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2016 SEMA Show cars that don’t suck

Greg Kachadurian November 2, 2016 Featured, SEMA 8 Comments

The 2016 SEMA Show is kicking off today and will be home to thousands of aftermarket parts, accessories, and fully-built show cars for the internet to make fun of. Some of the stuff that seeps out of those convention halls is worthy of the hate, but even the show that once gave us a lowrider Scion iA and the Hot Wheels Camaro can field some awesome creations.

Some of the most exceptional show cars as hand picked (really just by Jeff and I) will be featured here in what’s sort of a SEMA Show news recap. We’ve got new projects from The Roadster Shop, The FJ Company, The Ringbrothers, and more.

You can put away the eye bleach, friends… you’re safe here.

Roadster Shop’s “Vapor”


While the idea of doing a restomod ’65 Mustang isn’t anything new, they can be great ways to show what’s capable with new performance parts. That’s what the Roadster Shop was eventually tasked with when building “Vapor”, a ferocious 785-horsepower show car with brand new hardware from Edelbrock and Eaton.

Vapor is powered by Edelbrock’s newest and most powerful E-Force supercharged Coyote crate engine. The new supecharger incorporates Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) rotors with four lobes and 160-degrees of twist which is designed to optimize air flow and produce consistent peak efficiency. I guess it’s working because it helped get this 5.0-liter V8 up to 785 horsepower and 660 lb.-ft. of torque at the crank on pump gas.

At the business end, they’ve also utilized an Eaton Detroit TrueTrac 5 pinion rear end built to reliably support loads of power. It also has massive Wilwood brakes to match the engine’s performance and custom chassis work that should be able to handle it, but not much else was really detailed in the news release.

Overall, the build took two years to complete and was commissioned by a Southern California-based enthusiast and collector. Edelbrock and Eaton got involved when it needed some special hardware to make it go as fast as it looked. The interior and upholstery was done by Florida-based Avant Garde Designs but everything else was done in-house at Roadster Shop.

If you’re at the show, head on over to the Eaton booth (#229430) to check it out in person. I’m sure it exists even though we were only sent renderings.

[Source: The Roadster Shop]

The FJ Company’s “Aspen Project”


Trucks get love at SEMA too – often for better or worse. One restoration shop made a very tasteful debut at SEMA for the first time with what could be the best truck at the show. The FJ Company showed off a custom 1982 Toyota FJ43 Land Cruiser referred to as “The Aspen Project”. It’s glorious.

The FJ Company does full restorations on FJs and can build them to a match a customer’s specific needs. This one was commissioned to be a purpose-built, family-friendly beast of an FJ that could be civilized on the road during normal use and be all-conquering in the Aspen, Colorado back country. This started as a full frame-off restoration and included a few basic upgrades along the way such as updated power steering, new front disc brakes, and a better HVAC system.

Under the hood is a newer Toyota 1FZ 4.5-liter straight-six with Haltech EFI and 210 horsepower paired up to a five-speed manual. On the outside, they’ve strived to keep the original classic looks intact with only a new coat of matte white paint and matte silver accents to really set it apart. Up front is a Warn 8274 winch mounted to the original front bumper along with a pair of PIAA 7″ LED fog lights on either side, but besides that and the obvious lift in ride height from the Old Man Emu suspension (great name), the classic looks are definitely retained.


Inside though it gets a decent bit of modern amenities to help with its daily driver capabilities. It gets Recaro SPEED seats trimmed in marine-grade upholstery, Rhino Linings bedliner to prevent scuff marks and rusting, a digital display cluster, premium sound system with Bluetooth integration, and a rear backup camera. It also has a custom roll cage if someone screws up.

The FJ Company’s Aspen Project is on display in booth #51315 and they’ll also have other trucks in the Featured Vehicle area.

[Source: The FJ Company]

Ryan Tuerck’s GT4586


Engine swaps are cool. Engine swaps that go beyond the typical LS in a Mazda formula are even better. Engine swaps involving Ferrari engines are probably the best. Fortunately for us, the latter is something Ryan Tuerck and Donut Media were crazy enough to do and the results are absolutely wicked.

It’s called the GT4586 and it’s quite literally a GT86 with the engine out of a Ferrari 458 crammed under the hood… barely. Ryan Tuerck needed a new drift car and called upon plenty of friends to make something this wild become a functional reality. It looks stunning, shoots flames, and is a freakin GT86 with a Ferrari V8.

I highly recommend checking out the featuring beautiful pictures from the photography wizard that is Larry Chen since they were given exclusive access to the build.

[Source: , ]

Jeep CJ66


OEMs rolling into SEMA with their own factory concepts is not exactly in the spirit of a show catered towards aftermarket suppliers, but sometimes they can turn up with some really cool stuff… and sometimes it’s shit. Chrysler brands have certainly had some memorable concepts over the years, but this one from Jeep might be one of the coolest.

