Keep on truckin' – Pickups and SUVs of SEMA 2016
The 2016 SEMA Show wrapped up in Las Vegas on Friday, leaving in its wake piles and piles of photos of wild custom cars, trucks and wheeled vehicles best described simply as "other". We've sorted through to bring you some of the best in show. We have a sports car gallery on the way, too, but here we're all about trucks, rugged SUVs and wild creations we've deemed "truck-like other."
Kia makes cat skiing autonomous
The minute we laid eyes on the Kia Sorento Ski Gondola topping Kia's SEMA press release, we knew it would be among our favorite off-roaders of the show – we have a bit of a thing for production cars-cum-snowmobiles. After the initial novelty of the tracks wore off, however, we found new reasons to love the futuristic sled. Autonomous driving is almost always thought of in terms of highway safety and commuting convenience, but Kia injected a bit more fun in playing with ways it could be used for recreation.
The idea of a ski shuttle that could shoot skiers and snowboarders up to the top of a run then pick them up at the bottom, all without someone having to spend that run inside a car cabin, missing the action, is very cool. And it's not hard to think of similar uses beyond skiing. Sticking with the outdoors theme, an autonomous shuttle could drop off at the start of a trail or kayaking put-in and pick up at the end point, eliminating the need for potentially pricey shuttle services, stashing a car, etc. Or it could work as a downhill mountain biking shuttle in the same way as skiing. So beyond just a cool set of tracks, the Sorento Ski Gondola is an interesting vision of autonomous-supported recreation of the future.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor stops by on the way to Baja
Ford brought a slew of custom car and truck builds to the show. Many were just fun SEMA one-offs, but one has a very ambitious future. Ford's been hyping the new 2017 F-150 Raptor quite a bit, and it used SEMA to show the competition-ready Raptor it will run in the SCORE Baja 1000 later this month. The truck will race in the stock full class and Ford and Foutz Motorsports have made minimal modifications, adding a steel roll cage, puncture-resistant fuel cell, racing seats with harnesses, and Rigid Industries LED lighting. The factory-spec suspension has also been revised around the added weight of the racing equipment. The engine remains the 450-hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 new buyers will use to drive the truck out of dealership lots.
"The stock engine, transmission and powertrain calibrations are phenomenal," says Greg Foutz, the four-time Baja 1000 winner who will drive the truck at this year's event. "Suspension-wise, everything else – including its wheels and BFGoodrich K02 tires – is carried over from the 2017 production model."
Toyo scurries across dirt and mud with six-legged Ferret
A departure from the hordes of lifted pickups and ruggedized Wranglers filling the halls of SEMA, the Toyo Ferret is a very different kind of customized vehicle. The 1959 British Ferret armored military vehicle was given a full work-over by Action Vehicle Engineering. It rose to fame this past summer when Toyo released a video of off-road champion BJ Baldwin piloting it over all kinds of off-road terrain.
In addition to a full set of Toyo Open Country tires on custom wheels, Action upgraded power with a Chevy LS V8, added a modified suspension with King shocks, and, coolest of all, secured a custom launcher on top for shooting a grappling hook cabled to the Smittybilt winch. Those middle wheels are more than just spares, driven by hydraulic motors.
There's not much else to say beyond "here's the video."
Toyota guns for world record speed ... with a Land Cruiser
From Toyo to Toyota, and from a venerable off-roader made over-the-top off-roader to a venerable off-roader made over-the-top track car, our next entry is the already-infamous Toyota Land Speed Cruiser. As we looked at earlier in the week, Toyota scalpeled the Land Cruiser body off the frame, heavily revised the chassis, added twin turbochargers and an ATI transmission, and slapped the body back on. The low-riding Cruiser now has somewhere around 2,000 hp and Toyota believes it capable of 220 mph (354 km/h).
In other words, Toyota can compete with some of the fastest supercars in the world ... with what used to be a 5,800-lb (2,630-kg), eight-seat 4x4.
Starwood Motors unleashes a brood of bandits
The Jeep Wrangler won the "Hottest 4x4-SUV" at SEMA for the seventh consecutive year, so it seems only fitting that we include a Wrangler tune. Jeep and Mopar had a couple of strong efforts, with the all-new CJ66 and a couple of reruns from Easter Jeep Safari, but since we covered those already, we thought we'd choose something we haven't looked at.
Starwood Motors builds some of the meanest Jeep packages out there, and this Bandit displayed at Lund International's booth is as cool as any of them. For the Bandit package, Starwood stretches the Wrangler Unlimited by close to 30 in (762 mm) and reinforces the frame before slapping a pickup bed on back. It certainly looks like a fun way to veer off pavement into something rougher.
In addition to that Bandit, Starwood had multiple other custom Jeeps floating around the show, including the all-new Momo Bandit. The Momo has the pickup bed, along with Sprintex supercharging, an AEV heat reduction hood and Starwood's Kevlar liner.
"The MOMO Bandit conversion is a project we have worked incredibly hard on," said Starwood's Scott Wilde in a press release. "With Jeep hinting at the possibility of releasing a pickup truck, Starwood wanted to showcase their take on what a Jeep truck would look like, tricked out of course."
Be sure to see the rest of the truck and 4x4 action in our SEMA 2016 photo gallery.