SEMA 2019

Honda celebrates 60 years in the U.S. with 15 builds at SEMA (including one Chevy)

Honda is celebrating its 60th year selling vehicles in the U.S. with a big display at SEMA that includes this motorcycle.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

SUVs, trucks, and powersports machines are all on display as Honda stages its enthusiast-centric display at SEMA in a bid to show that the automaker is about more than just mundane mommy-centric mobility.

Here's what Honda has brought to SEMA this year.

1968 Honda S800 Coupe “Outlaw”

1968 Honda S800 Coupe \u201cOutlaw\u201d

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Producer and actor Daniel Wu, most famous for playing Sunny in "Into the Badlands" built this custom 1968 Honda S800 Coupe "Outlaw". The vehicle is based on one of the first production cars Honda ever made. Instead of doing an engine swap, Wu had the original engine completely rebuilt, adding a custom exhaust system made by GReddy. There's a custom body kit by Pandem's Kei Miura that features custom flares, a custom air dam, and a 2-inch lower suspension. Its fender flares make the vehicle 4-inches wider and support widened wheels wrapped in Toyota R888R tires. The vehicle has a custom interior with red leather seating.

Proctor Racing Talon 1000R

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Proctor Race Group has given the Talon design and equipment touches that are meant to reflect Honda's racing routes. It as Sparco seats mounted with Jsport SXS aluminum seat mounts, Mastercraft cam-lock harnesses, a custom MPI Innovations steering wheel, KMC "Grenade" bead-lock wheels, 32-inch EFX Motohammer tires, Jsport SXS front and rear bumpers, a Jsport SXS intrusion bumper, and a strut-mounted spare tire carrier.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid “Do” Build by Jsport Performance Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The 2020 CR-V Hybrid "Do" was created for weekend warriors that need to everyday practicality that the CR-V offers but also the capability to get them to a trailhead with all their equipment. It features a 1.5-inch lift kit, side steps, and roof basket from Jsport, 17-inch KMC off-road wheels with Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires, and a Cannondale mountain bike mounted to the roof basket.

Ridgeline HFP Concept with Lifestyle Accessories

Ridgeline HFP Concept with Lifestyle Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Honda Factory Performance is exploring a more rugged Ridgeline with this build, which features a lift, widened track, and all-terrain tires on 18-inch bronze-finished HFP alloy wheels. The truck's bed holds custom Fuji mountain bikes that are standing in Thule bed bike fork mounts. There's also a Thule Xsportser bed rack and Kukenam 3 tent on the Ridgeline.

City Slicker 2019 Super Cub 125

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Steady Garage built the City Slicker Super Club, chopping and shortening its front and rear fenders, and retrofitting the front suspension with aftermarket parts designed for the Honda Ruckus. It has custom hubs with three-piece front and rear wheels. It has a custom two-tone green and off-white paint job that was done by Midnight Garage/Advance Auto Group and custom seats by Rogelio's Auto Upholstery. It gets its deep, throaty roar from the Yoshimura Magnum GP exhaust system.

Heritage Chevy Truck with Vintage Cub and CB160

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

Honda has faithfully recreated a 1961 Chevrolet half-ton pickup that was used by American Honda Motor Co. Inc. shortly after the company opened for business in 1959. It's modeled after the one used in the 1961 photo that was originally in front of Honda's first office in Los Angeles. The truck features hand-painted lettering and period-correct trim. In the truck's bed are two motorcycles that played a big role in the creation of the company's U.S. presence, a 1965 Honda 50 and a 1965 Honda CB160.

2019 CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

With this display, Honda expands the story of the CRF1000L Africa Twin to include a new family member, the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports. The new model is even more off-roading ready and comes equipped with features designed for camping including more off-road friendly tires and gear for sleeping under the stars.

Rally Passport

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This model was built by Honda R&D as a private, after-hours showcase of the off-roading potential of the 2019 Honda Passport. It is designed to compete in a stage rally competition in the Limited 4WD class of the American Rally Association. The vehicle placed second in its class and 12th overall out of 75 competitors in the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Modifications made to the model for the rave include a roll cage and safety equipment, Maxxis RAZR MT Tires on Braid Wheels, Carbotech brake pads, front and rear skid plates, and a hand-operated hydraulic brake.

