The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the world’s largest trade show for the automotive aftermarket industry. While the majority of vendors, exhibitors, and attendees are based in the United States, the enthusiasm for muscle cars and big horsepower is a truly global phenomenon.
Last year, we featured the KSV9000 Mustang from Australia. This year, I saw another Aussie builder, Rides by Kam. Based out of Varsity Lakes in Queensland, the guys at Rides by Kam have created this incredible 1970 Nova.
This car makes some serious power! This build begins with a 572 big block Chevy engine with Brodix aluminum heads. Then, throw on a pair of Procharger F2 cog-driven superchargers and you’ve got a beast of an engine that’s pushing out an incredible 1,200 horsepower.
You can pretty much bet that the guys from Hot Rod magazine are going to have an awesome car on display at their SEMA booth. Last year, it was the stunning 1968 Charger “Sliced” from The Roadster Shop. This year, Hot Rod magazine went old school with this 1963 Corvette Racer by Mickey Thompson.
Today, 1963 Corvettes are among the most collectible, due to the one-year only split rear window. Before the collector market caught fire in the early 2000s, these cars were not worth nearly what they are today. It looks like this car may have been built back in the 1960s.
The coolest feature about the car is its extremely rare Smokey Yunick-built “Mystery Motor.” Back in the day, these guys took a W-series engine and modified it to become a 427-cid motor, which would eventually give rise to the Big Block engine. This motor is an early prototype, much like the original Apple computer in a wooden case.
I liked several other details of the car, from the racing steering wheel to the angled gauges. The interior is a no-frills environment with a roll cage and fire extinguisher, along with a stripped-down dashboard lacking a radio or A/C controls. This is a purpose-built racer, and it was made to be driven! I am eager to see what the guys at Hot Rod magazine will have on display for 2016!
You can’t walk around SEMA for more than a few minutes without passing by several different first-gen Camaros. Many people try to put a “modern twist” on this muscle car classic by adding LED headlamps or other accents that look out of place. It was nice to see a ’69 Camaro that looks like a Camaro.
This car belongs to Mark Stielow, who has nicknamed it “Jackass v2.0.” Right off the bat, there is a supercharged LS9 engine from the Corvette ZR1 under the hood! This supercharged crate motor pumps out 683 horsepower and 604 ft-lbs of torque from its 6.2 liters. Continue reading
The custom car scene at SEMA is largely dominated by pro-touring Fords and Chevys. When you do see a Mopar around, odds are it is a classic Challenger or Charger. You just don’t see a lot of Belvederes around these days, which made this one all the more interesting.
This 1956 Belvedere convertible is nicknamed “Rare Air” and was built by Steve Cook Creations in Oklahoma City. The car is owned by Gil Losi, who is no stranger to custom cars. We featured his 1961 Impala “Under PreSSure” from the 2013 SEMA show on this site before. Continue reading
The business of building custom cars is highly subjective to the tastes of each car’s owner. In some cases, people try to restore a car to its original condition. With resto-mods, people build cars that look old but offer modern reliability and performance. In the case of this 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, it’s kind of a strange cocktail of old-and-new parts combined.
This car is the work of All Speed Customs in Muskegon, MI. I saw it on display at the Meguiar’s booth at SEMA 2015.
The SEMA Show in Las Vegas features hundreds of custom cars built by hot rod shops from all over the country. I was wandering around at the 2015 show looking at cars, when I stumbled across a 1972 Camaro built by a shop in my own city of Phoenix!
The company is Miranda’s Custom Cars, and they have been around since 1989. Their pro-touring Camaro was on display at the HiFonics booth outside of the show.
HPI Customs is a full service hot rod shop in Beausejour, Manitoba, a small town on the outskirts of Winnipeg. We’ve featured their work on the site before, with a full write-up on their 1966 Chrysler Imperial that had a supercharged V10 from a Dodge Viper under the hood!
The guys from HPI were back at SEMA 2015 with another new project, also a Mopar. This time, they had a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner with a Gen3 6.1L HEMI crate engine under the hood. But just to push the envelope even further, it also has a rear-mounted twin-turbo setup from STS!
When it comes to the Tri-Five Chevys of 1955, 56, and 57, most owners fall into one of two groups. You have the cars which are restored to their full original condition, and you have the cars which have been set up for drag racing with a big block, roll cage, rear wheel tubs, and drag slicks. So it was quite unusual to see Ron ad Debbie Pfisterer’s 1955 Nomad at SEMA 2015, because it wasn’t like either of those.
In fact, the car seems to be set up more as a cruiser / pro-touring vehicle, which I’ve not seen done to one of these cars before. The first thing that caught my eye was not the bright orange color, but the directional wheels from a C4 Corvette. Continue reading