Custom Masterpieces, Stock Canvases
In early November, the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association automotive trade show once again inundated the massive Las Vegas Convention Center with countless cars, trucks and SUVs — all showcasing customization on many levels, from basic bolt-on goodies to hand-built bejeweled masterpieces. Many of the creations on display are based on vehicles you’d find in a typical new-car dealership; however, most don’t look like those showroom rides anymore. Here’s an overview of our favorite custom vehicles at SEMA, based on cars you see or even drive every day.
BMW Z4 GT Continuum by Bulletproof
The already-sporty BMW Z4 gets extreme treatment from tuning company Bulletproof, making this one mean-looking roadster. The Z4 GT is the company’s 15th anniversary project and features a shortened windshield, wider body, integrated head restraints, large custom wheels and a carbon fiber front splitter. Exhaust pipes ported behind the front wheels and carbon fiber louvers in the hood add to the aggressive look.
Chevrolet Camaro Black Accent Package Concept
At SEMA Chevrolet provided several examples of ways its popular Camaro can be customized — including this Black Accent Package concept. The Red Hot paint looks fabulous with black accents, featuring black rally stripes, black Chevrolet bowtie, black ground effects, black hood vents, dark taillights and 20-inch low-gloss black wheels.
Chevrolet Camaro Black Concept
Camaro goes to the dark side with this completely blacked-out version. Paint is Mosaic Black Metallic and its highlighted (lowlighted?) with black hood vents, black fender badges, a black Chevrolet bowtie, black-outline SS badges and tinted windows. The interior is just as dark, with Jet Black seats, Jet Black stitching and a Gloss Black center console insert. Red running lights add just the right touch of evil.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition
Chevrolet has had great success racing at Le Mans with the Corvette C7R race car. You can’t buy the race car, but this is the next best thing. The Corvette Z06 C7.R Edition is limited to just 500 units in the U.S and can be had in Corvette Racing Yellow or Black. Special wheels, yellow brake calipers, a carbon fiber hood and a special C7.R graphics package confirm this car is something special. Under the hood lurks the Z06’s 650-horsepower supercharged V8.
Chevrolet Malibu Red Line Series Concept
In years past General Motors offered Red Line editions that featured special paint treatments as well as performance improvements. This year at SEMA the company showed five Redline Series concepts, including this Malibu. The Red Line Malibu stands out with Silver Ice Metallic paint; gloss black bowties; a charcoal roof panel; smoked-tinted windows, headlights and taillights; and red highlights in the wheels, name badging and front end.
Chevrolet Camaro Krypton Concept
No, this isn’t the anti-Superman Camaro — Krypton is a gas that helps illuminate fluorescent lights and gives off a greenish-yellow glow similar to neon. This Camaro already catches the eye with its Krypton Green and black paint treatment, but it gets better. The paint features electroluminescent technology — with the flip of a switch, Chevrolet bowties light up on the doors. Green-trimmed headlights complete the look.
Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD Kid Rock Concept
Musician Kid Rock was on hand at this year’s SEMA show to introduce this big Silverado 3500 that he helped create. Based on the 2016 Silverado 3500 HD Dually, the truck was designed to celebrate freedom and American workers. “The Flint plant — and everyone on the line — is the backbone of America,” said Kid Rock. “I wanted the design for the truck to be bold, but with features and elements that wouldn’t be out of reach for working-class guys.” The truck stands out with the enlarged bowtie emblem, chrome exhaust stacks and patriotic graphics on the sides.
Chrysler 300 Super S
The 300 already possesses a bold design, but this SEMA concept kicks things up a notch. The Super S concept features a Mopar coil-over lowering kit, Mopar 22-inch wheels, a decklid spoiler and attractive Matte Cerulean exterior paint. The custom grille is made up of more than 300 tiny Mopar badges. Inside is Katzkin light-grey leather with blue highlights. The 5.7-liter HEMI engine under the hood is modified with Mopar Stage 1, 2, and 3 upgrade kits — practically matching the Scat Pack Performance Kit for its Dodge siblings, which puts horsepower around 438.
Dodge Charger Deep Stage 3
This SEMA concept is more subtle than others we have seen — perhaps that’s why it’s one of our favorites. The Charger Deep Stage 3 is swathed in Silver Bullet paint, while Matte Black paint covers the top with Mopar Blue trim. The body has been widened and lowered, making the Mopar Dark Bronze 22-inch wheels a perfect addition. The Charger’s 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is upgraded with a trio of Mopar Scat Pack kits, as well as larger brakes and a number of other Mopar upgrades.
