We, unfortunately, didn't make it to SEMA this year because of an unexpected car failure. On the bright side, a good friend of mine, Mr. Jason Connor, was there and was kind enough to take a mess of photos of the Porsches on the floor this year. Here's a breakdown of the various Porsche cars that were in attendance, both the good and the bad!
The Rauh-Welt Begriff Cars
First things first, this year at SEMA was absolutely overloaded with RWB cars. It seems like nearly everyone there was using an RWB car to hock wheels, suspension, tires or something else.
This row of five wide-body Porsches was intended to grab attention, and grad attention it did. The IForged/Forgestar booth had plenty of attention thanks to these RWB beasts. There was a time when I was able to tell all of the RWB-builds apart and knew them by name. Now, there's so many of them that it's impossible to keep track of all of them.
I'm not sure how I feel about this bright yellow longhood car with RWB fender bulges. That's not to say I don't like widebody early cars, but I think this may have been more effective if the fenders were glassed in, rather than riveted on. So it would look more like a factory RSR, I suppose.
As it stands, I've seen people do worse things with long-hood cars in the past. This one doesn't look horrible, really, just non-traditional. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. They certainly did a bang-up job with the interior.
If you want your 993 to stand out, there isn't much more you can do than an RWB kit and hilighter yellow paint. Yeah, that ought to do the trick.
Of the RWB cars present, this bright orange be-ducktailed 993 might be my favorite. I don't know why, but this just works.
Outside of that single booth with five cars, there were a handful of other RWBs in various other parts of the show.
This white 964 was in the KW suspension booth. Those white fan-style wheels are amazing on this car.
H&R had this gorgeous grey 964 in their booth. If you want to go that low, H&R coils aren't a bad idea.
And in the Pirelli booth, there was this lovely red beauty.
One of the wilder cars of the show, even by RWB standards, was this quasi-Magnus Walker inspired car representing the Need for Speed video game franchise.
The car featured an engine by Bisimoto, and a VERY wide set of 52XOutlaw wheels. Shiny gold graphics and the massive RWB fenders were just the icing on the cake. It's crazy, but I like it.
The Race Car Unveiling
In the IMSA booth, the brand new Alex Job Racing GT3 R was hanging around attracting attention. The WeatherTech sponsored car will compete in IMSA's GTD category for 2016, and is the first GT3 R delivered to any customers anywhere. As with last year, the AJR team will make good use of Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil as drivers. If you ask me, this is the best looking race car Porsche has built in years! It means business, and it's ready to kick the competition.
While the aircooled RWB cars stole the show, seemingly, there were still quite a few amazing watercooled cars in attendance, too.
One of the most exciting tuner Porsches of the last year, Sharkwerks' GT2, was back this year with a few updates. While the car used to be known as "Phase One", it has now been updated to "Phase Two", but it hasn't been released exactly what is entailed with the upgrades. More power is likely, but absolutely not necessary. The car also features a brand new set of wheels, the first Monobloc set of a brand new design by the 52XOutlaw partnership. This car continues to impress me. I love it.
My second favorite Porsche of the 2015 SEMA show is this 997 GT2 that BBi built for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge, lovingly called "Project Swan". It's had the complete BBi Street Cup work done to it, as well as a completely overhauled engine that now revs to 9,000 RPM. It's wild, and the looks match the attitude.
This 997 Turbo S in the Spyder Lighting booth cuts an impressive figure. I like the widebody, and they have frankly done a very good job of giving the headlights an updated and modern look. All too frequently an aftermarket headlight will look significantly worse than the stock headlamp, but from what I saw of this lamp design, it looks well executed. They offer a number of tail light options as well. The wheels, however, do not look quite right on this car. I'd prefer a simpler design.
In the H&R booth, in addition to that grey RWB car above, was this Champion Motorsport assembled 991 Turbo S. Featuring Champion wheels, Werks One carbon bits, and a GIAC tune, this car probably goes even better than it shows. I'd love to give it a try.
GfG Forged Wheels had a raft of cars in their booth showing off their wheels, and a few of them were Porsches. This black GT4 is certainly eye-catching with a white multispoke wheel design.
This Brumos-inspired car was also at Rennsport Reunion and I got a good look at it there. The car looks amazing, frankly. The five-spoke gold wheels aren't a 100% match to the car, but it's not a terrible choice.
The 991 GT3 RS always looks great in Lava Orange, and with these wild wheels it actually looks pretty good. I think I might have gone with a black wheel to match the black accents of the car, but black does hide a lot of a wheel's inherent design, so I can see why they've gone with a silver finish instead. It almost reminds me of a racing wheel you'd find on a 935 in the early 80s. Interesting choice, for sure.
Speaking of wheels, BBS was showing off their new ultra-light weight center lock design on a GT3. This wheel is available in 20X9 for the front (17.4 pounds each) and 20X12 for the rear (20.5 pounds each). Whatever their process, that's a pretty light wheel for those sizes. Nearly as light as carbon fiber wheels.
RSR wheels also had a BBi Street Cup kitted car on display to help attract attention to their new Magnesium wheel offerings.
The Less Than Great
I see where they were going with this idea, but it was really a bad idea that should have stopped in the design stages. With the faux-retro look of the new Targa, NB customs wanted to take it a step further and incorporate other retro design pieces into the car. As you can see, they've grafted the side vents from a 930 Slantnose car into the rear quarters. To make matters worse, they've added a 930 turbo-tail to the rear decklid. While that lid looks great on a 930, it's definitely not age appropriate for a 991. The orange isn't a terrible color, but those wheels are attrocious, and color matching them to the car was a bad idea. Overall I am forced to give this car very low marks. But perhaps not as low as the next car.
Where do I start with this car? First of all, it's a stretch to even call this a Porsche, as this is most assuredly a 356 speedster kit car. Those little bumps all over the car, those are Swarovski crystals. Please, do not do this to your Porsche. Please.
[Sharkwerks Photo provided by Alex Ross, WeatherTech photo provided by Lehman Keen, all other photos provided by Jason Connor]