Every year Las Vegas welcomes the automotive aftermarket world but bars the public from entry… This is strictly business, and the SEMA show this year lived up to crazy expectations with hundreds of customs on display. As usual, when all eyes are on Sin City the mainstream manufacturers came out to play, too…
The idea behind this Camaro Turbo AutoX concept is to take the lightest, basic 2.0-litre turbo Camaro and make it as best suited to auto crossing as possible — Chevy’s engineers uprated the suspension, braking, air intake and exhaust system, with a lowering kit, stiffer springs, larger anti-roll bars, a strut tower brace under the bonnet, 20in wheels and a 4.0in exhaust.
Hyundai’s sister brand Kia went in the opposite direction of horsepower, with a headline-grabber in the form of the Kia Sorento Ski Gondola, which as the name suggests, is a cushy way to reach those peaks. The Sorento Ski Gondola features ‘Dominator Rubber Tracks’ powder-coated orange, a custom roof, extra LEDs up front, and a customised interior.
The Pentastar had a lot of representation at SEMA under the Mopar, Dodge, Ram and Jeep banners, and it’s the Jeep’s CJ66 concept that impressed most — this was created by marrying a new Wrangler frame with a 1966 CJ body, and throwing in a six-speed manual transmission, front and rear Dana 44 axles, and 35in BF Goodrich all-terra tyres paired with a 2.0in lift kit.
Korean carmaker Hyundai went all-out in Vegas this year with five wild custom cars, wild enough that the only way our standout model, er, stands out, is with a 1,075 horsepower 3.8-litre V6 turbocharged to smithereens. The Hyundai ‘Santa Fast’ Santa Fe was tuned by Bisimoto and received full rear-drive and six-speed manual conversions to boot…
Mazda put the biggest smile on our faces with its pared-down pair of concept MX-5s. The Speedster Evolution went on an extreme diet to lose 160kg for a kerb figure of just 900 kilos, and apart from the fact it has no roof or windscreen, it does have a centre-exit exhaust, lightweight Rays wheels and lightweight lithium battery. As for the coupé concept, the purpose of its stealthy look is kind of defeated by the open exhaust to make an extra seven horsepower and a lot of noise.
Ford took the opportunity at SEMA to announce that it’s going after Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin in the global GT4 racing class, with the reveal of the new Mustang GT4 turnkey racecar based on the Shelby GT350R-C. With a flat-crank 5.2-litre V8 and Holinger paddle-shift transmission, the Mustang GT4 will hit tracks next year at championships worldwide.
You couldn’t miss Lexus’ stand with the canary-yellow LC 500 parked front and centre, created by Gordon Ting/Beyond Marketing with an interior by Evasive Motorsports. Offering a naturally aspirated 5.6-litre V8 developing 525 horsepower, this LC 500 sits on hydraulic-lift suspension and 22in HRE wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero tyres.
Besides some extreme Corollas, Priuses and minivans, Toyota really stole the show for Middle East spectators with this 2,000 horsepower Land Speed Cruiser built to chase records at over 350kph — the SUV packs a 5.7-litre V8 with a volleyball-sized turbocharger flanking each cylinder bank.