Top 10 Modified Production Vehicles at SEMA
Ford's been stealing headlines left and right with its wicked Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, and it looks as if General Motors is out to prove it can build a tough off-roader, too. The Silverado ZR2 is based on Chevrolet's full-size pickup, but packs a big 4-inch lift, huge 35-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires and plenty of carbon fiber. Under the custom-sculpted hood sits a supercharged V8 engine that bumps the Silverado's stock horsepower from 315 in 1500 LTZ trim to a whopping 550. Would this keep up with the big bad Blue Oval? Who knows — odds are GM won't produce the Silverado ZR2.
What do the country music duo Brooks & Dunn and a Toyota Tundra have in common? Snazzy belt buckles, evidently. The Midnight Rider Tailgater is based on Toyota's full-size pickup truck, but packs a number of style and entertainment upgrades you won't find on the Japanese company's option sheet. Huge belt-buckle door handles, a flat-screen TV and grille make this truck the ultimate tailgating machine. Don't expect to use this truck to haul anything, though. The bed is filled with a kicking sound system and all of the party goodies.
Lincoln's newest crossover has a polarizing look that isn't for everyone. Tuner Rick Bottom showed off his take on the CUV, lowering the stock ride height thanks to custom coilovers from H&R Springs. While the stock wheels aren't small by any means, Bottom decided to go with snazzy, 22-inch Forged Valhalla rollers. Additional chrome trim harks back to Lincolns of yesteryear, while the shaved door handles are a shout-out to the hot-rodding crowd. The best part? The custom Planet Color Turnin' Orange paint. Something tells us this isn't quite what Lincoln had in mind when it turned out the MKT.
When most of the world thinks about rally racing, the absolute last brand to come to mind is Scion. But you can leave it to 0-60 Magazine to bring a rally-prepped version of the economical xD to this year's SEMA show. The magazine decided to leave most of the mechanical parts intact — simply adding a Greddy exhaust for a slight nudge in horsepower. Although the engine and transmission are identical to every xD on the street right now, this rally bruiser packs plenty of safety equipment, telemetry gizmos and all the lights a pro-rally team would need to see the course ahead. The message? People will race anything with four wheels.
Kia Forte Koup
Kia has decided to take the company's new Forte Koup racing and brought along one of two race-prepped versions of the car to show off in Las Vegas. Designed to compete in next year's Koni Grand Am Challenge, the car makes use of the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine found in the production version, but adds an adjustable coilover suspension, safety-spec roll cage and a host of other competition-ready changes. Kia has prepared two cars to do battle in the Street Tuner class and have chosen Andy Lally and Nic Jonsson to drive the cars.
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.
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