The Specialty Equipment Market Association show, better known on the street as the SEMA show, is always the hot ticket to see what's new in the world of the automotive aftermarket. The show features tens of thousands of automotive accessories representing everything from forthright function to blatant bling. There's no denying that the four-day SEMA show is a powerful magnet that draws industry players and automotive aficionados from all over the world to Las Vegas. The show is massive, encompassing almost all of the huge Las Vegas Convention Center and much of the Sands Expo Center. In addition to parts, the show is packed with thousands of vehicles, many of which are four-wheel drive.
What follows are a few of the rigs we liked best. In this collection you'll notice that we have tried to temper runaway bling with a number of functional, real-world rigs that sport some truly unique ideas. Hopefully, these rides will give you a few ideas for your own machine.
Built by: International Truck Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois
Found at: International Truck Corporation booth
Wildest mod: Let's face it; this whole truck is wild. This four-wheel-drive monster can haul (12,000 pounds) or tow (40,000 pounds!) just about anything you have over just about any terrain you can find.
Other cool stuff: Escalade-like interior with flip-down DVD screen and dash-mounted navigation screen; front-mounted winch; massive winch bumper; camouflage exterior.
Built by: Aaron Dusenbery, Thornton, Colorado
Found at: Moser Engineering booth
Wildest mod: This brand-new competition rock buggy made its debut at the SEMA show, and one of its most fascinating features was the 280hp turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder Subaru engine. The engine is from an '01 Legacy, and it was fitted with a 2.0L-application turbo from Outback Subaru. This small turbo produces 8-10 pounds of boost, and reaches maximum boost by 1,800 rpm.
Other cool stuff: Custom chromoly chassis; GM Powerglide two-speed transmission; Atlas II 5:1 transfer case; custom Moser Engineering Ford 9-inch axles with aluminum centersections, 6.0:1 gears and 35-spline ARB Air Lockers; Crane high-clearance Dana 60 knuckles; Slickrock Off-Road hydraulic steering; 17x10 Walker Evans Racing bead-lock wheels; 39.5x13.5-17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires; Mastercraft seat.
Built by: J. Auston Fabrications, Phoenix, Arizona
Found at: Pro Comp Tires booth
Wildest mod: We know for a fact that you haven't seen H1 lift kits advertised in Four Wheeler. Well, there's a reason for that; as far as we know, there aren't any. This is why we stopped dead in our tracks when we saw Jack Auston's '99 Hummer sitting on a 6-inch suspension lift. It turns out that Auston markets the kit through his company, J. Auston Fabrications LLC. Designing and building the kit took him 1,600 hours over the course of 8 months. The lift kit consists of a number of lowering brackets, replacement springs, shocks, a new fuel tank and straps, bracing, driveshafts, steel braided air lines for the Central Tire Inflation System, brake line extensions, and brake cables. Worried about compromising the H1's inherent strength? So was Auston, so he paid special attention to safety issues and structural stability and strength. He says the kit is actually stronger than the frame of the H1. J. Auston Fabrications says that the 6-inch kit allows fitment of up to 44-inch tires, and they also offer a 9 1/2-inch kit that allows fitment of up to 49-inch tires.
Other cool stuff: The H1 was sitting on 40x13.50R20 Xterrains, Pro Comp Tires' latest addition to the Xterrain family of tires.
Built by: Landrunner Conversions, Huntington Beach, California
Found at: Full Traction Suspension booth
Wildest mod: Could it be the highly modified Iveco 8140 four-cylinder diesel engine? Yeah, most definitely. This OHC, common-rail engine sports a 94.4mm bore and a 100mm stroke to give it a total displacement of 2,800mm (2.8L) and a base compression ratio of 18:1. The engine features an intercooler, VATN Garrett electronically-controlled turbocharger, custom calculated-length header turbo feeders, and a custom cool-air outside air-filter housing as well as much more. What it all boils down to is an engine that makes 176 hp at 3,600 rpm and 278 lb-ft of torque at a delightfully low 1,450 rpm. As a bonus, the Wrangler is said to get an average of 27.5 mpg.
Other cool stuff: ZF 6S 300 six-speed manual transmission; NP231 transfer case; Dana 44 axles; front and rear Eaton electric lockers; 3.73:1 gearing; front and rear electronic sway-bar disconnect system; Tom Wood's CV driveshafts; Webasto preheat system; Magnaflow exhaust; Warn fender flares; Landrunner bumper with wraparound brushguard; Warn winch; Landrunner Safari Rack with Expedition Basket.