Last year I didn’t go to SEMA due to a combination of work constraints and a general sense of exhaustion with the pageantry of trade shows and Vegas in general. This year I plan on going back, but I’m going to be prepared mentally for it all. I think these are helpful enough that I’d like to share them as an addition to the typical “Rules of SEMA” articles you see for first timers. This is more for fifth, sixth and seventh timers.
I’m going to try to avoid the obvious things like “wear comfortable shoes” and “be sure to pack snacks”. These are amateur rules and I’d like to focus more on things to keep someone from slipping into a malaise when you find yourself away from home carrying phones, backpacks and cameras and also trying to dig out the morsels of interesting new things hidden between drab booths of everything that has been done before. The only burn-outs I expect to experience are going to be where the rubber meets the road. Continue reading →
Time will always fondly remember the brash 5.0l H.O. Mustang GT. It’s fraternal twin: The refined SVO happens to be a more interesting vehicle.
Not just for its unique front fascia, or it’s pedals designed specifically for heel-toe shifts. Not even for its 3.73:1 axle ratio, it’s KONI suspension or it’s Lincoln Mark VII-sourced, five-lug four-wheel disc brakes.
The most important aspect of this vehicle is the turbocharged 200hp 2.3L overhead cam I-4. Coincidentally, the horsepower on the SVO never exceeded the GT year-for-year even though it was the faster of the two cars.
Due to its better weight balance, an overall lighter curb weight and a higher revving engine, this car was more of a match around a track with the BMW M3, the Porsche 944 and the Mazda RX-7 than it was deserving of slugging it out at the stoplights with a lowly tuned port Camaro.
Despite that, the SVO still wouldn’t struggle to show any f-body in 1986 it’s ass as it sped away to the tune of turbo whoosh over its glorified pinto engine howling.
Although most casual Mustang fans have forgotten this car along with some of the other odd things Ford was throwing at the fox body, that didn’t stop this beautiful SVO from reaching $33,000 at auction.
This is the very last of the second generation of Chevrolet’s Mustang-fighter: the Camaro. Compared to its Ford competition the Camaro looks less like an unfortunate product of an economic crisis and instead more like time capsule for an era of a simpler time for the automotive enthusiast.
This car is well kept with a paint scheme that hasn’t aged poorly by comparison to its peers. Equipped with a four-speed manual transmission this car finds itself only held back by the 165hp LG4 5.0l V8; an engine with potential given its ancestry, but hampered by it’s notoriously problematic computer-controlled carburetor and distributor.
The 1981 has some visual queues that hint at what’s just around the corner for GM with the lighter, sporty and arguably superior third generation platform available in the next model year. That being said, when it comes to pure automotive machismo this Camaro can’t be denied. It’s no surprise it was able to bring in a final price of $28,000.
Available in 1978 and 1979 this truck has a reputation for being one of the fastest vehicles produced during those years. Although I’d like to be able correctly credit the reason why Dodge was able to squeeze a massive 225hp net rating out of the 360 under the hood, there’s a ton of conflicting reasons why.
Some say it was due to a loophole that allowed a lack of emissions equipment, specifically the catalytic converters. However another source claims the 1979 model has catalytic converters equipped on it, as well as a pointless 85mph speedometer.
What I can say is that Mopar was not able to match this number again until 1993 with the 230hp 5.9l Magnum V8. This truck has also fallen by the wayside along with the Warlock, Midnight Express and other Dodge trucks from this era that paved the way for trucks like the Dodge SRT-10, Ford Lightning, Silverado SS and many others.
This handsome piece of late 70’s lore sold for $20,000 in auction.
This personal luxury coupe was an interesting choice for the discerning Cadillac connoisseur in 1988.
Equipped with the 155hp 4.5l V8 instead of the 165hp LN3 3.8l V6 available in it’s platform mates, the Oldsmobile Tornado and Buick Riviera. Cadillac’s penchant for “high tech” proprietary power plants in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s instead of the venerable 3800 V6 would continue to haunt them until they stopped designing their own engines altogether.
Notable for also being shortest Eldorado at 191.2″ in length which would make it 0.5″ shorter than a current 2017 Ford Fusion.
This particular car was purchased by the local bank in Clovis, NM and managed to accumulate 58,000 miles. This car sold at auction for $4700.
This one goes to eleven. Black paint, supercharged small block Ford with over 600hp, 3.70:1 end and a TKO 5-speed. Chrome everywhere and classic f-series looks. It has an image that says, “Clear a path.”
I was drawn immediately to this truck upon seeing it, and I must have not been the only one as it went for $16,500 on the Scottdale auction block.
One of the more interesting vehicles found at Barrett-Jackson this year was this Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2. Among the more high-profile G-bodies like the Monte Carlo, El Camino, Cutlass and Buick T-type, the Pontiac tends to become more of a forgotten offering. Couple that with this aerodynamic-enhancing body conversion by Auto-Fab for homologation purposes and you find yourself with one interesting piece of history.
Being one of only 1,225 Grand Prix models converted, it’s provenance is evident in it’s smooth Firebird/Camaro-esque rear windshield, revised front fascia and small fiberglass trunk lid. That’s correct: Despite it’s appearance, that window is static, not hatch.
And that lack of useful storage space is only one of the many issues that kept this production variant out of the General Motors limelight. The lackluster performance from the 150hp 5.0L carbureted v8 available only through the 2004r auto and a 3.08:1 rear end ratio didn’t help either. If you remember correctly, even the lowly Monte Carlo SS had an alternative 180hp variant during it’s run, not to mention the offerings from Buick and Oldsmobile.
Despite it’s shortcomings, aesthetically it’s a stud in the confines of it’s era. Which, along with it’s rareness, is probably why this well-kept, low-mileage example went for an impressive $11,000 at auction.