SEMA bounces back with huge car-maker support
BY MATT BROGAN
SEMA has returned to the Las Vegas Convention Centre with a vengeance following last year’s virtual event, the Speciality Equipment Market Association pulling out all the stops with manufacturers, buyers, distributors, industry professionals, and the media covering the full gamut of the automotive aftermarket.
And while the SEMA spotlight is often focussed on creations by smaller workshops and aftermarket manufacturers, the world’s carmakers also use the event to showcase some of their more ‘enthusiast-oriented’ products and vehicles, while also using the event to gauge public reaction to some of their more outlandish concepts.
Detroit’s big three and their subsidiaries each had substantial displays at SEMA 2021 alongside Japanese manufacturers including Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota. Here, we’ll take a look at just a handful of the dozens of creations on stage at Las Vegas, including those from Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Jeep, and Toyota.
This ultra-capable, ultra-rugged, and ultra-spartan off-roader bears an uncanny resemblance to the Warthog assault vehicle from the Halo video game franchise.
The Beast is based on Silverado underpinnings and features a juiced-up 485kW LT4 6.2-litre V8 and 10-speed auto that take power to all four wheels. Those bead-locked wheels measure 20 inches in diameter and run 37-inch A/T tyres, and ride on a custom suspension setup that bestows the beast with 338mm of ground clearance.
With negligible bodywork The Beast delivers outstanding off-road geometry and is protected from bumps and scrapes by substantial underbody bash plates.
The cabin of The Beast is largely exposed to the elements with a small windshield to deflect rain and mud. Safari doors do their best to keep passengers contained, while the cargo area is mostly occupied by a set of chunky spare wheels – no space savers here!
Among the 40 cars, four-wheel drives and utes Ford brought to SEMA was another pure EV, this one showcasing not a car but rather a powertrain. The Ford Eluminator show car – based on the classic 1978 F-100 pickup – features a pair of the same electric motors found in the Mustang Mach- E GT Performance.
The motors output a combined 358kW and 860Nm and are fed by the same battery pack found in the Mach-E. The Eluminator crate motors – part no. Ford M-9000-MACHE in case you want one – will be available to project car builders and retro-modders for US$3900 (A$5300) with each motor capable of supplying 210kW/430Nm.
The crate motor tips the scale at 93kg and is provided with high- and low-voltage harnesses. However, the pack does not arrive with a battery pack or cooling system – batteries sold separately, you might say.
Nissan tore the covers off an adventure-seeking rendition of its Pathfinder SUV at SEMA, the Project Overland ‘concept’ looking so good, you’d almost suggest it’s ready for the dealership forecourt.
Due in Australian showrooms next year, the new Pathfinder was modified for the SEMA show with a NISMO two-inch lift kit, Bilstein dampers, 18 x 8.0-inch NISMO off-road alloys wrapped in Maxxis RAZR A/T tyres, and an extensive list of NISMO off-road accessories including a roof rack, six-inch driving lights, cargo box, and custom-made rock sliders.
Other upgrades include 83-litre ROA Adventure Company rugged cases, a custom-made front bumper guard, Rigid four-inch fog lights, RIGd UltraSwing multi-fit trailer hitch, and, inside, an Egoe Nestbox Camper conversion kit replete with camp kitchen and sleeping platform.
SEMA and Jeep go way back, and the record continues in 2021 with the unveiling of two concept models – the Wrangler Overlook and Grand Cherokee Breckenridge.
The Wrangler Overlook combines seven-seat flexibility beneath its ‘practical’ stepped roof addition, the vehicle measuring 300mm longer than the regular Wrangler Unlimited, almost looking like a wagon version of the newly released Jeep Gladiator…
For those with less off-road focus, the Grand Cherokee L Breckenridge concept puts an upmarket spin on the Grand Checker with high-gloss paint, swanky interior materials, and deluxe alloy wheels.
The luxxed-up Breckenridge concept features blue Palermo leather seats and quilted upholstery, bronze trim garnishes and satin walnut wood trim, clearly aiming itself at the Toorak Tractor set, and not the hard-core off-roader.
While big American pick-up trucks and SUVs dominated the Toyota stand at SEMA, a pair of Supra concepts were equally interesting to those with a sporting eye. One, the GR Supra Heritage Edition, was already debuted in 2019, but the other is a whole new kettle of Sushi.
Dubbed Supra Sport Top, the targa-roofed two-door boast a removable roof panel that fits between the windscreen cap and the B-pillar hoop. The panel was 3D printed by Toyota’s North American R&D facility and made from entirely from composite materials.
The rear-end of the Supra Sport Top features a blast-from-the-past ‘basket handle’ wing, which is complemented by a suite of underbody panels aimed at keeping the Japanese roadster wheel-side-down.
And we think it may just need it… the Supra Sport Top features the same powerplant as the Heritage Edition, meaning a bigger turbocharger, bigger brakes, improved suspension and 372kW of power!