A Six-Pack of My Favorite 2014 SEMA Show Special Cars
Here's a six-pack of my favorite cars from the 2014 SEMA show. This year I had just one day to hoof it around the floor, so I was only able to see a sliver of offerings littered across the show's multiple, massive halls and outdoor exhibits. But what I saw from this year's cornucopia of automobiledom at the Las Vegas convention center was more than enough to blow my mind.
Ken Block's Hoonicorn RTR Mustang
There are automotive unicorns like, say, a CTS-V wagon with a manual transmission, and then there's the Hoonicorn RTR, Ken Block's insanely brilliant, 1965 Mustang-based, 845-horspower monster mashup built specifically for the rally car star's upcoming Gymkhana 7 video. A cooperative effort between Block's Hoonigan Racing Division, drift ace Vaughn Gittin Jr. 's RTR tuning outfit, and ASD Motorsports, the Hoonicorn is Mustang-themed, but with elements cribbed from the WRC and DTM racing series, along with other inspirational Block touches. The all-wheel-drive, widebody notchback features a Roush Yates 6.7-liter V-8 with the aforementioned 845 screaming horses, mated to a one-off six-speed Sadev automatic with a hydraulic handbrake, natch. Working with Mustang expert Gitten Jr. made sense to help create a car that should make for one hell of a co-star in the next Gymkhana video, the series of which has helped propel Block to worldwide celebrity.
1971 Jimmie Johnson Corvette Stingray
Just in case you didn't know, Jimmie Johnson is one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history and a champion six times over. He's also a Chevy guy, and his resto-mod 1971 Corvette Stingray was one of the star attractions of the brand's SEMA show stand. At the heart of the car is the new LT1 crate engine with 460-horsepower that is now available from the Chevrolet Performance catalog. Other updates include the addition of an adjustable coil-over suspension, brakes from the C6 Z06, and several other tastefully done interior and exterior updates that stay in line with the car's heritage. We love the C7 Stingray, but we'd be just as happy ripping around in this modern take on a Corvette classic.
Retro Rolling Riley Hawk xB
Anyone who lived through the 1970s will appreciate this tripped-out trip down memory lane, a Scion xB done up to represent a shaggin' wagon from the stoner era. Built in cooperation with skateboard star Riley Hawk, son of the legendary Tony Hawk, the Retro Rolling Riley Hawk xB is a mix of old and new that works brilliantly. Peep the Cragar rims and (non-functioning) side pipes, and the custom orange/brown-based paint pattern with the fish-bowl window. Inside, there's shag carpet everywhere, a mini-fridge, more brown trim, killer captain's chairs and even an eight-track player with old-school speakers built in the doors. The pop-top doubles as skateboard storage, and out back, modern touches include the ability to plug in a guitar and mix up the jams with an iPad mini setup. Well done, Riley, you and the far-out old dudes you probably found to help you represented the era well.
There are only so many ways you can make a Camry cool. Toyota's outrageously extreme SEMA-show special is one of them. Called the Sleeper Camry, it's basically a full-blown, 850-horsepower dragster with a 2015 Camry body shell draped over a tube-frame chassis. To get it down the strip, Toyota first lifted a 5.7-liter V-8, transmission, rear axle, and electrical wiring from the Tundra, then beefed up the engine, bolted on a TRD supercharger, and added a wet nitrous system for good measure to get the horses running wild. The power meets the ground through Goodyear 335/30/18 size tires optimized for drag strip action. Toyota is boasting a blistering 9.80-second quarter-mile time for the car. We can only imagine what the boys at the track will be thinking when the Sleeper Camry rolls up to the tree. Even better would be seeing the looks on their faces as it screamed down the quarter.
King Cobra Mustang GT
The all-new 2015 Mustang GT was the unquestioned superstar of Ford's SEMA stand, with Ford's King Cobra drag special -- done up in a super strange, shiny hexagonal red and gray livery saved by a wicked Cobra graphic on the hood -- taking center stage. The King Cobra has been fitted with three Ford Racing performance packages that any Mustang owner can bolt on to their car. With the complete setup affixed the car is capable of more than 600-horsepower and a quarter-mile time of 10.97 seconds in initial testing, according to Ford. The Drag Pack beefs up the half-shafts and rear sub-frame. The Handling Pack's special springs help lower the car about an inch, and it also comes with special rear shocks and a stabilizer bar it. Then there's the Super Pack, featuring a 2.3-liter Twin Vortices Series supercharger at its core, developed by Ford Racing and Roush Performance. It's more than enough to make you forget all about the 1978 Mustang II option package with the same name -- almost.
2015 Yenko 427 S/C Camaro
Students of Camaro history know all about the famed Yenko Camaros, a small run of super Chevy ponycars built out by Yenko Chevrolet of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The dealership is gone, but the name lives on, and this ZL1-based, 700-horsepower 2015 Camaro flies the Yenko flag high once again. The car is being produced by SLP Specialty Vehicles, the outfit behind cars like the Pontiac Firebird-based Firehawk and other GM-based creations, with some 55,000 vehicles built in all over the years. At the Yenko's core is a custom-built 7.0-liter (aka 427 cubic-inch) LS7 engine with a TVS 2300 supercharger bolted on to help it get to the 700-horse plateau and a claimed top speed of 205 mph. Being a ZL1, this Camaro is already a world-class handler, so not much was done to the car's dynamic package, but special five-spoke rims fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber help put the power down. Exterior updates include an RTM hood with an integrated scoop and grille, trim pieces and special Yenko graphics. Inside, there are more Yenko touches, including a special plaque that will call out its exclusive 50-unit run, available in either coupe or convertible. If you want one, head over to slpcars.com, like now. Just don't try to call Yenko. The number is disconnected.