What it is: '06 Ford Econoline E-350
Specifics: Sure, at first glance this van looks very cool, but a closer inspection reveals that its beefy look is far more than just cosmetic. This super-stout Chris Steuber-built rig is an animal. It features an Off Road Unlimited four-wheel-drive van conversion with dual front shock hoops, Bilstein 5150-Series shocks, nitrogen bumpstops, and Atlas 8-inch leaf springs. There's also an ORU custom rear air overload system. The ORU-built Dynatrac Pro60 front axle is Powerlocked and includes 35-spline axleshafts, Spicer hubs, and F-550 knuckles and brakes. The rear axle is an ORU-built 10.5-inch Sterling that's been fitted with a Detroit Locker and ORU cryogenically treated brake rotors. Both axles sport Crown Performance brake lines and ORU diff covers. ORU crossover and hydraulic ram-assisted steering ensures that it's easy to turn the meaty 38x15.50 Mickey Thompson MTZ tires on 20x10 Mickey Thompson Classic Lock wheels. The exterior of Vanaconda includes an ORU Defender Series roof rack, Warn 16.5 winch with winchline.com synthetic winch rope, Poly Performance winch fairlead, and an ORU custom front bumper. Inside, the cavernous interior features an all-in-one custom frame that replaces the rear seat frame and holds a slide-out toolbox, water tank, auxiliary battery, and power inverter. Further, the interior has been coated with Line-X.
By the way...: As part of the swap from two- to four-wheel-drive, Steuber had to swap out the transmission output shaft and install a brand-new F-250 transfer case from a local Ford dealer.
What it is: '02 Chevy Avalanche Z71
Specifics: If you love chrome, well, this is your rig. This Ultimate Audio-built Avalanche is the poster child for shiny plating. Its long, sparkly list of mods include a 14-inch Whiplash chromed suspension lift with four front King piggyback shocks and six rear King piggyback shocks, a 6-inch custom billet body lift, chrome driveshafts, chrome front diff, chrome rear diff cover, chrome front and rear brake calipers, chrome front sway bar (with chrome sway-bar link pins), chrome rear coil springs, and chrome torsion bars. The truck rolls on 49-inch Interco IROK tires mounted to 20x12 Weld Cheyenne wheels.
By the way...: Among other things, the interior of the truck harbors a skull-cracking audio system comprised of Clarion and Kicker components. Included in the tally are six pair of Kicker mid-range and high-range speakers and four Kicker 15-inch subwoofers.
What it is: '07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Specifics: This tastefully done Wrangler belongs to Steve Bucaro of Palmdale, California. It features a K&N intake and Gibson exhaust, 2-inch Superlift suspension lift, 17x9 KMC bead-lock wheels, BFG M/T 33x12.50 tires, Jeep Accessories front and rear bumpers, Ramsey 9500 Patriot winch, Icon Autosports leather/suede seats, and custom paint by Cory St. Clair at 3rd Element.
By the way...: Bucaro is paralyzed from the chest down, but he can drive his manual-shift Wrangler thanks to hand controls created by Icon Autosports.
What it is: '06 Scion xB
Location: Scion booth
Specifics: We're big fans of rally racing, and we find the Scion perpetually amusing, so we were drawn to this turbocharged rectangular box. It's called the Invisible Man xB (we're not sure why), and the body has been modified with a Primitive roof scoop; PIAA light pod; Sparco mud flaps, hood, and trunk pins; and bBist wide fenders, VS spoiler, and N1 front lip. Other mods include Michelin Rally Pilot 225/16 tires; 16x8 Coddington wheels; KW Varian2 coilovers; ST sway bars; Rotora brakes; GReddy gauges, turbo timer, and Protec B boost controller; a slew of Sparco interior products; Terra Trip navigation computer; and rollcage, center console, rear floor, and door panels by Design Craft Fab.
By the way...: The hot new flat paint is cool, but the red highlights make it look like it has been vandalized.
