Generally, in past years, a flourish of automotive companies would flock to the Las Vegas Convention Center in the first week of November for the SEMA Show. Hundreds of thousands of attendees had the opportunity to glimpse the industry’s latest and greatest modifications, builds, and influencers. However, 2020 is not a typical year. The threat of a pandemic omitted the sizeable annual gathering from the calendar. In the time since, we’ve covered a couple of our industry’s various solutions for SEMA’s 2020 void (Toyo Tires and GReddy), but none were executed quite like Turn 14 Distribution’s Capsule Event at Period Correct in Costa Mesa, CA.
The private, invite-only event brought together a reserved guest list to witness the unveiling of Turn 14 Distribution’s limited apparel collaboration with Period Correct and two partner builds initially slated for release at the 2020 SEMA Show. Attendees from several different media outlets, representatives from different companies involved with bringing each build to fruition, and various other automotive aftermarket industry personnel were in for a treat. Not only did each valued guest receive a piece of the limited collaboration apparel from T14 and Period Correct — only available at the event — but also received food, drink, and a front-row perspective to the unveiling.
While the builds rested under covers, the atmosphere inside Period Correct was just right. The open doors in the front and the rear transformed the atelier into a unique showcase for new apparel and builds. Meanwhile, a DJ pumping classic hip-hop beats, a complimentary bar, and a food truck awaited guests in the parking lot just outside.
Once the event was underway, it was time for the main attraction: the cars. Turn 14 Distribution’s Director of Marketing (and our head-honcho), Daryl Sampson, introduced Ryan Basseri from Rywire to discuss his project first. An all-electric Honda S2000 built with the same intricate perfection and attention to detail as his past project vehicles. Powered by a Tesla drive unit and Chevy battery cells, this reimagined sportscar can produce over 600 horsepower without a sip of gasoline.
One of the car’s standout additions is the one-off custom front and rear bumpers created by Casale Design. If the name Casale Design rings a bell, you might remember his brilliant work on a past Rywire project vehicle that debuted at SEMA in 2018. The stylish, futuristic fascia transformation ensures this is not your average fossil-fueled roadster.
Another point of attention is the bespoke wheels designed by Ryan in collaboration with Vaikhari Wheels. When dreaming up an EV-centric wheel, Ryan wanted something outside the box — a tall task with the growing number of wheel designs on the market. However, once he saw the blank aluminum billet, he knew he wanted to keep the wheel’s aesthetic as close to that as possible, only creating an opening for the illustrious StopTech Trophy Big Brake Kit lurking behind them. We’ll have more on this car’s buildup and details in a later article, so stay tuned for that.
For now, let’s move onto the second unveiling of the evening, Dai Yoshihara’s Mercedes-Benz 190E with a Honda powerplant and drivetrain. Formulated with Chris Marion of KW Suspension, this car’s vision was to recreate the DTM style of yesteryear. However, with Cosworth 2.5-16 Evolution engines fetching a pretty penny and their absurd associated parts cost, the 190E needed an alternate driveline. Sticking with the pair’s recent Honda engine affiliation, Yoshihara and Marion elected on a mildly-built F22C from a Honda S2000 — no, it’s not the engine from Rywire’s car. Equipped with individual throttle bodies, this powerplant produces somewhere around the 300 horsepower mark. Tying it among the 190E Evolution’s power output, but with increased reliability, rev range, and parts availability. In my eyes, it’s a stalwart solution that doesn’t impact the purity of its purpose.
Aside from the throwback Turn 14 Distribution DTM-style livery gracing every panel, including the Evolution widebody bits, one of the car’s most exciting pieces is the wheels. Titan 7 stepped in with the help of Jonsibal to fashion a one-off vintage touring car design specially-made for Dai’s build, complete with DAI., Jonsibal, and Titan 7 logos engraved in the lips. They’re an attractive addition to an incredibly fresh take on — what would have been — a unique SEMA build. Look out for a full write-up on this 190E on our website soon as well.
After the showcased vehicles made their mark, a long-overdue game of catch-up for everyone involved filled the remainder of the evening. Following the list of canceled events in 2020, it was great to see the masked attendees mingling after so many missed connections throughout the year, albeit more pensive and distanced than usual. In the end, it was a fantastic event that allowed us all to enjoy a little privacy while still broadcasting the unveiling on the world’s new digital landscape, and we were more than happy to be a part of it. Is this the future of SEMA build unveilings? If so, we’re more than excited!
Photography by Larry Chen