I’ve done a few conventions in my radio days with Country radio having the most star power but SEMA blows them all away. Monday night, to kick odd the show, SEMA hosts a cocktail/dinner party event to reveal some of the signature builds that will be on display at the show. It had all the spectacle and star power of the Country Radio Seminar, the ACMs and the CMAs all rolled into one with the assistance of turbo charger to amp up the wow factor.
Actor James Marsden, F1 champ Jensen Button, Dave Kindig & Kevdogg from Bitchin Rides, Hoonigan, Ant Anstead and the legend Chip Foose along with executives from GM & Nissan rolled their creations on to the stage in front of house band, Patrick & the Las Vegas Blvd to the delight and awe of those assembled.
The first reveal was a 1971 Chevy Caprice Donk built by Hoonigan, featuring a 540 ci big blog. This thing was loud and hot. I could feel the heat coming off the stage from 3 rows back. Next up, Ant Anstead and James Marsden revealed the 1963 Buick Electra body mated to a Karma Rivero electric chassis & interior. It was built for Marsden’s brother-in-law for the Discovery+ show “Celebrity IOU Joyride”.
The third vehicle revealed Monday night was the 2023 Nissan Z. This retro inspired Z car as all the cues of the famous Fairlady Z that started it all in 1969. Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan’s chief product specialist was proud to show off his “main dance partner” for the evening.
Jim Campbell, GM VP of Performance and Motorsports ushered in the new vehicles from GMC & Chevrolet making their SEMA debuts. The all-new GMC Hummer EV took to the stage wearing at least 20 of the 200 GM performance and off-road modification goodies that will be offered for the first Electric Super Truck.
The Hummer EV was followed by the 2023 Corvette Z06 coupe driven by Corvette Racing’s Tommy Millner. The Z06 will feature a bespoke front & rear fascia to differentiate it from the other trims of the Corvette. It will also be powered by the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine, cranking out 670 horsepower. But they weren’t done. Chevrolet Performance also brought the upcoming 2023 Z06 Convertible to the stage, piloted by racing legend Ron Fellows. “I’ve never been much of a convertible fan, but Z06 C8 is stunning, and yes, I want one!” said Ron as Jim Campbell exclaimed “Oh good!” in relief of exceeding the hall-of-famer’s expectations.
The final offering from GM was a Chevrolet Performance off-road concept that had been teased on social media over the weekend, “The Beast”. It’s an LT4 V8 powered off-road concept modelling some elements GM performance would probably apply to Silverado or Colorado. It’s based on a slightly shortened Silverado Single Cab (not available in the U.S, mind you) chassis and sports beadlock wheels, removable doors and some powerful off-road illumination. Speaking with some GM performance folks at their booth, I got a feeling that they’d like to see some of these elements end up in a production vehicle in the not too distant future.
After the OEM parade from Nissan & GM, Kindigit Design’s Dave Kindig & Kevin “Kevdogg” Schiele debuted their bespoke designed CF1 Roadster, a reimagining of the iconic C1 Corvette, fulfilling his dream of creating his own turnkey car. The CF stands for Carbon Fiber. The body was designed by Kindigit and manufactured by Doug’s Performance Corvettes. It rides on an exclusive Roadster Shop custom chassis and is powered by a 673 HP Lingenfelter performance LS7. Dave hinted while these first two are ICE powered, he’s going to experiment with an electric version as well.
Speaking of electric, Hot Rod Magazine test mule, a 1957 Chevy known as Project X, comes to SEMA once again now motivated by GM’s Connect & Cruise Electric Crate motor. It's been several decades in the making but now this car that has had hundreds of aftermarket modifications over the years testing out various innovations is demonstrating how hotrodding can go electric.
Finally, we had the Foose Design FD 100. It was an Overhaulin’ build of Chip Foose’s first truck. He bought the Ford from his father Sam when he was 14 years old. It will be displayed along with 19 other cars Chip’s had a hand in designing and/or building in the Chip Foose Experience which we’ll detail in a later episode of Car Show Life on NorthcentralPA.com.