Check Out All the Awesomeness We Found At SEMA 2018 With This Mega Picture Gallery
One hundred forty thousand people descend upon the Las Vegas convention center for the largest aftermarket automotive trade show in the world. Welcome to SEMA 2018, where many of the top automotive aftermarket manufacturers, builders, and shops come together to learn, shop, and show off the best products and some of the best custom rides in the game. I overheard one SEMA organizer saying that if you were to walk up and down every aisle in every pavilion you would walk almost 54 miles and I believe it! Sadly, most of SEMA is very boring and very repetitive (I mean seriously, how many booths about tires does one show need?) but, there are always those automotive gems to look at and once in a while a new product that just makes you stop and say "wow." So, here are a few of those cars that made me stop and actually take a look.
Formula 1 Will Ditch The Grid Girls For The 2018 Season
It goes without saying that Formula 1 (and indeed, pretty much all of motorsport in general) is completely dominated by men. From the drivers, to the teams, to the people running the show, it’s pretty much a sausage fest through and through out there. Sure, there are a few exceptions, but on balance, I’d say we’re a long way from gender equality in racing. Now, Formula 1 is taking steps to get a little more in step with the times, and will ditch the grid girls starting with the 2018 season.
“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” said Managing Director of Commercial Operations at Formula 1, Sean Bratches. “While our practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grand Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
Last year, the U.S. behemoth Liberty Media purchased Formula 1’s commercial rights and started shifting things around. Bernie Ecclestone got the boot, and F1’s administration got a thorough reworking.
Granted, getting rid of the grid girls won’t do anything for gender equality, but it does address part of Formula 1’s cultural stagnation. On the other hand, you could see the move as no more than an empty gesture to appear more “modern.”
What do you think?
The 2018 Formula 1 season kicks off March 25th in Melbourne.
Playboy’s 2016 Playmate of the Year Receives New Fiat 124 Spider
Model-actress Eugena Washington has been named Playboy’s 2016 Playmate of the Year, and among the prizes the come with this prestigious honor is a two-year lease on a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. The 31-year-old “America’s Next Top Model” alumni is the first Playmate of the Year after Playboy decided to do away with full nudity. In addition to taking home the 124 Spider, Washington also received $100,000 in prize money.
The Playmate of the Year award itself is impressive considering how many celebrities have launched their careers on the back of the award. But what really caught our eye was Washington being given the keys to the 124 Spider. As many of you know, the 124 Spider isn’t exactly a new model for Fiat. It first hit the road in 1966 – 13 years after Marilyn Monroe appeared on the centerfold of Playboy – as a 2+2 roadster that was based on the platform of its coupe counterpart. While it didn’t have the kind of success that the Mazda MX-5 Miata has had, the 124 Spider was a relatively successful model for Fiat, lasting 16 years in the market before production stopped in 1982. It took 34 years for the model to return, but all that time off didn’t do anything to stain the 124 name as exemplified by Playboy awarding a 124 Spider to its newest Playmate of the Year.
The Italian sports car should make for good company for the bunny, who will be featured on the cover of Playboy’s June 2016 issue to go with a 10-page pictorial inside the magazine. It’s unclear if Washington will be able to parlay this award with a stint as a brand ambassador for Fiat, but if you think about it, it’s a move that could make sense for the Italian automaker as it could capitalize on Washington’s Playmate of the Year title and appeal to a large swath of men who are in the market for a new and affordable sports car.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
We’ve seen this stunt before – an unsuspecting person rides shotgun with what appears to be a bumbling idiot or ignorant girl, only to be taken for the ride of their life. That’s exactly what happens here in this Mitsubishi bit. It’s still no less exciting.
The star is Leona Chin, a pro driver from Malaysia. Chin poses as a saleswoman in a Mitsubishi dealership trying to answer questions about the new Triton pickup truck. The reaction from her male customers is rather hilarious, ranging from the classic “What’s a pretty girl like you doing here?” to a more chauvinistic, “This is a man’s truck, let me drive.”
