Classic Cars of SEMA 2019

Regular readers of this blog will know that it’s certainly no secret that I’m a big fan of classic cars.

For some reason I really take joy in the concept of bringing new life to old things – be that through restoration or modification.

SEMA certainly had a lot more modern vehicles than old. The older cars that were there though, were absolute gems!

We’ll start on a manufacturer that really doesn’t get enough love on this blog: Honda.

At SEMA there were two Hondas that really jumped out at me.

The first was this motorcycle-powered Honda N600. This started out in the 1970s as a 600cc, front wheel driven, run-about. But has been converted to rear wheel drive and boasts a 800cc, 12,000rpm motorcycle engine.

It retains a very subtle, period correct look though, with the slightly wider arches and minilite-type wheels.


The second was this really nice little third generation Civic in the Toyo Tires Treadpass.

These are really rare little cars here in the UK. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen one on the road or even at a show!

This one has been really nicely modified. It’s really cleanly done and isn’t too ostentatious.

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The Toyo Tires Treadpass had an amazing line-up of cars and deserves a blog post in its’ own right.

It also featured this stunning E24 BMW (built by marv_m5 on Instagram, go follow him). I love the shark-nose 6 Series. Most certainly a car I’d like to own one day!

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Bisi Ezerioha’s (Bisimoto’s) electric Porsche 935 was also on the Toyo Treadpass. Showing you can be good for the planet whilst looking cool at the same time.


LS Mercedes 190e? Yes.

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I’m not normally a huge fan of weathered wraps, but this F355 really pulls it off! It looks really good with the aggressive aero and stance too.

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I want to say this is an early Corolla Sprinter. If I’m wrong, please correct me. It’s a really nice looking, unusual classic car though.

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This is a Corolla we all know and love! It’s a really clean build!


A couple more Japanese legends:

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This Porsche speedster also stood out to me. It’s an unusual platform to build and an unusual style of modification for that particular car. The modern touches suit it though.

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There were also plenty of interesting classic cars that weren’t on the Toyo Tires Treadpass (as I said earlier, that place deserves it’s own blog post!)

There were a few BMW Motorsport inspired machines dotted about the show:

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Continental Tires had an interesting collection of cars on display. They also had a demo area where drivers were taking people out drifting in the new M5. For a standard car those things shift!

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The estate/wagon is a Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. I’ve had a soft spot for them since watching the TV program “That 70s Show” in which one of the characters, Eric, drives one.


The LS powered Toyota Celica by JH Restorations was one of my favourite builds. It really retains the 1970s vibe! I really like the interior!


There weren’t many British cars at the show. Those that were there were certainly note worthy though. First up is this racing Triumph Spitfire:


The Mk1 Ford Escort featured in The Fast and The Furious 6:


Finally, one of the talking points of the show; Chip Foose’s Jaguar E-Type.

This was an extremely popular car and always had people around it, so it was quite difficult to get pictures of.

It has been extensively modified, but it doesn’t detract from the original character of the car. Which when you’re dealing with a national treasure like the E-Type, is really important.

The most notable change for me is the rear lights. The originals have been taken away and a new set have been incorporated into the rear fenders to mirror the front lights. IF you didn’t know E-Types, I think you’d assume that they were standard.

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Daijiro Yoshihara’s Honda powered AE86 was another popular car.

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Supermodel Jess Hart had this Ferrari built as a track toy.


As a car show in America, there were a lot of American classics on display. Most notable for me was Hemi Under Glass; a rear-engined Plymouth Barracuda wheelstander, which famously rolled with Jay Leno as a passenger.


Some of the American show cars were pretty wild!

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For me the 1950s was the best era for American car design. It reflects that era in history perfectly.

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The stuff that came after the 50s certainly wasn’t bad though…


There were a fair few pre-war American cars on display too:


My favourite classic car at SEMA 2019 was this little SR20DET powered Datsun Roadster with a Rocket Bunny body kit. It’s rare, it’s tastefully done and I bet it’s a blast to drive!


Thanks for reading!

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By Richard Francis

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