Every year in November, the SEMA Show rolls into the convention center in Las Vegas to display the latest and craziest stuff in the automotive aftermarket. SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association. If it’s something new and something out of this world it will be on display at SEMA. The best way to show off your cool new products, for making cars even cooler, is to build something crazy to show to all the people at the show.
The show is not open to the public so those who attend are part of the industry, often buyers looking for what’s new and what’s hot. Thus the craziness of the cars that are shown. By crazy I mean something that looks like it could have only been conceived and built while under the influence of some serious drugs. Because of this, the SEMA show might be the best car show in the entire world. I’m not saying that car designers and automotive engineers should do drugs, but it sure is fun to see something extreme. I was fortunate enough to attend the most recent show and I thought I would show a few pictures just to show you what I mean by crazy and awesome.
What better way to begin SEMA highlights than with Farmtruck, that’s THE Farmtruck. Star of YouTube and Street Outlaws, any motorhead who has wasted hours on the internet knows Farmtruck. This 1970 Chevy C10 isn’t exactly like the one your dad had back in the mid 80s.
Under the hood of Farmtruck. Yes, that’s plumbing for NOS, and yes, the things under the hood are the only pretty things about Farmtruck.
Farmtruck isn’t much to look at but that’s what makes it such a great sleeper.
A most excellent Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80. No 4×4 is too big at SEMA.
When your brodozer gets too tall sometimes you have to move the headlights down a skosh. This just makes it more custom.
A wide-body C7 Corvette. Wide-body is a common theme at SEMA.
Are those turbos or machine guns sticking out of the hood of this Jeep? Yep.
A real car nut will know that this is a JDM Nissan Skyline from about 1976. It is certainly not stock, but then not much is at SEMA.
Custom built sand buggy, of course.
Sweet surf safari Suburban. About 1966.
My dad used to own something like this VW Bus. Too bad he sold back before it was cool. The more windows, the more it’s worth today.
More C7s at SEMA than anyone could count.
More Jeeps are painted with a thick bed liner material than with paint anymore. This is fine example of a custom Wrangler pickup.
A Holden Maloo. Kind of like a modern El Camino from Australia, except this one is left-hand drive so it’s probably not from Australia.
A Scion FR-S is not supposed to have a big fat blower sticking out of the hood. Safe to say this does not have the original engine in it.
A Mercedes McClaren SLR in metallic red. With a hood that long it has to be good.
The Diesel Rod from Welderup. These are the guys on the show Vegas Rat Rods. They do amazing work making rolling art that can be appreciated from many different standpoints. This rod has a 5.9 Cummins, in case it wasn’t obvious to you.
Welderup Rat Rod
The blower tearing through the hood on this 55 Chevy gasser built by Welderup is outrageous and awesome.
Automotive art at its best. 55 Chevy gasser by Welderup and the guys from the Vegas Rat Rods TV show on Discovery Channel.
Hemi rat rod power never looked so good.
Ford Model A rat rod by Welderup.
Inside the Welderup diesel rod. Every detail is well thought out while appearing so random.
Look at the coolant overflow bottle. It just works.
BMW 3 Series wagon pulling what looks like a bout a mid 70s BMW motorcycle.
The bike is cooler than the car.
Ford showed up with several 2015 F150s all decked out for the show. Most of them had one version or another of the Ecoboost engine.
I live in a place where two wheel drive pickups are unheard of, and when you see one they never look this good.
Lamborghini Huracan. The new replacement for the Gallardo.
Lamborghini Huracan. Quite a few of these were around the show because they are so new and so fantastic.
A diesel powered Mazda endurance prototype racer. Diesel power is great for endurance racing.
The many Mustangs that Ford brought to the show looked great.
The Rousch Trak Pack Mustang.
You can never have too many Lamborghini Aventadors to look at.
The view into the rear window of an Aventador is always a great view.
This electric car prototype is 3D printed by Local Motors. This is not necessarily practical for mass production (yet), but it proving to be a good way to build a prototype or to even manufacture on a limited basis.
A Dodge Viper homage to Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor Foundation.
The heavily modified 1965 Mustang with AWD. Ken Block is driving this car in the upcoming Gymkhana video.
A Shelby Daytona replica with a supercharged LSx. How fantastic is that?
While it’s not the legend that the original Daytona coupes were, some of these modern replicas are certainly much better cars to drive that the originals.
Several Camaros representing at the Chevy exhibit.
A Dodge Power Wagon built by Legacy out of Driggs, ID. Modern running gear under a classic body style. I’ll have mine with a Cummins please and thank you.
Another of many unique Tundras.
The Toyota Camry XSE. The S is for Sleeper.
Under the hood…er body of the Camry XSE. A supercharged 5.7 V8 producing about 850 HP.
With a tube-frame chassis, a supercharged V8, and rear-wheel drive, this car does the best job of hiding its speed.
