RE: SEMA Show: PH Top Ten

RE: SEMA Show: PH Top Ten

Tuesday 31st October 2017

SEMA Show: PH Top Ten

The SEMA show is live. We round up the finest concepts from the notoriously quiet, downbeat affair.

You'll know all about the SEMA show. What started fifty years ago as a get together for the modestly named Specialty Equipment Market Association, is now among the largest conventions held in Las Vegas (Vegas being the American home of mega conventions).

As is typically the way with such events, the show isn't actually open to the public, but is a trade event mainly concerned with aftermarket manufacturers, OEMs, car dealers, distributors and restoration firms. But it has also become hallowed turf for the colossal Stateside tuning market, as well as the in-house performance add-ons that mainstream manufacturers like to sell.

Thus it is home to some of the world's weirdest and most wonderful concepts, kits and engine accessories. Plus engines themselves, as we're about to come onto in our rundown of the top ten 2017 highlights...

Audi TT Clubsport
We're going in no particular order here, but the Audi TT Clubsport is interesting because it a) shows how the RS might have looked if Ingolstadt really put its back into it and b) how much power can be rendered from the 2.5-litre five-pot if you go to the trouble of fitting an electric turbocharger. It's just a concept of course - but one with 600hp that'll do 60mph in 3.6 seconds an 193mph according to its maker.

Gemballa GT Concept
Gemballa was actually at Geneva this year launching a new model in the shape of the Avalanche, but this isn't it. Instead, the 817hp GT shown at SEMA is more about a raft of bits coming together; including a £23k aero pack (which encompasses the spoiler) and a £44k engine kit which extracts the headline figure - and 702lb ft of torque - from the standard 3.8-litre flat six from the 911 Turbo. Which apparently results in 0-62mph in 2.38 seconds and 224mph. Blimey - said no one in Vegas.

BMW M3 'American Edition'
The 'American Edition' M3 celebrates 30 years since BMW launched the E30 in the States. Naturally that's an anniversary worth celebrating - although think of it more as a one-off design study than a proper M-car concept. Consequently you get the Competition Pack motor underneath, with a special paintjob on top and gold-finished 19-inch M Performance rims inspired by the E30 M3 Warsteiner's DTM racing wheels. Oh and a handcrafted carbon-fibre rear wing, too.

Ford Mustang RTR
The Ford Mustang RTR is the brainchild of Vaughn Gittin Jr - he of drifting fame. It's not completely new to SEMA, but it is vaguely on sale (from 'select' dealerships). It comes in three different stages of Spec; the most indulgent offering 'over 700hp' from the 5.0-litre V8 as a turnkey package, which is nice. Also worth mentioning how decent - as in 'suprisingly subtle' - the body kit is, which is certainly not a constant of the Vegas show.

Crate engines
To engines. Or more specifically boxes with engines in them. The famous 'crate' units are a common feature of the American tuning scene, and SEMA isn't complete without famous manufacturers delivering their latest plug-and-play hardware. This year, it's the turn of Honda - which will serve up its latest 306hp turbocharged Type R K20C1 four-pot to anyone with a motorsport application - and Chrysler, with the imaginatively named Hellcrate: a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 from the Dodge Hellcat, tuned to output 707hp and 650lb ft of torque.

WCC Kia Stinger GT
A personal favourite here because the GTS version of the Stinger recently passed through PH, where it proved as likeable as Christmas Day morning. The SEMA show version was actually developed in partnership with West Coast Customs - or handed to them, more probably, given the outcome includes a widened body, lowered suspension, 21-inch forged wheels and those squared-off exhausts tips. Nevertheless, it signals just how far Kia is prepared to take its new performance bent - and that's to be applauded.

Acura NSX 'Dream Project'
Acura - Honda to me 'n' you - had a tuning partner for this one too (Arizona-based ScienceofSpeed) who were tasked with creating a GT3-style package for the road-going NSX. The 'Dream Project' is what resulted, which includes a raised 610hp output thanks to liquid injection intercooling and a more robust exhaust. The real meat though is lowered suspension, forged wheels, an aero kit and a custom interior. As well as integrated iLift technology which uses a suite of sensors to raise the front axle two inches when obstacles are detected. Very street.

Chevrolet C10
This being America, with American firms in attendance, there are inevitably trucks. Many are appalling - but some, even seen from this side of the pond, are rather brilliant. Happily for Chevrolet - celebrating its 100th anniversary - the 1967 Chevy C10 falls into that category. It too gets custom paint, custom suspension (obviously) and a crate engine from its Performance division; namely the ZZ6 small-block that delivers 405hp, and comes mated to a four-speed automatic as part of the same package. The 20-inch wheels set it all off brilliantly, too.

Chevrolet Silverado Performance Concept
Chevrolet arguably represents the other end of the truck segment too, with this, the Silverado Performance Concept. But it's hard not to love the theme a little bit, which essentially boils down to adding a new supercharger system to the model's 5.3-litre V8. The blower comes from the Camaro ZL1 and extracts an additional 100hp from the powertrain. Add to that 22-inch wheels, a styling kit and six-piston Brembo brakes and you've got yourselves a hoedown.

Rezvani Tank
The Rezvani Tank is not entirely new - the V8 version was unveiled a few weeks ago - but in an unusually counterintuitive move (for SEMA), the firm has chosen the show to debut its more budget-minded model, the V6. Underneath the car is basically a Jeep Wrangler, which American Expedition Vehicles then sets to with the spanners (and a six-figure sum) to turn it into a pseudo military vehicle. Kevlar, strobe lights and tack dispenser appear on the option list. Yes, really.







Original Poster:

254 posts

70 months

Tuesday 31st October 2017
quotequote all
The blue Chevy truck in the top left picture is absolutely stunning.


14,574 posts

267 months

Tuesday 31st October 2017
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How hard would it be to, you know, actually send someone to these shows? Maybe they could take a camera.


4,460 posts

230 months

Tuesday 31st October 2017
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Murphy16 said:
The blue Chevy truck in the top left picture is absolutely stunning.
I agree, I love light pickups. Sadly they aren't very common these days, falling out of favour for glorified monster trucks instead.


18,280 posts

155 months

Tuesday 31st October 2017
quotequote all
swisstoni said:
How hard would it be to, you know, actually send someone to these shows? Maybe they could take a camera.
As no one else has I’ll be the first to volunteer!


25,833 posts

113 months

Tuesday 31st October 2017
quotequote all
I was lucky enough to be invited over to Sema a few years ago & just struggled to take it all in it's vast & I'd already spent a couple of million in a few hours, the C10 is nice but I'd rather have the F100.


17,764 posts

147 months

Wednesday 1st November 2017
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That GT3 style NSX looks fking mint.


3,467 posts

206 months

Wednesday 1st November 2017
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You know you are reading PH when a BMW M3 Individual makes it into the the top 10 at SEMA...... seriously lol


30,754 posts

215 months

Wednesday 1st November 2017
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vz-r_dave said:
You know you are reading PH when a BMW M3 Individual makes it into the the top 10 at SEMA...... seriously lol

Only think from SEMA that I've seen that ticks my interest box is this lovely metallic blue sixties style '34 Ford Coupe that famed hot rod builder Brian Bass built for a recently aired (in the US) episode of that awful Gas Monkey Garage TV show, under a 'guest hot rod builder' slot......for what should have been titled, 'This is how it should be done Rawlings' biggrin