The night before SEMA was the reveal party.
The reveal part is sort of like a red party event for the featured cars of the show. They have a stage set up opposed by tables for VIPs, food and drink stands and a great big tower for us media to get an angle on proceedings.
Before the featured vehicles came in there was a small awards ceremony for manufacturers who had produced cars that were of particular interest to the automotive aftermarket.
The award for Full Size Truck of the Year was won by Ford’s F-Series. The Ford F-Series is always a popular vehicle at the show. A lot of people build them as lifted show trucks and for overlanding, both of which we will be exploring in future posts (if I’m clever I’ll remember to link them here).
Mid Size Truck of the Year went to the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma isn’t used as much as the trucks from U.S domestic manufacturers in the show truck world but there were a lot of these throughout the show that had been built for overlanding.
Car of the Year went to Ford’s Mustang. The S650 generation of Mustang was launched this year. I’d imagine a lot of companies have been working on the S650 to bring new parts to the market.
Sport Compact of the Year was won by the Nissan Z, a car that we sadly won’t be getting in Europe.
Finally we have EV of the Year which was won by Ford’s Lightning pickup truck.
Moving swiftly on to the featured builds.
This is Chip Foose’s Meyers Manx dune buggy built onto the underpinnings of a Porsche 356 rather than the traditionally done VW Beetle.
RTR Vehicles had two Mustangs featured.
The race car is the RTR Spec 5D demo car driven by current FD champion Chelsea DeNofa. This was doing demonstration runs all week at the Shell Performance Unbound arena which you can read about here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2023/12/01/sema-2023-shell-performance-unbound-and-silver-lot/
The road car is the RTR Spec 2 package. This one features the optional Whipple supercharger which boosts the car to 750 horsepower.
Dustin Williams Subaru WRX. This had been destroyed by a drunk driver and he has just finished rebuilding it.
Detroit Speed Engineering have been building this GTO over the past three years for comedian Kevin Hart. It features a Chevrolet LT5 engine out of a C7 Corvette ZR1 and is painted Mercedes Mystic Brown, which really suits it!
Tommy Pike built this Nissan Z as a tribute to the original 240Z Safari. Both cars could be found on the Nissan stand which you can read about here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2023/11/17/sema-2023-manufacturers/
Direct Current Engineering’s Rivian. As well as being a bike carrier, the trailer actually has spare battery packs in it which gives the vehicle a lot more range for adventures out in the open.
Project Ressurection’s restored Toyota Land Cruiser with a Chevrolet LS3 to give it a little more spice.
Bisi Ezerioha of Bisimoto brought along this electric converted 1965 VW bus.
Bisi is one of the nicest guys in the automotive industry. It’s always a pleasure to see his builds and to see him thriving.
At last year’s show he had two electric Porsche 935s on display. They can be seen in these two articles:
TJ Hunt’s R34 GTR V-Spec.
Typically the United States won’t allow you to import a car which wasn’t manufactured for the U.S market which is under 25 years of age. This car, being Midnight Purple, is actually exempt from that rule as Midnight Purple was the first colour changing paint offered by a manufacturer from standard. Therefore it is historically significant and had been brought into the country via the ‘Show or Display’ amendment, which limits that car to being driven 2500 miles or less per year.
The team struggled to get it up the ramp and given the value and rarity of these cars in the U.S I think skipping going onto the stage was the right call.
Thanks for reading!
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By Richard Francis