Every year, thousands of people flock to the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to check out the hottest fads and latest creations the aftermarket has to offer. With the economy on a slow mend, the automotive aftermarket has experienced a rise in sales and new products. Truck owners are holding onto their vehicles, and opting for DIY projects to keep them rolling longer. While there will be plenty of toys to explore in the New Product Showcase, it's really the vehicles scattered throughout the 3.2-million-square-foot facility that draw the most attention. Here are our 25 favorite vehicles from the show.
01: The Yeti
This custom Dodge Ram cab rides on ultra-tall, tractor-esque multipiece wheels, and sports a plow mounted on the front end. We can't think of what kind of specialized purpose this modified truck might serve, but since it's a SEMA show car, there probably isn't one.
02: 2012 AEV Brute Double Cab
American Expeditionary Vehicles is known for building cool Jeeps, and the Brute Double Cab is no exception. For years, Jeep enthusiasts have been clamoring for one of two things: a Hemi V-8-powered Wrangler and a Jeep pickup. The Brute Double Cab is both. AEV starts with a Wrangler Unlimited, and then stretches it to create a 5-foot pickup bed, and crams the 475-hp, 475-lb-ft 6.4-liter Hemi from the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 under the Brute's hood. The modifier then gives the Brute Double Cab heavy-duty front and rear axles and 37-inch Super Swamper tires. To complete the Brute's new look, AEV finally bolts on unique mil-spec bumpers and AEV-designed wheels.
03: Willys-Overland Jeepster
This beautifully restored Willys-Overland Jeepster is one of the original crossovers. Built only from 1948 to 1950, the Jeepster was designed to fill the perceived gap in Jeep's lineup between the original CJ and the Willys Wagon and Truck. This Jeepster was on display at Rugged Ridge's booth, and stood out among the lifted Wranglers that surrounded the little convertible. While we weren't able to grab details like the Jeepster's year or engine (throughout its two-year run, it had three engine options: the World War II Jeep's Go Devil I-4, the Hurricane I-4, and the Lightning I-6), it was very cool to see a rare and often forgotten piece of Jeep's long and illustrious history in the metal.
04: UPS 1953 Ford F-100 Panel Wagon Hot Rod
One of the surprises at this year's SEMA show was this 1953 Ford F-100 Panel Wagon Hot Rod created for UPS. The delivery giant took this vintage Ford F-100 panel van and restored it before adding the distinctive brown livery. Slammed, the UPS Panel Van backs up its newfound aggressive look with a Ford Racing V-8 wedged under the hood. Inside, the UPS F-100 gets a rollcage, and, befitting the delivery theme, a hardwood floor and UPS-branded padding on the walls.
05: Big Oly Ford Bronco Trophy Truck
Big Oly is all kinds of awesome. The original Big Oly was a Bronco-turned-trophy truck by Parnelli Jones in the early 1970s. This reincarnated Big Oly was built with Jones' help to pay tribute to the original--but plus-sized. Madruga hand-built Big Oly's fiberglass Bronco body on a Sandco chassis, and then bolted a Ford 5.7-liter V-8 that produces 725-hp and 650 lb-ft of torque under its hood. The most unique part about Big Oly, though, is its wing. Don't see it? We didn't at first either, but the cabin's roof actually doubles as a downforce-improving wing. Cool, huh?
06: Ram 392 Quick Silver
The Ram 392 Quick Silver shows off Mopar's vision for a high-performance truck. It began life as a humble Ram R/T, but the SRT group's 470-hp, 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 was slotted into its engine bay, while it also got new headers, an exhaust cutout, a cold-air intake, and a dual-exhaust system. A Brembo brake system with 15-inch front rotors and six-piston calipers keeps things in check, and the truck rides 2 inches lower than stock on new suspension. The body is painted silver and the roof is gloss black, while the 22-inch wheels, grille, mirrors, and some interior parts are finished in red. A Mopar bed cover with integrated spoiler is meant to improve downforce at speed, while Kicker speakers add more musical accompaniment.
07: Toyota Tundra Ultimate Motocross Truck
Why is this the ultimate motocross truck? Because DC Shoes' motocross riders spilled their guts on everything they would want in a truck, and West Coast Customs made it happen. The Tundra Double Cab 4x4, equipped with a 5.7-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic, is transformed into a roughrider coated in a custom rough-textured paint by Line-X. It receives a suspension lift, courtesy of Camburg Racing, and shocks are provided by Fox. Goodies include a roof rack that doubles as a viewing deck, fold-up side beds, and a suicide tailgate. A gas pump and water pressure washer are stashed under the bed, along with an air compressor.
08: 2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty by Superlift Suspensions
Matchbox and Superlift Suspension partnered up to produce the ultimate off-road machine: the Matchbox Superlift Brush Truck. Sitting atop a 10-inch lift system on 41-inch Interco Irok tires, the "Oh, So Orange" and black powdercoated body is sure to save the day with code-three emergency lights and sirens and a firefighting utility bed complete with equipment.
09: Icon Ford Bronco
For years, Ford fans and off-road enthusiasts have been calling for a return of the Ford Bronco. Rather than waiting for what may never come, Los Angeles-based Icon decided to bring the Bronco back itself, packing a Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 from the Ford Mustang, no less. The engine is paired with an Aisin Warner five-speed manual transmission and Atlas II part-time 4x4 transfer case. This Bronco is equipped with Stoptech brakes and a coilover suspension setup using Eibach coils and Fox Racing shocks. Color us impressed.
10: 1944 Mack Truck Fire Truck
Some of the sweetest rides are seen outside the convention halls. That's where we spotted this custom 1944 Mack Truck fire truck powered by a Viper SRT10 V-10. It also features rear suspension and axle from a 2008 Ram, Dodge Ram SRT10 brakes, 24-inch American Force wheels, and custom leather seating.
11: 2011 Ford F-150
Extreme off-roading by Randy Ellis Design. Petersen's 4Wheel & Off-Road's 2011 Ford F-150 is equipped with a Dynatrac ProRock 80 rear axle and ProRock 60 front IFS, RCV axle shafts, ARB air lockers, and JE Reel driveshafts. It also features Randy Ellis Design bumpers, Warn winch, TJM and KC off-road lights, boat-sided doors and bed, Tuffy Security bed box, and rollcage. Randy Ellis Design also customized the suspension with Deaver rear springs, Icon Vehicle Dynamics front springs, Fox shocks, and shortened front and rear chassis and body.
12: Brian Deegan's F-150 Monster Truck
Amid a smoke show and massive doughnuts courtesy of his Ford Fiesta Rally Cross Car, Brian Deegan unveiled Metal Mulisha's latest effort, this Ford F-150 monster, which he will drive at Monster Jam events around the country. Deegan's Metal Mulisha F-150 Monster Truck is gigantic in all aspects: The F-150 weighs close to 10,000 pounds, and the beast rides on 66-inch tires, which are barely taller than Deegan. The AWD truck is powered by a mid-engine supercharged Ford V-8.