By Clint Simone and George Gabriel
The 2017 SEMA Award
Designating the Most Popular Vehicles for Building in the Automotive Aftermarket
SEMA Show exhibitors named the Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Focus, Jeep Wrangler and Ford F-Series as this year’s SEMA Award winners for hottest vehicles in their respective categories. Accepting the awards for their companies were (from left) Alan Batey, president, GM North America; Judy Curran, director, planning and strategy—vehicle components and systems, Ford Motor Co.; and Pietro Gorlier, head of parts and service, MOPAR, FCA.
Now in its eighth year, the SEMA Award returns to illuminate the vehicles that SEMA Show parts and accessory manufacturers deem the hottest and most specialty-equipment-friendly. The award recognizes new and emerging trends while also guiding consumers to the most accessory-friendly vehicles in the marketplace.
For 2017, four different automotive brands were recognized by SEMA Show exhibitors, with the Ford F-Series taking Hottest Truck, the Chevrolet Camaro as Hottest Coupe, the Ford Focus as Hottest Hatch, the Jeep Wrangler as Hottest 4x4-SUV, and the Cadillac CTS-V as Hottest Sedan.
'“Every year at the SEMA Show, we see vehicles emerge that are embraced by the aftermarket community,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “SEMA Show exhibitors are at the forefront of the industry and have the unique ability to identify the hottest vehicles emerging for future trends. The SEMA Award recognizes the vehicles that our industry leaders have selected.”
The following pages provide examples of how SEMA Show exhibitors have enhanced these vehicle platforms in numerous ways.
’17/’18 Ford F-Series, Hottest Truck
Using a host of performance upgrading parts, Shelby created its interpretation of the ultimate Ford Raptor—the Shelby Baja Raptor. Under the hood is a custom cold-air performance intake system, accompanied by tune, producing 525 hp and 610 lb.-ft. of torque.
Extending the Raptor’s off-road capabilities yet further, Shelby partnered with Fox Racing to create a four-corner adjustable suspension system. The Baja Raptor sits on 18-in. alloy wheels wrapped in 35-in. tires.
For its booth at the 2017 SEMA Show, Fab Fours Inc. brought several accessorized trucks, including this ’17 F-250 King Ranch Crew Cab. The truck features a 6.7L V8 diesel and a host of exterior enhancements, such as a Fab Fours Truck Grumper front grille and a Fab Fours open fender system that allows the truck to run 40-in. tires. Also included in the upgrades were a Fab Fours Truck ViCowl windshield surround and, finally, Fab Fours paint-matching wheels.
This special edition of the F-150 was built by Neil Tjin of Tjin Edition and brought to the 2017 SEMA Show. The truck is outfitted with a custom Air Lift suspension with Baer brakes and Rocks Custom 24-in. Rotiform wheels wrapped in Falken Tires. The interior was redone in a custom black and orange Katzkin interior, and the performance upgrades include a Ford Racing exhaust. The exterior features a custom Axalta paint job and a Retrax Pro MX tonneau cover.
Hellwig Products purpose-built its F-350 Super Duty, dubbed “The Operator,” for use in off-road adventure scenarios both big and small.
The Super Duty features Hellwig Big Wig air springs, an Icon 3-in. lift, Fab Fours Vengeance front and rear bumpers, and Whelen light bars. Stationed prominently in the bed is a Textron Wildcat X LTD UTV. The exterior scheme is not a wrap—LGE-CTS Motorsports painted the truck with a digi-camo theme, using BASF paints in the process. Inside is a SSV Works SXS head unit and speaker cans, Kicker Audio speakers, and a Rugged Radio race radio.
Hellwig chose the F-350 Super Duty as the perfect platform for the Operator, thanks to the Power Stroke diesel engine and the high payload/towing capacity.
’17 Jeep Wrangler, Hottest 4x4-SUV
The Bruiser Conversions’ Jeep Wrangler 6x6 breaks the mold in just about every imaginable way. True to its name, the Wranger sends power to not four, but six wheels—a feat accomplished through complex axle engineering. Rather than the standard Jeep engine, Bruiser engine-swapped the 6x6 with an LS3 that produces more than 400 hp. Fox shocks provide spring control for the three-axle rig. In back is a custom wood-panel bed with powdercoated screws to match the wheels. Finally, each of the rear panels was hand-formed to create a rounded, bespoke look.
Featured in the MOPAR booth at this year’s SEMA Show was a Jeep CJ66. The narrow-bodied Jeep CJ66 concept uses a 383hp 5.7L Hemi engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. A MOPAR 345 crate Hemi engine cover shelters the powerplant, and its MOPAR cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust bump up its off-road performance. Front and rear MOPAR Dana 44 crate axles help the Wrangler easily crawl over rocks and boulders.
