The annual trade show for all things aftermarket, SEMA’s 2022 event was full of mind-blowing designs and concepts.
The annual trade show and conventions known as SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) was held this past week in Las Vegas, showcasing the vibrancy and creativity of the automotive aftermarket with booth after booth of crazy cool builds from EV swapped vintage Corvettes to overland rigs. If you can modify a vehicle with it, it was at SEMA: wheels, turbos and superchargers, lifts, shocks, and off-road tires, roll cages, racing seats, and body work from splitters and wings to fender flares and side skirts. Oh, and carbon fiber everything.
The real art and appeal of SEMA is how builders from across the country have chosen to augment, adapt, and reimagine their vehicles. The results are nothing less than jaw dropping with the event’s Battle of the Builders serving as a “best-of.”
Below, we serve up some of the past week’s SEMA highlights with the caveat that this is just a glimpse of a massive and dizzyingly varied event.
SEMA 2022 featured more than a few Fords ranging from EV swapped classics to the bold interpretations of the latest vehicles. The F-150 Lightning received the SEMA treatment curtesy of the Tjin Edition and Thule’s “Swiss Army Knife” F-150 Lightning which indeed tries to serve all masters at once with its lowered suspension and 24-inch Vossen wheels while also featuring Thule cargo boxes, Recaro seats, and an e-bike mounted in back.
The Bronco got its share of attention too with builds that included the Extreme Beach Bronco. This version was built specifically with fishermen in mind and includes a mini-fridge and a fishing-rod box. Even the Ford Transit van got in on the outdoor fun with the all-wheel drive Transit Digital Nomad. This overland focused build adds off-road items like a skid plate, winch, and a jack in addition to camping amenities like a roof top then and pull-out kitchen.
The newest member of the Ford family, the uber-popular Maverick was also getting some love with lots of cool builds. Tucci Hot Rods’ version popped with its white turbofan wheels and 3D printed front and cab spoilers. Others builds chose to lower the Maverick and give it massive rims. This lowrider treatment gives the little work truck a whole different level of street cred.
Not all the cars at SEMA 2022 were built to turn heads or highlight specific aftermarket mods. Instead, some are displayed for their historical significance. Such was the case with the A59 prototype Volkswagen Golf, a one-off racing homologation built in 1993 for the ’94 World Rally Championships. An all-aluminum 2.0L turbo provides this Golf with 275 horsepower. That power runs through a six-speed manual, a variable center diff to all four wheels. Body paneling is comprised of Kevlar and carbon fiber. The car never made it to competition, leaving this unique prototype as a historical oddity.
SEMA’s Battle of the Builders is the highlight of the week and features a best-of-the-best from the show across four major categories: sports cars/exotics, off-roaders, hot rods, and young gun builders (those 29 and younger). The top four cars this year were spectacular and included a 1991 Porsche 911 BAJA safari/rally build with massive fender flares, a 1966 Laguna Blue Corvette with a ZR1’s V* tuned to 755 horsepower, an unassuming looking FJ40 Land Cruiser with all manner of upgrades including a cold air intake and power steering, and then the eventual winner, a 1948 Chevy Loadmaster pickup by Ring Brothers dubbed the Enyo. This truck is wild, with an open-wheel design equipped with 18-inch racing slicks, an eight-stack fuel injection system popping out of the hood, and an 8.4L V8 capable of making 1,000 horsepower, thanks in part to 110 octane racing fuel.
Of course, the folks at Stellantis could not pass up celebrating MOPAR’s 85th anniversary with a few builds of their own at SEMA. The CJ Surge Jeep looks forward by looking back with a fully electric restomod design. The RAM TRX Gold Shot takes the already over-the-top pickup and turns things up to eleven with a yellow and block paint scheme, knobby BF Goodrich tires, and a matching ATV in the bed.
Toyo Tires had arguably the most jaw-dropping booth of all at SEMA 2022. Among the many, many impressive builds a few standouts included a lifted Jeepster on gigantic off-road tires, a red-on-red Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing with tastefully accentuating fender flares, and a full carbon fiber bodied Nissan Skyline R32 GTR. And this just scratches the surface, the Toyo Tires booth is so good, it is worth the trip to SEMA all on its own.
Toyota and Lexus had a wide array of vehicles on display at SEMA this year, including the new LFA-inspired next-gen EV coupe. But of special note were a pair of gas-powered vehicles: Trailhunter Tundra and the GR Corolla Rally Concept. The Trailhunter Tundra previews an upcoming factory trim focusing on the expanding interest in overlanding. The new trim offers a 2.6-inch lift, roof rack and/or roof-top tent, fog lights, and a cargo box with a mini-fridge. The GR (Gazoo Racing) Corolla Rally Concept takes the Corolla and gives it a Civic Type R attitude adjustment with a massive rear wing and bodacious fender flares front and rear.
SEMA is a massive, sprawling event. With so much to see and only a limited amount of digital space to fit it all in, we wanted to depart with a few final highlights like the pink Ferrari F40, the new Batmobile on display, as well as all the inspiring EV swapped classics, the ridiculously lifted trucks, and the numerous (and super sick) Supra builds. As a showcase for innovation and as inspiration for our own automotive projects, there are few events more exciting than the annual SEMA event.
That Cj surge concept is gorgeous and reminds me of the old CJ’s good too see one ,nice job!!