It’s the only car show that has an entire building dedicated to wheels, and true car nuts try to sneak into with fake press badges. This weeklong show in Las Vegas is never even open to the public – you’ve got to know someone just to get in the front door.
The SEMA show, put together by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, may have humble beginnings, but it now represents $30 billion of annual business from 6,500 aftermarket companies. Think of it this way, if you didn’t buy it at the dealership, it’s aftermarket.
And the cars, well, they are simply outrageous – as carmakers, custom shops and everyone else try to outdo the next guy. From engines to interiors to custom body panels and insane rims, the SEMA show has something for everybody.
Imagine dreaming up the wildest car possible and then making it. That’s what SEMA has on display every year.
Here are some of the coolest vehicles shown this year.
Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab by Kelderman Air Suspension Systems
This is a monster truck – which is also sponsored by Monster power drinks.
Powered by Ford’s 6.7-liter PowerStroke diesel V8, this behemoth can lift itself 8- to 10-inches with the touch of the AccuAir Touchpad created by Kelderman.
The max clearance and special suspension parts mean this truck can go just about anywhere.
Jeff Dunham’s 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8
You might be a redneck if your souped up Mopar ready Dodge Challenger is purple.
Lifelong car enthusiast Jeff Dunham put his name to this purple people eater by working with Mopar, Chrysler’s aftermarket and performance division, and Palmer’s Custom, creating a car dubbed UltraViolet. It includes a 515 horsepower Mopar crate engine and custom work on every body panel by Palmer’s Custom.
The masterpiece of muscle cars rides on 22-inch custom shoes by HRE and includes a reworked front fascia and a lowered body. It’s simply a sweet set of wheels.
2013 Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition
Ever step on a Hot Wheels in the middle of the night on your way to the fridge?
Well, this one doesn’t go in your house, it goes in your garage.
Chevrolet debuted the Camaro Hot Wheels Edition at SEMA and will offer limited editions of this pony car next year.
This model carries design cues from the ZR1 and comes with 21-inch wheels and lots of Hot Wheel accents. The package cost about $7,000 and is available on both V6 and V8 models.
Mazda CX-5 Urban
One of three Mazda CX-5s shown at SEMA, the Urban comes with fewer accessories and that fabulous matte black paint with cool triangle patterns across the body. Mazda goes into detail about the paint, calling it Black Mica and pointing out that “each triangular-like design shaped to reflect each bend and twist of the vehicle’s sheet metal.
(There are also 22-inch wheels and a dual exhaust that can give the Urban a city growl.)
Fiat 500c Beach Cruiser
The Fiat 500 has lots of personalities.
And it appears Chrysler Group LLC is toying with that personality as much as possible. At SEMA, Fiat rolled out a 500c Beach Cruiser complete with flat black paint, pushed out fenders and retro aluminum wheels.
No word on how much of this will make it to dealerships, but I can only hope that everything from the surfboard rack to the custom mirrors eventually do.
Related: 2013 Fiat 500c Expert Review
Next: Gallery of Completely Crazy Cars
2013 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Concept
It’s back and more powerful than ever.
The Mustang Cobra Jet combines Ford’s 5-liter V8 with twin turbochargers to create a factory ready race car that will do 8 second quarter miles. (If you’re not in the know, that’s really fast.)
Ford uses small twin turbos to eliminate lag, the one big drawback with turbos. But the supercharger currently found on the Mustang Cobra Jet chews up a lot of power, power that doesn’t go to the rear axle. The turbos are more efficient, meaning all of the horsepower under the hood gets to the wheels. And that means it’s even faster.
Ford sells 50 Cobra Jets a year. Hopefully, some in the future will have this powertrain.