At the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas each year it’s always apparent that if any auto manufacturer owns this show, it’s Ford. And no place does this get hammered home more than at their 10,000 square foot booth on the main floor.
Ford partners up with a host of custom tuners and aftermarket parts manufacturers to create dozens of custom showcase vehicles that push the envelope of high performance and custom style.
This year’s up front attractions were a number of Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST builds which were produced by many familiar names as well as some new ones. The variety of themes show that these new pocket rockets have a lot of customization possibilities, as well as tire frying performance potential.
Names like COBB, Tanner Foust, Universal Technical Institute, MRT, and Ice Nine were in the mix this year with some hot looking hatches that really got the drum beat going.
While the new front-wheel drive revolution is well underway, the Ford Mustang still had center stage. As this is the last year for the current generation Stang, the amount of them here was not as high as before, but we had quality over quantity this year with some very hot and well built examples.
Next year’s SEMA Show however is likely to be awash with the first batch of decked out 2015 Mustangs, so it will be one for the books.
As the re-designed 2014 Ford Transit Connect will be arriving early next year in both a work-a-day cargo van as well as a stylish new passenger version, they had a collection of ten wildly customized examples here this year in a theme they called Vandemonium.
The compact Transit Connect shows that small can be fun, and that vans may very well have a comeback in the future. We all remember the vantastic 70’s with the shag carpeting and disco balls, but do we have room for this? Ford even got Hot Wheels on board to create a custom build that will show up on toy racks next year.
The show floor could not leave out the F-Series trucks. This year the F-150 SVT Raptor was virtually everywhere, but the Ford booth showed off some well done Super Duty and F-150 off-road and street customs.
This year a charity build was unveiled, a 1956 Ford pickup customized with the Shelby GT-500 in mind for Gene Simmons and wife Shannon Tweed. Snakebit will be auctioned at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January.
Outside in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center is where Ford really rolled out the good. The Ford Out Front pavilion rocked SEMA this year with a plaza of displays, booths and center track where Ken Block’s gymkhana, Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin smoked the tires and gave thrill rides all week long.
The Ford Racing booth was a great place to be, and this year they had a 2014 Mustang on a rotisserie and turned on its side so you could touch and feel all its powertrain and engine parts up close. Nice.
Being a dyed in the wool Mustang nuts and bolts guy, being able to turn a Mustang over and check out its under bits was a lot of fun. And the Mustang never disappoints. The display car was loaded up with Ford Racing accessories in the suspension, driveline and exhaust. It was a virtual catalog in the flesh.
The Ford Racing booth showcased a number of crate engines like the Coyote 5.0 V8, the new 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, and of course the old classic small block. Displays for the rest of Ford Racing’s eye candy were on hand as well. This is what SEMA is all about.