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Best of Show: Hottest 2014 SEMA Show Cars

Las Vegas’ annual Specialty Equipment Market Association Show again played host to some of the world’s most impressive builds and extreme automotive hardware. From slammed subcompacts to 1000-hp drag machines and everything in between, the SEMA Show had a little something for everyone. Here are our favorites from the show.

Scion xB Riley Hawk Skate Tour

This four-door hatchback has so much character. Designed to feel like a 1970s van, the Scion‘s Cragar wheels have an orange lip to match the car’s paint, there’s a fish bowl side window, and inside, captain’s style chairs and shag carpeting welcome passengers. As we discovered at a media preview event, plenty of storage spaces inside for your “valuables.” The custom xB has space for plenty of skateboards in a roof compartment, and you can play guitar through the sound system using an iPad mini as a mixer.

2015 Ford Mustang GT by CGS Performance Products

Of all the Mustangs Ford brought to the 2014 SEMA show, few were as boulevard-ready as the 2015 Mustang GT by CGS Performance. Why? While the front Kompression forged wheels are 22-x-8.5-inch units, the rears are a staggering 24 x 16 inches. The car also featured plenty of engine and suspension modifications, but who cares? In person, this car with those ridiculous wheels is quite something, and definitely worth a spot on our SEMA best-in-show list.

2015 Honda Fit by Kylie Tjin

While Toyota also featured a stop-you-in-your-tracks wide-body subcompact hatch — the DUB Edition Yaris — Kylie Tjin’s Fit earns props because of the inventiveness of the front fender flares. The two-tone Katzkin leather seats and door panels give the car an upscale feel, and I’m also a fan of the Axalta paint by L&R Auto Body. While we could do without the pink brake calipers, those outrageous front fender flares give this car a stance unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

1959 Chevrolet Impala at the FBS Custom Tapes and Sprayers stand

Take a design that’s already beautiful and slam it to the ground with an incredible paint job and you’ve got a real winner. With almost completely covered rear wheels, this ’59 Impala was a refreshing treat from the diverse, yet often modern, project cars trying to stand out at the 2014 SEMA show.

The wheels of the 2015 Kia Soul EV for Smitten Ice Cream

Red smoothie wheels with baby moon caps look great on the Soul, and we’d love to see them on a production-ready retro-modern Soul special edition. Considering how often Kia presents a new special edition, what’s one more to challenge the also retro-themed Fiat 500 1957 Edition?

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Paul Stanley concept

When the current-generation Jaguar XJ first arrived, we didn’t know what to make of the controversial black-colored C-pillars, and just like that luxury sedan, the KISS frontman’s take on the new Corvette is polarizing. The silver paint on the Chevrolet’s roof extends to a portion of the rear hatch panel and contrasts nicely with the Candy Red paint. Inside, quilted leather and dark red accent stitching make the cabin look upscale, and don’t feel out of place with the rest of the Corvette’s vastly improved-for-this-generation interior.

1964 Buick Riviera “Rivision”

This Riviera “Rivision” comes from builder JF Launier of JF Kustoms, and it’s simply bananas. A 6.2-liter V-8 sits up front where it’s supposed to be, but the twin-turbo system is back in the cargo area. Just because. The cooled charge air is then blown into a pipe that’s routed into the cabin, through the dashboard and firewall, before reaching the intake and boosting power to around 1000 hp.

Jeep Forward Control on Tracks

The Daystar booth had the best Jeep at SEMA, hands down. The 1958 Jeep FC 170 would’ve been great on its own, but having it ride on tracks brings it to another level. We’d love to see this Forward Control in action on the snow.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro by Chris Holstrom Concepts

This 1969 Camaro is relatively understated — for SEMA, anyway — but the attention to detail is fantastic. From the top-notch metalwork to the ridiculously clean engine bay and 850-hp supercharged V-8, there’s plenty to admire on this white, well-built Camaro.

Lexus RC F by Gordon Ting/Beyond Marketing

There were just a handful of Lexus RC F coupes at this year’s SEMA show, but expect that to change next year as the sporty two-doors become more widely available. This, the RC F by Gordon Ting and Beyond Marketing looks great with its sharp blue paint and custom body kit. It’s riding on 20-inch wheels, but we’d probably bolt on 18s to make this less of a show car and more daily-friendly.

Rocket Bunny Acura NSX

The Rocket Bunny treatment was everywhere at SEMA this year. One of the best examples came from Six Sigma AutoDesign, whose Rocket Bunny NSX that was built by AutoFashion USA. It sports a sharp metallic blue wrap, Rocket Bunny 6666 wheels, a GruppeM supecharger, Tein RE suspension system, and Nitto NT05 tires.

The Toyota Sleeper Camry

Somebody must have gotten completely fed up at hearing how “boring” and “conservative” the Camry is, because this ready-for-the-drag-strip creation would seem to be a middle finger to those two adjectives. The tube-framed, NHRA-approved dragster carries the 5.7-liter V-8 from Tundra. Only it’s supercharged and also runs a wet nitrous-oxide system. And produces more than 700 hp. And yeah, its body lifts just like that. Coming soon to a strip near you. Boring no more…

The Mustang King Cobra

Ford Racing debuted the King Cobra — the name originated on a special edition of the 1978 Mustang II — to wild enthusiasm in person. Here online, the giant cobra on the hood and scaly snakeskin wrap drew barbs from some. It’s powered by a supercharged 5.0 engine producing 625 hp. All the parts are bolt-on from Ford Racing’s bin: There’s the FR2 Drag Pack on the chassis, the FR3 Handling Pack, heavy-duty half-shafts, bushing kits, six-piston caliper brakes, anti-roll bars, dampers, springs, and Recaro seats. All of it adds up to a sub-11-second quarter mile. You can’t quibble over that.

The Ford Pavilion

GM and Ford take SEMA really, really seriously, and Ford’s pavilion was the standout of the show. Whether it was the knockout array of customized 2015 Mustang GTs, a big staff of folks on hand to answer questions, or the entertaining videos (like the one you see here with Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his dog) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUecT2eRg0M that had many people at a standstill for minutes at a time watching, the pavilion was a park within SEMA. You couldn’t stroll through without lingering on something.

Mercedes-Benz Mission: Metris Firechief Van

By far, at last check, the most popular of four concepts Benz displayed for the coming Metris midsize van was the Firechief Van. The show vehicle has several nifty features. Out back, there’s a command post that can direct firefighters and receive information about deployed equipment. That’s run by massive batteries running along the bottom of the floor for lower LCG. To ease deployment and security, how cool is the quick-clamp system that secures self-contained breathing equipment? No more tanks flopping around. But by far our favorites? The tribute to NYC’s fallen 9/11 firefighters on the painted shield on the door. And the lights and siren, of course. Hey, SEMA makes you a kid again in a lotta ways…