Dressed to impress and faster than the rest

After four days of reveals and industry hullabaloo, the craziness that is the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show is finally coming to a close. The show queens and performance monsters are all heading home, but before they disappear into the history books, we’re rounding up our picks for the top five debuts to drop cover in the Las Vegas desert.

The lineup of vehicles on display at this year’s event was impressive, and picking just five cars from the bunch wasn’t easy. But picked we did, and the resulting list is an eclectic assortment of machinery we think you’ll find to your liking. Included are concept models, race cars, and a restomod.

Do we have your attention yet? Read on for the highlights.

Continue reading for our picks for best in show at SEMA.

Best In Show

Chevrolet Chevelle Slammer

2016 Chevrolet Chevelle Slammer High Resolution Exterior
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Restomods and SEMA go together like milk and cookies, and this year was no different. All the usual classics made an appearance for 2016, but the Chevelle Slammer stood out above the din.

“This is a perfect example of how a restomod should be built,” says editor Ciprian Florea. “They get bonus points for polishing the body to remove the pointy character lines of the original and for integrating new stuff in the old cabin.”

So it’s got the looks, and there are modern touches added to the interior. But what about performance? Well, don’t worry about that, because this Bow Tie brings the goods there as well. Making it go is over 500 horsepower, while air suspension and new brakes keep it tight on the pavement.

Read the full review here.

Dodge Durango Shaker

2016 Dodge Durango Shaker concept High Resolution Exterior
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The black-and-blue bruiser you see here is just a concept for now, but we certainly hope it doesn’t stay that way for long. Dodge started with a third-gen Durango, then added a ton of kick-ass muscle car cues to create a performance SUV entirely worthy of your lust and adoration. The first thing you’ll probably notice are the new nostrils peaking out of the hood - and seriously, who doesn’t love a shaker scoop? In the corners are 22-inch Mopar wheels, while smoked-out lighting was added in front and back. Inside, Dodge installed Viper seats for all three rows, while motivation comes from a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V-8.

All we’ve gotta say is – shut up and take our money.

Read the full review here.

Ford Mustang GT4

2017 Ford Mustang GT4 High Resolution Exterior
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The sixth-generation Mustang arrived in 2013 with all kinds of long-overdue upgrades, not the least of which was an independent rear suspension. Improved underpinnings are exactly what were needed for the classic pony car to reclaim its role as a track-ready racer, something the spec-series GT4 competition vehicle you see here looks to continue into 2017. Destined to compete against the likes of the Aston Martin Vantage, Chevrolet Camaro, and Porsche Cayman, this apex-hungry Mustang is ready to rock in all the right ways. And we like that – a lot.

Read the full review here.

Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution

2016 Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution High Resolution Exterior
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Speaking of road racer icons, the MX-5 got an updated Speedster concept at SEMA with the new Evolution. Essentially a continuation of last year’s Speedster Concept, the new iteration manages to trim 350 pounds from the production model’s curb weight, bringing the final total to less than 2,000 pounds. Paired with the low seating position and roofless, barchetta-esque styling, it looks like Mazda’s famous roadster just got even more charm.

Read the full review here.

Toyota Land Speed Cruiser

2016 Toyota Land Speed Cruiser High Resolution Exterior
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We saw several insane SUVs-turned-land-missiles at this year’s show, including the 1,000-horsepower Hyundai Santa-Fast by Bisimoto, but the best of them all has to be this beast from Toyota. It’s called the Land Speed Cruiser, and the name is entirely appropriate given its prodigious power output – how does 2,000 horsepower fit ‘ya? To make all that go, Toyota outfitted the standard 5.7-liter V-8 with two enormous turbochargers, which means acceleration to 60 mph takes less than three seconds, while top speed is estimated to be somewhere around 220 mph. Clearly, more is better.

Read the full review here.

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