by Greg Wilson
Las Vegas, Nevada – There just isn’t space to cover the hundreds of exciting custom and concept cars on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, but we’ve chosen a few of the highlights of this year’s show. Click any of the images on the right to view enlarged photos. And check back again as we will add more images as they come available.
GM is showing performance versions of the Pontiac GXP family, the Chevrolet SS family, Cadillac CTS V-Series and Saturn Ion tuner series. On display for Chevrolet are two versions of the Chevrolet Silverado SS pickup, Tahoe SS and TrailBlazer SS; Pontiac has the Bonneville GXP, Grand Prix GXP, Vibe GXP, Grand Am GXP and Sunfire GXP; with Saturn revealing a sketch of its future Saturn ION tuner; and Cadillac a sketch of the CTS V-Series.
The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado SS pickup is joined by the 2003 SSR roadster and several concept vehicles – TrailBlazer SS, Silverado SS (Regular Cab) and Tahoe SS – to showcase several interpretations of Chevrolet’s new family of SS performance vehicles. Although unique, each vehicle shares traits that make it identifiable as a Chevy SS, including increased horsepower and torque; performance-tuned suspension; large, SS-specific wheels and high-performance tires; blacked-out grille or front fascia, with fog lamps; bright exhaust tips; subtle spoilers; unique interior appointments; and SS badging.
A supercharged Cavalier Z-24 sedan is just one of eight Ecotec-powered production and concept vehicles being displayed by General Motors. The vehicles, including Chevrolet Cavaliers, Pontiac Sunfires, have supercharged engines that develop two hundred sixty-two horsepower from just 2.2 litres and four cylinders.
GXP performance models
Pontiac is showing its new GXP family of high performance show cars. GXP versions of the Vibe, Grand Prix, Sunfire, Grand Am and Bonneville are on display. Dressed for performance, the GXP family of show cars features a Shadow Black tri-coat color scheme, rocker panel extensions and a rear deck spoiler. Performance enhancements include high-performance brakes, production-based performance exhaust components and high-output engines. The performance and styling direction for the GXP vehicles was developed in conjunction with GM’s recently formed Performance Division.
A preview of the Saturn Quad Coupe Tuner model, the ION�EFX quad coupe boasts ground-effects by Xenon, including both front and rear fascia extensions and side skirts. A California Dream rear spoiler and lowering springs by The Progress Group along with an ION Red concept paint scheme by BASF contribute to the ION�EFX’s strong visual statement. The ION�EFX’s interior trim also includes aluminum performance pedals and shifter by ATA/Autotechnica.
Escalade ESV Platinum
This special edition Escalade ESV features a tri-coat Midnight Silver body colour; sterling silver-plated grille; 20-inch sterling silver plated Kruz “Whitney” wheels; Pirelli 305/50VR20 performance tires; cashmere & ebony interior; first- and second-row heated/cooled seats; walnut burl interior trim; sterling silver accents on instrument cluster trim rings, door handles, shift knob, steering wheel and passenger assist handle; ebony leather-wrapped instrument panel; nine-speaker Bose premium music system with XM Radio; DVD-based navigation with 5.8-inch screen; second- and third-row DVD-based dual-screen entertainment system; and first-row heated/cooled cup holders!
Chrysler PT Super Cruiser
This custom two-door Chrysler PT Cruiser features a turbocharged 2.4-litre engine that creates more than 300 horsepower, a free-flow exhaust, sill extensions, wider fenders, 18″ x 9.5-in. forged aluminum racing wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup DOT-legal road race tires and massive 12.9-inch Brembo brakes with cross-drilled gold cadmium-plated rotors.. The PT Super Cruiser is fully functional on the road, yet is prepared for road racing with custom features such as a six-point safety cage, six-point camlock harnesses, window nets, Lifeline fire system and Momo race seats and steering wheel.
Chrysler PT Big Sky
The Big Sky PT Cruiser has an innovative five-panel glass lamella roof system, which opens wide enough for both front and rear seat occupants to get a full view of the sky. The PT Big Sky also features a unique ground effects package, that includes custom front and rear fascias, wheel flares and fog lamp treatment; Borla dual exhaust system, polished stainless steel surround trim, custom Solutia tinted windows, chrome-trimmed side mirrors and chrome trimmed body side moldings. Other features include 18-inch BBS wheels, Goodyear Eagle F1 tires and stainless steel brake rotors and calipers on all four wheels.