The Jeep CJ66 project started with a Wrangler TJ frame to serve as the canvas for this retro concept. The team chose the body off a 1966 CJ Tuxedo Park and Copper Canyon paint to make it shine. Eagle-eyed Jeep enthusiasts could probably also pick out the bumpers that were borrowed from the 10th Anniversary Wrangler JK Rubicon. Basically, they borrowed parts from all sorts of different Jeep generations and some new parts from the Mopar catalog to create the kind of Jeep I’m sure thousands would demand and dozens would line up for.

The roll cage, hood, and fender flares are all one-off customs and the seats were taken from the leftover Viper parts bin, but it has several components that can be ordered now. The 17-inch beadlock wheels wrapped in 35-inch BFG all-terrain tires, Jeep Performance Parts skid plates and rock rails, Mopar cold-air intake and catback exhaust, Dana 44 crate axles, and Warn winch are all things anyone could probably get. The engine in this Jeep is a bit of a mystery, but it’s supposedly a V8 crate engine… which could also be bought pretty soon if we’re lucky. A six-speed manual handles power delivery.

It’s an interesting mix of parts that I think has delivered the coolest Jeep concept in recent memory.

[Source: Jeep via ]

Ringbrothers Madam V


Only Ringbrothers could make something so awesome out of an idea so bizarre. On the outside is a stunning 1948 Cadillac but underneath is a new Cadillac ATS-V. Because it’s Ringbrothers we’re talking about, it’s all much more complicated than that but still very well done.

Per , the build was commissioned by Wes Rydell who also supplied both the ’48 Caddy shell and the new ATS-V. The build was more than just a copy+paste job as they’ve worked modern materials like carbon fiber and CNC-machined aluminum into the classic shell without even making that obvious. A lot of the original design elements have been recreated in carbon fiber but implemented in a way that fits, like the bumper, grille surrounds, the hood, decklid, and front fenders for example. That perfect but daring blend of modern materials and classic styling is one thing Ringbrothers can do better than pretty much anyone. From the outside, there’s not much to really give away what’s hiding underneath besides the extra grille inserts, the modern Caddy grille design, and the four chrome tips sticking out the rear.


But the interior is 100% ATS-V. Everything inside remains intact and all the systems still work perfectly, including the touchscreen infotainment system, performance traction control, and OnStar. Mr. Rydell has a big dealership network and leveraged his connections to provide technical support for the build team. The biggest change that was needed on the ATS-V was a 14″ stretch so the chassis could fit inside the shell. So in every sense of the word, it’s an ATS-V with a custom ’48 Cadillac body. It rides like an ATS-V, goes like an ATS-V, but looks waaay cooler.

[Source: ]

Restored ’66 Le Mans-winning GT40


Serving as further proof that anything can be at SEMA, the Ford GT40 that won Le Mans in 1966 (controversially, of course) will be on display in the Ford booth next to the Ford GT that won its class at Le Mans this year (also controversially). The winning GT40, known internally as P/1046, recently came out of a 20 month restoration which returned it to its exact specification as it raced around the French countryside 50 years ago.

The restoration was done by Rare Drive and their work on this car has gotten them nominated for the 2016 International Historic Motoring Awards. The level of detail in this restoration is insane and that nomination is well-earned. Example: it features unequal length exhaust at the rear and a #2 that was hastily painted on the hood, paint drips and all. There’s also a video series on the restoration which can be found at .

So it’s a beautiful car with loads of history that’s been beautifully restored. It’s probably the most historically significant car at SEMA this year and it’s one that can’t be missed. Take any chance you can to go see this thing.

[Source: RK Motors Charlotte]

  • Alff

    That should help the front tires stick. Isn’t that what one requires of a drift car?

  • engineerd

    “I’m sure it exists even though we were only sent renderings.” Dude, it’s called Vapor and all anyone has seen is renderings. There are red flags everywhere! /burned by Duke Nukem Forever

    That FJ and the GT40 are so classically cool. Ringbrothers is on a roll and continuously blowing minds.

  • That CJ66 picture looks like one of a toy car, and that is a compliment.

  • Fuhrman16

    Is it just me, or does the Ringbrothers Caddy look like a ’55 Chevy from the front?

    • Scoutdude

      Actually it is the 55 Chevy that looks like an older Caddy, that was the GM way the styling cues of their top brand quickly filtered down to their lowest line. That was the Chevy buyers could feel a little special with those styling cues reminiscent of recent Cadillacs and Cadillac buyers could be shamed into picking up a new one that didn’t have styling shared with the lowly Chevy.

    • Vairship

      I was more surprised by the carbon fiber bumpers. Because I want my bumpers to be both expensive AND brittle? This is the kind of “engineering” that makes me question everything else about the vehicle.

  • That FJ has made its way onto my shortlist of best things I’ve ever seen.

    It’s quite a long shortlist, though.

  • outback_ute

    The 458-engined 86 is roughly half-way between dropping in a superbike-based V8 and the ‘standard’ LS swap. More expensive obviously…