish car awards with his Spyder. The car features a VeilSide wide body kit, shaved door handles, Celica headlights, 19-inch rims and Pioneer ICE audio system. This tastefully modified MR-2 was a featured vehicle for Nitrous Oxide Systems.
2008 Nissan Altima Coupe Turbo
What could make the Altima Coupe more desirable? A turbocharger of course. Nissan asked project car manager Brian Fox to whip an Altima Coupe into a show car worthy of the aftermarket hootenanny in Vegas. Fox turned to Turbochargers.com to install an Artisan Performance Turbo Kit featuring a Turbonetics unit pumping out about 485 horsepower at wheels, which are Private 20 by 8.5s shod with Toyo Proxes T1R tires. Sport suspension and AP Racing brakes manage handling and stopping the Coupe. A custom front lip, custom paint, custom gauges, and, of course, an audio system. We’re not sure where the hood is, but we’ll let that go.
2008 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
Is there a better two-tone paint job combination than yellow and black? Maybe, but who cares? The flat black over yellow color scheme looks great here on a Spec V prepared by Stillen. The performance parts company added its big brake kit, rear-section exhaust, roof wing and front lip spoiler. For shoes, Stillen picked 18 by 7.5 inch Konig wheels and BF Goodrich tires. Inside are a Rockford Fosgate audio system and a Scosche custom dash.
2008 Volvo C30
Already cooler than a Swedish morning, this C30 gets the Heico Sportiv touch. The inspiration is surfing, relayed through the inlay on the aluminum center stack. Underlying the graphics is a body kit featuring integrated spoilers and larger air ducts. Under the hood, power has been increased from stock to 300 horsepower. Inside, the orange theme of the exterior design is carried over to the leather seats.
Lotus Exige S1
Mmmmm! Carbon! Fiber! Lotus! OK, we’re better now. This drool-worthy sports car ranks as one the more irresistible of the show. Lotus’ excellent chassis and suspension cloaked in bare CF fabricated by Prototype Composites, and now powered by a 311 horsepower Acura TSX motor mated to an RSX gear box and a limited slip differential. Because this was an S1, it was never street legal in the U.S., but this track car is transformed way beyond what it was. The car now weighs 1,707 pounds, a savings of 82 pounds over stock.
2008 Lexus IS F
Pop singer Carly Simon had a hit with “Anticipation,” and now Lexus has fans of performance sedans anticipating the IS F more than Simon’s fans expect to find out who’s so vain. What’s not in vain is the Project IS F from Five Axis. A wide body kit covers 20-inch wheels and Yokohama tires, Brembo brakes and Tein suspension. Inside a custom interior and outside a flat black-with-bronze paint job, along with a promise to make more out of the stock 416-horsepower engine, round out this high-performance offering. This is one of those rare instances when F is a passing grade.
Gemballa Mirage GT
It’s the Great Pumpkin meets Le Mans. H&R brought this Gemballa Mirage GT to its booth. The Porsche tuner takes a Porsche Carrera GT and adds wind-tunnel developed aerodynamic goodness, including a brake flap in the rear wing. Throw in an extra 60 horsepower and 15 lb.-ft of torque, and despite the extra bodywork, the car is faster. Massive 19 by 9.5 inch wheels up front and 20 by 12.5s in back help keep the supercar going where you point it. Inside, it’s leather, luxury carpet and more carbon fiber. As soon as we figure out how to afford a GT, we’ll work on the $331,716 for the conversion.
2008 Subaru WRX
If Attila the Hun’s wife wore a little black dress, this would be it. Sport Compact Car put together this mostly flat black number. Under the hood, the turbo mill gets a new downpipe and engine computer; at the corners are 18 by 7.5 Prodrive wheels, Tein suspension and AP brakes. The matte finish paint scheme is punctuated by a carbon fiber, there’s a CF splitter mated to the STI under-spoiler lip pieces, rear spoiler and Subaru Sport mesh grill. Inside, there is a Pioneer audio system, plus racing seats, steering wheel, gauges, short-shifter and harness. In addition to blacked-out emblems, the sponsor decals are black.
We weren’t able to talk to the owner of this first generation Scion xB, but a lot of very meticulous work was done under the hood and, yes, once again we’ve fallen for yellow and black paint. But what stands out on this nicely executed ’B what looks like 13-inch wheels, a nice change from stuffing the largest wheel under the fenders. We prefer the first generation because of its boxy charm, and this one is a fine example of what Scion encourages buyers to do. Not only do we offer kudos to the owner of this car, we encourage others to follow the example.
2008 Toyota Yaris Club
It’s amazing what a little work can accomplish. Case in point, this Yaris has been taken from dull to dashing. The subcompact Toyota is fine for what it is, but no head-turner. Five Axis takes us back to the era of sports racers with the single-seater bodywork, chopped windshield. To complete the conversion to track-day fun, there’s a Sparco racing seat and steering wheel, Greddy brake calipers and plenty of Toyota Racing Development go-fast goodies, including a supercharger. All of that makes up for the awkward slice of the windshield. Ed.:Doing this to a Yaris oughta be against the law. It just Ain't Right