APC Dodge Grand Caravan Extreme
The APC Dodge Grand Caravan Extreme is a Viper-inspired minivan that combines the performance of a 3.8-liter Vortech supercharged engine with the cargo carrying capability of the original minivan. The APC Minivan Extreme features Viper Red paint with silver Viper-style racing stripes from front to back, vented and louvered hood with functional ram air intake, Viper-style splitter on the lower front fascia and Viper seats on the custom trimmed interior. A profile view highlights unique 19-inch RO-JA wheels and performance tires, PTP dual side exit stainless exhaust and lowered height due to reduced springs and side skirts with integrated side exit exhaust.
Wings West Dodge Neon R/T Compact Performance
The Wings West Dodge Neon R/T debuts with a lowered appearance thanks to its reduced springs. The front fascia features integrated skirting that sweeps around the sides to match the low sweeping side skirts and new rear fascia with dual cat back exhaust. Other features include rear wing, 19-inch seven-spoke wheels in silver- tone and low profile wheels. Complementing the bright yellow exterior are black R/T graphics and a geometric black stripe that begins at the front hood and wraps around under the rear wing. Special features inside include sport pedals, carbon fibre instrument panel, two-tone leather interior and Alpine audio system.
American Expedition Vehicle Jeep Wrangler Scrambler
Cross the extreme rock-crawling capability of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with the utility of a pick-up truck and you get the American Expedition Wrangler Scramble. The wheel base of the Wrangler was stretched 24 inches to create a separate cab and American Expedition designed pickup box. The Wrangler Scrambler is powered by the 190 horsepower 4.0-liter engine, which produces 235 ft.-lbs. of torque. Other functional features are the custom tuned suspension, bull bar with winch, 16- inch wheels and tires and, of course, a snorkel. Additionally, the Wrangler Scrambler maintains the Wrangler Rubicon underpinnings featuring Dana 44 front and rear axles, Rock Trac, electronic locker and four-wheel disc brakes. The exterior design is complemented by a unique custom hard top.
Performance West Dodge Ram 3500 Cannonball Express
Inspired by the Dodge Power Wagon, the Performance West Cannonball Express is based on the all-new 2003 Ram 3500 Quad Cab dual rear wheel with the High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel engine. The Cannonball Express produces 370 horsepower and an astounding 750 ft.-lbs. torque. The exterior design features the unmistakable Ram grille with a custom front fascia and fender flares, plus 22-inch Oasis alloy wheels, exclusively designed 38-inch tires created by Goodyear, and SpectraFlair Holographic Metalflake “Liquid Steel” custom paint with white ghost flames.
Hot Wheels Focus
A project car from the Ford Performance Group’s Vehicle Personalization Team, the Hot Wheels Focus is a no-holds-barred, wild-styled Focus ZX3 complete with a “Hot Wheels” logo and special “flame” paint scheme. The car has yellow 18-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot rubber. The playful interior design and colour scheme mimics the extreme exterior. The concept car was designed in partnership with Mattel.
SVT Focus European Appearance Package
This limited-edition model comes in two new colours, Screaming Yellow or Competition Orange and features unique Recaro bucket seats and high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.
10 Anniversary SVT Mustang Cobra
Ford’s SVT group also unveiled its 10th Anniversary SVT Mustang Cobra. The 390-horsepower supercharged 4.6-liter V-8 Cobra features a unique anniversary paint scheme and nameplate that is sure to make it popular among collectors.
RSX Type-S with Factory Performance package
Acura showed an RSX Type-S with a new Factory Performance Package: the package includes high performance, track-tuned shocks and springs; slotted brake rotors and performance brake pads; lightweight 17×7.5 inch alloy wheels; high performance tires (225/45VR17); factory rear wing spoiler; under-body spoiler kit; metallic look interior trim kit; factory Performance shift knob; factory badging. In addition to the RSX, Acura is showing a supercharged CL Type-S with a six-speed manual transmission and a prototype aerodynamic body kit, and the new Real Time Racing Acura RSX Type-S that recently debuted in the Sports Car Club of America’s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship.
Accord Concept Coupe
The 2003 Honda Accord Concept Coupe features a 300-horsepower V6 engine with a semi-manual six-speed transmission with paddle shifter, a complete aero package, wide body kit, race suspension and lightweight prototype parts. Honda also unveiled a new Factory Performance package for the 2003 Accord Coupe which includes high performance suspension components, 17-inch wheels and tires, a full body kit and FP trim. It’s available in the Spring.
Civic Si Concept
Honda is showing three variations on the Civic Si: a factory-customized Civic Si Concept; a Civic Si modified by King Motorsports with Mugen aftermarket equipment for the street and the track; and a pro drag racing car driven by Adam Saruwatari.
Nismo 350Z concept
If the 350Z isn’t already exciting enough, Nissan is showing a pair of Nismo modified concept cars. A Weldina stainless cat-back exhaust system increases horsepower to 295 and torque to 280. An S-tune air filter element, air-to-oil engine cooler, power steering oil cooler, lightweight flywheel, copper mix clutch disc, clutch cover and plate-type mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) were installed to aid performance and drivability. The Nismo 350Z has an S-tune suspension, which features coil springs, shocks and sway bars to enhance handling and road-course durability. The Zs, shown in Silverstone and LeMans Sunset exterior colours, also feature the Nismo aero kit, which includes a modified front fascia, side skirts and rear spoiler. Rounding out the package are Nismo LM GT-4 road wheels with Yokohama tires.
Stillen turns the Altima from a hot sedan to a blown out street machine. For performance, Stillen adds a high-flow intake system, race pipe, rear section exhaust and dual stainless steel slash-cut reverse cone tips. Stillen also tweaked the suspension for more handling prowess, including a rear sway bar and an Eibach Pro Series lowering kit. For a distinctive appearance, Stillen added a front touring spoiler, side rockers, rear corners, touring wing and a Speed Grille from Street Scene Grille.
The CalMini Xterra enhances the Xterra’s off-road ability with a three-inch lift system with sway bar disconnects, 32-inch mud terrain tires on Eagle alloy custom wheels, HD steering system, front winch bumper with Warn 9,000-lb. winch, tubular safari roof rack with four PIAA driving lights, rocker panel skid rails, full under chassis skid plating, heavy duty gas tank skid plate, rear axle truss/skid plate and limited-slip front differential. For performance, the CalMini has added high-flow air intake and exhaust systems and a 3.92:1 transfer case gear reduction kit, which lowers stock gearing by 94%.
SE-R Spec V Speed Channel World Challenge Race Car
The already powerful SE-R is equipped with a QR25 engine with 258 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque built by Sunbelt Racing Engines. This Speed Channel World Challenge vehicle is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission with helical limited-slip differential, Nismo LM-GT4 wheels, braking system designed by Nissan Motorsports, Nismo steering wheel, racing shift knob, radiator cap, oil filter cap and extended wheel studs.
2003.5 MazdaSpeed Protegé
A slightly updated Mazdaspeed Protegé, the 2003.5 model adds a fresh exterior look with new front and rear skirts, rear wing with centre high-mount stop light, and a larger MazdaSpeed-branded oval exhaust tip. New Dark Hyper Silver Racing Hart aluminum wheels complete the cars aggressive look. The interior of the 2003.5 features a newly branded MazdaSpeed shift knob, pedals and floor mats. The centre gauge needles are silver, and the steering wheel, shift boot and seats receive electric yellow stitching accents.
Suzuki/MA Audio Aerio SX Sport concept Car
This edgy Aerio SX Sport Concept was put together with the help of aftermarket supplier MA Audio in Rancho Dominguez, California, who first went to work on the stereo. The system has a seven-inch-wide thin film transistor (TFT) monitor (MA2170) and an Optiview 2.5-inch rearview mirror monitor. Both are driven by a DVD/SVCD/CD/MP3 multimedia player. For clean bass, a pair of 12-inch DVC subwoofers were used and are installed in a custom carbon Kevlar enclosure. Body kit is by Suzuki Accessories, and to sharpen the handling, ALT 18-inch wheels shod with Falken 215/35R18 tires are suspended by a set of InTrax drop springs.
Jaguar X-Type Racing Concept
With inspiration taken from Trans-Am and the European DTM race series, the X-TYPE Racing Concept was built by Rocketsports Racing at its Lansing, Michigan shop using a 3.0-liter V6 all-wheel drive Jaguar X-TYPE as a donor vehicle. Among the features of the X-TYPE Racing Concept are its aggressive, race-inspired “wide body” styling; full width, race-inspired rear wing; three-piece, centre-lock 18-inch BBS racing rims; Michelin Pilot race tires; race-bred Brembo brakes with six-piston callipers; and Jaguar Racing Green paintwork with Jaguar “leaper” graphics.
Land Rover G4 Challenge
The Land Rover G4 Challenge is equipped with a variety of specialized equipment to it ready for the Land Rover G4 Challenge, an on/off-road competition event. The additions include Warn roof-mounted auxiliary lamps; front and rear winch receivers; Warn winches; front and rear aluminum skidplates; front and rear tow points with heavy-duty recovery rings; air-intake system snorkel; Safety Devices custom roof rack, rear ladder and platform; Garmin GPS navigation modules; Pietzle rappelling gear; and Land Rover Vehicle Kit accessories, including brush bars, Safari roof racks, kayak and mountain-bike carriers and first aid kits.