As in years past, the good folks behind the wildly successful Gran Turismo
video game series tapped the Truck Trend Network to help judge their awards
at SEMA 2017, and after spending two days poring over the show and considering the entrants, the choice became clear. Our nomination for the Truck/SUV category was the 1966 Ford Bronco built by Maxlider Brothers Customs.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 1966 Ford Bronco Rear View
Sporting a 26-inch body and frame stretch, the Maxlider Bronco
incorporates an additional row of seating and two rear doors, turning the machine into a bona fide family off-roader. The build is so clean and the bodysides so straight that we had to go back and double-check history: Wait, did Ford actually make a four-door Bronco back then?
With the all-new 2020 Bronco very likely sporting four doors of its own, the Maxlider Brothers (real names Erik and Kris Barnlund) wanted to show Ford that a family-style off-roader could still look rugged and tough, and hopefully the 21st-century version will be this cool-looking. We’d also love to see a hot powertrain in the new one, as the Maxlider Bronco has us spoiled by a Roush-supercharged Ford 5.0L V-8 with 600 hp.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 1966 Ford Bronco Engine Bay
Gran Turismo hosted a party at the famous Marquee Las Vegas nightclub to celebrate the winners of each category, which in addition to Truck/SUV included Asian Import, Domestic, European, and Hot Rod. Erik Barnlund accepted the award for the Bronco, cheered on by his brother Kris and the rest of the Maxlider team. It was a well-deserved win.
However, making a final decision to nominate the Maxlider Bronc wasn’t easy. There were dozens of other trucks that were in contention, and we found something to love about each of them. Listed below are some honorable mentions that deserve a shoutout.
Summit Truck Bodies’ Hellcat-Powered 1973 International Loadstar 1700
To paraphrase an old children’s rhyme, “if all the engines were Hellcat engines
, oh what a world it’d be!” Summit Truck Bodies took that ethos to heart when they set out to restore this 1973 International Loadstar 1700, swapping out its old motor for a supercharged Dodge 6.2L V-8 producing 707 hp. Backed up by a six-speed manual transmission and suspended over a 2010 Ram 5500 chassis, the Loadstar is actually capable of doing some heavy lifting, as evidenced by the electric-over-hydraulic crane mounted to a Summit service body. Company reps promised us the Hellcat-engined truck actually gets pressed into duty every now and then.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema International Loadstar Front View
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema International Loadstar Engine Bay
1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62 — OM606 Turbodiesel Swap
Built by CATUNED Off-Road, this cherry Land Cruiser looks a lot like several other restoration jobs we’ve seen. Where the square-lamp FJ62 sets itself apart, though, is the Mercedes-Benz OM606 3.0L I-6 diesel under the hood. With reasonable power, great low-end torque, and plenty of reliability, it’s a no-brainer for CATUNED’s high-quality off-road build. CATUNED created a custom adapter plate to mate the engine up to a five-speed manual transmission, turning all four Toyo Open Country tires mounted on beadlock wheels.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser Fj62 Front View
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser Fj62 Om606 Diesel Badge
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport “Shadowrunner”
Brady Wise’s creation was built with an overland prerunner vibe, evidenced by its aggressive stance, Baja fenders, and bed rack¬–mounted Cascadia tent. General Grabber red-letter tires ensure plenty of grip in the dirt, and we’d love to see this machine hooning across the open desert before stopping for the night, deploying that tent, and cracking a few cold ones.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 2016 Toyota Tacoma Shadowrunner Front View
2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty
Theresa Contreras’ 2017 Ford Super Duty was featured prominently at Anzo USA’s booth, and it’s not hard to see why. While many SEMA builds get over-the-top modifications that detract, rather than enhance, a vehicle’s appearance and performance, Theresa’s truck looks subtle and sleek, with an Icon Vehicle Dynamics coilover suspension, custom bedcage, and gorgeous black and grey paint. The wider front and rear bodywork are vey well integrated, making the whole truck look more than a bit like a Super Duty Raptor. There’s a time and place for wretched excess, but we think Theresa’s pickup is a prime example of the opposite.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 2017 Ford F Series Super Duty Anzo
2018 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned
Toyota’s tiny C-HR is no rocket in production form, with a CVT transmission and slightly anemic 144hp engine that require some flogging to get going. Both have been ditched from this particular C-HR, owned by Sean Morris. Featuring a Garrett GTX3076R water-cooled turbocharger and custom five-speed manual transmission, this thing rockets to 60 mph in less than three seconds, according to the manufacturer. That’s thanks to 600 hp, which must require some serious arm muscles to operate, considering it’s still a front-wheel-drive crossover—torque steer is almost certainly on the menu. Still, it looks like an absolute hoot to drive, and anything that fun deserves some love.
| 2017 Gran Turismo Awards Sema 2018 Toyota C Hr R Tuned