The Toyota FT-1. The next Supra hopefully. This car is part of a joint development project between Toyota and BMW. Shut up and take my money!
Hard to believe a Toyota can have such radical styling. Hopefully when and if they build this car for the public they don’t change much.
The new Chevy Colorado ready to play.
Chevy Colorado, I suppose you can abbreviate with CO.
Yet another LSx swap in an old car. This is the new thing to do for 90% of resto-mods out there but I think it works so well that I never get tired of seeing it.
The 2014 Indy 500 winner hanging out at the Honda display.
Honda brought a whole gaggle of custom Fits to SEMA.
You will never guess what kind of car would a big honking turbo like this.
See, I told you you would never guess. Hyundai showing all the right stuff at SEMA.
One turbo is good, two turbos is outrageous, three turbos is crazy town. Crazy town is a great place to be.
A Scion FR-S with velocity stacks on a boxer engine. First time I have seen something like this since the old Volkswagen bugs of years ago used to have a similar mod common to them.
The velocity stacks make this thing interesting to look at. I imagine the sound it makes at 7000 rpm is amazing.
The Scion exhibit had a different modification for just about everyone.
Nothing says 1982 like rear window louvers on a sport coupe. The louvers on this Scion FR-S seems to work just fine in this modern era. Maybe louvers are going to make a comeback.
A Willy’s Jeep FC with tracks? Typical SEMA Show craziness.
The Local Motors Rally Fighter. It’s like a cross between a sports car and an extreme off-roader.
The design and development of this car was crowd funded.
No truck can be too big for SEMA, and if it has a death ray in the back, that’s okay too.
This is the Blue Demon, one of the first Corvette ZR1 prototypes from 2009. This car was on display in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY in February 2014 when a massive sinkhole opened up beneath the floor and swallowed 8 cars which had been on display. This one was lucky enough to end up on top of the pile so it was not damaged as much as some of the others. Chevrolet fixed the car up and restored to show room condition, then brought it to SEMA. I was happy to see it up and around since I had the pleasure of first seeing the car at the museum a few months before the gates of Hell tried to swallow it.
Twin turbos mounted under the back end of some lucky vehicle. With a little bit of extra plumbing, putting one or two turbos where the mufflers normally go actually works quite well.
A Kia K900. This is the lucky car with the twin turbos aft of the rear axle. That is not stock for this car.
A Kia Optima GT race car. Two of these cars won their class in the Pirelli GT World Challenge this past summer. Not the kind of car you would imagine in a race but they perform very well.
Plenty of low-riders at SEMA. This Impala is one of them. These cars don’t normally interest me but when they are well built anyone can respect them.
More chrome would not be possible.
The new Miata.
This is a club racing version. I think it looks like the best Miata ever.
This car certainly answers questions.
The Hot Wheels Darth Vader car. If the sith lord drove a car, this would be the one.
The Hot Wheels Twin Mill. Just like the one you used to race down a piece of plywood when you were a kid. Notice they even have a section of orange Hot Wheels track for this thing to drive in.
The Caterham. Perhaps the best track day car anywhere. Funny how some things never change, but then if it aint broken…
A classic Ford GT40. One fo the best cars Ford ever built that regular people don’t know anything about.
Not your average K5
Why haul a four-wheeler or side by side when you can haul a real four-wheeler.
Lexus LFA. This car seems low profile for SEMA, but this car tends to fly below the radar anywhere it goes. Often overlooked but it shouldn’t be.
Supercar design with Toyota quality. What could be better?
As if the Lamborghini Aventador needs Forgiato wheels to stand out…weel at SEMA it kind of does.
Not your normal Dodge Charger
Dodge Challenger T/A
Viper ACR for those that want to race on a track somehere. Can we call the Viper a Dodge again yet?
Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The left inner headlight is not a headlight, it’s an air intake to help the massive supercharger draw a breath in.
Dodge Challenger Hellcat, making American great.
A C6 Lingenfelter Corvette with a body kit installed to make it look like a C2. The first thing that gives it away is that rear view mirror. Then you notice the door and the illusion unravels. Looks really good either way.
The back of the C6 to C2 body conversion. The C2 only had two taillights on each side, and it did not have a rear hatch that would open.
A Tesla Model S modified as the Saleen four sixteen. Mostly an appearance package, but it appears good to me.
As if driving a Model S was not already an exclusive thing, the Saleen version must really make you special.
When you are surrounded by Lamborghinis and Ferraris you must be in a good place.
The Richard Petty Dodge Challenger. It’s no super bird but it’s still the King.
I could camp this way and be very happy.
BMW i8. This hybrid is another rule changer in alternative fuel technology.
This car should never be thought of as just another slow hybrid.
The ultimate low-rider. Somewhere underneath there is a Ram pick-up.
