SEMA Show 2013: ILX Trip to Las Vegas

Odometer (Legend):  527,770


Odometer (ILX):  58,970


Some people are never content to leave well enough alone.  My brother Bentley is one of those.  I don’t think he had put more than 500 miles on his then-new 2008 Ford F-250 pickup before he had the entire thing in pieces, awaiting suspension upgrades.  “Stock” just wasn’t going to cut it.  That’s why Bentley is exactly the type of automotive enthusiast who fits in at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Vehicle upgrades & modifications are a big deal around there.

Products in this $27.8 billion-a-year industry include performance and racing components, cosmetic and functional accessories, wheels and tires, mobile electronics, safety products, restoration parts, handling equipment, drivetrain parts and more. The industry covers muscle cars, classics, luxury vehicles, sport compacts, street rods, light trucks (off-road and sport trucks) SUVs and recreational vehicles.


I took my Acura ILX to Sin City for the 2nd year in a row to see the latest.  Last year, I got up close & personal with the ILX Thunderhill racecar and also the “Street Build” ILX finished in Fathom Blue.  This year, the attractions were just as exciting.

Acura had 3 vehicles on display:

  • 2014 RLX VIP Sedan
  • 2014 RLX Urban Luxury Sedan
  • 2014 ILX Street Performance

All 3 vehicles were very highly modified, but my focus was on the ILX.

MAD Industries put together this build.  You can’t miss this car – its matte copper metallic 3M Scotchprint film screams for attention.  Outside, the Acura OEM lip kit is paired with 19″ TSW Max wheels and high performance tires.  MAD achieved an aggressive stance by dropping the ILX on Tein Super Street coilovers.

The “go factor” was enhanced by a supercharger from CT Engineering and an ECU tune with Hondata’s FlashPro, with a Greddy exhaust rounding out the package.  This build is good for 250 wheel horsepower – an impressive gain over the stock 2.4 inline-4’s output.


Powertrain Modifications

  • CT Engineering supercharger kit
  • CT Engineering intake
  • Hondata FlashPro
  • Greddy SP Elite prototype exhaust
  • K&N high performance air filter
  • AMSOIL Dominator motor oil

Chassis/Suspension Modifications

  • 19 x 8.5 TSW Max matte black wheels
  • 245/35R-19 Nitto NT05 Max tires
  • Tein Super Street coilovers
  • Stoptech Big Brake kit
  • MPG custom satin black caliper covers


Look at that aggressive stance!


Would love to see this copper film “pop” in the daylight.


The back end has been accented by a contrasting color.


Enjoy the rest of the photo gallery below for my trip experience.


The city that never sleeps:  Las Vegas is non-stop entertainment.


After catching some Z’s at the Mandalay Bay casino, I woke up to bright skies from the 18th floor.


My friends Rustin and Lance needed a lift to Planet Hollywood, but we swung past Excalibur for a quick picture.  I think Excalibur is my favorite casino for its exterior design.


The “Strip” was remarkably quiet at 8:00 in the morning.  Everyone who’d been out partying the night before was probably still in their hotel rooms crashed out.


I paid my $10 parking and walked a few blocks to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Paradise Road.


My identity, for today only, was that of my brother.  He hooked me up with a “Buyer” entry pass.  SEMA is open only to industry colleagues and not the public.

Here’s the entrance to one of 3 separate halls.  We’re talking about thousands upon thousands of square feet of display space.


Inside, it was a circus.


The cars just got a little more wild with every turn.  This Lexus IS is a highly modified 2014 model year car.


Tucked back into the Center Hall was the booth for Honda and Acura.


The booth was staffed by these fine folks from the company’s Torrance, California headquarters.  Left to right:  Tyson, Nina, Rey, John, and Randy.  Nina saw the name on my entry badge and her first comment was, “You’ve taken on a stage name so nobody knows who you are!”


Here’s a unique ride.  Anyone see the “Mean Mower” ad awhile back from Honda?  You’re looking at a lawnmower that’s capable of 133 miles per hour and a 0-60 mph time of about 4 seconds.  This is the type of rig that Tim Taylor from Home Improvement would be proud to own.  MORE POWER!


Among the exciting things in the Honda booth was the 2014 Civic Si with its newly-revised design.


This awesome 6-speed Accord Coupe was finely tuned with goodies from Honda Performance Development.


My friend Erik flew all the way out from Madison, Wisconsin for SEMA.  He runs the Project 130R website which is a great resource for Acura Legend owners and more.


The trio of Acuras lined the far wall in the convention hall but saw plenty of foot traffic throughout the day.


My favorite car on display was this stunning “VIP” Acura RLX.


Quad exhaust tips from an Evasive Motorsports exhaust system provide rumble to this refined luxury sedan.


21″ AVS Model F15 wheels and a Tein coilover suspension give this RLX a mean, custom look.

This is an extensive project, with even the brakes having been upgraded.  For more pictures, check out the gallery on Acura Connected.


Can I have the keys?


On my 5-hour return trip to Phoenix today, I took a moment to pit-stop in Boulder City, Nevada for a bite to eat with my good friend Jessie who’s driving a Chevy Sonic LTZ these days.


The ILX got me home safe and sound, and with amazing fuel economy to boot.  In the 615 miles since I filled up on my way to Las Vegas yesterday in Wickenburg, Arizona, it’s averaged 35.2 miles per gallon.


Thanks for coming along to the show!

10 Responses to “SEMA Show 2013: ILX Trip to Las Vegas”

  1. Thanks for taking us to the show! I would never get to see it otherwise.

  2. Ron Peterson Says:

    Tyson: Greetings from Eugene, Oregon. The 90 Accord rolled over 444,444.4 a week or so ago. I am going to retire from my shop teaching job in June, so the miles will accumulate slower. Still getting a consistent 29 to 30 mpg. No engine work other than routine stuff and a couple of distributors. Still on the factory starter. Alas, had to do the first suspension work at 422,800. upper front ball joints were a little loose, should I complain to Honda? I sure wish now that I had quickly replaced the speedometer sending unit when it quit. The car has somewhere near 10,000 more miles on it than it shows. I’ll keep you posted

    • Ron, Eugene is a place I’ve never been but after hearing about your 444,444.4 mile Accord, I now have a reason to visit. Would love to see that well-traveled sedan in person someday. Keep it on the road! How dare those ball joints give out at 422,800. They should’ve been good to 450k at least! Thanks for the update on your high mileage Honda and please keep me informed as you continue to rack up the miles.

  3. I was hoping you would expand a bit on the VIP RLX. Thanks Tyson for taking us along in your weekend drives!

    Looks like SEMA was great as usual.

  4. I lived in Vegas for 12 years and never got to go to SEMA. My mechanic said to me once “I didn’t go this year, you could have taken my pass.” As Homer Simpson would say “D’ OH!”

    • I’ve been to SEMA two years in a row and I’m officially hooked! It’s information overload. I needed far more than just one day to soak it all in. Maybe next year I’ll stay longer. Let’s meet up in Vegas in Nov 2014 and attend!

  5. Looks like there was plenty to take in at SEMA. Never been myself but someday I hope to get up there. That Accord is crazy sexy…hope they don’t ruin the ride quality that much.

    • There was waaaaay too much to digest in the 1/2 day I attended, but SEMA is just full of eye candy for car fanatics like us. I’d be interested in taking the HPD-enhanced Accord out for a drive sometime. I honestly wonder what Honda/Acura does with the show cars once SEMA’s over. Guess I’ll have to ask around 😉

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