It’s that time of year again folks – the time after SEMA where builders, industry professionals, and attendees deal with a “hangover” caused by the actual week of SEMA and the months building up to it. Many people don’t realize, but for the companies that bring display vehicles and projects to SEMA, often times they have been seriously burning the midnight oil in the weeks and months prior to SEMA just to get the vehicle finished and show ready in time.
Long days filled with little sleep, gallons of coffee and energy drinks, and the constant pressure of the impending deadlines can really take its toll on the human body. When you combine this with the five long days of SEMA (including setup and tear down) and having to go through all of the contacts you made at SEMA when you get back, you have a recipe for a mental implosion the week after SEMA.
With that being said, there are far more positives to SEMA than there are negatives, and in this industry, you have to be willing to put in the time and pain to go to key events, it’s just the nature of the beast. One of the best things about SEMA however, is that by being there, you are on the “front line” of the aftermarket industry and get to see some truly mind boggling things – many of which you know you will have no chance of ever affording. In addition, for the off roader, it can be a state of absolute euphoria as you see some of the latest and greatest that the industry is able to produce.
SEMA 2014 is done and in the books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reminisce on the whirlwind of a week we just had and take a close look at some of the coolest things from the event. While we featured tons of content on Offroad Xtreme, we wanted to bring to you a list of some of the coolest trucks we saw at SEMA – with Las Vegas in mind, we identified seven showstoppers we thought were especially easy on the eyes.
Ford Out Front
When traveling to the convention center this year, it was almost impossible to miss the ‘Ford Out Front’ display. Ford Out Front had a huge section of parking lot blocked off right in front of the convention center and in the middle of it all was a makeshift jump. Over the course of the week, various Ford vehicles gave demo drives and SEMA attendees could even wait in line and get a ride along in either a Ford Raptor or a 2015 Ford Mustang. The demos consisted of a lot of drifting, revved-out V8s, burned up tires, and smiles. Nearly every passenger we saw appeared to be elated at the end of their ride along – especially those who got to take flight, literally, in the Raptors.
BJ Baldwins’ Blazer
Trophy truck driver and internet sensation BJ Baldwin has really made a name for himself over the past three years with not one, but two, installments of his Monster Energy “Recoil” series of viral videos that have touched over 13-million viewers. While this is great for his sponsors and for building his own brand, it is even better for the off road community to get some exposure on how capable these trucks are. BJ Baldwin had his SCORE trophy truck on display at SEMA, but what was even more innovative was his Chevy Blazer prerunner he had on display at the Toyo Tires booth hanging from the ceiling. This truck has quite the internet following and has even appeared in Toyo Tires’ national commercials.
ADD’s 2015 F150 Baja XT
With the Raptor’s production cycle completely terminated as of now, there is definitely a void in the marketplace for a purpose built off road truck from Ford and we hoped someone would step up to the plate. As it turns out, Addictive Desert Designs (ADD) was the first one to step up and had their Baja XT and Baja XTR packages on display through a pair of built 2015 F150s. While these do not have the “Raptor” monicker, with all the top tier parts that went into building the display truck, it’s safe to say this package will be far more capable than a stock Raptor.
Silver Jeep JK
In the hot rod and show car culture, a chopped top is a pretty standard styling cue that builders will implement to give thier car a really sleek look. For the off road community, a chopped top is something you just dont see – until SEMA. In the Fab Fours booth this year, we came across this silver Jeep JK that had a chopped top, red-tinted windows, huge tires, and a truly menacing look. This truck had a crowd around it all week, and that should come as no surprise when you take one look at this thing.
Ivan Stewart’s Trophy Truck
If you have been into off road for any length of time, this truck needs no introduction. Ivan Stewart, one of the legends of off road history due in large part to his solo-approach to conquering the Baja 1000, had his 1993 Toyota-powered T100 trophy truck on display at this year’s show. Featuring a center seat design, four wheel independent suspension, 3.5-liter V6, and a paint scheme that has become an icon in the world of off road, Stewart’s truck sat shining in Toyota’s booth.
Chevy Brings the Colorado
The small to mid-sized truck market has unfortunately been sidelined for the past few years by the American vehicle manufacturers with Ford discontinuing the Ranger, GM discontinuing the Colorado/Canyon, and Dodge discontinuing the Dakota. This void has allowed Toyota and Nissan to pick up even more marketshare which in turn, has shown the Big Three that there is still a market for the mid-sized truck. New for 2015 is Chevy’s all new Colorado mid-sized truck that has its crosshairs set firmly on the Tacoma and Frontier. What made Chevy’s display even cooler, was that they had Ricky Carmichael’s (best professional motocrosser of all time) dirt bike in the bed with a special RC4 liverly.
ICON’s Wranger JK
For the past couple of years, Jeep Wrangler JKs and Ford F150s have been the main show trucks at SEMA, and this year seemed to follow the same trend. Because of this, it can be very difficult to break free from the rest and get your JK or F150 to really stand out. Such is the case with ICON Vehicle Dynamics’ black Jeep JK on display at their booth that featured custom bumpers, a ProCharger supercharger, Rigid Industries light bar, a truck bed liner coating over the entire Jeep, and of course, ICON’s own Jeep JK adjustable coil over system that has proven to be very popular. This rig looks like it would be a blast to take on the trail.
It was very difficult narrowing down the off road industry’s highlights from the SEMA Show, and inevitably, there was tons of awesome content we left out. This year’s SEMA produced some amazing project vehicles and brought some amazing trucks out of storage to be seen by all. We only have another 12 short months to next year’s SEMA, so in the meantime, keep it locked on Offroad Xtreme and take a look at some of the awesome SEMA content you may have missed!