The SEMA Show, or “Specialty Equipment Market Association,” draws the auto industry’s biggest minds and hottest rides to the Las Vegas Convention Center for a celebration of all things custom and aftermarket.The show’s been firing on all cylinders over the last week, and we’ve managed to gather some of this year’s most memorable modded marvels. So sit back and strap in as we take a trip through the fast and furiously awesome autos of SEMA 2018.
Ford began production of the all-new Ranger about a week before SEMA, so it's no surprise that this model was their headlining act. A total of seven custom Rangers were featured, displaying the versatility of the mid-size Ford pickup with designs inspired by everything from desert-running to video games. Our favorite of the lineup is the Ford Ranger Pre-Runner variant, made by Ford Performance. It has the Ranger's FX4 off-road package, including exposed front-tow hooks, an off-road-tuned suspension and different terrain modes. And, as if their star ride wasn’t already in the spotlight, Ford added a 40-inch light bar, a white rock light kit, amber spotlights, and a hood hinge-mounted off-road light kit – making it abundantly clear that it’s finally the Ranger’s time to shine.
Kia rolled into this year’s SEMA with off-road top of mind, dedicating most of their act to flexing a few of their new, adventure-oriented Telluride models. They feature some outrageous mods – for an eight-seat, family-oriented SUV, that is – including massive 32-inch off-road tires, raucous straight-pipe exhaust systems, and flashy paint schemes. To prove their lineup wasn’t just for show, Kia sponsored a large off-road Torque Track, giving visitors the chance to buckle up in the passenger seat and experience the beefed-up Tellurides on dirt trail, jumps, climbs and water crossings. Eager off-roaders can expect to see the production model Telluride roll out in the first half of 2019.
ULTIMATE SERVICE TITAN
Nissan has been all about showcasing the Titan's rugged, outdoorsy nature lately, and their SEMA presence doubled down on that goal. The aptly named Ultimate Service Titan came equipped with specs to run tire-to-tire with even the most rugged competitors. This one-of-a-kind Titan was built for the American Red Cross, and designed to overcome nature’s worst to provide disaster relief. Nissan first revealed the new Titan at the Miami Auto Show earlier this month before donating it to the American Red Cross in South Florida and giving it another showing at SEMA.
HONDA OPEN-AIR VEHICLE
Honda kicked up the dust this year by combining elements of its Ridgeline pickup truck and Pioneer 1000 side-by-side utility vehicle to create a car unlike anything we’ve seen. This larger-than-life concept, the Rugged Open-Air Vehicle, was pitched as “an exercise of what the ultimate off-road Honda four-wheeled vehicle could look like.” As rugged as it sounds, this ride also abounds in bells and whistles – like 33-inch Dick Cepek Extreme Country tires, a custom tailgate and reskinned Civic Type R seats. Unfortunately the ROAV only exists as a concept vehicle right now, but that doesn’t make us want to hit the backroads in this beast any less.
WARN STRETCHED WRANGLER JL
Bruiser Conversions in Clearwater, Florida is no stranger to Jeep modding, and their Warn Stretched Wrangler JL might be the team’s most ambitious build to date. This whale of an off-road SUV was one of most memorable vehicles we found at SEMA, most notably because of its complete second row of seating in front of an almost comically long cargo bed. Bruiser Conversions modified everything from its suspension, steering system, axles, shocks, front and rear bumpers, and driveshafts to give the Stretched Wrangler its unique, limousine look.
These are only a few of our favorite concepts from this year’s show, and there are plenty more where that came from. Even though we don’t expect any of these powerhouses to roll into our shop, we’re always glad to see the amazing steps forwards the auto world is taking. In the meantime, our experts are always revved up to restore the rhythm of your life no matter what you’re driving. For even more industry news in the coming weeks, stay tuned!