skip to content
Driving Line Mark Logo

Talking Shift_07: SEMA Edition

We are back from the SEMA Show, and after the dizzying number of vehicles we saw, there's obviously a whole lot of shift talking to do. Watch our Facebook LIVE video below, and join in by commenting!

1. I Made It!

JUSTIN: I’ve been covering SEMA for six years now, but this year has to be the most exciting. It’s SEMA’s 50th year and I was fortunate enough to have my very own car on display! I can spend the whole segment talking about my car, but instead you can read about it on Driving Line.

Justin Pagtalunan's Scion tC Rocket Bunny

ANNA: It was in a good spot! We saw it from the road. I waved to it every time we passed by.
KRISTIN: As a car builder, I mean, that’s your own car, it’s your daily driver, so having it be at the SEMA Show, which is like the car show of car shows, is a good achievement, so congrats.
JUSTIN: It was also nice that it was right next to the food trucks, so we got to eat a lot, whenever we wanted.

2. Tricked Out Trike

ANNA: I had never seen anything like this. I googled “Vanderhall,” and apparently this is a 2017 Vanderhall Laguna Bespoke. Vanderhall Motor Works has been exclusively making these 3-wheeled things since 2010. I guess they were originally designed for mountain roads? I don’t get it, but I guess props to trikes – they’ve really come a long way.

Vanderhall Laguna Bespoke

JUSTIN: Yeah, I would not drive this on a mountain road. To me it looks like a cross between a Polaris Slingshot and a Volkswagen, which is not a good cross.
KRISTIN: When I first saw this, I actually thought for a second that it was this car company that does all electric three-wheeled cars, and they’ve been pre-selling them for a few years now… but they actually seat the driver and passenger in tandem, which is interesting.
JUSTIN: So, when you call shotgun, you’re actually backseat driver.

3. Pretty in Paisley

ANNA: I was looking for trucks on Instagram to find one with ginormous stupid-looking tires, but then I saw this one and it just cracks me up. The paisley kills me. It’s like, if the Hulk had cute Henna designs on his arms. But I totally support this kind of diversity in the truck world.

Elio Motors (Photo: @lftdxlvld)

KRISTIN: These large trucks that are all decked out are just a little ridiculous to start with, so I see where you’re coming from on this one. But I guess they’re all kind of works of art.
JUSTIN: SEMA is people pushing the envelope, whether it’s good, bad or ugly.
KRISTIN: I mean, you gotta have some balls to drive this truck. I don’t think I could do it.
ANNA: You would have to be very comfortable with yourself.
ALI: It looks like it has King coilovers and a good sway bar setup. I mean, it’s total “SEMA” truck, but it looks like someone has put a ton of time and energy into it. It’s cool, it’s SEMA.

4. Batmobile

ALI: The last two Hollywood renditions of the Batmobile have been amazing. This is the latest one from the recent "Batman v Superman" movie. It’s fully functional and doesn’t fit in a normal driving lane. It’s the Batmobile. Who wouldn’t want one?

Batmobile

KRISTN: And seeing this thing in person – in pictures, yeah, it looks like the Batmobile – and a lot of times when you see movie cars in person, they begin to look like props. This, not so much. This really did look like it was going to kick somebody’s ass.
JUSTIN: This definitely looked like it fit in at SEMA and not a back alley of some producer’s place.
ALI: Honestly, the only thing that’s really strange about it… if you can look at the front of the car, the funniest thing is that it has turn signals.
ANNA: I guess if he’s trying to get away, he could signal “left,” and then he could go right!

5. Award-Winning Ford

KRISTIN: As soon as I saw this ‘51 Ford Coupe by Wicked Fabrication I knew it was my top pick for the show. It’s so different and it’s so right. When I found out that it was this shops first car at the SEMA Show, all the more props. Well done! I’m sure, Justin, your import guys were digging it because it’s got those belt buckles…

1951 Ford Coupe by Wicked Fabrication

JUSTIN: That’s exactly what I was going to point out! I didn’t want to say anything, but I was like, are those belt buckles? My only complaint is, why couldn’t you get the whole car in frame? I want to see more of it.
KRISTIN: You will be seeing more of it on Driving Line.
ALI: It’s cool. I like it. It has lots of gold and bronze, which is super trendy right now. B,ut I actually really like it. I’ve been a fan of that for a while.

6. #oldsmokeyf1

KRISTIN: I’m surprised I’m putting two pick-ups on this list, but this one’s just so bitchin’ too! This Ford truck, it actually had a dual turbo Cummins engine in it. This diesel-powered F-1 was totally ready to drag race. I don’t think anyone had seen an engine conversion like this before!

