2006 SEMA In Pictures, Part III

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2006 SEMA Show by TCC Team (10/30/2006)
All our coverage from the Las Vegas aftermarket extravaganza.


by Rex Roy

Photos by Rex Roy




1999 Lexus Sport Coupe concept


Chrysler, too, presented something old, some new, and something else … this one in red white and blue. Amidst new and current models like the Jeep Compass, Dodge Nitro, and Dodge Charger, the used-to-be-from-humble Highland Park, Michigan company looked forward by peering in a big mirror. Their biggest announcement came wrapped in a 2008 Dodge Challenger decked out in Pro Street trim. Under the hood was a new crate engine from Mopar Performance. Packing 392 cubic inches, the HEMI picks up where the original 392 Hemi from 1956 left off. It's available in carbureted and fuel-injected guise, and in the latter configuration puts out 525 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.




1999 Toyota open deck concept

Inspiration for the 2008 Pro Street Challenger was everywhere. Parked out in front of the convention center was one of the Challengers raced by Dick Landy. Any similarity was purely intentional. Considering that the Challenger has not even hit production, the site of a highly modified and ready-to-race unit indicates that there is real energy behind this car at Chrysler. Union members at the company's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan built the car on their own time, and plan to campaign the car during the 2007 racing season.


Fuel Cell Ford Focus


Chip Foose … the same Foose that at the same show in an earlier press briefing announced a production deal with Ford … debuted his limited-production, 392-powered hot rod, the HEMISFEAR at the Mopar stand. Sign up now and you could be one of the lucky 50 to purchase a kit by Metalcrafters, a longtime Chrysler supplier.



1999 Toyota Opa concept


Among the many beautiful Chryslers at the Mopar stand was an orange 1958 300C. Perfect body work, a lowered chassis, and powered by (of course) a Hemi, the car dripped with style and pride. Somewhere, Virgil Exner is smiling.



1999 Toyota WiLL Vi concept


Exner's name came up again outside the convention center. There, with a Keith Black hemi under the shiny red hood, sat the most beautiful 1962 Chrysler. Owner John Herrman spent countless hours sculpting the body to look more like what he imagined Chrysler styling chief Exner's drawings may have looked like. He also gave the car a forward cant. Together, these made his Newport look like the Chevy bubble-top competitor it was meant to be but never was. Herrman restored the pro-street racer to promote his custom car-wax business, One Grand. As noted at the top of the story, everything at SEMA is about selling.



1999 Toyota Origin concept


In what is becoming an annual event for General Motors, the company and Jay Leno debuted a car together. For 2006 it is a mid-engine, bio-diesel fueled, mid-engine exotic call the EcoJet. The design came from the GM Advanced Design Studio in North Hollywood. Metalcrafters handled some body engineering, and Leno's own Big Dog garage completed the complex build on a modified Corvette Z06 chassis. The engine is a Honeywell LT-101 turbine. Jay now has one more way to go fast in style … and while Leno paid for everything and had his shop do most of the work, GM is more than happy to take credit for it.


Buick Lacrosse


With a few corporate outliers such as a Pontiac Solstice Coupe and a Chevrolet Colorado, the majority of vehicles populating the GM display were new trucks and SUVs. The General introduced its new GMT900 series of sport-utes and pickups this year, and these vehicles dominated the stand. Designs reflected all kinds of taste (and lack thereof), with a Chevrolet Silverado from Orange County Choppers and a Cadillac Escalade EXT from DUB.



Saturn Logo


With so many new products to promote, one can't blame GM for not featuring its older products at its stand. But if your interests lie in something other than "the latest and greatest," the most interesting GM products weren't on the GM stand. One of the best examples was at the Hot Wheels booth, a beautifully customized Impala.




1999 Honda FCX concept

Another interesting GM was a 1972 Nova "Super Sleeper" that looked like a beater. Running on steel wheels with hubcaps, and with the paint wearing years of oxidation, the Nova would look at home parked beside a singlewide on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. However, this is not a car you'd want to race for pinks, because between the front fenders was a twin-supercharged big block. Time slips on the dash show consistent low 9s in the quarter mile. Look for it to be up for sale on eBay.




1999 Honda Spocket concept

There were all manner of Pontiac GTOs on display at SEMA. Some builders focused on the latest generation Holden-based model, but most catered to the Goat's heyday from 1964-1970. The pictured GTO is a blend of old and new, with a relatively stock looking body stuffed to the outer panels with modern technology. This car recognizes a trend of updating classic muscle cars with better-performing technology.



2006 SEMA In Pictures by TCC Team (11/8/2006)
New products - including flamethrowers?

2006 SEMA In Pictures, Part II by TCC Team (11/8/2006)
Hot rods, including a Volvo and a Foose original.

2006 SEMA In Pictures, Part IV by TCC Team (11/8/2006)
Hyundai nightmares and a VW Thunder Bunny and GTI R.

2006 SEMA In Pictures, Part V by TCC Team (11/8/2006)
Oddballs and odds and ends from SEMA.

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