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SEMA 2002

(Click on the thumbs for big pictures)

Hot Cars as far as the eye can see

SEMA used to stand for Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association.

Then some PR genius, wanting to allow other auto-related companies in, changed it to the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, giving us a show full of bedliners and imported wheels.

A measure of sanity has returned this year, as the main floor was dedicated to speed equipment (mostly), while maintaining separate halls for trucks and tires/wheels. The result was a much more focused and interesting show. You could see what you came for without distraction. Well done, SEMA!

Bridgestone brought the very latest in street and racing cars. The Ferrari Formula One car that Michael Schumacher drove to this year's championship was nice, but the Ferrari F50 (street name " Enzo ") was fantastic. Six liters of V12 (660HP@7800RPM, 0-62MPH in 3.65sec) in a thinly-veiled F1 chassis is my idea of the perfect grocery-getter. The 21st Century is a very nice place to live.

By the way, you can join the Future Ferrari Owners club for only 25 euros. It's called "you&ferrari".

Honda introduced their Accord Coupe, available next February with 240HP V-TEC V6 and a 6-speed manual trans. God bless Honda for addressing the enthusiast, even if it is their most expensive model. I've heard complaints that the suspension is too stiff, which means it would be just right for me. If it had the power of the "Draggin' Wagon" in front, I might start shopping.

P.S. to Honda - Why are you keeping all the Sport Wagons for yourself? Bring 'em over and kick Audi/BMW/Mercedes ass.

The great thing about the SEMA Show is that a 600HP street-driven Supra is merely "average". This is a beautiful piece that would rule the roost at most shows or street confrontations, but not here. Very nice work, though.

Now we get radical with the 5.0 Mustang of Joe DaSilva which has run 6.54 @ 217. Not bad from a "five-oh".

In case you don't have enough room to haul your skateboards around, Mazda has created this "Youth Lifestyle" vehicle. It may also be a solution to the vehicle rollover problem that its corporate parent (Ford) seems to be having.

The name Delahaye doesn't mean much if you're not of Social Security age. Delahaye built cars and trucks in France from 1894 to 1951. Breakthrough design was the main contribution of the marque and surviving examples can be worth more than a million dollars. This particular car still looks innovative fifty years later. If I recall correctly, this is a '37 or '38 model. Like many specialty cars of the era, it was constructed on a Delahaye chassis, but the bodywork was provided by the aftermarket. Kind of a Depression Kaminari deal.

With all the emphasis on four cylinder performance, it's nice to remember that there's "no replacement for displacement". This Accord V6 was in the K&N booth and sported the latest in engine dress-up, along with radical bodywork. Handy for getting in those tight parking spaces, of course.

So you think you've had a few tough breaks? See the racecar. See the lady next to the car. Yeah, the one in the wheelchair. She drives the racecar. Carol Hollfelder has driven a supercharged Mustang Cobra in the Speed World Challenge for the past three years. Before that, she drove in the Ferrari Challenge for two years. So what was your excuse for not racing?

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