Gallery: Customs, classics and absolute car chaos at SEMA 2018
Late October is the time of year when Americans young and old dress up and become someone - or something - else for a day or two. It's also the time when American vehicles young and old get dressed into something else and parade around the annual SEMA Show. Some are pretty, some pretty terrifying. This year's show proved a bit tamer than last year (no all-new 300-mph supercars or $1.5 million off-road motorhomes, we're aware of), but it was still wall-to-wall with lusty sports cars, delicious retromods and all other styles of wild one-of-a-kinds.
We're focusing solely on cars (and things that look like cars) here, as we'll be doing a separate gallery for the jacked-up trucks and 4x4s. We've already looked at a few of the coolest debuts, from an all-electric eCOPO Camaro drag car, to a pizza-tossing Toyota Tundra, to a fully electrified 1949 Mercury Coupe. Here are some other standouts:
The Hellephant in the room
Dodge and Mopar continue bombarding the market with positively hellacious performance products, this time releasing the "Hellephant" 426 Supercharged Mopar Crate HEMI engine and Kit, a beast of a plug-and-play V8 that develops up to 1,000 hp and 950 lb-ft. The all-aluminum block engine includes a supercharger with high-efficiency rotor; valve train, valves, locks and retainers from the Dodge Demon; and valve covers from the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye.
The Hellephant engine is designed with pre-1976 street and off-road vehicles in mind, and just in case you're having trouble envisioning what type of project you might drop it in, Dodge debuted the 1968 "Super Charger" Concept alongside it. Along with the Hellephant engine, the Super Charger features components pulled from the current Fiat-Chrysler performance vehicle stable. The Challenger SRT Hellcat's six-speed manual transmission handles shifting; a Demon-inspired hood scoop sucks in air; Hellcat headlamps peeking out from behind the grille replace the original pop-ups; a Charger R/T-inspired rear spoiler rises in back; and a specially fitted set of Alfa Romeo Stelvio exhaust tips spit out emissions, among various other updates.
Mopar will launch the Hellephant crate engine and kit in the first quarter of 2019.
Earlier in October, Ford announced that it would extend production of the GT, adding another 350 models to the build schedule for a total of 1,350. It promptly followed that announcement up by releasing another special model variant at SEMA, the Carbon Series.
Quite similar to the Competition Series announced earlier in the year, but with a few more creature comforts, the Carbon Series sheds close to 40 pounds (18 kg) with the addition of lightweight parts, including carbon fiber wheels, a titanium exhaust and a polycarbonate engine cover. Unlike the Competition model, it doesn't lose the air conditioning, SYNC 3 infotainment or radio, making it as enjoyable to drive to the track as on it. Items like the center storage bin and cupholders stay behind to keep weight down.
With its carbon wheels, stripes, A-pillars, lower body and interior trim, the Carbon Series includes more visible carbon fiber in its design than any previous GT edition. Buyers can make it pop even more by adding one of four available accent colors - silver, orange, red or blue.
The Carbon Series is available for order now, but only to those approved through Ford's rigorous GT application process. It may have extended production, but there are still many more potential buyers than there are cars to be had. The final customer application round opens up on November 8.
Baby's first Honda
When you're in a room of grumbling hot rods literally bursting out of their skins with engine power, sometimes it's the simpler cars that stand out. The First Honda pedal car concept was among the simplest at this year's SEMA Show, measuring output not in horsepower but in little leg-power. That doesn't mean it's not awesome, though.
Similar to Toyota's Camatte toy concept car lineup, the idea behind the First Honda is to give kids an appreciation for cars (and the Honda badge) at an early age. Its design is inspired by the 2015 Project 2&4 and incorporates carbon fiber construction. There's no motor, but there is a rechargeable battery for powering the lights and charging port in the snack compartment under the hood.
And without further ado, we'll let you continue onward to the photo gallery and see the rest of the deep field of SEMA cars.