I told Hazel I’d pick my one favorite truck of SEMA and I lied. The show is over and I’m home from Vegas, but I still can’t narrow it down to just one. The abundance of cool 4x4s and 4x2 trucks and Jeeps at SEMA is mind boggling, and I realize I have an attraction to all the different types whether they are overlanders, prerunners, or cool retro wheelers. Here are my picks.
Omix-ADA Jeep Wagoneer
I have a Wagoneer and it is not nearly as nice as the white 1966 Jeep in the Omix-ADA booth. This meticulously restored retro family hauler and period-correct Fireball II camper behind it had me dreaming of a fun family vacation to the Grand Canyon. Omix has one of the best Jeep collections in the country and all are as close to stock as possible. If I didn’t already have one I’d try and take this one home.
Griffen Fab Works Ford Prerunner
Everyone knows SoCal is home to tons of perunner trucks but when I saw this early Ford crew-cab prerunner at the King Shocks booth built by a Griffen Fab Works in Michigan my mind was blown! It was the perfect retro desert bomber for sure. With room for the whole crew, big-travel suspension, healthy horsepower under the hood, and 39-inch BFG rubber at all four corners I’m pretty sure I need this thing. It may only be two-wheel-drive, but I’m still including it in my list of coolest 4x4s.
Daystar Bootlegger Power Wagon
I had seen the Daystar “Bootlegger” Power Wagon prior to SEMA on a trip to Alaska for a video shoot, but it still counts as a favorite from the SEMA show. This truck has over 700 horsepower from a, Edelbrock-supercharged LS3 under the hood and dumps that power to a built 4L80, Magnum 205 T-case, and 1-ton axles. The 42-inch Swampers do dirt duty but the body color and wicked copper plate work take the cake. Daystar built the truck to attend a whiskey distillery tour and the bootlegger theme of a mixture of old moonshine still and go-fast barrel hauler gives this truck the perfect combination of theme and performance.
Max-Bilt Willys “Original Overlander” Wagon
If there was one theme that kept cropping up it’s the modern parts in a retro wheeler idea. The Willys Wagon built by Max-Bilt and on display in the Crown Automotive booth is the perfect combination. It’s ratty but not a rat rod. The interior is redone, but not overdone. The drivetrain (Jeep XJ Cherokee) swapped onto the original frame is perfect. I loved the plaid headliner, the tasteful seats, and the fact that it wasn’t on a new frame, but rather cleanly built onto the stock chassis and body. A great job combining all the right parts.