The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas highlights a vast variety of customized and downright crazy vehicles showcasing all kinds of automotive aftermarket goodies. Simply concentrating on trucks (and a few SUVs and minivans) results in dozens if not hundreds of unique models, many of which are custom concept versions of traditional production vehicles that most consumers see on the street every day. Here’s a glimpse at our favorite custom trucks that automakers and builders brought to the 2016 SEMA show.
Aside from the custom wrap and unique grille, this Santa Fe concept may look like Hyundai’s popular 7-passenger crossover, but it’s no run-of-the-mill SUV. This special version Hyundai created with partner Bisimoto has been aptly named “Santa-Fast.” Bisimoto reconfigured the Santa Fe from front- to rear-wheel drive, then created a Hyundai-based 3.8-liter V6 powerplant with twin turbochargers to produce an insane 1040 horsepower. “Bisimoto takes pleasure in making any vehicle fun to drive, even a larger SUV,” said ‘Bisi Ezerioha, owner of Bisimoto. “Our Santa-Fast SUV is a proof-of-concept vehicle with driving capabilities that our customers can count on every day they turn the key.”
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2
One of the many vehicles Chevrolet showcased at SEMA is this special Colorado ZH2. The H2 stands for hydrogen, since this Colorado is an electric vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The ZH2 is a demonstration vehicle being tested by the U.S. Army to evaluate the effectiveness of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered off-road vehicle. With 12 inches of ground clearance, a 48-degree approach angle and body panels made from carbon fiber with Kevlar reinforcements, the ZH2 can handle the toughest terrain — and it will do so silently. “The ZH2 integrates the strong foundation of the Colorado midsize pickup architecture with GM’s advanced hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology,” said Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It combines the lessons Chevrolet has learned during 3.1 million real-world miles of testing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.”
Kia Sorento Ski Gondola
Many SUV buyers make purchases based on the need to haul their families and gear through snowy conditions, and this special SEMA concept vehicle from Kia fits this need perfectly — perhaps a bit too literally. Built by LUX Motorwerks, the Sorento Ski Gondola tackles the worst winter weather with Dominator Rubber Tracks installed in place of standard wheels and tires. A custom metal roof rack affords plenty of storage for skis and poles, while the cargo area provides additional space for boots, bags and other winter gear. The custom interior reflects Kia’s commitment to the future of autonomous driving via rear-facing front seats, which creates a comfortable living space inside.
Kia School of Rock Sedona
This could be dubbed one of the more entertaining concepts that Kia created for SEMA, mainly because it debuted with a live band. The fully autonomous School of Rock Sedona fulfills its youthful purpose as a mobile recording studio. Students could be transported to their next gig with plenty of room for their instruments and no need for a driver. Inside is a digital mixing board, dual flat-screen monitors, a boom mic and studio-quality acoustic foam panels to reduce exterior noise during recording. There’s even storage on the roof for guitars, drums and other instruments.
Toyota Land Speed Cruiser
Toyota’s Land Cruiser is one of the more impressive SUVs for tackling off-road conditions; however, this concept has a different, singular purpose — to go very fast. “From the outside, the Land Speed Cruiser appears quite normal, quite subtle,” said Toyota motorsports technical center manager Chuck Wade. “This is what makes it so special. Every single system and component has been touched. The trick is getting the body back onto the heavily modified frame.” The low-slung Land Speed Cruiser sports a twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out an astounding 2000 horsepower, giving this wild SUV a top speed of 220 mph.
Hyundai Rockstar Santa Fe
The standard Hyundai Santa Fe SUV can perform some light off-roading, but this particular concept can do quite a bit more. The Korean automaker teamed with Rockstar Performance Garage to create a concept that not only handles just about any terrain, but has plenty of power to drive all four wheels. Motivation comes from a Hyundai-based 3.3-liter V6 engine with a boost of nitrous for good measure. Traction is assured by Mickey Thompson Baja Claw 35-inch off-road tires. There’s also a Warn winch, rock sliders and bumpers, a custom roof rack with light bar and a custom leather interior.
