SEMA show 2015: mad modified car round-up
The SEMA show celebrates car modifications in style with a huge Las Vegas event - here are our top picks
Flared wheel arches, outrageous spoilers, custom paintjobs and oversized wheels take centre stage in Las Vegas at the world’s craziest car show.
The 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show is an annual event in Vegas with mad concepts from big US manufacturers like Dodge, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors to aftermarket tuning products.
It’s everything from garage fans to in-car sound systems and roof carriers to bodykits, all designed to show exactly what is possible with your motor.
Modification isn’t just confined to the USA, either, with the industry worth an estimated $70billion worldwide. And while it’s a whole heap of fun to look at what’s possible, there’s a real reason for it, too.
Custom parts specialist Mopar told Auto Express that if a concept goes well at SEMA it could quite easily find its way onto the regular production line.
Even if gamblers hit the jackpot in the Las Vegas casinos, they won’t be able to buy their way into SEMA as it’s not open to the public - but we're at the show with all the latest news about the new models. Read on for some of the best ones...
Mazda MX-5 Speedster and Spyder
Mazda has stormed this year's SEMA Las Vegas trade show with two concept versions of the 2015 Mazda MX-5. The bold MX-5 Speedster and MX-5 Spyder models are both designed to hark back to the simple, lightweight sports cars of the 1950s.
The MX-5 Speedster takes cues from 1950s US speedsters and is finished in blue ether paint. An unique aero kit and grille have been added and carbon fibre seats help to slash weight - it tips the scales at just 2,080lbs. Power comes from the SkyActiv 2.0-litre 4cyl engine.
The Spyder has a "bikini top" canvas roof over the Mercury Silver body. The suspension has been lowered from the standard car too and 17-inch lightweight wheels added. The seats are trimmed in the same colour fabric as the hood. Both are interesting takes on the classic MX-5 styling and and were popular with visitors to SEMA.
Toyota Ever-Better Expedition UUV
The Ever-Better Expedition UUV was also unveiled at SEMA with a matt black paint job making it look more Batmobile than normal vehicle. A heat sensing radar on the roof connects to a screen onboard while the rear doors are hinged on the back edge for easier access. The car - a mix of a Sienna body and Tacoma chassis - is part of Toyota's road mapping plan which will see nine vehicles travel 16,500 miles in 110 days across the US.
Tonka Toyota 4Runner
The Tonka 4Runner showcased incredible suspension parts from Bulletproof Suspensions for life in the rugged outdoors. Add the huge wheels onto the jacked-up springs and you'll be struggling to get into multi-storey car parks in this.
Hyundai 2016 Tucson limited edition
The new Tucson went on sale earlier this year and Hyundai - with the help of Rockstar Performance Garage - has created an ultimate limited edition for SEMA. It's fitted with LED light bars on the grille and roof and hefty shock absorbers have been added to deal with rugged off-roading. The 32-inch tyres should help with that too. Inside there's a 10-inch subwoofer in case you need entertaining on your adventure.
Ludacris' Acura Legend
Honda's luxury US sister brand Acura also revealed a ground up restoration of rapper and Fast and Furious star Ludacris' 1993 Legend which featured on the cover of an album. Inside is a Pioneer Apple CarPlay system. Alongside it was a new special edition sunburst yellow version of the non-UK Acura ILX with modified suspension and wheels.
Chevrolet Silverado 3500hd Kid Rock concept
They say everything in America is bigger. With SEMA in general it's hard to argue and perhaps the automotive embodiment of that is this ridiculous Silverado. It's been made in partnership with musician Kid Rock and barely fits into one photo. To haul this huge machine it's got a 6.6-litre turbo diesel V8 and dual rear 22-inch wheels. An oversized Chevrolet bow tie sits on the grille. For good measure it's pulling a trailer with two amphibious quadskis on.
Toyota Mirai Back to the Future
It's no secret that Back to the Future hit reality on October 21 and Toyota showcased its fuel cell Mirai at SEMA kitted out in full film spec to celebrate. Suicide doors and an energy reactor give it the DeLorean look. Plus there's transparent wheels with blue LEDs inside.
Kia A1A Optima convertible concept
The A1A Optima is named after a famous coastal highway in Florida, and pays tribute to the sunshine state with its roofless bodystyle, backwards-hinged doors and bright teal paintwork.
Kia Forte Koup Mud Bogger
A completely unique concept designed for tearing around off-road. Special 28-inch tyres help with that while side skirts and a front guard make sure you don't damage the custom paint. A LED light bar will keep you visible at night and a roll cage inside will make sure you're safe if it all goes wrong.
