While one day I would love to go to SEMA, for now I am stuck along with most everybody, and must follow the online coverage from various media outlets. While I am sure I am not being shown everything, below are my three favorite manufactures from the show, and what they brought. I am not looking forward to any parts specifically, and while there are certainly
some cool suspension parts being shown this year, the concept cars really take the cake. The order has no bearing, as they are all cool!
Dodge Brand: More Buzzwords Please!
Dodge Durango Shaker Concept
The Dodge Durango is currently my favorite domestic SUV on the market. Not only does it look good, but since it is based on the same platform as the much more popular Jeep Grand Cherokee, it is just as capable. I am definitely in the minority, liking the Durango, although it looks like Dodge could be trying to change that. For SEMA this year, Dodge has made this example, the Dodge Durango Shaker Concept, stand out visually by painting it the wonderful B5 Blue they currently offer on other models. It also has a Satin Black hood, splitter, and other details, as well as custom front and rear bumpers, and the all-important Shaker Hood. While it may sound like a family hauler merely trying to look butch, this Durango packs a 6.4L Hemi (SRT Durango anyone?) with a custom exhaust and intake. It also sits about 3 inches lower than its stablemates. All of those performance features should back up the image the body is sending, and to hold everyone in tight, Dodge appears to be using its surplus Viper supplies, as the Durango features seven Viper buckets.
Dodge Shakedown Concept
Modern muscle car makers would like you to think that they design their cars not only to look good but also to harken back to the good ol’ days of Muscle Cars in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Dodge is trying to bring this point home by playing the game a little backwards: They have put a modern front grill/headlight assembly, rear bumper, and shaker hood, on a classic 1971 Dodge Challenger they have labeled Shakedown. While this sounds like a recipe to bloat up a classic Challenger, all the parts actually look really grand on the car. If Dodge’s goal was to visually connect their classic car with the modern offering, it certainly worked, and I can’t help but think this recipe of new-parts-old-car would not work as well for Chevy or Ford. Good on Dodge.
FCA Crate Engines
Unless you are a Dodge owner, this is less exciting news, and more just a tidbit. FCA used SEMA to announce they are bringing new 345 (5.7L) and 392 (6.4L) cubic inch crate motors to market for classic cars. For classic Dodge/Chrysler owners, this means that doing a resto-mod within the brand has become much easier. No more Chevrolet LS’s in Chargers and Challengers! For current owners of Gen III HEMI motors, this hopefully means the aftermarket will start to produce more parts, and make modifying a HEMI less of a daunting task.
Hyundai Brand: Fan Favorites
Hyundai might not be known for making the most exciting of production cars, but they have consistently delivered to enthusiast fans over the years, with some amazing concepts shown at SEMA. Above is the wildest to be presented by Hyundai. While it started life as a Hyundai Santa Fe crossover, Hyundai handed it over to genius builder of the crazy, Bisi Ezerioha and his outfit Bisimoto. He created what he dubbed the “Santa-Fast”. And fast it is. Of course, it has suspension, wheels, brakes, and all the normal build list stuff, but the star of the show is a 3.8L Lambda aluminum V6 from Hyundai. With the help of two turbochargers draped on the motor, this V6 is able to produce an almost-unbelievable 1040bhp. To handle the power, yet keep within the Hyundai parts bin, power is sent through a Genesis R-spec 6-speed manual to a rear-end stolen from the Equus leftovers. With plenty of custom fabricated parts to handle the power, it is almost laughable that they shod the rear wheels with 265mm section width tires. While going straight might be hard, with 1040bhp, does it really matter, with the smile that would be on your face?
Hyundai Veloster and Elantra Concepts
Stock, the Hyundai Veloster (L) and the Elantra (R) are not something tuners normally drool over. Despite this, Hyundai is trying to show that they are ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ by making modified offerings of each. Surprisingly, it actually has worked. By working with two tuning shops—Gurnade for the Veloster and Ark Performance for the Elantra—they made two economy cars into two quick offerings, that tick all the right visual boxes for a show like SEMA. The Veloster is modified mostly in the form of suspension and chassis upgrades. While the 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder does get a tune and other engine work, the real magic is in the flared body fenders, massive wings, and serious wheels and tires. Speaking of magic, the amazing purple color is officially labeled Magic Magenta. Neat. The Elantra on the right has been dubbed Road Racer concept, and features a custom turbo kit for extra oomph, as well as a full suspension and brake build for handling said oomph. The real stunner is the surprisingly-great looking body kit, which—in my opinion—seals the deal, and earns it that Road Racer name.
Rockstar Sante Fe
Not everything at SEMA is designed to go faster on pavement, and in keeping with the off-road themes of the show, Hyundai has also teamed with Rockstar to create this off-road capable Santa Fe. While certainly not as dramatic as the “Santa-Fast”, this Santa Fe nonetheless stands out from the crowd with its lifted suspension and meaty 35in tires on bead lock wheels. A roof rack and light bar complete the butch exterior, especially when paired with Rockstar’s vinyl wrap. Oh, and just so Rockstar couldn’t be accused of slacking on the ‘energy’ so to speak, it features a nitrous-oxide injection system as well on the otherwise stock engine.
Shangri-La: Just Look at It
While the car called “Shangri-La” is not from a manufacturer per se, I had to include it. It is stunning, and the craftsmanship is apparent even with just a glance. The ‘manufacturer’ in question is a Kustom car builder named Rick Dore. Mr. Dore is by no means an amateur, and if you have not heard of him or seen his work, I highly recommend you take a click over to his website here. This particular blessing to the car world is modeled on cars from Pre-War France, and is made up of hand-formed aluminum panels, currently unpainted. Even in images, the scale of such a project is staggering. The chrome brightwork provides just enough flair from the bare aluminum, following the lines of the car impeccably. With perfectly chosen wheels and tires to complete the image, this is as close to utopia as a car can get.
Just sit and stare.
SEMA is a gigantic show, and this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. These are just a few of the major players that really stood out to me. Let me know what I missed down below!