The tuning event of the year will soon be upon us.
In a few weeks’ time, Las Vegas will become the epicenter of the aftermarket universe when SEMA 2015 opens its doors to car tuning firms from across the US. If the last few years are anything to go by, we can expect a ton of horsepower on show, plenty of widebody styling, and those all-important promotional girls. So here’s a look at some of the most exciting, jaw-dropping reveals of the past couple of years, and things to look forward to this year to get you in the mood for the aftermarket extravaganza.
Every now and then, a brand new car will be unveiled at SEMA, and this year that honor will be going to Florida-based Exotic Rides. Having built and customized cars for the best part of two decades, the company has recently been working on its own creation – the ER W70. Australian automotive designer David Williams was tasked with designing the American-built supercar after the firm saw his renderings of what he imagined the LaFerrari would look like prior to its release in 2012.
Following the show, we often get to see a few of the cars lined up for a drag race. Unlike normal drag races, where import vs. domestic and displacement vs. forced induction are tested, the SEMA cars are vastly different from one another, to the point where it becomes very difficult to try and predict which one will win.
Admittedly it’s the wild modifications and insane levels of performance that is of most interest to fans of the Las Vegas aftermarket extravaganza, but the gorgeous models posing beside the outlandish modifications is one of SEMA's most attractive features.
When it comes to extreme supercar mods, SEMA is the place to be. Last year, Liberty Walk’s widebody Lamborghini Aventador was unveiled at SEMA wearing a gorgeous baby blue paint job, as well as riveted and flared wheel arches, a new front bumper and splitter, beefier side skirts, a lowered suspension, and a huge set of Forgiato alloys. At the back sits a suitably oversized rear wing, a new diffuser and titanium exhaust system by Armytrix.
SEMA is THE place for complete one-offs, and Ken Block's Hoonicorn RTR Mustang retro-mod was about as unique as a car gets. Revealed last year, it took two years to complete, with the iconic pony car heavily modified to fit a 410 cubic-inch (6.7-liter) Roush Yates V8 delivering 845 hp and 720 lb-ft of torque. Inspired by WRC and DTM cars as well as some toy cars from Block's childhood days, the widebody Stang boasts a full tubular chassis, custom roll cage, door bars and suspension mounts, and RTR carbon-fiber body panels. It rides on 18-inch fifteen52 three-piece alloys wrapped in bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R rubber.
Carmakers known for being safe tend to pull out something awesome for SEMA, and last year, Toyota arrived in Las Vegas with something completely OTT: the “Sleeper Camry” housing a purpose-built Funny Car-style dragster powered by a Tundra-sourced 5.7-liter supercharged V8 equipped with a wet nitrous system that sends 850 hp to the rear wheels. The custom Camry will run a 9.8-second quarter mile, all four doors work, although only the driver has a chance of getting in, and the interior has been completely stripped out packing a Fast Ed’s racing seat, Autometer digital dash, and Impact Racing four-point harness.
SEMA is full of mad stance, and last year one of a handful of custom Lexus RC models on show was this 350 F Sport by Gordon Ting/Beyond Marketing. It features a Rocket Bunny widebody kit, 19-inch Enkei custom 6666 alloys, Brembo Performance brakes, a KW suspension, GReddy exhaust system, and Takata harnesses. Talk about slammed!