Chevrolet Silverado HD Alaskan Edition
For any truck lover who lives in a snowy climate, this concept may be the vehicle of choice. The Silverado HD Alaskan Edition takes the proven 2500 HD Crew Cab and outfits it to clear a path through the deepest snow. The silver-accented blue exterior, grizzly bear graphics, chrome bumpers, grille, and 20-inch chrome wheels match the big plow out front. With the next-generation Duramax 6.6L V-8 turbodiesel engine under the hood, the Silverado has 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque on tap to take care of any snow its path. This concept is based on the Alaskan Edition package offered on the 2017 Silverado HD.
When a model has had a history as storied as the Jeep Wrangler, a mashup of past generations can make for an interesting concept. That’s exactly what Jeep did with the CJ66 — the frame hails from the last generation Wrangler, the body from a Jeep CJ and parts from the current-gen Wrangler round it out. Painted in an eye-catching Copper Canyon, the CJ66 features 35-inch all-terrain tires, a lift kit and a concept two-way air system that allows off-roaders to adjust tire pressure on the fly. Occupants are surrounded by a custom-built roll cage, and all will feel firmly planted in custom Viper seats.
Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Hurley
Where the Alaskan Edition Silverado was built for the cold, this special Colorado was designed for warmer climes. Teaming up with Hurley, maker of surfing apparel and accessories, Chevrolet created the Colorado Z71 Hurley concept. Built with surfers in mind, the Hurley Colorado features a custom surfboard rack, storage systems, a Bimini-style bedcover to provide shade, and water-resistant seat covers. “This concept is all about functionality,” said Ryan Hurley, creative director for Hurley. “When we discussed the project with Chevrolet, we didn’t want just a truck with our logo on it. It had to offer solutions for the challenges surfers face at remote locations, and that’s exactly what it delivers.”
This wild truck started as a 1950 Ford F6 2-ton dump truck, but its life became a bit more exciting after several modifications were performed by Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan and Dave Freiburger. First the pair shortened the truck by about four feet, and then replaced the engine with a rear-mounted 454 Chevy big-block V8 topped with a Weiand 8-71 supercharger. Power gets directed to the original 2-speed heavy-duty rear axle. Suspension, wheels and tires are all stock. Within this wild truck the back of the bench seat remains, but the seat bottoms are out of a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro. At full throttle Stubby Bob does wheelies down the road.
Chevrolet Trax Activ
Chevrolet has taken its mainstream 5-passenger crossover and turned it into something that will certainly get noticed. “The Trax Activ concept is all about adventurous fun,” said Todd Parker, design director, exterior component and accessories. “We’ve increased its capability and matched it with styling enhancements that give it an all-new attitude ― it’s a Trax that’s ready to make tracks.” Based on the 2017 Trax, the concept is painted Satin Sandstorm and features a widened track, lifted suspension, 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, a Thule roof basket and LED light bar.
Toyota Extreme Sienna
Past advertising campaigns for Toyota’s Sienna minivan referred to it as the “swagger wagon.” This concept takes that idea to the extreme. Partnering with Rick Leos, Real Time Automotive’s hot rod builder, Toyota took this family hauler and widened and lowered the body, adding lots of carbon fiber to boot. The Extreme Sienna features TRD brakes, performance wheels and tires, a rear spoiler and dual exhaust. Inside, there’s a top-of-the-line home theater system, reclining seats with custom upholstery, a refrigerator, Wi-Fi connectivity and a Bluetooth speaker.
Jeep Crew Chief 715
Built as a salute to Jeep’s legendary service in the U.S. military — particularly the Kaiser M715 — the Crew Chief is based on the 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch wheels and 40-inch NDT military tires respectfully reflect the ability of the original military Jeeps to get troops through rugged terrain. The Crew Chief’s additional capabilities are made possible through off-road rock rails, winches mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit. Inside are leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches and Mopar all-weather mats.
Old Smokey F1
One of many modified retro trucks on display at this year’s SEMA show, the Old Smokey F1 is a vintage ’49 Ford F1 farm truck that has been transformed into a purpose-built race truck by Chuckles Garage. Old Smokey is a true sleeper — at first glance it’s a rusty old truck, but then you notice the racing tires, 18-inch wheels, nitrous system and parachute on the back. Under the hood lurks a turbocharged Cummins racing engine producing 1200 horsepower. The owners say it was designed for land speed racing, road racing and drifting.