Fiat 500X Chicane
This is the Fiat 500X’s first visit to the SEMA trade show, and this Chicane concept showcases Mopar parts available for the small Italian crossover. Designed as a street tuner, the Chicane is painted Competition Blue with unique fascia, body cladding and 20-inch 2-tone satin and gloss black wheels. Inside is custom Katzkin leather as well as a bright pedal kit, satin black door sill guards with the 500X logo, a 500X logo-embossed premium carpet mat and a cargo management kit — all from the Mopar portfolio.
Dodge Dart GLH
In the mid-1980s, Dodge sold a high-performance version of its compact Omni called the GLH, which stood for Goes Like Hell. The Pitch Black Dart GLH pays homage to that original car with red accents on the lower body, but is thoroughly modern with black 18-inch wheels, high-performance brakes and a modified exhaust system to give the little car a mean sound.
Ford Edge by TJIN Edition
This Edge certainly stands out from the crowd with its Axalta Clipper Blue paint, custom 22-inch wheels and special Lightwurkz headlights. With a Magnaflow exhaust and airlift suspension, the special Edge should be a lot of fun on the road as well.
Ford F-150 by CGS Performance Parts
Highlighted by Savini Forged 24-inch wheels and custom silver paint with black accents, this truck will surely turn heads. From the custom leather trim inside to the throaty exhaust and cold air kit on the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine, this is clearly not your typical Ford F-150.
Ford Focus RS by Ken Block
Ken Block is well known for his impressive driving abilities in Global Rally Cross as well other rally competition. For this year’s SEMA show, Block customized the hot Focus RS. This Focus RS is being raffled for charity, with the proceeds supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Ford Focus ST by CJ Pony Parts
CJ Pony Parts did a great job converting this Focus ST into the perfect blend of street capable and track ready. It features a heavily tuned powertrain with an upgraded turbo and AirLift suspension, but what really grabs attention is the Ultra Orange Pearl paint and Fifteen52 Tarmac R43 19-inch wheels.
Ford Mustang by Bojix Design
Bojix Design created a true high-performance Mustang for this year’s SEMA show, and with its 20-inch orange wheels and orange accents, it certainly caught our attention. Under that attractive shell is an upgraded turbocharged EcoBoost engine, intercooler and Magnaflow exhaust, as well as brake and suspension upgrades.
Ford Mustang GT by Motoroso
Motoroso set out to find the balance between extreme performance, street-ability and style — and this is the Mustang they created to fit the bill. Most noticeable are the 21-inch Candy Red wheels as well as contrasting ground effects. What you can’t see is the ROUSH performance supercharger and other powertrain and chassis upgrades that make this Mustang a 727-horsepower rocket.
Galpin Acura ILX
Galpin Auto Sports took Acura’s entry-level ILX and made it into something special. Heavily modified with custom bodywork, the ILX features a new front bumper with accent front splitter, a custom rear diffuser with JDM Fog Light plus a custom exhaust exit with rear spoiler. After suspension modifications were complete, the ILX was shod with 19-inch AVI wheels with a Matte Brushed Smoked finish. The ILX shines in Sunburst Yellow with Shark Gray accents using a 3-stage candy paint process. The color scheme carries through to the interior with additional gold contrast stitching throughout, along with Katzkin perforated Barracuda leather inserts.
Honda Ridgeline Baja Racer
An all-new Honda Ridgeline is due to be introduced early next year, but Honda provided some insights to the new design at SEMA with the Ridgeline Baja Racer. “We’re happy to share some of the high-level styling direction for Ridgeline and to celebrate this desert race truck that signals the return of HPD power to Baja,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “While this race truck is unique and different from the production Ridgeline, it does a nice job of expressing not only our styling direction but also the fact that the Ridgeline, for all its unique qualities, has been and will continue to be a pickup with true truck capability.”
Hyundai ARK Performance Genesis Coupe “Sleek Racer”
Hyundai’s relationship with ARK Performance spans several years, including a number of specialized vehicles revealed at past SEMA shows. Following up on last year’s AR550 Genesis Sedan, this year the tuning company honed its skills on a custom Genesis Coupe. Exterior updates include a special rear spoiler, a carbon fiber front splitter, forged wheels and a Solus wide body kit. With a custom supercharger and a number of other upgrades, Hyundai’s 3.8-liter V6 engine is stroked to 4.0-liters and puts out more than 500 horsepower. Power gets put to the rear wheels — wearing sticky rubber from Nitto — via a 6-speed manual transmission.
