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2006 Las Vegas SEMA Show

Posted in Events on April 1, 2007
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There are many fascinating things at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show (better known simply as SEMA). Some of those things are nauseating (like slammed, chrome-laden H2s), some are weird (like diamond-encrusted wheels), and some are barely concealed (uh, we'll leave that one alone). The SEMA show is the pimp daddy of all aftermarket shows-bar none. Held annually in dazzling Las Vegas, this show is a mandatory must-do for anyone lucky enough to earn a living in the automotive industry.

Last November was the '06 show, and it stuffed the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo Center (that's over a million square feet!) with almost 2,000 automotive-related exhibitors and more than 2,000 cutting-edge vehicles. Know this: The SEMA show has a ripple effect in the industry that continues the following year because it's a place where manufacturers get to showcase their product and trot out brand-new products (this year, more than 2,000 of them); hence it's where power players come to cut major deals. SEMA isn't just a North American happening either-it's global. This monster event drew attendees from more than 100 countries. SEMA says that more than 100,000 industry leaders and more than 50,000 buyers made the trek to the show.

What follows is our annual roundup of outrageous SEMA rigs.

What it is: '07 Chevy Silverado
Location: General Motors booth
Specifics: It's called the Dale Earnhardt Jr. "Big Red" Silverado, and judging by the crowd it drew, GM needs to produce this truck-right now. It sports a 6.2L V-8 with after-cat exhaust and dual billet tips; 4L65E four-speed automatic transmission; 3.73:1 gears; Baer six-piston front calipers and 15-inch rotors; and Baer two-piston rear calipers and 13-inch rotors. Its aggressive look is due in part to GM-designed front fenders, hood, bumpers, grille, brushguard, box panels, roll panel, lightbar, and side steps, as well as GM custom-designed paint.
By the way...: This truck is built to 'wheel with front and rear Eaton E-Lockers, a Rancho 4-inch suspension lift, and 37-inch tires.

What it is: '07 Cadillac Escalade
Location: Full Throttle Suspension booth
Specifics: If you're lookin' for some street cred in your 'hood, perhaps you need this slightly lifted Escalade. It sports a 15-inch Full Throttle coilover suspension lift with Fox remote-reservoir shocks (duals up front), 22x12 Weld Racing wheels, 37x13.50 Toyo Open Country M/T tires, Tom Wood's 'shafts, AirRaid intake; Gibson exhaust; and a T-Rex grille.
By the way...: You'll need a ladder.

What it is: '07 Wrangler Unlimited
Location: Dynatrac booth
Specifics: This good-looking rig sports Rubicon Express' new 4.5-inch long-arm kit including remote-reservoir shocks, front CV driveshaft and rear CV driveshaft conversion kit. A number of AEV products were also integrated into the buildup of this rig, and the list includes its front bumper, steel front skidplate, and hood. The Jeep also boasts Goodyear Wrangler 37x12.50-17 tires, Dynatrac Dana 44 differential covers, a front-mounted Ramsey Patriot 9500 winch with synthetic rope, a rear-mounted Ramsey Comp X6000 winch with synthetic rope, Rubicon Express hawse fairlead and rear winch mount kit, Rubicon Express/JBA after-cat exhaust system, and IPF Sport XS HID lights.
By the way...: Those good-looking wheels are AEV's 17x8 DOT-approved bead locks.

What it is: '07 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited with custom trailer
Location: Skyjacker Suspension booth
Specifics: Skyjacker calls this rig "Project Fantastic 4x4 4 The Family." The Rubicon's list of mods includes a Skyjacker 6-inch suspension with Platinum M9000 Series shocks and Hydro H7000 Series steering stabilizers, 37x13.50R20 Toyo Open Country M/T tires, 10-inch-wide Raceline Renegade 5-star wheels, Warn SDB160 driving lights and 9,500-pound PowerPlant Dual Force HP winch, an Optima Yellow Top battery; Gibson after-cat exhaust, Precision grille, Mopar Performance front and rear bumpers, and a slew of Yakima products.
By the way...: The Tentrax trailer also has a bunch of Yakima products as well as a Diamondback Response Sport mountain bike, Coleman stainless steel ice chest/cooler, and an Xtreme paint and Graphics paint scheme to match the Jeep.

What it is: '07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Location: Superlift Suspension booth
Specifics: It's called the "Park Patrol" and it sports a slew of upgrades including a 4-inch Superlift suspension, 37x13.50 Toyo Open Country M/T tires, 8.5-inch-wide KMC bead-lock wheels, AEV front bumper and corners, Code 3 Emergency Products emergency lights, Poison Spyder Customs Rocker Knockers, a Warn 9.5Ti winch, Bushwacker flares, MasterCraft seating, H3R Fire Control extinguishers, Power Tank onboard CO2 air tank, and dual Optima batteries.
By the way...: It won a DaimlerChrysler Design Excellence Award

What it is: '06 Toyota FJ Cruiser Soft Top Concept
Location: Toyota booth
Specifics: The first thing that catches your eye about this Heritage Orange/Dark Grey Teflon-trimmed Toyota/ASC-built '06 FJ Cruiser is the new bed and tailgate assembly. But that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This unique rig features a gutsy TRD-supercharged 4.7L i-Force V-8 engine, Old Man Emu 3-inch suspension lift, 18-inch American Racing wheels, 33-inch Mickey Thompson tires, ARB front bumper, Warn winch, foglamps, integrated tool kit and metal jerrycan, The Source 5-pound Max Air Kit CO2 canister, TRD Big Brake Kit, and TRD single outlet exhaust.
By the way...: It has a customized InfiniVu roof with dropping rear window and new quarter windows.

What it is: Jeep Wrangler Limited concept
Location: DaimlerChrysler booth
Specifics: Resting unobtrusively in a corner of the DCX booth was this yummy silver Wrangler. Its understated yet cool visual impact is supported by a locked Dana 44 front axle, locked Dana 60 rear axle, 4-inch suspension lift, 35-inch tires, custom carbon-fiber hood, custom bumpers, and projector headlamps.
By the way...: This beauty is powered by a 4.2L diesel engine.

What it is: Hummer H3 Open Top concept
Location: General Motors booth
Specifics: This sexy H3 rolls on 20-inch Rozzi wheels and 325/50-20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tires. Among its special features is Spectra Flair paint, a revised instrument cluster and headliner, special leather-trimmed seats, and a white center-stack and console. It also features 13 genuine Hummer accessories.
By the way...: It features a sliding fabric roof system so you can be one with nature.

What it is: '06 Ford Econoline E-350
Location: Outside
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 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
Location: Outside
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
Location: Lobby
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
Location: Outside
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.

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