HomeNews and EventsSEMA Seen: Lifted, slammed and tire-smokin’ power

SEMA Seen: Lifted, slammed and tire-smokin’ power

These vehicles are electrifying, but in the dramatic-to-see sense of that term


Although the trend we saw a week ago at the 2021 SEMA Show was electrification, that doesn’t mean the Las Vegas Convention Center and its parking lots were anywhere near void of the rootin’ tootin’ petroleum burnin’ and tire smokin’ rides that have been the show’s stars ever since a bunch of hot-rod parts supplier got together decades ago to display their wares.

Here is just a sampling:

1973 Plymouth ‘Hellrunner’ 

Take a 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner and insert the thousand-horsepower engine from a 2016 Dodge Hellcat and do other updates and you get the “426 Hellrunner,” built by Jems Classics and displayed at the Racing.Junk booth at the SEMA Show. The car is owned by Vance Kershner and was built because a ’73 Roadrunner was his first car.

Jeff Jones’ 1953 Ford Custom

Florida resident Jeff Jones turned a 1953 Ford into one of the most beautiful and well-done custom cars we saw this year at the SEMA Show. It was a 4-year project, and when the show ended, he was heading home to customize his brother’s vintage Mercury.

John D’Agostino’s ‘The Phantom Auburn’

This boattail speedster, which made its American debut at the Grand National Roadster Show in 2020, was built in 1968 in Sweden by Anders Jacobsson and is part of the John D’Agostino Celebrity Kustoms collection. 

Redcat RC vehicles

Redcat has been producing remote-control 1/8-scale vehicles since 2005. At the 2021 SEMA Show, it wowed visitors with its lowrider and off-road displays. These vehicles are not inexpensive — running several hundred dollars — but they put on an amazing show, just like their full-size counterparts.

Jamo 1948 Ford tractor

Jamo Performance Exhaust didn’t use a conventional SEMA vehicle to showcase its products for trucks and sport utility vehicles. Instead, it put its new system on this 1948 Ford 8N tractor, which was further modified with a turbocharged 7.3-liter Powerstroke diesel engine.

Born Again ’49 Ford

Maniacs Garage quotes a Bible verse about being born again and dubbed this 1949 Ford Shoebox the “Born 49ain.” The car’s body is chopped and shortened and lowered and mounted on the running gear (and air conditioning) of a 2008 BMW 335i.

1984 Toyota AE86 Trueno

Built by Japanese turning specialist Tec-Art’s and displayed on the Cusco Progressive Equipment stand was this highly modified beneath the sheetmetal and carbon fiber 1984 Toyota Sprinter Tueno coupe, known on this side of the Pacific as the Corolla.

Jeep Gladiator Ultimate Bug Out

Somewhere up there atop those massive HellTraxx triangular snow treads is a Jeep Gladiator equipped with a refrigerator, water filtration system and topped by a Freespirit Recreation roof-top tent. 

But wait, there’s more…

Unfortunately, those displaying the vehicles below provided no information about them:

This amazing pice of sculpture appears to be a functioning bicycle. It was on the stand of artist Nick Crouch
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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