SEMA’s good, the bad and the ugly II | CAR Magazine

SEMA’s good, the bad and the ugly II

Published: 01 November 2007 Updated: 26 January 2015

Alpine R-class

Believe me, that is an R-class. Hidden away in the depths of the wheels and tyres hall lurked this mutated MPV, slammed on 30-inch wheels. Surrounded by the DUB editorial team, the project car attracted manic attention – presumably because it was the biggest freak at SEMA 2007. The work of electronics firm Alpine, this R-class is a two-door, with the figure of eight-shaped apertures spinning open to allow access. There’s a similar trick at the rear (see next page), where the massive three pointed star rolls outwards like a drawer, revealing a cylindrical stack of Alpine amps. If Picasso had done modified cars, this is something he might have created.

What on earth would Mercedes make of it?

They certainly know about it. That’s because Volvo’s Steve Mattin, the guy who led the R-class design team, tipped off CAR about the project, having already texted a picture to his former colleagues. ‘I told them I didn’t think much of the facelift,’ quipped the British designer.

Yaris speedster

Pontiac wasn’t the only car maker displaying a speedster version of a production car – Toyota also had the same idea. This neat baby was a chopped version of the Yaris supermini, which is now on sale in the US. As a hatchback, that is.

Dodge Magnum by West Coast Customs

Mopar Alley linked the south and centre halls, and was filled with muscle from Chrysler Group’s performance parts division. Along with a line of vintage Challengers, including a 1970 T/A that inspired the reborn Dodge icon due in showrooms next year, stood this Dodge Magnum SRT8 modded by West Coast Customs. The wagon sibling of the Chrysler 300C rolled on 22-inch Asanti wheels, had a chopped roof and no discernible way of getting inside, with a complete lack of door handles.

Ford GT Mustang by Rich Evans Designs

The most OTT Mustang at the show – no mean feat – goes to this GT. With a ridiculously overblown shaker resembling two baguettes, alloys and front grille covered in spikes and a dusty black finish, this looked like a heavy metal rock band’s ride.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota’s coolest vehicle remains the FJ Cruiser, and it was clearly the most popular SUV among tuners. Bring it to Europe please!

Audi R8 by SDS

Surprisingly, Audi’s stunning R8 barely made an appearance at SEMA. Our Performance Car of the Year had a respectful makeover from SDS, with the side panel blades replaced with carbonfibre, and a black laquer finish around the headlamps. The car was shod in 20-inch Vredestein rubber.

Hummer H2

With those XXL Möz wheels and stubby nose and rump, this Hummer resembled a horse-drawn coach. It towered over a Range Rover Sport slammed so low over 24-inch rims, the baby Rangie would probably struggle to overcome a 1 degree departure angle.

Audi R8 by SDS

Surprisingly, Audi’s stunning R8 barely made an appearance at SEMA. Our Performance Car of the Year had a respectful makeover from SDS, with the side panel blades replaced with carbonfibre, and a black laquer finish around the headlamps. The car was shod in 20-inch Vredestein rubber.

Hummer H2

With those XXL Möz wheels and stubby nose and rump, this Hummer resembled a horse-drawn coach. It towered over a Range Rover Sport slammed so low over 24-inch rims, the baby Rangie would probably struggle to overcome a 1 degree departure angle.

By Phil McNamara

Group editor, CAR magazine

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