Stop and Stare
Some of the best show cars in the world can be found at the annual SEMA show. With thousands of vehicles exhibited each year, you’re almost guaranteed to find something you’ve never seen before. Here are 10 wild and wacky vehicles we came across at the 2015 SEMA event.
Mishimoto Abbot Self-Propelled Gun
Every exhibitor is fighting over showgoers’ attention, whether it’s with an eye-catching show car, freebies, or a gimmicky booth theme. Mishimoto, makers of high-performance radiators and other parts, had an interesting solution this year: sticking a freaking tank in their booth. Although technically not a tank by the traditional definition, this Abbot self-propelled artillery had about the same effect as the genuine article on attendees. Hailing from Cold War-era U.K., the Abbot features a 105mm gun with a maximum range of roughly 9 miles and a rate of fire between six and eight rounds per minute.
Big Wheel Drift Trike
This unique three-wheeler was built by “Horny Mike” Henry of the TV show “Counting Cars.” The nickname might help explain the many bullhorns that decorate the trike—22 on the seat and six on the handlebars in addition to a dragon skull. More bones can be seen on the gas tank and rear fenders, which cover tiny go-kart wheels.
Ferrari-Powered Model A Hot Rod
Many different engines have found their way into hot rod engine bays, but we’re willing to bet this is the only hot rod with a Ferrari-built 2.9-liter V-8 from a Lancia Thema. The engine resides in a Ford Model A frame and is fed by two giant Turbonetics turbochargers. The builder wants to optimize the engine for high rpms and expects it to sound like no other hot rod on the planet.
Punk Jeep Legend 2.Woah
Perhaps the biggest thing to happen to car anthropomorphization since car lashes, this bright green Mohawk lends a distinctive look to this Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Take away the green hair and green everything else, and you’re left with what appears to be a very capable rig. We’d leave the Mohawk, of course.
Superman Chrysler 300
Superhero-inspired show cars aren’t uncommon, but this Chrysler 300 takes the fandom to another level. From the airbrushed painting depicting the caped crusader and Lex Luthor (as played by Kevin Spacey) on the hood to the loud, Superman spandex-inspired interior, this Chrysler 300 oozes with the builder’s affection for the comic book hero. But we’d like to know how anyone can grip the steering wheel, which is shaped like the shield of Superman’s S logo.
Scion iA Lowrider
Cars wearing the Scion badge have frequently earned the distinction of ending up on lists like this, and for 2015 we’re not bucking that trend. The newly introduced Scion iA, despite its utilitarian sedan ways, got the lowrider treatment. We’re talking filigreed A-, B-, and C-pillar covers, wire wheels, hydraulics, and a chain steering wheel.
We thought this sort of thing only happened here in Los Angeles, but there it was, a Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet in red on 34-inch rims. Wonder how much 34-inch tires go for? Tire Rack stops at 30-inch, and eBay returned one result: $1,750 USD each. If you want to show off, this is one way to do it.
Burning Man art car Valyrian Steel
Somewhere in the cross section of Burning Man, “Game of Thrones,” and Roadkill, you can find Valyrian Steel, a five-passenger, mid-engine art car powered by what appears to be a 5.0-liter modular V-8. It’s apparently not yet finished and will return to SEMA next year (and presumably Burning Man) with bodywork. The big contraption on top turns with a hand crank.
Four-Engine Ford Econoline Pickup Amsoil
At the Amsoil booth was the Equadoline, a 1962 Ford Econoline Pickup with four 4.6-liter modular V-8 engines out back, each topped by a Weiand Teflon supercharger. The paired engines feed power into a Getrag six-speed transaxle and through a 20-by-12-inch set of rear wheels. According to the owner it pumps out approximately 4,000 hp.
Time Machine Mirai
Anyone who was hip to the “Back to the Future” jive in the past month knows Toyota launched the Mirai to great fanfare, building a tribute to the original time-travelling DeLorean in the process. This is much more than just strapping an assembly of scoops to the outside, however, as the fuel cell powering the Mirai can, indirectly, be fueled by trash, much like the fictional Mr. Fusion could in the movie. One neat feature not included on the car’s previous debut were the trick “infinity” wheels, which sandwich a ring of LEDs behind a piece of two-way glass and in front of a traditional mirror, giving it the neat look you see.