I won’t ruin all the video’s surprises and fun, but know that Chin does a great job of showing these dudes how to handle a truck. Chin shows impressive skill in getting the top-heavy and moderately powered Triton truck sideways on dry pavement. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Since 1964, tire maker Pirelli has been producing calendars. Each of the twelve months are usually graced by a scantily clad female photographed in an artistic manner. The calendars, still filling their role as a marketing device, have carried many different themes through the decades, though never departing too far from the soft-core exposure of the feminine form.
That has changed for 2016.
Shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz, the upcoming edition takes a new approach to the annual publication. Gone are the seductive stares of bare-breasted 20-somethings, replaced by the weathered, soft smiles of well-known women who have, in several cases, spent decades making a name for themselves by bullishly fighting for their place in modern society.
The lineup of ladies includes the hugely influential Yao Chen and Tavi Gevinson, two actress and social media moguls, along with pop culture icons Yoko Ono and Patti Smith. Tennis legend Serena Williams and comedian Amy Schumer are present, as well as film director Ava DuVernay and film producer Kathleen Kennedy, whose latest works include Selma and the newest installment of Star Wars, respectively.
The traditional model-type isn’t completely abandoned, as the Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova appears on January’s page. Her look, however, falls right in line with the other women in the calendar. A strong motherly presence shines through the image as she holds her baby while draped in a satin robe. It’s sensual, yet very tasteful.
The very fact I’m writing this (and you are reading this) shows Pirelli’s well-hatched plan of deviating from the normal. Perhaps the cue was taken from Playboy, which announced in October that its monthly magazine would no longer feature nude photographs. Regardless of Pirelli’s inspiration, its 2016 calendar is getting far more attention than it otherwise would have. Suddenly it’s popular to be PG-13.
Continue reading for the full story.
The morning after the Copenhagen party was rough for most people. We were heading to Amsterdam, and we had a ferry crossing scheduled, so this was the earliest morning of the trip so far. With a meet-up time of 7a.m. and a scheduled departure of approximately 7:15, we were getting into our cars closer to 8 a.m. Things are going great this morning. It was the first small problem in what would turn into a day full of delays, problems, small explosions and a tale of kidnapping for Team AnastasiaDate.com and Team AsianDate.com.
Continue reading to learn more about Gumball 3000 2015: Day 3
Jet lag is the worst. Despite being nearly 1 a.m. when I took my early leave from the rest of the Anastasia Date and Asian Date teams, I was up and wide awake at 0530; hours before we were scheduled to meet up in the lobby to start our day. I decided to take some time to wander around, just as I did in Stockholm. Again, just like Stockholm, the city seemed abandoned, the only sound being that of the various fountains and chirping birds. It turned out that I would need this moment of serenity, as the day would be filled with more chaos.
Continue reading to learn more about Gumball 3000 2015: Day 2
The party last night was brutal. Some of my colleagues didn’t get back into their rooms until 5 a.m., and while sitting at breakfast, more than one of them complained of being still drunk from the previous night’s debauchery. We would load up the cars and start our journey in just a few hours. They had better sober up quickly, because Gumball waits for no one. Oslo awaited the arrival of Team AnastasiaDate and Team AsianDate, and I certainly didn’t want to keep the beautiful city waiting.
Continue reading to learn more about Gumball 3000 Day 1
Day 0 at Gumball 3000 is one of the busiest, most hectic and most exciting days of the entire rally. All of the cars finish arriving, the last of the vinyl sponsor wraps goes on, driver registration happens, the swag room is open, and all of the seemingly millions of small last-minute things compound into one large problem that needs fixing. With one of our journalists missing and communication systems failing, among other issues, our trip didn’t start out smoothly.