The Copper Canyon skin is highlighted on both sides with a custom matte-black CJ66 graphic stripe that runs along the side of the hood. The concept hood, bezel and latch also are matte black, as are the iconic seven-slot Jeep grille and the bezels of the Wrangler JK headlamps. MOPAR LED amber fog lamps and a MOPAR Warn winch augment the CJ66’s off-road capabilities. The custom, race car-inspired fuel filler cap is shifted to the inside fender wheelwell.
Serengeti, a ’17 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport built for the 2017 SEMA Show, is a trail-ready 4x4 built to take on the outdoors. The Wrangler features Mickey Thompson Sidebiter Lock wheels, Mickey Thompson 40-in. tires, Baja Designs light bars and a custom paint job. An aFe Power cold-air intake and an AEV Pro-Cal calibrator add power, while Fab Fours fenders and bumpers enhance the Wrangler’s overall presence.
MOPAR also brought the Jeep Switchback to the SEMA Show. Jeep Performance Parts on the Switchback include front and rear Dana 44 axles, a 4-in. lift with remote-reservoir Fox shocks, heavy-duty cast differential covers, 10th-anniversary steel front and rear bumpers, and a Rubicon winch, grille, winch guard and cold-air intake.
The Jeep Switchback exterior features a concept hood and half doors topped with a concept Safari hard-top and roof-rack system. The exterior also includes Jeep Performance Parts high-top fender flares, a MOPAR black fuel door and taillamp guards, and a Jeep Performance Parts swing-gate hinge reinforcement and oversized spare tire carrier. The Jeep is powered by a 3.6L Pentastar V6 and is mated to a five-speed automatic
’17 Chevrolet Camaro, Hottest Coupe
Featured prominently in the Classic Industries booth this year was a 1,000hp Camaro. The vehicle features a custom-built 416ci (6.8L) LT1 engine with an aluminum block, a 4340 forged-steel crankshaft with H-beam rods, forged-aluminum pistons, CNC-ported LT4 cylinder heads, an upgraded fuel system and injectors, a custom performance tune, and custom stainless-steel long-tube headers with high-flow cats.
The exterior features include a body-color-painted carbon-fiber hood with a nonfunctional scoop and grille. The hood features a Yenko sYc Stage II stripe and Yenko/SC side stripe graphics in gloss black. Four Yenko-crest exterior body badges decorate the grille, front fenders and rear panel, and a Stage II spoiler badge and 1,000hp hood cowl and spoiler badges round out the appearance.
The Anderson Composites Camaro ZL1 1LE was purpose-built to compete in the Optima Street Car Challenge, starting with its 650hp engine. The Camaro features a wide range of Anderson Composites carbon-fiber parts, including a double-sided hood, hood insert, front air duct bezels, bumper canards, front chin splitter and doors. The 1LE rides on Forgeline Wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich tires and also includes Eibach performance springs and JDP motorsports carbon ceramic brakes.
Chevrolet and Hot Wheels teamed to bring something special to the 2017 SEMA Show. They revealed the ’18 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition, celebrating 50 years of partnership, performance innovation and design. The commemorative package pays homage to iconic Hot Wheels features, including a Crush exterior color and stripes that replicate the toys’ famous orange tracks.
The ’18 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition is available on 2LT and 2SS coupe and convertible models with satin graphite stripes with silver ice metallic accents, and the 20-in. forged-aluminum wheels (with summer-only tires on the SS) come in satin graphite with milled faces and unique center caps. The Camaro also sports 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels fender badges, a jet-black leather-appointed interior with exclusive orange inserts and orange accent stitching.
’17 Ford Focus, Hottest Hatch
Ford brought a rally-inspired Focus RS to the 2017 SEMA Show. An RS-R coil-over suspension improves ride quality, performance and comfort while reducing excessive vibrations from everyday driving, and it minimizes noises from suspension movements. The Ford Performance short-throw shifter is designed to provide a more direct and connected feel, giving better driving feedback whether cruising local streets or pushing the limits on the track.
The exterior includes Baja Designs 3x3 Squadron Pro and S2 LED amber driving/combo and wide cornering lighting. Rally Innovations added its light plate, R4S aluminum front, side and rear splitters, an R4S one-piece aluminum rear diffuser, R4S wheel diverters and mud flaps, an R4S rally wing, and hood vents created with Anaheim Rod & Custom.
West Coast Customs
The Ford Focus RS was the perfect platform for West Coast Customs to build on to create a one-of-a-kind hatchback. Featured on this RS are 18-in. wheels by Fifteen52, wide-body fender flares, an Injen cold-air intake, a Cobb AccessPort tune and a custom-printed neon camo wrap. The car was proudly displayed in the West Coast Customs booth at the 2017 SEMA Show.