Whether retro or radical, SEMA 2018 featured some of the most interesting car designs in years. We explored the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, through a forest of lifted trucks, to find the vehicles and builds that defined this year’s show.
The Wrecker Power Wagon by Hauk Designs
The mad scientists at Hauk Designs cooked up a rather menacing truck for the Pit Bull Tires booth at this year’s SEMA show. Inspired by the trucks that we used to draw as kids, this “rat rod” meets Power Wagon build features a 6x6 design, tow truck hardware, and two large smoke stacks that look like bull horns. Mater may have met his match with this one!
A 1994 Dodge Ram platform was used for this build, primarily for the legendary 12-valve Cummins diesel and NV4500 5-speed transmission. The engine, powertrain components, and suspension were then upgraded to match the radical design, making sure the Wrecker could kick up a little dirt and smoke. In person, this Power Wagon stood out from the crowd, atop its 44-inch tires, and was one of the most fun creations we saw at this year’s show.
R35Hundred Design’s Nissan GT-R specZERO
Just when we thought we’d seen everything that can be done to the Nissan GT-R platform, a group called R35Hundred design comes to Vegas with their specZERO version. The carbon fiber widebody body kit is unique to the company and drastically improves on the basic design. Under the hood, you’ll find a Daytona Prototype Nissan VK 45 V8 racing engine and a rear wheel drive layout.
The company’s website mentions that only ten will be made per year at a price of $325,000 for this top-level “SpecZERO” trim that includes the racing engine and, fittingly, a racing suit. Strangely enough, the roll cage inside doesn’t seem to meet most racing standards. The confusion surrounding this build has caused quite a stir, but we believe the design and concept are rather interesting. What do you think of this rather extreme track-day toy?
2JETZ Is A Hot Wheels Legends Winner
We may not have flying cars, but who says that jets can’t travel on four wheels? The builder behind this aero-inspired look loved the style of Bonneville Salt Flat cars and borrowed a concept from artist Dwayne Vance’s “The Face Peeler” sketch. The body features 3,000 aluminum airplane rivets atop a custom tubular chassis. The vehicle is also painted in a military-theme paint scheme to honor US troops.
Powering this land-rocket, and giving the car its name, is race-built 2JZ Toyota Supra engine. The 2JETZ’s 627 horsepower is channeled through a custom 6-speed Subaru Sti based transaxle to launch this 1,650-pound creation forward. In Vegas, the car was crowned as the winner of the Hot Wheels Legend Tour and will be created into a diecast model that should make it slightly more affordable to own.
Lamborghini “Rambo Lambo” LM002 by Italian Design and Racing
Lamborghini recently returned to the SUV market with their new Urus, but the LM002 was the first Lambo people hauler when it arrived in 1986. The “Rambo Lambo,” as it became known, was built for off-road exploration and included a Countach V12 engine. A modernized LM002 arrived at SEMA 2018 with a rather striking design. The father and son team at Italian Design and Racing are typically known for beautiful Ferrari projects, but their orange LM002 stunned SEMA crowds.
Ditching the V12 for a torquier Cummins diesel engine, the LM002 features carbon fiber body elements, fabricated steel bumpers, KC lights, rear jump seats, and enough suspension tweaks to take on the Dakar. This matte orange Lamborghini plans to hit the trail later this year and we can’t wait to see how it performs off-road.
Dodge “Super Charger” with 1,000hp Hellephant Engine
The folks at Mopar threw the supercharged Hellcat HEMI in a crate for last year's SEMA show, making it available for your next project. Not to be topped, they returned this year with a 1,000hp Hellephant 426 V8 crate engine. A tribute to the original “Elephant” 426 cu-in V8 of the 1960s.
To display this beautiful piece of engineering, a new Dodge “Super Charger” concept rolled onto the stage. This 1968 Dodge Charger featured a mean matte black paint job, subtle trunk spoiler, Hellephant badging, and exhaust pipes that were cleverly integrated into the taillights.
Ford F-250 Project TuTone by 4 Wheel Performance
There are plenty of larger-than-life trucks at SEMA, but one Ford F-250 truly stood out. This creation, dubbed Project TuTone, was created by 4 Wheel Performance as a tribute to classic truck designs from the 1970s and 80s. Marty McFly would be proud!
A red and white two-tone paint job plays center stage to modifications that also include a large chrome bumper guard, KC lights, and off-road tires with era-appropriate chrome wheels. Inside the cabin, you'll even find retro seat covers for a bench seat that would be at home in an old square body pickup.
The SEMA show in Las Vegas continues to push aftermarket vehicle modifications to the extreme. This year, the vehicles displayed some of the best in artistic design as well as tributes to classic vehicles of the past. Whether you wanted a 1,000hp project car or a tow truck fit for Mad Max, SEMA served up something for everyone.