Honda Super Tuner Legends Series Winner: N600

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This head-turner was built by Dean Williams and is now owned by Stephen Mines. If features a Honda VFR 800cc V4 motorcycle engine under its hood, which drives the rear wheels on a modified Mazda MX-5 Miata suspension system. It has a 12,000 RPM redline and a deep growl coming from the exhaust. The hot rod came out on top at the Honda Super Tuner Legends Series competition this year.

2020 CR-V “Dream” Build by Jsport Performance Accessories

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The "Dream" kicks it up a notch from the "Do." The model was designed for overlanding adventurers who don't need a high level of capability but still want a properly equipped vehicle for their journey. The mods list for the CR-V is extensive and includes a 1.5-inch lift kit, side steps, front bumper, rear tire gate, and Plateau modular roof rack from Jsport, 17-inch KMC off-road wheels with Nitto Ridge Grappler all-terrain tires, and a Roofnest Falcon clamshell-style rooftop tent. An organization cabinet and a slide-out refrigerator are located in the CR-V's cavernous cargo area.

Honda Tuning 2018 Civic Si Project by Super Street Magazine

Honda Tuning 2018 Civic Si Project by Super Street Magazine

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This Civic Si was designed to test multiple aftermarket products and put the Civic Si through its performance paces. Modifications include an intake and intercooler kit, an ECU re-flash, complete front-to-rear exhaust system, a complete turbo kit with a new downpipe, lower-positioned seats with more pronounced thigh and side bolsters, an adjustable length and height shifter, and adjustable gas pedal spacer. All the mods are completely reversible.

Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works Civic Si Drift Car

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

The modifications to this Civic Si change it from sporty commuter to a full blown drift car. It has extensive chassis modifications that change it from a front-wheel drive car to a rear-wheel drive one and engine transformations that reorient the K24 engine and bring its ability up to a competition-spec 926 horsepower. Chassis, engine and body modifications to the Formula Drift vehicle were performed in-house in conjunction with Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works.

Super Street 2000 Civic Si Challenge Winner

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

In 2000, this 1999 Honda Civic Si was modified by Super Street magazine then preserved by American Honda as a showpiece of early 21st century innovation. All of its modifications were completed with just a $10,000 budget. After winning, the Super Street Honda Civic Si was duplicated by Mattel as a 1:18-scale model.

2019 Monkey 125 “SARU with Love”

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

This model, built by Arthur Yang, features a whopping 125 aftermarket enhancements including forged aluminum wheels, a titanium exhaust system, aluminum swing arm, CNC side-plate covers, and an Over Racing handlebar system. Over Racing has given the vehicle a refitted suspension using Ohilns components with a Chimera Engineering ram intake. There's also a Kitaco seat and an Asia-spec light conversion.

Custom CRF450L “Grey Area”

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Company

If you've tuned in to see Honda Supercross and Motocross racer Cole Seely's vlogs, you know that he's outfitted this Custom CRF450L "Grey Area" with a number of modifications. Working with Bleach Design Werks, Seely added black Dubya wheels and Throttle Jockey helped design the vehicle's graphics. Its suspension has been upgraded for supercross duty.

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The 2021 Honda Accord Sport is a budget-friendly model with a lot of pep.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Critics and buyers have loved the Honda Accord for a few decades now. Though it's frequently compared to the Toyota Camry, there's some models in its class that are giving the Accord a run for its money - the Mazda Mazda6, Subaru Legacy, Kia K5, and the Hyundai Sonata just to name a few.

Where the Accord wins versus the competition isn't on price or features, styling or appointments, tech or drivetrain. It wins because it's a whole package, especially as tested in the 2021 Accord Sport variety.

For the new model year, Honda has focused on updating the fascia and improving the tech in the Accord. They're all good gains.

2021 Honda Accord Sport The car's wheels help elevate the sporty profile of the car.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

For the 2021 model year, Honda sells the Accord in six trim levels: LX, Sport 1.5T, Sport Special Edition (SE), EX-L, Sport 2.0T, and Touring. Honda leant the Sport 2.0T, which has an upgraded powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and produces 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It's available in Accord Sport 2.0T and Touring grades. The 2.0-liter is far more fun to drive than the base 1.5-liter four-pot.

