Keeping a finger on the pulse of the aftermarket

copyJust a few short weeks prior to the SoCal limelight of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the car world focuses its gaze a little further North East for the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. In case you were unaware, SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, and the accompanying trade show that bears the name attracts thousands upon thousands of parts suppliers, car builders, restoration shops, tuners, dealers, restorers, and big OEM automakers, all of whom arrive in the Vegas desert to partake in one of (if not the) biggest custom car events in the world. It’s an aftermarket extravaganza, a cornucopia of customized rides that compete for the attention of some of the most discerning eyes in the industry. And that means we’re in store for some of the wildest automotive creations on the planet.

The SEMA show isn’t open to the public, but rather it provides a space for industry professionals to connect, learn, and show off their latest builds. Not only that, but it gives car lovers of all stripes a chance to see what’s possible in the world of customs, either for inspiration, or just to look and drool.

Originally founded in 1963, SEMA was started by several big names from the world of aftermarket speed, including Roy Richter, Willie Garner, Bob Hedman, Robert E. Wyman, John Bartlett, Phil Weiand, Jr., Dean Moon, and Vic Edelbrock, Jr.

Held annually at the beginning of November and hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA is always a surefire way to dig deep into the aftermarket, with pretty much every corner of the car world represented on the showroom floor.

This year’s event is slated to run between November 1st and November 4th, but before the attendees make the rounds, we’re giving you a breakdown of what’s slated to show in the following preview.

And make sure to check back as the Show approaches, because we’ll be adding more cars to the list!

Updated 10/28/2016: We’ve added a ton of new concepts slated for debut at SEMA. Check them out!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 SEMA Show.


Rockstar Santa Fe Concept

2016 Hyundai Rockstar Santa Fe Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Hyundai is bringing all kinds of interesting vehicles to SEMA this year, the first of which in this gargantuan off-road machine. The South Korean automaker teamed up with energy drink producer Rockstar in order to create it, fitting the mid-size five-door with a custom black and white exterior, LED illumination, spruced up interior, and some seriously jacked-up suspension. Those mean-looking tires measure in at 35 inches, while under the hood is a shot of laughing gas. The end result is something that looks like it’s ready to crawl up the side of a mountain and crush anything that stands in its way.

Read the full review here.

Santa-Fast By Bisimoto

2016 Hyundai Santa-Fast By Bisimoto High Resolution Exterior
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If you prefer your vehicles low and fast, as opposed to high and dirty, then you’ll be delighted to find out Hyundai is bringing another Santa Fe built with an entirely different philosophy in mind. It’s called the Santa-Fast, and under the hood is over 1,000 horsepower waiting to be unleashed. Responsible for this outrageous SUV is Bisimoto Engineering, a company well versed when it comes to making a head-turning SEMA car. Now if only we could convince Hyundai to actually put it into production…

Read the full review here.

Veloster Concept By Gurnade

2016 Hyundai Veloster Concept By Gurnade High Resolution Exterior
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While more focused on the show than the go when compared to the Santa-Fast, the Veloseter Concept by Gurnade is still definitely worthy of a spot at SEMA. It’s got the right kind of look, with a creased-up wide body kit, slammed ride height, deep-dish wheels, and candy-colored paint. Mounted in the nose, you’ll find some basic performance upgrades for the 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, while big brakes and coilover suspension round out the package.

Read the full review here.

Road Racer Elantra Concept By ARK

2016 Hyundai Road Racer Elantra Concept By ARK Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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It’s highly unlikely your go-to image of a SEMA car includes an Elantra, but that’s not stopping Hyundai from turning its family-oriented grocery hauler into a performance machine. Assisting in the transformation is a custom wide body kit for the exterior, which is punctuated with LED illumination and substantially flared fenders, all of which is wrapped in a dark grey vinyl finish. Not only does this thing look the part, but underneath the body mods is a coilover suspension and a custom turbo kit. No word on how much the new snail adds to output, but we’re feeling around 260 horsepower total. The Concept Elantra also adds custom upholstery to the interior, which is a surprising move for a road racer, but hey, it’s a SEMA car – it’s about turning heads, not making sense.

Read the full review here.


Fusion Sport Ballistic Concept By Webasto Thermo And Comfort North America

2017 Ford Fusion Sport Ballistic Concept by Webasto Thermo and Comfort North America
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It’s got a long name, but this four-door looks like it’s got a few very nice pieces to justify the extended title and attribution. Based on the 2017 Ford Fusion, so far we’ve only seen the Sport Ballistic Concept as a rendering, but we already like what we’re seeing. Starting things off are subtle exterior enhancements, including new body components in the fascia, side skirts, and hood. There are also less-than-subtle enhancements, like 20-inch multi-spoke wheels. Up top is a new sunroof to enhance the experience inside, and under the hood is a tuned 2.7-liter V-6 producing more than the stock 325 horsepower. Finishing it off is new suspension.

Read the full review here.

Mustang GT Concept

2017 Ford Mustang GT Concept High Resolution Exterior
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As you might expect, there’s gonna be plenty of examples of the Blue Oval’s newest pony car on display, starting with this heavy-hitter from VMP Performance. The first thing that’ll grab you is the military aesthetic adorning the exterior, with a bomber grey paint job, a little stars-‘n-stripes action on the doors, and matte black wheels in the corners. It looks cool, but it’s also got an engine capable of turning the ‘Stang into a ground-bound missile. Thanks to a new blower, the stock 5.0-liter V-8 gets a bump to 850 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque, nearly double the factory rating of 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. Further track-ready mods include Recaro racing buckets, five-point harnesses, coilover suspension, big brakes, and digital gauges.

Read the full review here.

Mustang Fastback By CJ Pony Parts

2017 Ford Mustang Fastback by CJ Pony Parts Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Tuned iterations of the V-8 ‘Stang are to be expected at SEMA, but the four-banger sixth-gen is getting some love too. Applying some go-faster magic to the 2.3-liter EcoBoost is CJ Pony Parts, which managed to coax an additional 100 horsepower from the engine, with final output coming to 410 horsepower total. Rounding out the build is a Ford Performance suspension kit, some added chassis rigidity, and 20-inch wheels, not to mention upgraded aero, a carbon fiber hood, and a Stealth Gray paint job punctuated with neon green highlights. Who said eight cylinders is better than four?

Read the full review here.

Mustang Pearl Candy Orange

2017 Ford Mustang Pearl Candy Orange Concept Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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This wild-looking muscle car gives us a glimpse at what the Shelby GT350 could look like if Ford chopped the roof off, courtesy of all the body upgrades. Believe it or not, this thing is actually based on the EcoBoost convertible – never mind the black “5.0” badge you see on the fender! Carbon fiber is used in the body panels to keep the weight down, but the weave is hidden under a sea of Pearl Candy orange paint. Under the fenders are 20-inch wheels from Forgeline, while the cabin employs big names like Stitchcraft and Katzkin for more orange spread across the dash, matching the wild exterior. Beyond the look, you’ll find upgrades to the intercooler and exhaust, but the biggest power boost is provided by a heady dose of nitrous, courtesy of Nitrous Express.

Read the full review here.

1966 Shelby GT350 By Revology Cars

This thing might look like an untouched first-generation Mustang, but dig under the skin, and you’ll find all modern equipment. Revology basically built a GT350 replica on the outside, complete with the classic white and blue stripes, but in the cabin, you’ll find more comfort thanks to an updated climate control system. Meanwhile, a brand-new 5.0-liter V-8 and six-speed manual gearbox provides the motivation.

Read the full review here.

Mustang Fastback Sport Touring By MRT

Australian-based tuner MRT Performance will be on the scene to show off their own take on the sixth-gen ‘Stang. On the outside, you’ll find new black and red paint, plus carbon-fiber replacement pieces for the hood, aero, and taillight panel. In the corners are 20-inch wheels. Inside the cabin are more carbon doodads, but the most interesting feature is under the hood, where the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger receives a new Vortech supercharger.

Read the full review here.

Mustang Fastback By SpeedKore Performance Group

Carbon fiber is a truly wondrous material. Not only is it lightweight and very stiff, but it looks pretty sweet too. And those are all good reasons to show it off with some composite body mods. SpeedKore Performance Group agrees, and went so far as to equip this ‘Stang with a full carbon fiber body. To go with it, there’s a good deal of extra power under the hood as well, with output peaking at 825 ponies thanks to a new Whipple supercharger kit.

Read the full review here.

Focus ST By Cinemotive Media

This Focus isn’t the craziest build in attendance, but it is a solid rework of the ST platform. Outside we find just a few aesthetic enhancements, such as custom paint, new wheels, and some extra aero. The cabin is equipped with carbon fiber additions to the steering wheel and shift knob, plus there’s upgraded audio. Extra power comes courtesy of Mountune, which enhances the stock turbo with a new intercooler, piping, and intake, raising peak output over the stock 252 horsepower. We’re thinking around 300 horsepower. Routing it all is the factory six-speed manual transmission.

Read the full review here.

Fiesta ST By Tucci Hot Rods

Tucci Hot Rods is better known for its souped-up V-8-powered muscle, but hey – these days, a compact hatchback can be just as quick. Outside we find a Pure White paint job and wide body kit offset with huge, black wheels, while inside is a slew of race-inspired additions. Making more of the go is an upgraded turbocharger system, plus there’s a new clutch and limited-slip differential to keep the power where it needs to be.

Read the full review here.

Focus ST By Blood & Grease

Hot rodding has been around forever, and the modern tuner scene is a natural offshoot of that time-honored tradition of modifying cars to look better and go faster. The Blood & Grease Focus hopes to mix a little of the old and new, with classic flat black paint, red accents, leather upholstery, and a tuned engine package.

Read the full review here.

Fusion Sport By Legacy Innovations

The second-generation Fusion isn’t your typical tuner car, but this lightly modded iteration from Legacy Innovations proves the platform’s potential. The already sleek styling gets a few understated body mods that give the four-door an even more refined look, while plus-sized 20-inch wheels from Forgestar add some flash. Inside is upgraded upholstery and audio to go with the premium features equipped from the factory on the Sport trim level. Meanwhile, the powerplant is refreshed with a new intake and exhaust, while coilovers and new brakes enhance the stance and handling.

Read the full review here.

Focus RS By Full-Race Motorsports

The Focus RS is here, and it’s looking to dominate the hot hatch market with its AWD, turbocharged goodness. But some folks are never satisfied – take Full-Race Motorsports as an example. This build sends the venerable five-door to a whole new level, adding 100 horsepower for a grand total of 450 ponies, courtesy of a new turbo kit and methanol injection. Complementing the extra output are KW coilovers, a competition-ready cabin, and some real aero.

Read the full review here.

Focus RS By H&R Special Springs/StanceWorks

Compared to the Full-Race Motorsports RS, this fast Ford is a little mellower. The emphasis looks be on styling, the ride, and the handling, but there are still complementary mods for the exterior, interior, and drivetrain. Outside is a cool new livery and Euro-spec vents and aero, while the cabin gets a few factory options like all-weather floor mats. The engine is stock, but considering the car’s sponsors, it should come as no surprise that the chassis and suspension were upgraded.

Read the full review here.

Focus RS By Roush Racing

Roush certainly knows its stuff when it comes to pumping up Ford’s fastest, so it makes a lot of sense that the tuner would turn a few wrenches on the new Focus RS. We have yet to see this thing in person, but based on the rendering, it’s looking pretty epic. Outside is significantly upgraded styling and aero, while under the hood, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder is tuned to a whopping 500 horsepower. Did someone say four-wheel burnouts?

