Truck Trend’s Best of the 2016 SEMA Show
News, Rumors, Trends, Stuff
This issue we’re changing things up a bit. Instead of our regularly scheduled news stories we’re bringing you our favorite finds from inside the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Held annually in Las Vegas, the SEMA Show has grown to cover more than a million square feet of floor space and draws in nearly 200,000 automotive enthusiasts. While it’s not open to the public, the SEMA Show has become one of the largest car shows in the world. So to quench the thirst of all of those hoping for a small glimpse into the show, here’s a compilation of the Truck Trend staff’s favorites from this year’s show!
For more of the 2016 SEMA Show, or more of our regular automotive industry news, click on over to www.TruckTrend.com!
More Power (Wagon)There’s not a whole lot of information available about this amazing classic Dodge Power Wagon, but we loved it the same nonetheless. What we do know is that it was built by Five R Trucks out of Golden, Colorado, and was featured on their Lifted Life TV finale. Built for Seymour Paints, the truck features a 5.9L Cummins diesel engine, American Force wheels, Nitto Tires, a BDS suspension, and Rigid Industries lights.
Sand BlasterIt’s not a truck or SUV, but this custom built sand car definitely caught our attention. Owned by Sal Garcia and modified by Trucknuts Garage, this Revenge Racing Predator rocks a Kenne Bell supercharged Turnkey GM 6.0L LS2 V-8 engine, Fortin four-speed transaxle, 934 CVs, and Gear One hubs. The exterior is a B&B Powder Coating Grind Candy Finish. The color is a combination of Transparent Copper, Ink Black, and Black Jack powders.
In The RoughOne of the more unique vehicles was Diamond Eye Performance’s ’48 Ford F5 COE Hauler. Restored from the ground up, this truck now sports a ’85 GM C30 chassis, front and rear air ride suspension, a 1-ton GM 14-bolt dualie rear axle, and a 12-valve Cummins engine that’s juiced up to produce 550 hp and 1,100 lb-ft of torque. An Allison 1000 transmission sends all that power to Toyo tires mounted on American Force wheels.
Desert LuXuryAs if Ford’s Raptor wasn’t luxurious enough already, the folks at Deberti Design out of Pismo Beach, California, rolled out their version of the legendary off-road pickup. The factory suspension has been changed out for one built by Foutz Motorsports and now pulls 19 inches of front travel and 25 inches of rear. The Fox racing shocks are upsized to 4-inch diameter units, and the 35-inch BFG A/T tires are replaced with 39-inch Baja Project T/As. KC lights, PRP seats, a Kicker audio system, a Mark Williams rear end, and Alcon brakes round out the package.
Big Boy ToyTonka teamed up with Dave’s Garage in Simi Valley, California, to restore this clean ’47 Chevy pickup. The truck has a Cummins 5.9L diesel engine, Roadwire leather interior, replacement panels from LMC Truck, a custom wood bed, and PPG paint. The truck is planned to spend the year traveling the country as a marketing tool for Tonka.
MillionaireWhether you believe it or not, word on the street is that this truck will sell for a million dollars when it’s done. The Chevy HD has a full chromoly steel chassis and rollcage, massive King race shocks, and a new Battleborn 1150 front differential that they say should be capable of handling 3,000 hp. Under the hood is a fully built Duramax 6.6L diesel V-8 engine that is backed by an Allison transmission. The truck isn’t complete yet, but when it is, it’s going to be amazing.
The BootleggerDaystar brought out an awesome ’41 Dodge Power Wagon that was built by the company’s employees built in just 50 days. Motivation is provided by an Edelbrock E-Force supercharged Chevrolet LS3 V-8 engine that churns out 750 hp. A Dana 60 front and GM 14-bolt rear axle handle the power. The copper accents are amazing and the moonshine still in the bed adds a fun touch.
Natural PatinaJust when we thought the rat rod fad was winding down out came another round of astonishing builds. This ’38 Diamond T custom hauler is powered by a 600 hp 24-valve Cummins diesel engine that’s backed by a Dodge 48RE automatic transmission. The chassis is fully custom, and the bright work is a copper patina. The suspension is air ride with a triangulated 4-link in the rear. Weaver Customs in Sandy, Utah, built this piece of art-meets-function.
Extra SuperFord’s ’17 Super Duty dominated this year’s SEMA Show. One of the more unique examples was found in Ford’s booth and built by Mad Industries. The aluminum-alloy body was dressed in a striking black BASF paint scheme with chrome and candy red accents. Most impressive are the 28x8.25-inch FUEL Off-Road forged wheels. Tires are FUEL Off-Road Gripper ATs in 305/30R28. The truck’s suspension is lowered using Crown Suspension components and Deaver springs.
Old Meets NewWe love old trucks on new chassis, and this ’69 Dodge D200 is a prime example. The old four-door body was dropped on a 2015 Ram 3500 frame. The 6.7L Cummins diesel engine was tuned up by Blacks Diesel with a twin-turbo kit from BD Diesel, a BD Diesel X Flow intake, and Pulse manifold, along with ARP head studs. The suspension is from Kelderman, and Fox shocks control the ride. American Force wheels with 37x13.50R22 Toyo Open Country R/T tires round out the build.
