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						Sema 2017 A1
SEMA Show Spectacular

2017 SEMA Show Recap

Story and Photos by Steve Temple 

Just when we think the annual auto extravaganza in Vegas can’t get any bigger or more outlandish, it one-ups itself yet again, partly by returning to its roots. In the show’s infancy at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, it was known as a Speed Equipment event (instead of the current, broader name, Specialty Equipment Manufacturers’ Association). But even as the overwhelming array of product displays has swelled far beyond this initial emphasis, the replicas and restomods on hand hearken back to SEMA’s performance origins.

An obvious case in point: Roaring through the wildly popular drifting arena in the Ford Out Front paddock was a supercharged Cobra from Superformance boasting nearly 1,000 horses! Just a tap of the throttle broke the rear end loose, spewing thick clouds of tire smoke, while the bellowing exhaust pummeled the eardrums of those attendees waiting in line for a free thrill ride.

This was not the only example of extreme power output. In Factory Five’s booth, a military-themed Cobra Daytona Coupe, owned by helicopter pilot Erik Treves, came well armed with high-caliber twin turbos. Adjacent to this car was the company’s new steel-bodied ’35 Ford pickup. Another hot ride was Ron Ewerth’s 818, fitted with carbon-fiber components and a 435 hp Subaru. Look for features on all of them in upcoming issues.

In the Lingenfelter booth, a Corvette Grand Sport from Superformance proved that the new LT4 engine fits right in, and plans are in the works to boost the output of its crate engine to 750 hp with an overdrive setup on the supercharger. In another example of old meets new, Classic Recreations showed off its Shelby-licensed GT350CR, a ’66 pony car fitted with a Coyote V8. Also on the Shelby side was the company’s concept for a wide-body Super Snake, based on a 2018 Mustang. No word on the supercharged engine rating, but it will likely be prodigious. 

Speaking of prodigious, Fischer Motorsports’s Ford GT employs a custom 4.5-liter Whipple blower to deliver a whopping 2,000 horsepower. The thunderous exhaust of the engine was astounding to experience.

In marked contrast, though, was the hushed sound of a Miata-based Exomotive motivated by a Tesla S electric setup. Technical details are still being sorted out by Eddy Motorworks, but the concept looks intriguing, and will likely be a stealth fighter.

Another proven performer is Superlite’s SL-C, and a screaming yellow version (see inset photo on cover) was built by Bill Phillips of PMP with GM’s LS3 V8, fitted with LS7 heads, good for 460 hp. 

Going to even greater extremes was a 1950s Cadillac customized with copper-colored trim and a 1,200 hp Cummins diesel. Also, V12LS.com teamed up with Quality Custom Rides LLC to build a showstopper for SEMA this year, a classic Camaro with a new-age V12 monster motor.

Of course, not every car on display pushed the outer limits of horsepower. So check out the accompanying photos for the project car that’s right in line with your performance preferences.  

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