Hyundai Bisimoto Engineering Tucson “Brute Ute”
This custom 2016 Tucson is the fourth consecutive Bisimoto Hyundai built for SEMA. The Brute Ute is lowered with a custom air-ride suspension and features white 19-inch wheels to contrast the bright blue exterior. Bisimoto took the Hyundai 2.4-liter Theta II engine and added a high-boost turbocharger and an upgraded engine management system to deliver more than 700 horsepower, making this the most powerful Tucson ever.
Hyundai Blood Type Racing Veloster Turbo R-Spec “Convention Agitator”
The Chicago-based Blood Type Racing has a reputation for creating extreme versions of Korean-made vehicles, and for SEMA the tuner has taken on the sporty Veloster Turbo. The BTR Veloster looks positively evil with its Carbon Black paint highlighted with a red racing stripe. Veloster gets a more aggressive look with a wide body kit, front-mounted canards, a front splitter and a rear spoiler. BTR gives this Veloster power to match its aggressive styling. The standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine gets upgraded parts and a high-boost Garrett turbocharger — enough to bump output to more than 500 horsepower.
Hyundai JP Edition Tucson “Urban Adventurer”
Custom vehicle designer John Pangilinan blurs the lines between lifestyle and automotive with this 2016 Tucson Adventure-mobile. The most obvious addition to this rugged Tucson is a Treeline Tamarack roof-top tent that offers room to sleep two campers. The exterior gets an Aries bull bar and side steps, Rigid Industries LED lights, a custom 1.5-inch suspension lift for extra ground clearance, and Toyo Open Country A/T II tires.
Hyundai Rockstar Performance Garage Tucson “Exciting Off-Roader”
Off-road specialists Rockstar Performance Garage teamed up with Hyundai for the first time to create a proper off-roader for this year’s SEMA show. Hyundai provided an all-new 2016 Tucson which RPG then gave a complete overhaul. Suspension updates boost the Tucson a full 6 inches over the stock height, allowing for massive 32-inch tires. Custom shocks and struts are adjustable, and the wheelwells were rebuilt to make room for the updated suspension and tires. In addition to the extreme off-road updates, the RPG Tucson gets an upgraded turbocharger, high-flow exhaust and other performance parts. The Tucson also looks the part of a serious off-roader with black and yellow paint, smoked rear taillights, and a custom LED light bar.
Hyundai TJIN Edition Genesis Coupe
A second Genesis Coupe on display at this year’s SEMA show is a product of the TJIN Edition RoadShow. As TJIN’s first Hyundai vehicle built for SEMA, it is markedly different from the ARK Performance Genesis. Inspired by underground racing, this TJIN Genesis Coupe gets a Vortech supercharger bolted onto the standard 3.8-liter V6, as well as a free-flowing exhaust and other go-fast parts, pushing the powerplant to over 500 horsepower. The green Axalta paint and custom Rotiform wheels certainly grab the eye.
Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Concept
Based on a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Concept pays tribute to the Red Rock 4-Wheelers off-road club that hosts the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of this popular event. To commemorate this milestone, Jeep will produce a limited run of 50 Jeep Wrangler Red Rock special editions. Designed to handle the roughest terrain, the Red Rock Concept features next-generation Dana 44 solid front and rear axles, a Rock-Trac transfer case with a 4.10 axle ratio, a power dome vented hood, new premium off-road rock rails, and front and rear red tow hooks. The Red Rock is also equipped with Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials, the Rock-Trac transfer case and a 4:1 low-range ratio. A 73.1:1 crawl ratio with the manual transmission enables the Red Rock Concept to scale just about any obstacle.
Kia A1A Optima
Named for a 300-mile stretch of highway along the water near Key West, Florida, the A1A Optima would fit in perfectly in South Beach. Created by LUX Motorwerks, the A1A is lowered with bright 20-inch wheels that fit well with its eye-catching turquoise paint. Butter-soft cream and titanium leather swaddles the seats and extends throughout the interior. Rear doors open on rear-mounted hinges, and a shortened windshield completes the look.
Kia Forte Koup Mud Bogger
This car is just begging to get down and dirty in the mud, which is exactly what LUX Motorwerks had in mind when they created this special Forte Koup. The Mud Bogger features a 4-inch body and suspension lift along with big 28-inch off-road tires on 15-inch white Revolver wheels. Fenders and side skirts were modified to accommodate the big tires, including custom riveted fender flares. The Koup also has a hand-built, white-powder-coated brush guard and a Rigid LED light bar.
