ZZP Road Trip to SEMA 2014

Posted by Alex Darmos on

No great project or road trip begins without a little stress and drama. Anyone in the industry can tell you the best planning in the world can’t make up for surprise problems and unknowns, no matter how good the build engineers, timeline, data, and project management are. The ZZP SEMA2014 ATS project can validate that theory.
Our build was smooth, Ryan fabricated some amazing parts with the BorgWarner EFR 7163 in the last 2 weeks but we had a few small issues in this build process. The paint and body-kit wasn’t going exactly as planned, and more importantly the wheel/tire fitment was experiencing issues. Unfortunately Continental tires have limited size options to fit the 20” Vossen VFS-2 wheels, so ZZP had to try a few variations of tire models and sizes. With limited time and a little bit of deliberation, we ended up selecting Continentals Extreme Contact DW tires in a 245/40/ZR20 and 275/35/ZR20.
When we left ZZP on Thursday, we got about 20 miles down the road and the BC-Racing coil-over kit settled too low and wouldn’t allow for more height adjustment. Again, under a time crunch we had to return and rush to swap out the set for Matt M’s 19″ OZ UltraLeggera ATS wheelset also with Continentals Extreme Contact DW tires.
Once on the road the car was incredible with the BC-Racing coil-over kit and the Recaro Sportster CS seats providing hours of comfort! The prototype exhaust built by Tim C had a great robust tone, the exact tone people want to hear on a WOT and almost unnoticeable while cruising or under normal driving conditions.
Our first stop on the trip was in Chicago where we met up with ZZP team member Ryan Derrick and some of his crew so they could check out the car. Ryan and the crew loved the car and all the hard work we had put into it. Our next stop was in Omaha, where we stayed at a less than classy establishment that looked like a crappy low-rent college apartment. We were actually a little scared when we heard banjo music.
After a long 10 hour drive into Denver, Colorado we made another stop to rest up for the second leg of the journey. For those of you that think tumble weeds are only in the movies and cartoons, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that they are in fact real. And boy did we see a lot of them. The drive through Iowa into Denver proved to be quite challenging in the dark. Tumble weeds apparently can be as big as giant beach balls. Dodging them in the dark wasn’t an easy task, but the confidence and reassurance we received from our ZZP big 6pot / 4pot brake kit, BC-Racing suspension and Continental tires set our minds at ease, what with them being such a huge improvement over stock setup.
 
Leaving Denver, we set out for our next stop in the mountains of Summit County, Ryan’s old stomping grounds. We shot some great photos on the top of Loveland Pass and headed down to meet up with some old friends for some lunch. From Breckenridge Colorado we drove 11 hours non-stop to Las Vegas. The weather was good to us until the mountains in Utah, where the rain and cold temperatures started to creep up. The car performed great in the low oxygen, high altitude and the ZZP team couldn’t be happier with the development data from the activity.
We finally arrived in Vegas, safe and sound, with crowds of people admiring and complimenting the ATS at every stoplight and all down the Vegas roads. Ryan was very happy to tuck his baby into bed, knowing we only had two or three hours to prep and detail the car for the show.
As a vendor feature vehicle, we were placed outdoors in between the building and various activities. Placement of Ryan’s ZZP ATS couldn’t have worked out better. The ATS was picked out by the SEMA featured vehicle organizers solely on appearance and placed in a wonderful and strategically located spot directly in the front of the convention center main entrance. Our car is the first vehicle you see when you walk in and out of the building. Almost every person that walked by the car would stop, look, even try to open it, ultimately asking questions and talk about buying different parts. This was a great location, and for ZZP’s first ever SEMA activity, it was a total success. As if that wasn’t enough ZZP received some more great news.
The management team at BC-Racing was so impressed with the build of the ZZP Cadillac ATS, that they replaced an inside booth car with our ATS. This is a huge honor but came with a slight complication, as we had to remove 5 gallons of fuel from the car at 4:45pm, and only had 1 hour to do it. Luckily the awesome team at Cadillac of Las Vegas was willing to stay after the 5:00 hours to help us perform the task. ZZP is greatly thankful for the team!
Finally the Vossen/Continental wheel set was delivered, and giving us the opportunity to mount them at the end of day 1. Already this trip has been an amazing experience and we are looking forward to sharing more exciting news with the ZZP posse soon. Stay tuned for more ZZP excitement from SEMA2014!