SEMA has become more and more of an international show over the last decade, and we're always surprised by the occasional overseas model showcased on the floor or outside the exhibit halls. Here are a few of the forbidden-fruit models we saw, as well as some of the other smaller players in the truck and SUV segments.
Suzuki Carry by Local Motors
In addition to its Rally Fighter vehicle, Local Motors showed this ready-for-battle Suzuki Carry. Never heard of one? Well, if you've ever stayed at a resort or went to college and saw those little flat-bed maintenance trucks, you get the picture. This tough-looking specimen features a 4500-lb winch, a sheetmetal bumper with tube guard, a custom-fabricated light bar, an on-board air compressor, and like the Subaru Brat from the 1980s, two seats (but front-facing, this time) with seatbelts
2012 Local Motors Rally Fighter by Griffin Thermal Products
One of the most unique concepts seen in the off-road world in the last few years has been that of Local Motors. The concept of crowd-sourcing has been around for a few years in the tech community, but Local Motors applied the concept to vehicle building, and the result of that approach and philosophy is the Rally Fighter. Designed to use readily-available off-the-shelf parts, the Rally Fighter employs a plenty-potent GM LS3 ERod crate V-8 engine, and a proven GM 4L85 E automatic transmission, and a tried-and-true Ford 9-inch rear axle.
The no-nonsense off-road machine also features a full tubular space frame, and the interior features Master Craft bucket seats, an in-dash navigation system and a Momo steering wheel.
The Soviet Empire may no longer exist, but the Kombat T98 looks like a sufficiently menacing vehicle to have starred in a Cold War movie. The Kombat armored SUV hails from St. Petersburg, Russia, and features a GM 8.1-liter big-block V-8 and Allison transmission. A Duramax diesel is optional, and prices start at $138,000.
1931 Mack C-Cab "Tanker Beer" by Bulldog Lighting
This vintage big rig is ready to party with six taps, and a continuous 18-keg tap capacity, with the on-board capacity for three more to keep the festivities going. The original four-cylinder diesel has long since been left behind in favor of a more modern and more powerful Chevrolet 454 big-block V-8. Late-night illumination is provided by Bulldog Lightning Spikes, and entertainment (aside from the liquid sustenance) comes from two flat-screen TVs and a Bose audio system.
Landy Changhe Suzuki
What’s weirder than a Chinese knockoff of a Japanese knockoff of a German car? That’s what the Landy Changhe Suzuki is in a nutshell. Weirder still is its two-tone purple and pink paint, bulbous front end, and heart-shaped wheels. If you’re still not sold on the Changhe's weirdness then how’s this -- its rear window displays a message: "I love you. Never give up." Maybe they should’ve.
2012 Mazda CX-5 Dempsey
The CX-5 Dempsey is an homage to actor and Mazda race car driver Patrick Dempsey, reflecting each of his interests in various details. The paintjob features contrasting gray and matte black highlighted by red and black graphics. The black chrome 20-inch alloy wheels feature a red highlight in one of the painted twin spokes to accentuate the red painted brake calipers. The model also features a Specialized road bike and Thule rooftop carrier for do-anything versatility.
Of most interest to Mazda enthusiasts, is the model's powertrain. The CX-5 Dempsey features the brand's Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The engine's 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque promise a spirited driving experience. Could this be a sneak preview of an engine option for the CX-5 coming in the months ahead?
2012 Mazda CX-5 180
The CX-5 180 concept is designed to highlight the variety and diversity of outdoor recreation activities available in Mazda USA's home state of California. To that end, the 180 features Burton snowboards and a Rusty surfboard. The topographical diversity is also highlighted in a custom paint job showing the seasonal high and low temperatures and GPS coordinates of popular destinations Big Bear Lake and Point Dume. Various shades of blue are employed to symbolize depth and height. The vehicle rides on 20-inch Mazda design wheels and Goodyear tires, and the five-point grille is accented with a matte red lower bezel. A Racing Beat exhaust finishes off the rear.
The multi-hued theme continues in the interior, with the seating surfaces employing lighter-blue seat cushions, changing to darker-blue seatbacks and headrests. The leather upholstery is accented by red and white French seam stitching.
2012 Mazda CX-5 Urban
With matte paint finishes all the rage on the custom scene, and even among some factory offerings, Mazda decided to take things a step further with its CX-5 Urban concept. The vehicle features a base matte black paintjob accented by multiple shades of black mica refractive paint segmented by triangular sections on the exterior sheet metal. As a complement to the unique paintjob, the CX-5 Urban features 22-inch Ace Alloy wheels and Nitto Tires.
2008 Range Rover Sport HSE
Range Rovers are traditionally known for their understated, conservative elegance, but this 2008 Range Rover sport is anything but understated or conservative. Featuring loud orange and black PPG paintjob on top of an Arden wide body kit and Asanti 22-inch wheels, this would definitely be your ride of choice to make a big appearance. If the exterior details aren't enough to make an impression, the interior features Buffalo, perforated leather and suede hides.