SEMA has some incredible cars to see, even if you can’t get inside
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) hosts one of the largest yearly conventions in Las Vegas. Even though SEMA is far more than just a four-day convention, the SEMA show has been so big, for so long, that any mention of “SEMA” automatically leads your mind to the massive displays and new feature vehicle debuts in the desert.
Even though the Las Vegas Convention Center is huge, the SEMA show spills out of the center’s halls and into the open air, where hundreds of vehicles are on display. So while you do need a pass to get into most of the booths, if you happen to be in Las Vegas, you may want to hop off the Monorail and take a peek at what’s on display for everyone to see.
Here are just some of our favorites from out front.
Weaver Customs brought out its latest truck build and it’s displayed prominently in the Adams Polish booth. Dubbed “Friction”, the 1950 Ford F-1 is powered by a 3.9-liter Cummins 4BT with a compound turbocharger setup that uses a unique charge cooler. Intake air runs through a pair of turbochargers before it’s routed under the cab to a bed-mounted charge cooler, then back into the cab where the twin charge pipes serve as part of the center console. The four-cylinder pumps out 600 horsepower and 1000 lb-ft of torque and continues Weaver Customs’ trend of Cummins diesel swaps, including a 6BT-swapped ‘Cuda that was also painted this color, a custom mix Weaver Customs calls TorC.
In addition to the interior and engine mods, this F-1 was channeled over a custom chassis and features a unique chip that moved the upper edge of the windshield back.
The Mothers booth is another spot outside to check out some of SEMA’s top builds. Right next to a striking red 1972 Chrysler Valiant Charger, Mopar muscle from Australia, is the 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda built by Campbell Auto Restorations. We’ve seen this car in many stages of its construction over the past several years and it’s amazing to see it finally completed. It features leather-wrapped upholstery over hand-formed aluminum door and interior panels for a classic muscle car look that isn’t too modernized. It’s powered by a fuel-injected Gen-II Hemi and a manual transmission.
There are several custom modifications on the car, which rides on an Art Morrison chassis, many of them hard to pinpoint. The most significant is the stretched wheelbase. Now with a longer wheelbase than its Dodge Challenger E-body platform mate, this Cuda’s front wheels were pushed forward 2.5 inches while keeping the same overall length. Unless you really know your classic Mopar muscle you might miss it, but it makes for interesting proportions that make the ‘Cuda look lower than it already is.
There are plenty more vehicles to see out front, including the Big Oly Bronco and dozens of classic and late-model 4x4s, muscle cars, exotics, and pickups. Click through this gallery and see for yourself whether you need to make a trip to SEMA.