Last week, the automotive world took a little break from counting sales totals and proposing serious products, having some fun showing off wild creations at the annual SEMA Show. We spent a few days walking SEMA's halls and outdoor courtyards staring in awe at some of the craziest cars, trucks, motorcycles and ... others ... on the planet. Since we're sure many of our readers couldn't make the trip themselves, we've compiled several albums of the show's most compelling vehicles. We start things off with the cars of the show – from classic coupes and roadsters, to muscle cars, to movie stars, to ruggedized rally sports cars and beyond, these are some of the coolest and weirdest of SEMA 2017.
Tackling the 300-mph mountain
We expect to see more creative show cars and oddities at the SEMA Show, with few to zero major world debuts, but this year's show did have one very notable premiere. Hennessey finally pulled its US$1.6 million Venom F5 out of the shadows, revealing the details about the all-out hypercar that should take speed to the next level. The new car is a 1,600-bhp tour de force that Hennessey believes capable of breaking the 300-mph (482-km/h) barrier, a mark so far beyond the horizon we hadn't seriously thought about it when looking over other supercars (at least not ones that have actually materialized).
Whether it breaks 300 or not, we expect Hennessey will be pushing hard to surpass the 277-mph (447 km/h) mark set by the all-new record kings at Koenigsegg. But we'll give it a little time.
Looking down from 400
The Hennessey Venom F5 has the chance to be the first production car to 300 mph, but some cars not fettered by production requirements have already been there ... and far beyond. Danny Thompson broke 400 mph (644 km/h) last year, setting a class record with his 5,000-hp Challenger 2, a restored version of the streamliner originally built for his late father Mickey. Mickey was the first American to reach 400 mph, but he was unable to make the return run for an official record, a feat he never accomplished. Danny's 2016 record was official, signing the Thompson family name in the 400-mph club ledger in permanent ink. You can read more about the Thompson family's incredible journey to 400 in our coverage of Speed Week 2016.
When we chatted with Danny at SEMA, he told us he hit 435 mph (700 km/h) at the Bonneville festivities this past August (well over last year's 406 mph/653 km/h and change), but was unable to back up the run for an official record. His ultimate goal is to set the piston engine-driven world record, unseating the Speed Demon, which holds a 437.183 mph (704 km/h) SCTA national record and a 439 mph (706.5 km/h) FIA world record.
The piston engine record is separate from the overall wheel-driven record, thanks to the fact that the latter is held by the turbine-powered Vesco Turbinator, with a record of 458.44-mph (737.79 km/h). The rebuilt Vesco Turbinator II was also on show at SEMA, and Team Vesco hopes to be the first to push the record over 500 mph (805 km/h).
Rambling off the beaten path ... in more ways than one
We're putting all the SEMA truck and 4x4 builds into a separate gallery that will run in the next day or two, but we also saw a few ruggedized sports cars that exist in limbo somewhere between car and 4x4. Our favorite – the Vicci Porsche Safari 4 by Kelly-Moss Road and Race.
Billed as an "untraditional take on the 50-plus year tradition of off-road/rally 911s," the AWD Safari 4 combines rugged, off-road-ready underpinnings, show car-quality bodywork with alpine white paint and urban camo, and a custom interior into a one-of-a-kind creation. Build highlights include a long-travel suspension, skid plates, fender flares, BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, Hella 4000 lamps, and a DAS Sport roll cage. The car is up for auction now by the just-launched Vicci online auction house, but serious parties will have to drop more than $245,000 to top the current bid.
We could go on for pages and pages with more of our favorites, but it's time to turn the reins over to you so you can pick out your own from our SEMA 2017 photo gallery.