The Specialty Equipment Market Association's show is held every year in Las Vegas' massive convention center. This property, with its numerous halls and extensive outdoor displays, is said to cover more than two million square feet of space, and for five days it's filled with the hottest new automotive products, throngs of people, and really cool trucks. Presented here are the best pickups, SUVs, and more from the most recent show.
1. Rugged Wrecker
This excellent example of postwar Dodge trucks was restored by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in 2002. The four-wheel-drive 1946 Power Wagon was redone in livery for Al & Pick's Garage, an actual shop that operated in Rochester, Michigan (near the museum). The truck is equipped with a Hyland wrecker boom and body and still has its original L-head inline-six under the hood.
2. 1964 Dodge Custom Sport Special
This Custom Sport pickup is one of only 50 vehicles authorized to be built with the top-dog 426cid Street Wedge V-8 motor. Chrysler claims this truck was never a cargo hauler but most likely a dragstrip queen back in its heyday.
3. Outdoorsman's Special
Assembled with the outdoor adventurer in mind, the stock 2009 Ram Laramie was already equipped with the highly functional RamBox, which includes plenty of storage space for stowing hunting or fishing gear. The Mopar team added its dual cat-back exhaust, lowered the suspension, and included a RamBox power outlet, Thule Moab basket, rack kit, and bed mat.
4. Hi-Po Hi-Pa Electric F-150
Built by PML Flightlink in collaboration with Ford, the electric Hi-Pa Drive F-150 has an output of up to 600 horsepower. The Hi-Pa Drive system replaces the mechanical drivetrain, gearbox, transmission, engine, exhaust, gas tank, and differential with a 40-kilowatt battery and four in-wheel motors. Running the wheel-motors as generators recaptures more of the kinetic energy lost during braking than obtained by other hybrid technologies with one or two body-mounted motors, according to project reps.
5. Tundra Ducati Transporter
Built on a Tundra CrewMax modified to accept a 6.5-foot bed, the truck has a motorized loading ramp that accommodates the only street-legal MotoGP bike produced: the 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR. Other modifications include flip-up bedsides, integrated tool storage, pop-up solar panels for accessory power, and a host of TRD Performance parts to help the truck handle all the extra equipment.
6. Heavy-Duty DeWalt Contractor Concept
This truck was designed to be the ultimate tool for contractors. DeWalt director of business development Jennifer Ervin says, for its concept F-150, the company "thought about how a contractor uses his truck on the job" and worked to add every conceivable application to turn it into a rolling workshop. These include Ford's new Work Solutions software with DeWalt's Tool Link, which helps ensure all necessary tools for a job are loaded before departure, a built-in charger for battery-powered equipment, and special storage compartments.
7. Scion xB Roach Coach
A wave of compact and microvans are coming to the U.S., and it may soon be time for a new Scion model to compete. Los Angeles designer Kenton Parker created this concept as a mini-catering truck. The custom-body xB has a stainless-steel kitchen and sink, griddle, industrial stove, and diamond-plate floors.
8. Mountain Rescue Forester
Designed for use by the ski patrol, this Forester includes a host of upgrades to help it storm snowbanks and rescue stranded vacationers. The Air Lift adjustable suspension provides up to 14 inches of ground clearance (up from the stock 8.9), front and rear skidplates protect the undercarriage, and an emergency-light package makes the vehicle stand out in a blizzard. In addition, the Subi sports extra body shielding, including fender flares and lower door cladding, as well as such rescue equipment as a toboggan and 9500-pound winch.
9. Stillen Silverado
This is one of the nicer trucks we saw at the show, and it combines performance with style. Stillen's 2008 Silverado was lowered three inches in front and five in the rear and rides on 24-inch wheels (this is far from a work truck). Adding plenty of power to the already stout V-8 is Magnuson's latest performance enhancer, the Radix Max MP 1900 TVS supercharger. L&G gave the truck its red and black exterior, Katzkin provided the leather and suede seats, and AP Racing was the source for the six-piston cross-drilled and slotted front brakes.
10. Trophy Truck F-150
This Trophy Truck PreRunner is powered by a Roush-built 426cid, 557-horse Ford V-8. It rides on three-inch King coil-over and bypass shocks, with 28 inches of travel in front and 32 in back. The exterior has been redone with HIDs, custom paint, Vision X off-road lights, and carbon-fiber bedsides and hood. It includes such non-racing details as a custom leather interior, air-conditioning, heat, power windows, and a refrigerator. Interested in buying it? This luxury race truck goes for $650,000.