Honda has done a good job differentiating the Accord from the Acura lineup, making its drive dynamics not nearly as athletic as the TLX's but still engaging, while allowing for pointed steering and easy maneuverability. Acceleration won't knock anyone's socks off, but that's not a reason to ignore the Accord. The Accord Sport has paddle shifters, which work better for mountain driving situations than they do for deriving true sport functionality, as you would get with a manual transmission.

Honda has also upgraded the braking system for 2021, designing it to engage more smoothly, especially at low speeds. The result is measured performance that is neither grabby nor soft.

Honda upholsters the Accord Sport with cloth seats but nice finishes elsewhere. While a lot of attention is given to leather upholstery, there's actually nothing wrong with the cloth seats. The ones in the Accord Sport are not only attractive but don't draw the heat of the sun or cold of the clouds and snow into them like leather does.

2021 Honda Accord Sport The interior of the Accord Sport is well appointed.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Buyers can spec their Accord Sport with a number of options, including appearance and weather protection packages. But, with the 2.0-liter powertrain, it already comes loaded with most of the desirable features buyers want including an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, eight-speaker audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a leather shift knob, rear spoiler, sport pedals, chrome exhaust finishers, fog lights, moonroof, heated front seats, remote keyless entry and engine start, and a wireless device charger.

The Honda Accord Sport starts at $27,430. Upgrading the engine adds $4,530 to that price tag, but also gets you the moonroof, heated seats, power-adjustable driver's seat, remote functionality, and device charger. That brings the MSRP of the Sport 2.0T to near $32,000. Knock a few bucks off in dealership negotiations and you're sitting quite pretty for under $30,000.

In the Sport trim level, the Accord is just as nice as Mazdas, nicer than the K5, and on-par with the Sonata. The Mazda is equally as engaging to drive but its infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired.

2021 Honda Accord Sport Honda's steering wheel makes operation of radio, cruise control, and driver assist features easy.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

2021 Honda Accord Sport

Subaru offers all-wheel drive standard on the Legacy, something the Accord does not. But, it's not as powerful nor is its infotainment system as nicely designed. The Sonata also isn't as powerful and the sporty Sonata N Line grade takes track-readiness a step too far, ruining ride quality. The K5 might end up being the Accord's closest competitor with plenty of power, but the interior is more parts bin than is optimal.

But what about the Camry? The Toyota, now with available all-wheel drive, does offer a lot to its customer base, but it's aging quickly, especially the interior. Other models offer just as good dependability and for a lower price. They're also more fun to drive.

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This '68 Mercury Cougar is a sweet-sounding take on a classic coupe.

Photo courtesy of Ringbrothers

Meet the latest restomod to come from the Ringbrothers garage: a 1968 Mercury Cougar. The frame-off restoration included a host of show-quality change-outs and a beefy new powertrain. It was the first Cougar that the company has tackled.

The restoration included new floor pans and transmission tunnel. There's a new performance suspension by DSE, brakes, and HRE Series C1 C103 Forged 3-Piece wheels. The car is shoed with Michelin tires.

The bodywork of the car has been finished using 3M products and BASF paint. There's a new bumper, grille, hardware, and badging giving the car it's shine.

1968 Mercury Cougar by Ringbrothers

Photo courtesy of Ringbrothers

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Under the hood of the car is a 460-horsepower Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8 engine. The powertrain is completely by a 10-speed automatic transmission that originated in the Ford F-150. Paddle shifters give the driver more control over the drive.

Ringbrothers has added Lotus synthetic engine to keep everything working smoothly. A custom Flowmaster exhaust leaves a growl that lets neighbors know that you're on your way to work.

"We put our heart into each car we build, and this Cougar is no exception," said Ringbrothers co-owner Jim Ring. "The finished product is mild and classy, yet any enthusiast instantly knows it's not stock. I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they were building the Cougar today."

"While we couldn't bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon," continued Mike Ring, co-owner of Ringbrothers. "We had never done a Cougar before, so this was a fun build. I love working with new shapes and coming up with new ideas."

Like this Cougar? Ringbrothers offer several billet aluminum parts for fans to build a custom Cougar of their own on their website.

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