SEMA 2023: highlights of the show’s wild modified cars

Published: 07 November 2023 Updated: 07 November 2023

► 2023’s SEMA show stars
► Concepts from Hyundai, Nissan and more
► The wildest of the cars revealed

What happens at SEMA, stays at SEMA? Unlikely. The 2023 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show is under way, with several major car brands taking to the enormous Las Vegas Convention Center to show off their wares.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2023 show:


Mustang Supercharger kit

Precious little defines SEMA other than the simple request for MORE. So much so that Ford Performance has introduced a 3.0-litre Whipple supercharger kit for V8 models of the latest Mustang generation. With it applied, power can jump to beyond 800bhp – all without breaking your warranty.


Kona Jayde Concept

It’s a heavily modified version of Hyundai’s new Kona, dripping with lifestyle equipment and sweet details. The fetching colour is ‘robin’s egg blue’, the car is lowered with new Eibach springs and it features a roof box and bike rack from Thule. The best bit is inside, though, with the stock seats being thrown out in favour of Recaro Sportster CS seats with a fantastically jazzy plaid pattern.


It’s all about the great outdoors for Lexus, introducing LX and GX SUVs that are packed to the brim with off-road engineering and clever tricks for making the most of the countryside. Among the mix of show cars is an Aquamarine Blue LX fitted with a quick-release awning, roof rack for surf boards and a mini camping kitchen. Another includes a previous-generation GX fitted with a hammock and some handy essentials for tough off-roading.


Another big player at SEMA, Nissan has pulled out the stops with tonnes of new modified builds. These are some of the highlights:

Safari Rally Z

Arguably the car that’s stolen the show this year: a rally-spec Nissan Z built by Tommy Pike Customs. A raised ride height comes via custom KW suspension, with bespoke wheels shod in Yokohama off-road tyres. The Z’s power has been pushed north of 400bhp, with a tuneful growl spouting out a cat-back exhaust.

Project Rugged Rogue

Another off-road build, this time direct from Nissan’s NISMO division. The Rogue features a three-inch suspension lift kit, custom carbonfibre detailing and a centre exhaust. The Rogue also features prototype parts, including off-road-spec wheels, roof rack and bumper guard.


The Japanese brand always goes big at SEMA, and 2023 is no different with four individual builds and a whole load of build concepts.

Tacoma X-Runner

Toyota wants to bring back the idea of a modified street truck with this: the X-Runner. It’s 3.4-litre V6 engine has been uprated (via an official TRD upgrade pack Toyota will sell in the States in 2024), there’s an electronic rear differential and side pipes complement its angry look.

FJ Bruiser

This almost looks like something out of a kid’s toy box. Lift up an FJ45 pickup, cram in a 725bhp V8 engine from a NASCAR racer, install a race-spec three-speed auto (who knew those existed?) and it’s a solid start. Finish the job with two Currie differentials (one for each axle), Fox shock absorbers, Eibach springs and BF Goodrich Krawler tyres and you’re almost there.

Retro Cruiser

To celebrate the latest-generation Land Cruiser returning to North America, Toyota is wheeling out a classic restomod: the Rod Millen Group’s 1967 FJ45 Land Crusier Wagon, which is nicknamed the Retro Cruiser.

Tacoma ‘Blue Beetle’

Toyota’s involvement in the DC movie Blue Beetle has resulted in this modded, and heaviliy graffit’d Tacoma truck.


Range Rover and Rolls-Royce Ghost

UK-based modifier Urban is showing its wares at the SEMA show by taking up some space on the Milltek Corp stand. Its two show cars – a full-size new Rangie and a Rolls-Royce Ghost – are fully tarted up with Urban’s latest bodykit trimmings and feature performance exhausts from Milltek.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches