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WTF? Strange, Crazy, Amazing, and Downright Stupid Things at SEMA 2018

WTF? Strange, Crazy, Amazing, and Downright Stupid Things at SEMA 2018

Going deeper in the biggest aftermarket party of the year

You can pretty much see anything and everything automotive related at the SEMA show. From pure-bred muscle cars, wild exotics, monster trucks, and full-on race cars. SEMA has something for everyone to love. On the other side of that spectrum, there is a lot that may not be to your taste. From the crazy awesome to the crazy clueless, here you can find a bit of each.

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Check Out All the Awesomeness We Found At SEMA 2018 With This Mega Picture Gallery

Check Out All the Awesomeness We Found At SEMA 2018 With This Mega Picture Gallery

Tuned, tweaked, and totally amazing

One hundred forty thousand people descend upon the Las Vegas convention center for the largest aftermarket automotive trade show in the world. Welcome to SEMA 2018, where many of the top automotive aftermarket manufacturers, builders, and shops come together to learn, shop, and show off the best products and some of the best custom rides in the game. I overheard one SEMA organizer saying that if you were to walk up and down every aisle in every pavilion you would walk almost 54 miles and I believe it! Sadly, most of SEMA is very boring and very repetitive (I mean seriously, how many booths about tires does one show need?) but, there are always those automotive gems to look at and once in a while a new product that just makes you stop and say "wow." So, here are a few of those cars that made me stop and actually take a look.

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2019 Kia K900 DUB Edition

2019 Kia K900 DUB Edition

Kia has brought a bold modified example of its yet to be launched, all-new K900 to the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas. The look of the vehicle has been transformed by DUB, a famous name on the aftermarket scene, specializing in big rims and other accessories. However, it seems somebody over at dub is stuck in the year 2002 because the way the car is modified could only be described as droll and old-fashioned by late-2018 standards. Sure, it stands out, but it may not necessarily attract the right kind of attention.

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2018 Toyota Tundra PIE Pro

2018 Toyota Tundra PIE Pro

Gimmick status aside, this can actually work with a few more tweaks thrown in

Pizza chain Pizza Pie is once again digging into its bag of marketing gimmicks with the introduction of the Toyota Tundra PIE Pro. Built in collaboration with Toyota, the Tundra PIE Pro is, quite seriously, a zero-emission pickup with a robotic pizza-making factory in the truck bed. Unfortunately, the Tundra PIE Pro is nothing but a concept, dashing our hopes and dreams of one day seeing this creation pull up in our homes with a fresh pan of Pizza Hut’s finest.

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Honda's Pedal Car Might Be The Coolest Vehicle On Display at SEMA

Honda’s Pedal Car Might Be The Coolest Vehicle On Display at SEMA

I want one, so don’t be ashamed to say that you want one, too

The 2018 SEMA Auto Show was completely lit. Automakers far and wide presented versions of their models in various states of tune. Honda was on-hand at the event, bringing with it a number of Civic Type R concepts, a Ridgeline camper, and the obnoxiously cool Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept. As awesome as they are, none of these concepts caught my attention more than the Honda Pedal Car. It’s probably a side-show attraction at best, but I don’t care, it looks awesome as hell, and I want one stat.

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2018 Volkswagen Golf RLMS by APR

2018 Volkswagen Golf RLMS by APR

Golf So Fast It Would Eat The GT-R And Finish ¼ of a Mile In Less Than 10 Sec

As far as modded cars at SEMA go, the Volkswagen Golf RLMS tuned up by APR seems to be one of the most amazing to appear in Las Vegas. The American tuner of everything Audi and Volkswagen took a year and a half to work on the Golf RLMS which evolved from the hot hatch into something you wouldn’t be afraid to put up against the Nissan GT-R R35. I am not joking. Based on the Golf R, this track-worthy Golf RLMS by APR takes a unique approach to hatchback tuning. An approach I am inclined to call - “let’s make the best freaking hot-hatch.”

They’ve done it - and with so well calculated modifications that turned the Golf R into something a true Volkswagen enthusiast may call the Golf R536. Obviously, this is like my throwback to the Golf R400 super-hatch that had been crafted in the concept guise, but did not reach the production. Dieselgate was to be blamed.

Nevertheless, the R400 may be the first thing to pop into my mind upon seeing this, but this modded Golf RLMS by APR is much more than that.

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Mopar's Hellephant Crate Engine Proves 1,000 Horsepower Is the New Benchmark

Mopar’s Hellephant Crate Engine Proves 1,000 Horsepower Is the New Benchmark

It’s pretty crazy to think about, but it’s only gonna get wilder from here

When Bugatti first announced that it would equip the original Veyron with a 1,000-horsepower engine straight from the factory, the world stood still. It was a watershed moment for the car industry, a point in time where even the most uninterested of the automotive laymen were forced to take notice of what was happening.

In the nearly 15 years since the Veyron first hit production, the bar has consistently been raised, and now internal combustion is taking on ever-greater levels of performance. FCA just proved as much, with Mopar now offering the first-ever 1,000-horsepower crate engine from an OEM. If you think about it, four-figures right out the box is insane, but that’s the world we live in now. But the question is - how’d we get here, and where are we going?

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2019 Lincoln Black Label Navigator

2019 Lincoln Black Label Navigator

Customized for car collector Jay Leno

Redesigned for the 2018 model year, the Lincoln Navigator finally has what it takes to compete against the current Cadillac Escalade. It also comes in a long-wheelbase version and with the company’s recently introduced, more luxurious Black Label package. The latter has become so appealing that even TV celebrity and car collector Jay Leno ordered one. However, Leno requested some aftermarket extras and showcased the SUV at the 2018 SEMA Show.

Although it’s pretty much a stock Black Label model, it stands out thanks to its unique paint, wheels, and customized interior. Although it was conceived by the Lincoln Design Studio, this Navigator was actually customized by Van Nuys and Galpin Motors & Auto Sports. The Black Label Navigator will join the 1966 Lincoln Continental the Jay Leno purchased earlier in 2018.

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The 2019 Acura ILX was Showcased at SEMA with Some Awesome New Accessories

The 2019 Acura ILX was Showcased at SEMA with Some Awesome New Accessories

Is Acura finally joining Chevy and Mopar on the dealership customization market?

After six years on the market, theAcura ILX was updated for the second time for the 2019 model year. Heavily revised on the outside and equipped with new tech, the ILX now feels like a redesigned car. At the 2018 SEMA Show, the ILX stepped into the spotlight with a new range of accessories.

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2018 Audi Q8 by ABT

2018 Audi Q8 by ABT

ABT’s example of tuning an Audi, the subtle way

The Audi Q8, another one in a long line of coupe-bodied luxury SUVs, was launched this year and has now been given the ABT Sportsline treatment. The end result is subtle but, as a house tuner for Audi, ABT knew how to churn out every ounce of performance out of the Q8.

The Q8, which is categorized as a mid-size luxury coupe SUV, is an alternative to the Cayenne or the X7. It’s the first model designed by Audi’s new chief of design, Marc Lichte, and arrived with a choice of two V-6 engines: a 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged gas engine and a 3.0-liter diesel.

Now, ABT took it upon themselves to improve, aesthetically as well as mechanically, the Q8. What they’ve unveiled is a great example of the ’less is more’ ideology: the car doesn’t have a widebody or particularly flashy add-ons but makes a strong statement nonetheless. Having said that, ABT announced that a new aero kit for the Q8 is in the works.

Keep on reading to learn more about the Audi Q8 by ABT.

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1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON

1949 Lincoln Mercury Coupe EV by ICON

A classic, sleeper car with an EV powertrain

We see a lot of restomods where people or companies thump new engines into classic cars. But how about putting an electric powertrain into a vintage car? This is not a new concept; in fact, there are quite a few companies who have been working on this for quite some time now. The conversion companies were in a large number even in the last century, and a perfect testament for this would be the formation of the Electric Auto Association back in 1967. However, this takes a lot of skill, money, and precise execution. One such classic car fanatic company, which has done many conversions in the past, is ICON; and this time, the company has turned a 1949 Mercury Coupe into an EV.

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2018 Acura RDX A-Spec by Graham Rahal Performance

2018 Acura RDX A-Spec by Graham Rahal Performance

Surprisingly powerful!

Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Acura RDX looks sportier than ever and boasts enough luxury features and state-of-the-art tech to give the German competition a run for its money. Unfortunately, it’s only marginally more powerful than its predecessor, even in the new, sportier A-Spec trim. This is where the Graham Rahal Performance update comes in, adding some extra grunt for the 2018 SEMA Show.

Founded in 2017 by race-winning Honda IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, Graham Rahal Performance (GRP), which owns an Acura dealership, decided to meddle with compact luxury crossover. In an effort to add style, power, and performance to the RDX, GRP customized the SUV’s exterior and interior and upgraded the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The end result is the most powerful third-generation RDX ever created, but it’s only for display purposes. At least for the time being.

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All About The Hellephant Crate Engine and Why You Should Care

All About The Hellephant Crate Engine and Why You Should Care

Getting under the skin of Mopar’s latest beast

Mopar made an enormous splash at SEMA this year, revealing the most powerful crate engine to ever come from an OEM. It’s called the Hellephant, and it’s got enough muscle to outrun just about anything on four wheels. But we wanted to know - what makes it tick, and how does it compare to what’s already out there? What’s more, where exactly will this thing find a home?

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2018 Lexus LS Custom

2018 Lexus LS Custom

A splash of aero bits give Lexus’ flagship model a touch of sportiness

Lexus was in attendance at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show with a number of show-stopping offerings, including a custom Lexus LS 500 F Sport. The new take on the LS 500 F Sport is far more subtle than you’d want it to be, but it does offer a glimpse of the LS 500 F Sport’s tuning potential. It comes with a full custom wrap, a new set of wheels, a performance brake kit, and an extensive aerodynamic kit that bolsters the LS F Sport’s appearance. For a car that acts as Lexus’ flagship sedan, these upgrades bring out a side of the LS that none of us get to see regularly. In other words, these upgrades are exactly what the doctor ordered.

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2018 Dodge Super Charger Concept

2018 Dodge Super Charger Concept

Powered by the most powerful crate engine yet!

The Dodge Super Charger is a concept car that marks the 50th anniversary of the second-generation Charger, produced for the 1968 to 1970 model years. Unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Show, the Super Charger is a restomod that combines the design of the original Dodge Charger with modern parts from Mopar and the Challenger SRT Hellcat and Demon. More importantly, it showcases a new Hemi V-8 engine that cranks out an incredible 1,000 horsepower.

The big news here is that the 7.0-liter mill is a crate engine that you’ll be able to buy from FCA starting in 2019. The Super Charger was created specifically for the massive mill, which was dubbed Hellephant as a tribute to the original Mopar 426 Hemi engine, nicknamed Elephant due to its size and power. Obviously, Hellephant combined both the classic Elephant and the modern Hellcat monikers. The Hellephant is also the first 1,000-horsepower crate engine offered by an OEM carmaker.

Continue reading to learn more about the Dodge Super Charger concept.

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2018 Ram 1500 Big Horn Low Down Concept

2018 Ram 1500 Big Horn Low Down Concept

There’s still a world where this creation can thrive

The 2018 SEMA Auto Show played host to a pair of custom-tuned Ram 1500 pickup trucks, including one that goes by the name “Low Down.” Based on the 1500 Big Horn trim level, the Low Down is what happens when you raid Mopar’s parts bin for equipment that can be used to give the 1500 Big Horn a more “slammed-to-the-streets” styling direction. It doesn’t do anything to emphasize the 1500 Big Horn’s masculinity, but it does give it a new urban look that plays well in the underground street racer culture. All it needs is a little nitro boost — perhaps machine guns, too? — and it’ll fit right into the kind of cars you normally see in the Fast and Furious franchise.

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2018 Dodge Charger Evolution

2018 Dodge Charger Evolution

The very same ”I’ll kill you if you touch me” attitude from the ‘70s with a powerful engine

Wisconsin-based Speedkore is the same performance company that built an absurd 1,650-horsepower Dodge a few years back. It was seen in the Fast and Furious movie as well. This time around, they’ve built a more balanced, calmer version of the same Dodge Charger and moniker’d it as the ‘Evolution.’ The Evolution packs half the power of its predecessor, but has more utility. Speedkore claims that the Evolution represents “the most advanced 1970 Dodge Charger” anywhere on the globe, which may actually be true. Speedkore is known to play with carbon fiber and has used its skills on this beast as well. Despite the heavy engines and strong body, the company has built a muscle car that weighs just about 3,200 pounds - that’s anywhere between 228- and 638-pounds lighter than the original 1970 Dodge Charger!

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2018 Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept

2018 Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept

It may not be immediately apparent, but the Honda Open Air Vehicle Concept is actually a Ridgeline-based study that looks like an oversized buggy. Honda doesn’t intend to put it into production, but it does want us to picture ourselves ripping across sand dunes in one of these, and we’re more than happy to oblige because it’s actually a pretty awesome idea.

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2018 Toyota Tundra for Kevin Costner by Working Complete Customs

2018 Toyota Tundra for Kevin Costner by Working Complete Customs

This is one Toyota Tundra that was built to thrive in the elements

A unique Toyota Tundra showed up at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show with Kevin Costner’s imprints all over it. The Hollywood A-lister hooked up with Toyota to build a custom Tundra Platinum that embraces Costner’s love for adventure and the outdoors. The one-off, custom-built creation is the ultimate adventure truck, fitting for a man whose famous for his love of the outdoors. They don’t make them as rough and tough as Kevin Costner; turns out, Toyota — and Working Complete Customs of McKinney, Texas — was up to the task of giving him a ride that suits his personality.

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2018 Superformance Future GT Forty

2018 Superformance Future GT Forty

The perfect blend between the classic GT40 and the modern GT

Here’s the latest Superformance classic-looking Ford GT40. The American masters of continuation GT40s unveiled at the SEMA Show the Future GT Forty prototype which draws its inspiration from both the original 1960s GT40 Mk. and the modern, Le Mans-winning, V-6 Ecoboost-poweredFord GT GTLM race cars.

The South-African Superformance company has been building painstakingly accurate GT40 recreations for over a decade and a half. Their cars are officially licensed to use the GT40 name and even eligible for the GT40 register, which means the Blue Oval fully approves of these beasts.

This latest model, presented after an 18-months-long buildup in the MagnaFlow booth at the SEMA Show, features the same livery as the 2017 GTE-Pro Le Mans-winning Ford GT built by Multimatic and a host of aerodynamic and mechanical upgrades that increase the GT40s prowess around any race track.

Keep reading to learn more about the Superformance Future GT Forty

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2018 K5 Chevy Blazer Restomod by Ringbrothers

2018 K5 Chevy Blazer Restomod by Ringbrothers

Ringbrothers is a company “with an affinity for muscle cars,” as they say on the official website, which usually specializes in low, ground-hugging vehicles designed to go around corners very well. At this year’s edition of the SEMA show, however, they brought out their first off-roader, a tastefully restomodded Chevy K5 Blazer, based on the full-size model built from the early 1970s to the early 1990s; the Blazer they used is from 1971, and boy did they deliver...

The company sells many components they make themselves, and it seems this modded K5 got as many of them as they could fit on it. What resulted is probably one of the best looking modded off-roaders I’ve ever seen, which blends decent off-road capability with a head-turning look, strong performance courtesy of an LS3 swap, and some modern gadgets too.

If this is the Ringbrothers’ idea of an off-roader, then we ask them to make more of these, or start selling them as scale models, because I want one to put on my office desk.

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2018 Nissan Project Clubsport 23

2018 Nissan Project Clubsport 23

Nissan tries to keep it fresh with some extra sporting stuff

The 2018 SEMA show is here, and Nissan is headed to Vegas with a newly tuned iteration of its aging 370Z sport compact coupe. This latest build combines a selection of parts plucked from the factory, and the aftermarket, as well as a smattering of custom one-off, fabricated pieces that “may appear someday alone or packaged together at Nissan dealership parts departments.” Sounds great, but how does it fare amongst the best of the best in the desert?

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2019 Lexus UX 250h Custom

2019 Lexus UX 250h Custom

This study will make you see the pint-sized UX in a different light

Lexus is about to launch its first small crossover, the UX, and to show how one could be customized and be made more aggressive; it’s brought a striking UX 250h study to the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas.

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