The best cars from SEMA Las Vegas

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is the auto industry’s chance to see just how crazy it can get. Major auto-makers and customisers let their imaginations run wild at the ultimate trade show for customising vehicles with after-market parts: the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas. Hundreds of vehicles filled the parking lot and halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center to make the point that no modification is too extreme. Here are some of the best…

Mercedes-Benz ‘300SL Gullwing’ (2018)

The pick of the bunch at SEMA was definitely legendary John Sarkisyan’s 300SL reproduction. Built in only four months, the car started life as an SLK 32 AMG. The body is mated to an FRP recreation of the Gullwing’s iconic lines. That was done by 3D scanning of an authentic SL and making the whole design fit over the wheelbase John was working on. Dumped on those brushed modern-day wheels and dotted with such contrasting details as the blue leather straps that hold down the hood and trunk it all combines to give the whole car a lot of character. 

2019 Ford GT Carbon

Not every car on display at the SEMA show was modified. One of the star stock cars was the 2019 Ford GT Carbon Series. The car is just like the GT’s previous Competition Series, but adds back some niceties, such as a radio and air-conditioning. This third Ford GT special edition features more visible carbon fibre than any previous model, along with optional accent colours, to stand out from the line-up and communicate its chicane cravings. The 647-horse, twin-turbo V6-powered, Le Mans-winning legend has bare carbon-fibre, dual-exposed stripes, A-pillars and lower body panels that make the car extra nimble for taming the tracks.

Chevrolet Corvette C1

All is not as it seems with this C1 Corvette. This is a customised version of the Corvette C1, the first generation of the Corvette sports car produced by Chevrolet. It was introduced late in 1953, and produced through 1962. The wheels on the car displayed at the show are modern 20″ items from Deluxe Wheel Company, cleverly painted to mimic the original whitewall look. The rims enable the Vette to run a C6 Corvette front suspension, including 13″ brake discs. Under the hood is a 532 hp LS V8.

Mopar Hellephant

The Hellephant made its Vegas debut under the hood of a reworked 1968 Dodge Super-Charger. Created to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic model, the new car retains some of the aesthetic elements of the very first generation of the model, to which have been added modern components and more lightweight materials. Under the hood is the new Hellephant, an engine based on the old 1964-vintage HEMI 426, already dubbed the Elephant due to its massive power output. The new engine pays tribute to the old and, at the same time, represents a logical follow-up to the Hellcat engine.