Continue reading to learn more about Gumball 3000 Day 0
Today is the big day, folks. I am in Stockholm and the 2015 Gumball 3000 Rally is kicking off tomorrow. We will be updating the site with new posts, photos and videos as much as we can, but I know that some of you just don’t want to wait for us to publish new articles. If you love social media, or you just want to keep up with what is happening in real time, there are several ways you can follow my trip.
Just continue reading to find out how to find me on social media.
Just in case you missed it, TopSpeed.com has been invited back to take part in the Gumball 3000 rally again this year. While last year saw Team AnasatasiaDate roll around in a Lamborghini, this year the team is kicking it old-school with some American Muscle. We have two modified and restored 1969 Camaro Z/28s to run around the world in.
Before the rally kicks off, lets stop and take a closer look at the two cars that we will be driving in this year’s rally. With almost 1,000 horsepower between them, these two beasts will demand just as much attention as any Lamborghini ever would.
Continue reading for the full story.
Last year I spent just three days with the Gumball 3000 crew and in that time I saw supercars set things on fire, got trapped in an elevator in New York, met superstars like Deadmau5 and Xzibit, and of course I drove around with stunningly beautiful women and an astonishingly fast Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Well this year I’m going back, and it’s going to be bigger and better.
AnastasiaDate has invited me back, but this time for the whole trip. That means 10 wild days of Gumball madness to share with you guys. This year’s journey starts in Stockholm Sweden, winds through Norway and Denmark, and eventually sees us end all the way on the west coast of the U.S., with stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. AnastasiaDate also has a sister company called AsianDate that is sponsoring a car as well, so that means there are two wild machines to bomb around in this year.
Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s trip for the 2015 Gumball 3000 Rally
When it comes to auto shows, there are two things you are guaranteed to see. The first is obviously cars, but around all those new cars there is bound to a huge collection of models. The car show girl is not a new phenomenon, but thanks to a new piece over at the Wall Street Journal, we have some insight into just how much they get paid, and we learnt that there is a lot more involved than just looking pretty.
The pay to stand in front of a new car at Detroit was upward of $1,000 per day, but each girl is highly trained professional that is packed with knowledge of the car, but also with intelligence-gathering skills. These women are talking to all the auto show visitors not to cure their own boredom, but to gather important candid thoughts on the new models. They are told to look for any information that covers thoughts on colors, design, and more.
These “product specialists” aren’t always just fly-by-night hires either like most people think. Maria Fotiu is the name of the young woman found by the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, and she has been with the Volt since 2011, traveling all over the country collecting thoughts and impressions that show goers had about this range-extended EV. Many of the changes that have been made to the new Volt are directly due to her efforts at car shows.
You may not agree with the act of putting models on the show floor with new cars, and there are lots of reasons to not agree with it, but it is nice to hear that these women are paid well, highly trained and serve a purpose that goes well beyond eye-candy. If you are interested in learning more, the full piece at WSJ is a pretty fascinating read.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Detroit Auto Show Girls.
We love Ken Block’s Gymkhana series like everybody else, but we have to admit, this new video may have topped them all. Yup. All six of them. This new video, which we assume is being prepared as its own series, is called Boobkhana. The name pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
In it, Block finds himself in Nagoya, Japan to perform a unique take of his famous Gymkhana stunts. But there is something different about this particular tire-screeching, smoke-creating run. Actually, there are two things different about it, or maybe even four depending on what you’re actually counting.
A lot of elements of Gymkhana are there, but as an added treat, Block invited a pair of, shall we say, "well-endowed" Japanese models to join him on his run. The two beautiful ladies are Rui Kiriyama and Yukie Kawamura and yes, they’re the obvious reasons why this video was coined “Boobkhana!”
The video pretty much shows you what it’s all about. Block performs his trademark stunts, spinning and screeching his Ford Fiesta through the course. But you can’t help but be a little distracted by his beautiful passengers and their "assets." Trust us when we tell you: it gets really, really distracting.
In the end, everybody got what they came for. Block stoked his adrenaline juices. Kiriyama and Kawamura were shrieking and screaming as they should. And we got what was offered to us, and then some.