Kia Pacwest Adventure Sorento
The normal Sorento is barely recognisable in this concept made for the Pacific Northwest. The height has been raised by six inches and a tailor made roof rack will store all your outdoor gear. If it gets a bit wet, no bother as there's a snorkel to make this concept a land based submersible. The green interior is matched by a custom paint job outside to mirror the Pacific Northwest landscape.
Kia Photo Safari Sedona
The regular eight seater Sedona has been given an overhaul by LGE-CUTS Motorsports to turn it into a mobile film studio. Camera mounts are fitted to the roof and the middle row of seats has been removed to make way for a handcrafted walnut desk and storage for a director and 27-inch iMac with 5k Retina display. Wireless radio headsets are also included on this one off Sedona.
You might think the Kia Soul doesn't need turbocharging. Well think again. This Trail'ster concept comes from the same studio as the GT4 Stinger revealed last year. It features a roll top canvas roof, armoured skid plates and an all-wheel-drive system. Ideal, Kia says, if you're in the Rocky Mountains.
Ram DiveMaster City
Could this be the ultimate vehicle for a coastal white van man? This Ram DiveMaster City – based on the ProMaster – has been kitted out for a scuba diving business. There’s space for flippers, wet suit, oxygen tanks and even a TV screen strapped to the back doors. And the oceanic livery is a custom paintjob rather than a wrap. It proves vans don’t have to be white.
Fiat 500X Mobe
The humble Fiat 500X isn’t safe from modification. Mopar has taken this AWD Trekking model to convert it into the ideal companion for a trip to the beach. A roof carrier has been added along with a bronze bonnet. More graphics adorn the side plus there’s the addition of 18-inch two-tone wheels. And the name? Easy, Mobe is a kite-surfing trick.
Dodge Challenger GT AWD
Ever thought you needed a Challenger fit for all conditions? If the answer is yes then the GT AWD is the car for you. The year-round muscle car has been widened for the AWD system and comes with 20-inch wheels. Parts are taken from the Dodge police car and the uprated 5.7-litre HEMI engine will produce 440hp.
It’s painted in destroyer grey with orange trim and is completed by a unique spoiler and chin splitter. It’s mean, fast and, for now at least, just a concept.
Chrysler 300 Super S
The regulation 300C is hardly a shrinking violet but add a matte blue finish and a grille made of miniature Mopar logos and you get quite the machine. The Super S has been lowered with 22-inch concept wheels. Its 5.7-litre HEMI gets a boost of 75hp, too, while inside there’s a new flat-bottomed steering wheel and blue trimmed grey leather seats.
Two new Chevrolet Camaro concepts
Two new Chevy Camaro special editions, Red Accent and Black Accent, will preview some new alloy wheel options, styling kits, exterior graphics, interior trim options and performance enhancing tech. This includes exhausts upgrades, lowered suspension and performance air intakes. Chevy says its new Ford Mustang rival will have the widest ever range of customisations available.
Eight Ford Mustangs
You read that right. Among a number of racier versions of the Blue Oval's existing range, there are eight customised versions of the 2015 Ford Mustang muscle car at the show - read our full article to find out more.
Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Ford's offering at SEMA centred around a collection of modded Mustangs with body kits, custom paint jobs and updated engines. The pick of the bunch was the GT Convertible which had a 2.9-litre supercharger to help the 5.0-litre V8 produce 825hp. Suspension and brake upgrades are added internally while there's a gloss black dashboard and blue leather sports seats. It was awarded 2015 SEMA Best in Show, too, for outstanding achievement in design.
Jeep Wrangler Red Rock
Just 50 of the Red Rock Jeep Wranglers will go on sale as Jeep celebrates 50 years of its Easter Jeep Safari event by creating this ultimate model. The Wrangler is a trademark convertible model with canvass coverings but is set apart by a custom red paintjob and unique decals on the bonnet. LED headlamps and fog lights are also added for the special model while the rubicon winch will be given a Jeep warranty for the first time. It’s been treated in a special coating to protect from rust.
Kylie Tjin Special Edition Honda HR-V
If you like your cars pink with gold wheels then this HR-V is the one for you. For all normal people, however, this might be the most tasteless thing on display at SEMA. Kylie Tjin has been producing concepts for Honda since 2006 and this wide bodied bright pink HR-V is the latest creation. The gold wheels come with added spikes and inside you get a custom pink and yellow fabric.
Now read more about the most recent global motor show with our full Tokyo 2015 round-up.