This is not the kind of car where you try to figure out why. All you do with this kind thing is try to appreciate all the time and effort someone put into this build. Even if you don’t like it you have to appreciate the effort.
Since this thing has no top it’s important to have plenty of speaker so you can hear the radio when you are on the freeway, as if this thing ever sees the freeway.
If the bed didn’t have a tilt feature, how would anyone ever be able to see the video screens in the back.
I’m pretty sure that all video screens must not be in the view of the driver but I guess we can let this one slide.
BMW Z4 GT racer
Does that say M Power or MMMMMMMMM, Power!
All the old S10 pickups are proving to be a decent platform for you favorite hig-power motor to run down the drag strip. Even if your favorite motor is a Cummins 6BT with a turbo bigger than a Smart car.
6 Door Power…
No shortage of GT-ish BMWs at SEMA.
Very few Lamborghini Murcielagos anymore at SEMA. This one still looks great even if it’s getting on in years.
1953 Chevy truck. The best restoration at SEMA. Very very clean and very tastefully done.
Even the interior is perfect on this one.
Nothing on this Chevy is not perfectly done.
Rims and tires look just right.
The guy who built this is very talented.
When is the current style GTR going to look dated or boring? Probably never.
Always good to see an F1 car, even if it’s from a few years ago.
The 2014 Pirelli World Chanllenge Champion, Bentley Continental GT3. I have seen this car on the track as well and it is amazing.
A Saleen Challenger.
I’m not sure what you are supposed to do with this thing but it looks cool.
An Elio. Should be in production soon. Gasoline powered, 80 mpg.
When the tires on your Jeep get too big for the fenders, just move the fenders.
More camping SEMA style.
Because 6 door RAM with a Cummins.
A 7.0 Hemi with a blower is just a bit of an upgrade for this Jeep.
This would work well as a hunting truck. Whether you are hunting deer, elk, Taliban, or any other animal.
A Wrangler with a VW TDI engine. Not your normal engine swap for a Wrangler
Looks like a great way to get a Wrangler with a diesel engine.
Lingenfelter Reaper. Chevy’s answer to the Ford Raptor as answered by Lingenfelter since Chevy won’t answer it themselves.
The Ford Ranger that we here in the U.S. don’t get to buy.
The first gen. Bronco as reinvented by Icon. Nothing better than putting modern technology in something old. This is the best of both worlds, the reliability and performance of something new with the rugged good looks and classic styling of the past.
An old Bronco with a Coyote. These animals go well together.
Electric Bigfoot. When this thing is smashing cars you can actually hear the sound of the cars being smashed. I’m not sure if this is cool or not.
A 1917 American LaFrance Type 12. This company is still around but they build fire engines.
The massive 14 liter straight six of the American LaFrance fire engine turned speedster.
One of only a few GM Futureliners left in the world. Considering these were built in 1939 they are very futuristic in a Disneyland, Tomorrowland in 1984 sort of way.
GM built 12 Futureliners to display the technology of tomorrow for the parade of progress which began at the World’s Fair in 1939. They were used until the mid 50s and then ended up going their separate ways. Some have completely disappeared and some have been restored to their original glory such as this one.
The “Cadillac” of pick-up trucks.
I have seen this kind thing done many times but this one was done so nicely.
An old second gen. Integra made to be very fast.
That is what you call a big honkin’ turbo. And they say FWD can’t be any fun. Too bad they felt the need to put a tasteless sticker on that engine. This kind of stupidity often ruins an otherwise fantastic build.
This is what Farmtruck would look like if anyone cared.
That is a rotary aircraft engine under the hood of a Chevy C10. Why? Because it’s cool.
No doubt this thing is not that great to drive but nobody can say it isn’t custom.
The ultimate tail-gating Tundra.
If you had this thing in the stadium parking lot, you might not want to actually go into the stadium once game time hits.
Look, a Porsche with custom wheels.
And an LSx swap. Just when you thought you had a seen an LSx in about every kind of car out there…
It’s sort of a modern Firebird. These custom Camaros are becoming somewhat common. Maybe GM should bring back the other F body. Since Pontiac is no longer with us it might have to be a Buick.
A very nice old Ford.
It’s a modern interpretation of the GTO that is a lot cooler than the last modern interpretation of the GTO that actually came from Pontiac. If GM brings this one back as well, it too will have to be a Buick.
Another one of my favorites of the old stuff. This 1940ish Cadillac is amazing.
Very smooth! The taillights are in the rear bumper.
Why pretend to be something you are not? This looks like an Acura Integra trying to be a Mercedes.
Even if it’s not an Integra, it doesn’t really look like a Mercedes.
Something with nostrils like these to breathe through is going to be fast. This is actually an S10, or at least was.
This mid 60s Buick Riviera was a real head turner.
LS of course. I like the covers over the coils and valve covers.
Remember Panoz? The Esperante is still around.
How about a King Cobra? It’s back, at least in concept form.