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The 2013 SEMA Show: Johnson's favorites

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800EcoTrek Ford F-350

Davey G. Johnson

The EcoTrek Ford F-350 was built to travel around the world, not just as an off-road showpiece. The big Ford runs on algae-derived biodiesel and features everything one would need (including solar panels and a tent) for extended sojourns in the bush. At a show so obsessed with the superficial, it's refreshing to see something actually designed for a real task.

Hemi Valiant

Davey G. Johnson

Brown 50's Hemi with individual throttle bodies? Yes. Diamond-stitched fancy-pants race-oid interior? Absolutely. Oxidized and rusty Valiant carcass wrapped around all that finery? For sure!

Davey G. Johnson

Built by Welderup, whose unfortunate motto is “Show us your junk,” this '54 GMC COE nevertheless inspires grins. Behind the cab sits a turbocharged Cummins 6BT diesel making 450hp. The taillight lenses are mason jars found on a fruit farm. Goofy and menacing in equal measure, the Fermented Fruit is an enjoyably demented hot rod.

Big Block Corvair Van

Davey G. Johnson

Take a 540-inch rat motor, stuff it in the middle of a Chevrolet Corvair Rampside van, add rake. Oh, and throw in two superchargers while you're at it. This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around.

Mopar Dodge ProMaster and Fiat 500

Davey G. Johnson

Mopar brought out this ProMaster-and-500 duo. It's a far cry from an A100 and a Hemi Dart. Mostly because it's like, all Italian. Also, there's significantly less V8 involved.

Challenger I

Davey G. Johnson

Mickey Thompson's Challenger I. It set the land speed record in 1959 with a two-way run averaging out to 363.48 mph. The next year, he made a single pass at 406.60, making him the first American to go faster than John Cobb.

Kosmic Outcast

Davey G. Johnson

The Rothian Kosmic Outcast was constructed by Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle. It's got a stroked Olds Rocket between the Swiss-cheesed framerails. The blown mill's backed up by a modern Tremec TKO 600 manual trans. The chopped and sectioned cab's from a '40 Ford. It's flaked within an inch of its life, and it reminds us why '60s show rods so completely captivated the imagination of a generation of boys.

'55 Chevy Gasser

Davey G. Johnson

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a well-done Hemi-powered '55 Chevy gasser.

Strange Motion Corvair

Davey G. Johnson

We ogled Tim Strange's pale-pink Corvair from the rear, marveling at what wacky goodness might be under the rear deck. Then we walked around and noticed that he'd moved the powerplant to the front. We proceeded to give him the business about it.

About the SEMA Show

SEMA -- short for Specialty Equipment Marketing Association -- is the biggest aftermarket auto event in the world, held in Las Vegas each fall. The show fills multiple convention halls and shows off everything from high-performance OEM specials to custom wheels and graphics from local shops. Get the full rundown on what automakers and suppliers are up to at the industry's biggest trade show at our SEMA Show home page.

By Davey G. Johnson