Spicy ChickenIn a sea of crazy Jeep Wranglers we spotted a beaming light of normalcy in the Nitto Tire booth. Built by Off-Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, this ’17 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sports the full catalog of EVO Manufacturing parts. From dealership to SEMA Show in just two weeks, this Wrangler rides on King coilover shocks, Dynatrac axles, KMC Machete beadlock wheels, and 40-inch Nitto Mud Terrain tires. LED lights from KC brighten the night, and the interior features custom Roadwire leather.
AddictiveThe mad scientists over at Addictive Desert Design in Phoenix, Arizona, brought out a pair of radical off-roaders. A ’16 Nissan Titan XD sports coilovers, bypasses, and air bumps from ICON Vehicle Dynamics, Atlas leaf springs, 37-inch General tires, Venom front and rear bumpers, and a bed cage by ADD. Along with the Titan XD was a ’17 Ford F-150 Raptor outfitted for gun manufacturer Springfield Armory. ADD provided an intercooler upgrade, bump stop upgrade, larger Fox shocks, rock slider side steps, and its Honeybadger front and rear bumpers.
In DisguiseOne of the wildest trucks at the show was the Old Smokey F1 found in Auto Meter’s booth. This purpose built race truck was built by Chuckles Garage in Santa Rosa, California, and is intended for land speed racing, road racing, and even drifting. Under the hood is a 1,200hp Cummins engine built by ALC Racing Engines. A sequentially shifted 47RH transmission sends power to a Winters quick change rear axle.
Clean and MeanThe cleanest classic we stumbled across was this ’52 International owned by Cindy and Dave Gutelius. The interior was done by Recovery Room and the chassis by Art Morrison. Kline Woodworking did the bed, and the wheels are from Foose Design. The engine is a Ford Boss 302 and it’s backed by a Tremec six-speed manual transmission. The truck was built by Korek Designs and coated with PPG paint.
Bull RideOne of the most unique vehicles at the 2016 SEMA Show was this crazy ’48 Willys pickup, customized to pay homage to the Wild West. Of note, the gear lever is actuated by a revolver, with the twin-stick transfer case controlled by six-gun chambers. Furthermore, the bed rails are actually machine gun cylinders, and the whole truck is covered in custom hand-engraved scrolling, including on the Cummins I-6’s Turbonetics turbocharger. Our favorite tidbit is the old-fashioned skeleton key used to start the truck.
Well SprungEibach brought out a ’16 Toyota Tacoma customized with off-road coilovers, PIAA lighting, and a burly sport bed rack. That last feature no doubt aids with loading the matching pair of motocross bikes the booth had on display. This ’Yota would be a fun way to venture off the beaten path.
(30) Two PleaseThis “what if” machine postulates on what Edsel Ford would have built if he’d been in control of the company in the ’30s. The ’32 pickup has a number of hot-rod touches, including a new-old-stock ’56 Mercury V-8 engine that was found in its original wood crate in Ontario. The grille shell was handmade, and the dashboard from a 1932 Chris Craft speedboat is grafted in with the stock dash.
It’s All OkayThis flatfender Willys Jeep is in beautiful, aged condition, with solid panels all around and evidence of some pretty fun off-road adventures on the hood and bumpers. The best detail is the reassuring sticker affixed to the steel dash above the ignition switch. Every off-roader should be reminded that, yes, everything is going to be OK.
NSXcellentTurning 180 degrees from most of the trucks on hand is Acura’s funky MDX concept, inspired by the NSX GT3 racing car it tows on a custom trailer. The racing livery looks great on the new MDX, and silver over white is a frosty, handsome color combo. The nearly 2-inch suspension drop is a prototype part, as are the GT3-orange brake calipers and front splitter, so replicating this NSX-inspired luxo-ute might be tough. Then again, the 20-inch wheels are genuine Acura accessories, so buyers can include part of the concept on their own MDXs.
Wicked WagonWith ’49 styling and ’98 engineering, the Willys Wagon from Max-Bilt could be many people’s ideal Jeep vehicle. It has the XJ Cherokee’s 4.0L engine and AW4 automatic transmission, plus a Chrysler 8.25 rear axle and Dana 30 front axle. Mechanically, it would make for a simple, capable daily driver. Inside, a custom interior features period-correct finishes, like waxed canvas upholstery and a burlap headliner, but Vintage Air climate control and cruise control give it a few modern amenities.
Bug ZapperNot many people know that before he was an automotive writer, Brett T. Evans used to be a pest control technician. He’d have liked that gig a lot more if his spray truck was this: a ’63 Datsun “1200” that’s been converted to run on electric. Built in collaboration between Local Motors and Babbit Motor Werks, the Datsun has a sizable array of batteries in the bed powering an electric motor mounted on the rear axle. But even before Evans realized this was an electrified custom, he liked its patinated styling and authentic-looking business logos.