Read the full review here.


Cruze RS Hatch And Malibu Blue Line

2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line High Resolution Exterior
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Chevy will be bringing a few examples of what can be done with the Cruze RS Hatch and Malibu sedan should you find yourself owning either of those models and wanting a little extra. Both fall under the Blue Line designation, and include a slew of forthcoming and production-ready modifications available to any enthusiast out there. Adding a little custom fairy dust are upgrades like a lowered suspension, engine breathing mods (intake and exhaust), plus-sized custom wheels, blue-tinted windows, and illuminated doorsills. The pair of Blue Lines aren’t exactly the craziest thing you’ll find at SEMA, but they are good examples of what can be done to a street car with just a little extra spending cash.

Read the full review of the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line here.

Read the full review of the Malibu Blue Line here.


Ringbrothers Announces Impressive Lineup For SEMA Show
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SEMA is obviously the place you wanna be if you’re in the custom car game, which makes it the perfect destination for organizations like Ringbrothers. The Wisconsin-based firm has been doing their thing for over 10 years now, and SEMA is common hunting grounds at this point. For 2016, the company is showing up in Vegas with four new builds. Included is a pearl white 1948 Cadillac Series V, a light blue supercharged 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, a wide body 1965 Ford Mustang convertible, and an outrageously overpowered 1972 Winnebago Brave camper van. How overpowered, you ask? How’s 900 horses grab ‘ya?

Read the full story here.


Soul First Class

Kia says it wants to produce a fully autonomous car in the next 15 years or so, and to give us a preview as to what that might look like, the South Korean automaker is modifying a contemporary Soul compact crossover into a self-driven, high-end people mover. It’s called the Soul First Class, and the focus of the build seems to be on the interior, where passengers enjoy high-level infotainment in a plush, opulent setting.

Read the full story here.


TLX GT Package

To help add a little extra sporting panache to the four-door TLX, Acura is unveiling the GT Package, taking cues from the TLX grand touring racer that competes in the Pirelli World Challenge race series. For a little extra outlay, buyers can add new visual enhancements thanks to upgraded aero, including a new front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear spoiler, and extra garnish.

Read the full story here.

MDX NSX GT3 Custom Trailer

It’s a problem we hear all the time – “how do I get my uber-expensive high-tech GT race car to the track while still looking good?” Acura has a solution with this custom trailer. It’s painted the same color as the competition vehicle it’s hauling, and it’s got all the features you need when you arrive at the pits. No word yet on production, but I wouldn’t mind if it came with an NSX already loaded on top…

Read the full review here.


MX-5 Speedster Evolution And RF Kuro

The fourth-generation ND MX-5 has been kicking around for a little while now, and although excitement for the back-to-basics two-door roadster is still quite high, new concepts are always appreciated. As such, Mazda is bringing two fresh takes to SEMA with the Speedster Evolution and RF Kuro. The Speedster takes the whole lightness thing to a bit of an extreme, cutting an incredible 350 pounds from the already-bantamweight sports car. Meanwhile, the RF Kuro adds a little extra visual attraction to the gorgeous retractable fastback RF model revealed earlier this year.

Read the full review of the MX-5 Speedster Evolution here.
Read the full review of the MX-5 RF Kuro here.


Civic Coupe By MAD Industries

The new Civic is one hot two-door, and considering the history of the nameplate, it’s no surprise tuners are looking to add even more flair through mods and upgrades. Enter MAD Industries, which added carbon fiber to the exterior styling, new paint, blacked-out lights, and new blue touches inside. Lowering springs give it the right stance.

Read the full review here.


FCA’s go-faster division is bringing all kinds of creations to SEMA this year, including examples from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. In total, there will be 14 Mopar’d autos on display, with standouts including a surfed-out Pacifica, a mean-looking Challenger 392 Hemi, an off-road-ready Power Wagon pickup, and a modded-out Wrangler.

Read the full story here.

Jonathan Lopez
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