What it is: '07 Ford F-650
Location: Ford Motor Company booth
Specifics: One of this year's show-stoppers was this gargantuan six-door monster created by DeBerti Designs. Its long list of features includes a TS Performance-chipped 330hp Caterpillar diesel engine, Allison automatic transmission, Supertrucks 4WD, Fabtech 4.0 shocks, Air Ride Technologies air suspension Aurora Bearing Company suspension bearings, Bridgestone tires, custom DeBerti wheels, LSD Lambo Style front doors, DeBerti gull-wing doors, and Warn 16.5 front and rear winches.
By the way...: Think deuce-and-a-half with a Ford Body.
What it is: '02 Ford Excursion
Specifics: Thirty inches of lift is a lot of lift, and normally we'd just point and laugh. This One Up Offroad-built Excursion is different though, because it actually functions. It uses a triangulated four-link coilover system with 14-inch-travel, 3-inch-diameter King bypass shocks, and it utilizes One Up Offroad's Zero Bump-Steer Scissor Steering. All total, there are more than 32 Aurora Bearing spherical rod ends used in the suspension. It also features an SCS Puller transfer case mounted in a custom cradle; Driveline Tech driveshafts; a Lee steering box and hydraulic rams; a widened Dynatrac Dana 60 front axle; widened Dana 80 rear axle; 49x21-20 Interco IROK tires; and 20-inch-wide Stazworks wheels.
By the way...: The builder tells us that it flies (and lands) quite well.
What it is: '06 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Location: Scosche booth
Specifics: This FJ turned a lot of heads with its clean look. It features L&G Enterprises paint and body work; an All Pro Offroad 3-inch suspension lift; Akuza 18-inch wheels; Nitto Mud Grappler tires; AFE intake; Borla exhaust; All Pro Offroad front and rear bumpers; GOBI Stealth roof; and Katzkin leather interior.
By the way...: This FJ is an audiophile's dream. Inside it features a 32-inch flat screen, XBox, and loads of EFX Hyperformance components including eight pupil-pureeing 12-inch Hyperdrive subwoofers.
What it is: '08 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Location: Ford Motor Company booth
Specifics: It's called Project Work-A-HAUL-IT, and it was created by Skyjacker Suspension. It's impressive resume includes a 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 engine; five-speed automatic transmission; Optima Yellow Top batteries; Skyjacker 6-inch suspension system; 20x10 MKW Offroad M41 wheels; LT355/60R20 Nitto Terra Grappler tires; Warn PowerPlant Dual Force HD 12,000 pound winch/air compressor combo; KC Hilites lighting; Go Rhino Xtreme Rack with Lightning Series Sports Bar; Xtreme Power Journeyman II; Voltair 12-volt air compressor; Diamond Back Truck Covers side toolboxes; IFW Bed Slider; N-Fab front and rear bumpers and nerf step bars; FordLink mobile office system; Weather-Tech floorliner; and Genuine Ford Accessories all-weather vinyl floor mats.
By the way...: The paint is by Xtreme Paint & Graphics
What it is: '07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Location: American Expedition Vehicles booth
Specifics: The drool factor of this Wrangler is due in part to its long list of mods including a 4-inch Superlift suspension; 36x13.50 Interco IROK tires; Warn 9500 winch; IPF HID lights; and AEV 17-inch bead-lock wheels, stamped steel rear corners, steel Heat Reduction Hood, and front bumper with winch mount and skidplate.
By the way...: That cool AEV Outpost camper top sleeps two, has a 3.5-inch-thick mattress, is electrically actuated, and features waterproof, mold-resistant fabric. It mounts to the hardtop and can be easily removed so that all the features of the Wrangler Freedom Top can be used.
A Little Off The Top, Please For those wanting to look as though their heads just got ran
Star Gazing The stars come out for SEMA in a big way. You probably won't see Al Gore or A