Ford F-1

JUSTIN: So shiny… so shiny…
ALI: That’s awesome. It’s probably hard for people to understand the scale of that turbo. It’s literally larger than an average head.
JUSTIN: I’m just picturing Lightning McQueen’s engine dropped into Mater’s body.
ANNA: Does the engine actually stick out like that when they’re driving?
KRISTIN: Yes, I believe the lid could not fit over this, no. Talking to the fabricator, Chuckles Garage, I think he noted that it’s 1200 horsepower. The torque on that was way up as well.

7. Lady in Red

JUSTIN: I’m a Japanese import guy, but I’ve always had a love for Porsches. This RWB wide body perfectly blends the styling of both worlds together in one build. I would trade in my tC for this.

RWB widebody Porsche

ALI: I think that thing is mid-'80s right? I used to have an ’85 widebody 911. Great cars.
JUSTIN: What car have you not owned, Ali?
KRISTIN: To me these Porsches never get too old. They’re all kind of the same but they’re all unique and they just look good to me.
JUSTIN: That’s how I look at it. I don’t really keep track of it. It’s a Porsche, it’s cool. I mean, it’s a Porsch-UH. That’s the correct pronunciation.
ANNA: Yeah, I was going to say something before, but I wanted to let you do your thing.

8. Heavy Metal

ALI: This goes under a category of I know nothing about, but I wouldn’t mind owning one. Seriously, I saw the owner selling shirts out of it during the show, so it has some sort of function beyond looking great.

GMC by Max Grundy

KRISTIN: Max Grundy is who owns that truck. He’s an artist, really well known, in the car scene. The cool thing about Max is he’s always building cars. He does some interesting things with them to include them in his shows and artwork. But this one is more massive than normal… One of the first things that enters my head when I see this, other than that it’s cool, is that I want to see it driving. The amount of sparks that would fly if you actually drove with it that low to the ground would be very impressive.
JUSTIN: So Ali, did you buy a t-shirt from them?

9. Spicy Chicken

ALI: Mel Wade is known for his hardcore JK builds, but he decided to spice things up with this last-minute SEMA build. In just two weeks time, Wade purchase the 2017 JK and installed a slew of bolt-on performance parts from his EVO Manufacturing company. He calls it the spicy chicken. I’m not exactly sure why, but I like chicken and I like Jeeps, so it’s all-right by me! It’s got KMC Wheels, it’s got 40-inch Trail Grapplers, Dynatrac axles…

Spicy Chicken - Mel Wade JK

JUSTIN: Did you say KFC?
KRISTN: KMC.
JUSTIN: Oh… I’m just thinking spicy chicken.
KRISTIN: Mel said he built this Jeep for his wife Lisa, so it’s going to be her new daily driver.
ANNA: Oh wow, flashy. I mean, spicy.

10. Speedy C10

KRISTIN: I’m loving seeing the turbos and more modern engines finding their way into hod rods. This was pretty much unheard of a few years ago at SEMA. This C10 truck by Classic Car Studio hit all the right numbers – patina, dual-turbo and custom fabrication work that was inventive.

Chevy C-10

JUSTIN: And yes, they do drive with it with the hood open. I did see it on the SEMA cruise, and it was pretty dope.
KRISTIN: If you have an engine compartment that looks like this, why cover it up?
ANNA: Oh, I actually posted this on Driving Line’s Instagram.
KRISTIN: Oh wow, good taste.
ANNA: Who knew?

11. What Are Thooose

ANNA: I saw this thing several times on Instagram, and one of the captions was literally, “We don’t know what this is but it looks cool.” Ditto.  It looks like Beats headphones, but then it also looks like it could be one of those Roomba vacuums.

Chevy (Photo: @surfacenick)

KRISTIN: I want one of those in my house!
ALI: When you look at it from the side, it makes a lot more sense. This is a unique perspective of it.
JUSTIN: So until somebody tells us what this is, we’re going to call this the Chevy Flying Roomba by Dr. Dre.

12. All Good in the Hood

JUSTIN: America would be so much greater if there were more of these – old school Hakosuka with a beastly L-Series motor swap. Forget about popping the hood; they just cut the damn thing open. 

Hakosuka LS swap

ANNA: Do things get into the engine? Like when it’s open, is it like all these leaves getting into the engine?
ALI: It’s SEMA. All practicality out the window.
KRISTIN: The cutout in the middle of the hood, with the whole hood being off, it looks a little unfinished to me. I wish there was like a glass piece or something like that. 

Catch up on all episodes of Talking Shift on Driving Line!

Return to Top

Recommended For You

Loading ...