Kia PacWest Adventure Sorento
Designed to represent the Pacific Northwest, this special Sorento was hand-built by the creative team at LGE-CTS Motorsports. The attractive Northwest-styled exterior is a result of a completely custom, multi-layer painting process. LGE-CTS gave this PacWest Adventure Sorento greater wheel travel and a taller stance, and at the rear they retooled and lengthened connecting and trailing arms for better off-road ability. Inside is a custom painted dash, a Daystar switch panel and rocker switches to activate the LED lights, and rugged floor mats.
Lexus RC F by Gordon Ting/Beyond Marketing
It’s hard to miss this custom Lexus RC F, especially with the gloss Burnt Orange wrap and 20-inch Matte Blue Gunmetal wheels. The high levels of performance are clearly communicated via a 6-point roll cage, competition racing seats, custom bodywork, performance exhaust and 6-piston Brembo brakes.
Lexus RC F GT3
Lexus is heading to the track next year with this V8-powered 500-plus horsepower RCF GT3 race car. The brand’s newly-formed F Performance Racing will partner with Paul Gentilozzi to compete in a soon-to-be announced sports car series with veteran driver and road racing legend Scott Pruett at the helm. “A core mission of F Performance Racing was to strengthen the Lexus’ F brand by applying lessons gleaned from racing, while nurturing an engineering culture that transfers that knowledge to dynamic, high performance passenger car development,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager of Toyota’s Lexus division.
Mazda MX-5 Speedster
The MX-5 is already a lightweight fun-to-drive roadster, but Mazda took the MX-5 to the extreme with this Speedster concept. This open-top roadster has no windshield, so bring your goggles. Other features include an adjustable suspension which lowers the car by 30mm, a Racing Beat center-mount exhaust, an interior trimmed in Alcantara, carbon fiber seats and carbon fiber doors. This sheds more than 250 pounds from the MX-5 — the Speedster weighs just 2,080 pounds. The car is finished in a new concept color called Blue Ether.
Mazda MX-5 Spyder
While the Speedster and Spyder have similar goals of going lighter, the Spyder is not quite as extreme. Rather than the standard top, the Spyder uses a temporary bikini top developed by American Sunroof Corporation. Other standout features include the specially formulated Mercury Silver paint color; carbon fiber aero kit, grille intake and body tonneau cover; and lightweight Yokohama ADVAN Racing RS II 17-inch wheels.
Nissan Titan Triple Nickel
Nissan builds a number of high-performance vehicles, so the automaker decided to go after a land speed record with the new Titan full-size pickup truck. Dubbed “Project Triple Nickel” because of the stock Titan’s 555 lb-ft torque rating, the effort will be the result of a collaboration between Nissan and Cummins. “What better place to show off the latest collaboration between Nissan and Cummins than the 2015 SEMA show,” said Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning at Nissan North America.
Ram Rebel X
The Ram Rebel was introduced last year with rugged styling and off-road capability — so the Rebel X takes things up a notch. This big truck stands out from the crowd with its unique Dark Copper exterior paint and functional sport performance hood, accented with a Matte Black graphic trimmed with Mopar Blue. Big fender flares make space for 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels fitted with 35-inch Toyo tires. The front features the distinctive Rebel grille — the RAM logo is painted in Satin Black — and a two-piece skidplate. The bed gets covered with a soft tri-fold tonneau cover, and a Mopar dual exhaust bed step makes it easier to reach inside.
Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept
Anyone who thinks minivans are dull should take a look at the concept Toyota brought to this year’s SEMA show. The Sienna R-Tuned Concept has been modified with performance tires, wheels, brakes, double-adjustable shocks with racing springs, and a clutch-type limited-slip differential which results in considerably enhanced performance. “When we produced the Sienna SE, we started moving in the direction of more sportiness beyond what you would find in a family hauler,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the Sienna at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Back to the Future” Toyota Tacoma
In the movie “Back to the Future,” Michael J. Fox’s character Marty Mcfly dreams of owning a custom black 1985 Toyota pickup. For SEMA 2015 Toyota re-created this famous 4X4 but used the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma as the basis. The special Tacoma features custom 1985 Toyota Truck Exterior Paint, off-road suspension, TRD wheels, custom front and rear tubular bumpers, a custom light bar and a custom vintage headlight and taillight design. They even added 1985 Toyota Truck mud flaps to complete the look.
It started out as a Toyota Tundra CrewMax, but now “CrewMax” seems like an understatement. The Tundrasine limo is over 26 feet long, and its eight doors open to reveal a custom brown leather interior inspired by the cockpits and passenger compartments of luxury private jets. “SEMA members take their vehicles to extremes, and Toyota definitely goes to a new extreme with the Tundrasine. It stretches beyond what is normally expected of a stock Tundra,” said Steve Appelbaum, national engagement marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.