Bronc…ohhh?We wish we knew more about this wacko custom Ford. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bronco SUV, it features the cab of a sixth-generation F-Series and the open rear section of a Bronc in a Centurion-style mashup of configurations. The waist-high tire setup and monster-truck–grade suspension give this wild horse a commanding presence, even against such an outlandish backdrop as the SEMA Show.
Good CauseSure it’s pink, but it’s pink for a very good reason. Built by our friends at Bestop, this ’12 Jeep Wrangler encourages people to buy a $3 raffle ticket for the chance to win a Bestop Project Pink custom-embroidered soft top. What’s more, all the proceeds from the raffle will go to the American Cancer Society, and Bestop will match the donation up to $10,000. Bestop Project Pink helps raise awareness for breast cancer, and we have to admit, the pink mud graphics do look pretty cool.
AtomicCalled the Nomad, this on/off-road fun machine was designed by English firm Ariel, the same company behind the mental Atom race car/alien spaceship. Its 2.4L I-4 only makes 230 hp and 220 lb-ft, but since the Nomad only weighs about 1,600 pounds, it leaps from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds, and all-terrain tires and a limited-slip rear differential ensure it’ll keep going even when the road turns to sand. With nearly 10 inches of suspension travel, it might be more at home at a motocross track than the pavement.
Tracked DownEditor Jason Gonderman questioned why seemingly every other vehicle had tracks at this year’s SEMA Show, and Evans’ response is, “Because everything is better with tracks.” Case in point is Project Snowhawk, a Jeep Cherokee XJ built by JcrOffroad. American Track Truck Dominator treads replace the XJ’s meats, while a BDS Suspension 4 1/2-inch long-arm lift kit provides plenty of clearance to get around in deep snow. A 4.7L stroker I-6 built by Titan Engines should be torquey enough for just about any obstacle.
New VintageOmix-ADA never disappoints at the SEMA Show. This year, the company brought out six vintage Jeeps from its 36-strong collection, and Evans’ favorite was the ’66 Wagoneer towing a ’64 Fireball camp trailer. A recent repaint in its original Glacier White suits the classic Wagoneer perfectly, and although this one is woodgrain-free, it’s still a great-looking luxury SUV. With only 17,000 miles, the 327ci “Vigilante” V-8 is just broken in.
The BulldogThe “Bullnose” F-Series isn’t a common choice for sport-truck builds, and that’s why we liked this one so much. Well, that, and the fact that it’s powered by an ’08 Crown Victoria P71 Interceptor drivetrain. Since it was shown at the TMI Automotive Interiors booth, you’d expect it to have a fantastic interior, and you’d be right. Low-back buckets upholstered in brown leather and tan suede look (and smell) undeniably rich.
Fun SizeThe upcoming ’17 Ford F-150 Raptor was a popular show truck at any booth that was lucky enough to display it. Even the Traxxas booth had one on hand, a little radio-controlled version that looks like it might be almost as fun as a real one. The line to see this little R/C extended well outside Traxxas’ booth boundaries—or maybe it was for an autographed poster of the woman seated next to the mini-Raptor.
Cummins Crate EngineThis is probably one of the biggest developments at the show for truck, SUV, and diesel enthusiasts. For decades, the crate engine scene has been dominated by the venerable small-block Chevrolet and its successor, the LS-block engine. Sure, there have been diesel swaps done before but not without some ingenuity, fabrication, and experimentation. What makes Cummins’ crate engine different is that it includes almost everything needed for plug-and-play installation, the only major variable being exhaust fabrication, which in the greater scheme of things is one of the least troublesome aspects of an engine swap. Cummins promises the 2.8L I-4 won’t be the last of its engines to be offered as a crate engine package.
Hemi Swaps Made EasyHemi swaps are nothing new. However, pairing a modern engine with a classic platform has often been an exercise in frustration, with the finicky electronics not playing nicely with decades-old subsystems, and having to piece together components à la carte to make the whole ensemble work together. Mopar is solving that conundrum by offering its 345 (5.7L) and 392 (6.4L) Hemi engines with the full complement of hardware, including engine controller, electronic throttle, engine and chassis wiring harnesses, O2 sensors, and a ground jumper to fit in its ’60s and ’70s era vehicles with a minimum of fuss. The SBC and LS are in no danger of being knocked off the throne as being the general crate engines of choice, but for Mopar purists, this is a welcome development.
U.S. Marshals Parts BustThis is one we almost missed, but we’re glad we didn’t, because it ended up being one of the biggest stories of the show. Just an hour before Truck Trend Senior Staff Editor Ed Sanchez was supposed to catch his flight back to Southern California, Jp editor Rick Péwé excitedly stormed into the media center and said he had “big news.” Rick and Traci Clark, one of his contributors, were eyewitness to U.S. Marshals shutting down a Chinese company’s exhibit of allegedly counterfeit parts.
The company was one of six that were reportedly served papers by U.S. Marshals and asked to dismantle their displays. The bust was reportedly tipped by noted Jeep accessory company Omix-ADA, which went to pains to document specific copyright and design patent infractions and work with attorneys to serve notice to the shady operators. This touches on the long-running issue of intellectual property rights in the aftermarket and numerous look-alike knockoff products made by overseas manufacturers.