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.
11. Urban Tractor
Bet you never expected to see a smart fortwo in Truck Trend. Neither did we. Black Deere Automotive's Urban Tractor was painted John Deere green with the appropriate yellow wheels, fitted with tire-pressure-monitoring sensors. There are four Wolo air horns (and a compressor for them) and a full audio/video system. This Euro-spec Smart arrived at SEMA after a cross-country trip in which it ran on biodiesel.
12. 1971 ICON FJ43
There were a few of TLC's Icon off-road vehicles on display, including this 1971 FJ43. The FJ43 uses a modern turnkey LS 6.0-liter fuel-injected V-8 putting out 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. The power is managed with a 4L65E automatic transmission and sent through an Atlas II transfer case and Dynatrac axles. The FJ rides on the first-production Icon FJ43 extended-wheelbase alloy body with Black Sand powdercoat finish.
13. Nissan Titan PRO-4X
Bully Dog's off-road warrior was built solely to tackle sand dunes. It has fabricated bumpers, flared fiberglass bedsides and fenders, a bedcage, roof rack, and skidplates. The Titan rides on PRG long-travel suspension, Sway Away shocks and axle shafts, and Eibach springs. Additional power is provided through a high-performance coated exhaust and rapid-flow intake, and all power is managed through a Bully Dog PMT engine-management controller. A PCI Icom race radio and Lowrance Baja540 navigation system provide constant updates for driver and navigator.
14. 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS
This Chevy Silverado features a CST long-travel front suspension, Deaver progressive rear leaf springs, Fox front coil-over shocks, and rear triple bypass shocks on towers. The suspension package gives the Silverado 16 inches of travel up front and 14 out back. Other modifications on this Chevy include an Eaton rear locker, Bully Dog power programmer, Wilco Automotive Products custom front and rear bumpers, and Glassworks front fenders.
15. Flaming River 1988 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Extended Hood
This Peterbilt's body, cab, sleeper, hood, frame, transmission, final drive, and fuel tanks were completely redone. The aluminum wheels are powdercoated black with chrome hub/center covers and lug caps. Sound deadening is installed in the cab and sleeper, as were new carpeting, headliner, interior door panels, and wood dash. Moving the beast is a stout Cummins 400 engine with NT3B Holset turbo, and an Eaton "Road Ranger" 15-speed overdrive transmission.
16. 2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Rubicon Express' Wrangler defines all that a Wrangler should be as the ultimate rock crawler. The Wrangler has been modified with a Rubicon Express JKLA 4.5 suspension and racing jounce bumpers in the front and rear, with Walker Evans beadlock wheels and Goodyear 37-inch MTR tires. A Burnsville Off Road 6.1 HEMI conversion is attached to Dynatrac Dana 60 front and rear axles.
17. 2007 Nissan Titan
Rancho/Dynomax has outfitted its 2007 Nissan Titan with a Rancho four-inch lift kit and 9000XL series shocks. Liquid Metal 17-inch truck wheels ride on Maxxis tires. The Rhino UTV in the bed is held by a Twisted Tin Motorsports custom flatbed. A gear rack, aluminum loading ramps, PIAA lights, a Powertank portable air-up system, and Defiant light bar add to the list of exterior mods. The Rhino UTV gets matching 14-inch wheels and "RockGear" front and rear bumpers. Sony mobile electronics deck out the Titan's interior.
18. H&R Springs Transit Connect
The Transit Connect is lowered with H&R performance coil-over springs and 19-inch O-Z wheels custom built by the Tire Rack. Pirelli PZero tires keep the van planted to concrete. The van has custom Ford blue paint with racing stripes, and on the inside a custom Piloti interior and Scosche custom audio.
19. Expeditions West Rubicon
This is the EarthRoamer XV-JP, an outdoor adventure vehicle based on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. EarthRoamer builds a variety of specialty off-road adventure vehicles, based on Ford pickups and Jeeps. This one was built to spec for Expeditions West, in anticipation of a six-month trip to South and Central America. It's made for extreme off-roading, yet can serve as mobile home and support vehicle.
20. Striker R
This F-150 was inspired by the Ford Mustang GT500KR. It has blue racing stripes that run the length of the truck, and the front end has a black anodized diamond mesh grille and twin hood scoops. The Katzkin leather interior matches the body, with silver and blue leather surfaces and seats. Ford's 5.4-liter V-8 was given a Kenne Bell Blowzilla intercooled supercharger and now puts out 500 horsepower.
21. Going Retro
This 1998 GMC C3500 Sierra has a Retrokit 1960 front fascia--it'll look like a 1960 C-Series in the rearview mirror. Other body modifications include rear dualie fenders and running boards, a shaved tailgate handle, taillight covers, visors, Texas tail spoiler, and a tonneau cover. The truck has been dropped six inches on Belltech suspension and is powered by a fuel-injected 350 with a K&N air filter and power chip.
22. 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Golight's Grand Cherokee features a RockKrawler seven-inch lift, HD steering, anti-roll bar quick disconnects, and Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires on 15-inch wheels. It has a rear locker, custom driveshafts, a Kargo rack, Hi-Lift jack, KC lights, emergency-light bar, custom bumpers, GoLights, and a winch. The cabin has an extensive communication and entertainment system.
Built to take you into the wild and deeper, this 4WD Sportsmobile E-350 Super Duty van, powered by the 6.0-liter turbodiesel engine, has a 24-inch articulating suspension with Old Man Emu shocks and 35-inch tires. Other goodies include Dynatrac axles, Warn hubs, and an Atlas II transfer case. The interior contains living accommodations for when it's time to camp out, with a sleeping and cooking quarters, custom cabinetry with sink, shower, and portable restroom.
24. Did You Say Utes?
Could this be a preview of things to come? Disc Brakes Australia's Holden Ute pickup truck was built for the Brute Ute racing category in the Australia and New Zealand touring series. A race-modified suspension was added, along with DBA's 340mm brake upgrade, AP brake calipers, and Hawk performance disc pads. Powering the truck is the 5.7-liter LS1 Chevy V-8.
25. 2009 Scion xB by MV Designz
Two--count 'em!--Scion xBs caught our eye at SEMA because they showed the microtruck potential of these cars. This xB could've been called H2 SUT Jr. It looks like a little Hummer, right down to the bright orange paint. MV Designz converted the cargo area to a small bed by adding a motorized tailgate (after cutting away a significant part of the Scion). MV also added a wide-body kit, frontand rear fascia, Mat Hatch pop-up gas door, TRD lowering springs, TRD big brake kit, and 22-inch wheels.