SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides

Posted by muhammad najmie on 6:47 PG

It’s taken about a fortnight, but we’ve finally made a full recovery from our SEMA Show hangover. So…now what? Well, after going through our notes and editing our pictures, we realized that there was an absolute glut of customized cars and trucks squeezed into the Las Vegas Convention Center. Such a glut, in fact, that we wouldn’t have any trouble compiling a list of the top 20 vehicles from the show.
So that’s exactly what we’ve done. And when our friends at Nitto Tire got wind that we were working on this, they decided to throw their support behind it. Thanks guys! Anyway, here, in no particular order, are our favorite dozen plus eight rides from SEMA 2012.

Toyota DragQuoia

toyota dragquoia 640x361 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
For this year’s SEMA Show, Toyota asked four of its pro drivers to customize a new Toyota vehicle, with the winner of a fan vote getting $50,000 for the charity of his or her choice. This insane fat-tired, giant-winged, supercharged Sequoia, conceived by NHRA Top Fuel ace Antron Brown, did not win. But don’t feel sorry for Mr. Brown: This past weekend, at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, he became the first African-American champion of a major auto racing series. And having interviewed him a couple times in a previous journalistic life, we can confidently say it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Trans Am Depot Hurst Edition Trans Am

trans am 01 640x282 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
Pontiac may be dead, but that hasn’t stopped the aftermarket from keeping the Firebird and Trans Am alive by restyling the current Chevrolet Camaro. Trans Am Depot, as its name suggests, specializes in doing exactly that, and the offering that had us staring the most longingly is the Hurst Edition Trans Am. Basically a love letter to the 1977 Special Edition Trans Am that starred alongside Burt Reynolds and ensemble in Smokey and the Bandit, it features that car’s immortal black and gold color scheme, giant “Screaming Chicken” hood decal, and t-tops. Alas, a trunk full of Coors and a CB radio are not included.

Bisimoto Hyundai Elantra GT

bisimoto hyundai elantra SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
The Hyundai Elantra GT is a fine five-door compact, but it’s a little light on horsepower. Tuner Bisimoto fixed that problem, and then added a few hundred extra horsepower for good measure. The total output figure for this wildly decorated runabout? Six-hundred angry ponies. Yeah, yeah, we know, that’s way too much for front-wheel drive. But on a flat surface, with the steering wheel perfectly straight, we wouldn’t mind one attempt at uncorking that turbocharged fury.

Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition

hotwheels camaro 640x360 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
Most of us car guys fell in love with cars thanks to Hot Wheels, and Chevrolet is no doubt banking on that to drive sales of the Camaro Hot Wheels Edition. The 21” redline wheels are a shoutout to the ones on the early Hot Wheels offerings, and there are numerous Camaro ZL1-inspired body add-ons, and a fat, matte black stripe across the hood, trunk and, in the case of coupes, the top. And if you can’t afford a new Camaro plus the $6,995 (*barf*) MSRP of the option package, you can buy a 1:64 scale Camaro Hot Wheels Edition from (duh) Hot Wheels.

Fatlace Nissan GT-R

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SEMA was hardly short on modified Nissan GT-Rs, but this widebody number from Fatlace, in our opinion, was a cut above its peers. The restrained stripe scheme, fat wheels and tires, and a widebody kit that seems to be a modern take on the flared Hakosuka and Kenmeri Skylines of the early ‘70s all make a fantastic ensemble. We’d love to give this thing a workout, if you know what we mean. And we really do mean we’d like to give it a workout. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Toyota Rowdy Edition Camry

customized toyota camry 2012 dream build challenge 003 640x426 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
So if Antron’s DragQuoia didn’t win the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge, what did? That would be the Rowdy Edition Camry, the “Rowdy” being NASCAR star Kyle Busch. Based on the hot dog SE V6 version of America’s favorite transportation appliance, Kyle’s design adds oodles of black (with some red pinstriping), hood scoops, rear diffuser with integrated exhaust tips, and a NASCAR-style rear spoiler. It’s concrete proof that just about any car can be made cool.

Icon Dodge D200 Reformer Series

Dodge Truck SEMA 2012 640x426 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
Icon 4×4, best known for crafting modernized Toyota Land Cruisers and Jeeps, wowed SEMA attendees with this big, white Dodge crew cab. In traditional Icon fashion, the styling may be classic, but what’s underneath is most certainly not. The frame is a modified late model Ram 3500 unit, and the engine is a 5.9L Cummins inline-six turbodiesel that’s been tweaked by Banks Power to make 975 lb.-ft of torque. It cost a pretty penny to put together, but every one of those pennies was well spent.

Chevrolet Malibu Turbo Performance Concept

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The new Chevrolet Malibu is a nice midsize sedan, but it doesn’t really set our tongues a-wagging, even in top-drawer Turbo form. This Malibu Turbo Performance Concept, on the other hand, is a rather tasty morsel. A handsome bodykit, big hoops and matte blue paint dominate the exterior, while blue suede interior trim and Recaro bucket seats spice up the interior. If you ask us, a production version would be a nice foil to the Camry SE.

Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Twin Turbo Concept

2012 SEMA Show Las Vegas 214 640x480 SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
The Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is the original 21st century turn-key drag car. And the latest version, with either a normally aspirated or supercharged 5.0L “Coyote” V8, is quite the quarter-mile monster. So what does that make this prototype turbocharged Cobra Jet? We’re going to go with quarter-mile Cthulhu. Where are your gods now, Camaro COPO and Challenger Drag Pak?

Fiat 500 Café Racer Concept

fiat 500 cafe racer SEMA 2012: Our Top 20 Favorite Rides
What happens when you chop the top and gut the interior of a Fiat 500 Abarth? You end up with something like the Fiat 500 Café Racer Concept. By itself it’s a cool ride, yes. But throw in the trailer and the matching, Abarth-scorpion-adorned custom motorcycle it carries? Well, then you have the hottest hoonage rig this side of the Adriatic Sea.


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