Ram Macho Power Wagon
If you’re looking for a truck to make a bold statement, the Ram Macho Power Wagon could be the perfect talking point. Based on the Ram 2500 HD, the modified truck sits on huge 37-inch off-road tires with a 4-inch lift kit. Aside from the bold styling, the Macho Mango paint certainly grabs attention. Other Mopar add-ons include off-road running boards, large fender flares and a 21-inch heavy-duty light bar. Painted silver skid plates and tow hooks are integrated into both front and rear bumpers. In the bed of this big truck is a Satin Black RamRack, which can carry all sorts of toys.
Ford F-150 Raptor Prerunner by Deberti Design
The Raptor is already the most extreme of production F-150s, but Deberti Design took this Raptor a bit further. Stretched fenders cover 39-inch off-road tires, giving the truck a wider stance. Brakes, suspension and shocks have all been upgraded, and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine gets a cold air kit and cat-back exhaust. The interior has a full roll cage, custom seats with 5-point harnesses, a custom leather headliner, an Exotic Sound audio system and Kicker audio upgrades.
Acura MDX with Trailer
At SEMA this beautiful racing rig became the platform for Acura to debut its new NSX GT3 race car, as well as the updated MDX crossover. The entire rig was designed in-house and features a custom trailer, with the MDX wrapped in the same livery as the race car. The lowered MDX wears 20-inch black rims with orange-accented brake calipers, both of which match the NSX. The front lower valance also matches the front splitter of the NSX. Similar wheels and orange accents also adorned the trailer to complete the package.
1966 Jeep Wagoneer and Camper
This classic camping combo caught our attention at this year’s SEMA show. Up front is a 1966 Jeep Wagoneer with less than 18,000 original miles. The Jeep only had two previous owners — the latter one buying it in 1968 and only driving the Wagoneer occasionally until it was parked in 1989. After it was purchased in 2015, the new owner repainted it the original Glacier White. Behind the Jeep is a 1964 Fireball Friendship 11 camper trailer that can only be referred to as “cute.” This little trailer earned the nickname “Canned Ham” because of it shiny aluminum exterior; it came equipped with a fold-down bunk bed, propane stove, sink and a bathroom.
Ford F-150 SuperCrew by Bojix Design
One glance and you know immediately that this is not your typical F-150. Painted in “Greatest Gray Ever” with black and orange accents, this special F-150 features a unique front grille, retractable running boards, a 7-inch lift kit, 22-inch wheels with Nitto Ridge Grappler tires and a custom light bar. Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine has been modified with a pair of larger turbochargers, while brakes, shocks and suspension have all been upgraded. Inside is Katzkin Tuscany leather, an LED lighting system, Console Vault vehicle safes and a DVD entertainment system.
1969 Dodge D200
Toyo tires always has a big presence at the annual SEMA show, typically showcasing their tires on high-performance cars. But the vehicle that commanded our attention this year is this custom 1969 Dodge D200. Built on a 2015 Ram 3500 chassis, this classic-looking crew cab wears 37-inch off-road tires on 22-inch wheels. The custom body features modular bumpers, LED lights, a Warn winch and air suspension.
Ford F-250 Super Duty Widebody Design by TS Designs
Most shop talk about any F-Series Super Duty typically strays to the truck’s extreme capabilities, but this unique F-250 is more about looks than brawn. TS Designs created custom fenders that widened the front by 2.5 inches and the rear by 4.5 inches. This low, wide stance is further emphasized with the 26-inch Forgiato wheels as well as the special two-tone paint and custom tonneau cover. The matching interior features Katzkin leather trim and a high-end Kenwood audio system.
Those who played with Tonka trucks as children will fully appreciate this “actual-size” Tonka. Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the legendary Tonka brand, and Dave’s Garage created this beautiful tribute to Tonka using a pickup truck from the same year that Tonka was founded — 1947. Tonka plans to use the truck on a cross-country tour in 2017 celebrating the momentous milestone.
Straight from the factory, the Jeep Wrangler offers impressive off-road ability, but the Trailstorm concept takes things to another level. The Trailstorm gets outfitted with 37-inch off-road tires, a 2-inch lift kit, Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. There’s also a winch guard, steel front and rear bumpers, LED headlights and fog lights, high-top fenders, a power-dome vented hood, Mopar off-road rock rails with a step, and a camouflage wrap to blend into desert terrain.