Best of SEMA 2011: What Happens in Vegas Gets Posted Online


by John Coyle 

OK, I realize this is Ford Truck Enthusiasts. But SEMA is a celebration of all things automotive, and I figured this crowd would appreciate seeing some killer cars that didn’t happen to be wearing a Blue Oval.

This was my fifth year attending, and I’m happy to report that while the 2009 and 2010 shows were a little slow, this year was the most packed I’ve seen since 2006. Call me crazy, but I think that’s good news for everyone!

So sit back and take a look at these ten killer creations. And don’t worry””nobody on this site is going to tell your Ford truck you have a wandering eye…

deco-liner.jpg Like a lot of the coolest stuff at SEMA, the DecoLiner was out in the parking lot, so even the great unwashed””meaning anyone without a badge””could check it out.

It’s billed as "Flash Gordon’s Motorhome," and I can’t think of a better way to describe this creation. Builder Randy Grubb and the Blastolene crew used a frame from a ’70s motorhome and the nose from a ’50s cab-over-engine truck, but everything else is a clean-paper design. As you can see, the results are striking.

The "Flying Bridge" on top has seating for five, and the coolest past are the nautical-style controls, which allow the DecoLiner to be driven from either inside the cab or the bridge. Legal? Maybe. Awesome? You know it!

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As I said earlier, this was my fifth SEMA, and to be honest, it takes a lot to impress me. But the finish on this Camaro? Totally. Mind-blowing.

The inspiration for this stunner came from the original set of Hot Wheels cars from the ’60s, and it looked great parked at the end of an orange track. Under that killer coating is a mostly stock Camaro SS, but I’d happily take care of installing some additional go-fast bits myself.

I can’t be alone in hoping the General drops a sweet Hot Wheels-themed commercial to push its latest generation Pony car… 

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Richard Petty is the King, and there’s no getting around that his ’72 Challenger looks totally bad-ass.

A couple of years back I actually spotted Petty walking through the show, and he was super-cool to all the people who approached him. And if he was upset at not being able to travel more than a couple of feet at a time, his trademark shades and ten-gallon hat hid it with ease.

The STP race livery has always been one of my favorites””along with the classic Gulf Oil colors””and standing next to this wicked machine made me wish NASCAR still raced cars that resembled something you could actually buy. Big time props to Optima Batteries for bringing this treasure to the show.

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Carol Shelby raced for Aston Martin before injuries derailed his racing career, and went on to challenge and beat mighty the Ferrari on some of the most demanding circuits in the world.

This the the first Cobra Shelby ever made, and while I think it’s kind of pretentious to rope off a car at SEMA””we’re all professionals””I have no problems with Ford’s decision here. It’s impossible to overstate the historical importance of this little Cobra, and amidst all the glitzy, overwrought crap peppering the show floor, its aura shone like a new dime. The story is that this baby was repainted two or three times, so the crafty Texan could make investors think he had more than one, which totally adds to its mystique.

Standing close to the gorgeous aluminum bodywork, it’s impossible not to feel in the presence of greatness.

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SEMA is all about the ridiculous, and it’s hard to picture anything more ridiculous than this Mopar-powered Mini. Dubbed the "Maxi Cooper," you don’t have to care anything about cars to get a kick out of this taxi-themed monster, and that’s kind of the point.

The 5.7L Hemi has been stroked 6.4L, and the BDS blower is running at a relatively conservative five pounds of boost. Together, they’re good for a whopping 650 horsepower, which is a healthy 470 horsepower boost from stock.

The thing that’s most incredible is that it passes Smog in California. Just kidding. Vegas is the closest this baby is allowed to the Golden State. Viva SEMA!

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There’s a 454 under the hood, but it’s really everything that comes after it that makes this ’60 Caddy such a stunner.

The wizards at Sisco Fabrications outdid themselves with this gorgeous testament to ’60s elegance, and the slammed appearance makes it look like the tail fins stretch on for a mile. This awesome machine is another reminder that some of the coolest stuff at SEMA doesn’t even make it through the door…

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There weren’t a ton of Corvettes at the show””all the builders are presumably waiting for the C7″”but that doesn’t mean America’s Sports Car was absent.

Now, I realize plenty of purists might turn up their noses at seeing a classic like this so radically modified, but SEMA isn’t about stock. And hey, if you did happen to run into a gang of gray beards, the LS7 under the hood should insure a speedy exit.

I personally loved the retro black, white and red paint scheme, and while I feel the wheels might be a tad too big, the fact that this baby was parked in the Wilwood Brakes booth insures there won’t be any donk-esque stopping issues…

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I’m almost positive I saw a video about the Runamucka a couple years back, but regardless, this was the first time I’ve seen it in person.

The body comes from a ’42 Ford, the grill came from a ’32, and the nose cone was snatched from a ’50 Studebaker. But the builders reached across the pond to find power for this fighter-themed project, and dropped in a Jaguar V12 to provide power. It probably makes a gorgeous racket when it’s running””too bad it was parked inside.

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This is easily one of the coolest Mustangs I’ve ever seen. For the "Producer," sheet metal maestros the Ring Brothers started with a ’65 Mustang””a real one, not a Dynacorn””and widened it by four inches, which gives it the presence of a high-end exotic.

Of course, they didn’t stop there. This potent Pony is packing a 351 Cleavland producing 750HP mated to a Tremec six-speed, and while it was sitting pretty in the Royal Purple booth, it’s far from just a show car.

The interior roll cage, Formula One oil cooler and Michelin Pilot Sport tires should add up to some fantastic track days. I’ve been told to expect some videos of this baby shredding tires, so stay tuned…

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This what happens when a Japanese tuner takes a fancy to some German iron, and all I can say is that I wish it happened more often.

While this sweet Porsche from Rauh-Welt reminds me of the customized 911s and 930s from back in the ’80s, but there’s nothing retro about it. Even with the gigantic flares on the wheels, it still manages to avoid looking garish or overdone. Maybe it’s the matte-white paint, maybe it’s the Japanese aesthetic. Whatever it is, it’s awesome.

Okay, if you’ve had enough of all these lesser vehicles, head on over to our Ford Truck SEMA 2011 galleries and get your Ford on!

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