Ford's Highlights Of SEMA
Every year, automakers and aftermarket manufacturers work closely to create incredible one-off models and versions of vehicles to show off to the public. While most auto shows are more focused on factory models with the goal of selling vehicles to a wider audience, one show, in particular, stands out as a bastion of aftermarket performance upgrades. Specialty Equipment Market Association, better known as SEMA, has served as a place of automotive creativity with upgrades across any motorized vehicles, whether it be trucks and overlanders to high-performance sports cars and motorcycles. Through programs like SEMA, companies can show a bit of their wild side when it comes to design and development.
What Is SEMA?
Since 1963, SEMA has worked with vendors to help promote the aftermarket performance market to the point of partnering with companies such as Steeda for technology initiative programs that yield massive results (such as our 2005 Ol’ Yellow build). This year, SEMA is back from a year hiatus due to last year’s issues, and companies are more ramped up than ever to generate a buzz with their vehicles. From small brands to major corporations, there’s electricity in the air about everyone’s builds and products that is a welcome return for the automotive community around the world.
This year, some Ford models were incredibly popular to work on, including the Ranger, the new F-150, and the Mustang Mach-E SUV. Additionally, there are other vehicles that have made their presence not only known but also pushed into the spotlight including the all-new Ford Maverick pickup truck. These cars and trucks all received heavily focused attention to bring them from rendering to real-life metal and rubber, and this year they brought these cars to life to a whole new level.
Ford Maverick SEMA Builds
The all-new Maverick was one of the big players at SEMA already. The minitruck offers surprising versatility in addition to some serious pep to their performance with the optional 2.0-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. However, these aftermarket designers used this new blank canvas to show off their creativity. Unlike many trucks, Tucci Hot Rods took the truck and lowered it dramatically before fitting a custom 3D-printed widebody kit and front splitter to the truck. Additionally, a massive rear wing was fitted to the rear window to give it a performance look. To finish it off, a custom rear end was engineered to fit a Borla cat-back exhaust which brought the whole truck to life.
Along with the Tucci build, two other Mavericks graced the platform. From Air Design and D.R.A.G.G. came two lifted and off-road modified Mavericks. Air Design claims to have gone with the California Lifestyle setup by fitting their off-road package Maverick with flared fenders, a bed cover, knobby tires, a cat-back exhaust, and other external design features. The other truck was designed in conjunction with Oxnard High School and their local police department to create a beach rescue vehicle fully outfitted with enough kitting to make the vehicle the ultimate in beach use including its own towing setup for watercraft such as a jetski.
Ford F-150 SEMA Builds
The F-150 was, expectedly, one of the more customized vehicles as it tends to be. Using many of the different new trim levels, these trucks featured unique designs and many focused on the hybrid powertrain offered on the truck. One truck, designed by BTR, focused on Overlanding with its large off-road tires, bed-mounted tent, and other accessories. The F-150 Tremor used is one of the new trim levels, designed as a less aggressive Raptor in terms of appearance, performance, and capability, but is still one of the most usable F-150s for off-road use. Addictive Desert Designs presented their customized Ford Raptor which was fitted with off-road bumpers, upgraded tires, and extra tire mounting in the pickup bed. Two other brands, Hellwig and Hypertech, both focused on upgrading the hybrid F-150 for the outdoors. Both utilized the onboard power system for the vehicles to get the interior electronics to work to their favor for the owner’s uses. Overall, the general theme for the F-150 was exploration and getting into the outdoors.
Ford Ranger SEMA Builds
In addition to the F-150 and Maverick, the Ranger received a good bit of attention as well. Two heavily modified rangers were in attendance, with both being heavily modified to work off-road. The Extreme Offroad Skyjacker Ranger has been modified to be the ultimate off-road Ranger with its huge tires, raised suspension, and fully reworked tuning in the engine for more power before routing it through a custom cat-back exhaust. Next to this vehicle is Attitude Performance Outside Magazine’s Ranger Tremor which has been turned into an outdoor adventure and sports vehicle. Fitted with a 6-inch lift over the Tremor package, this truck also features a bed rack, extra lighting, sport exhaust, and even a water generation system to go fully into the wilderness with it.
Ford Super Duty SEMA Builds
While not as many were highlighted, the F-250 Super Duty and F-450 Super Duty definitely had presence at the show. The F-450 Super Duty, designed by MAD Industries was the perfect combination of lifestyle design and off-road usability since it was fitted with fully usable off-road tires over forged wheels and sitting on custom suspension and finished with a 4-inch exhaust setup. While the truck definitely seals the deal on looks, it was also fitted with a host of off-road usable gear that would be needed for any use. The F-250 was designed by Advanced Accessory Concepts to be the ultimate Super Duty Tremor fitted with the 7.3 liter V8 paired to custom Borla cat-back exhaust. This build was designed to show the off-road capabilities of such a large truck, and to do so was fitted with a winch kit, off-road tires and lighting, an air compressor, and much more.
Ford Mach-E SEMA Builds
Moving towards the more road-use vehicles, the Mach-E received a good bit of attention and was met by a mix of fascination and intrigue. With two uniquely modified Mach-Es sitting nearby, it is interesting to see the design and use differences between them. The most noticeable was the Tjin Edition Mach E California Route One finished in a bright orange paint job over white 22-inch Vossen wheels and performance brake kit from Baer. With its custom solar roof and neon teal accents to match the electric bike mounted on the rear, the teal accents continue inside the vehicle on the seats and seatbelts.
Along with Tjin’s custom setup, Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer put together a more racing-inspired Mach-E. Sitting on 20-inch Rotiform wheels, this Space White Mach-E was designed for high-performance including a large rear wing, front splitter, and reworked interior featuring GTP-style seats to keep the driver and passengers firmly in their seats. This build is designed to hit 200 miles per hour and will be testing at Bonneville to do so.
Ford Mustang SEMA Builds
Of course SEMA would not be the same for the Ford community without Mustangs being modified. This year one of the more unique builds was from All-Star with their High-Performance Pack EcoBoost finished in a vibrant teal paint job with orange accents, mirroring the Tjin Mach-E. The contrast between the white Vossen Wheels, orange Baer brakes, teal paint, and Cobb Tuning setup with a roof-mounted surfboard, this build takes a completely different look at the Mustang lifestyle. Along with this, M2 Motoring brought out their modified Mustang GT designed specifically for track performance. Both inside and out, this car has been reworked to be a unique piece with parts ranging from improved suspension to a full supercharger in addition to a short-throw shifter and the best interior pieces from various different Mustangs.
Ford Bronco DR
Ford themselves made two major debuts during SEMA as well that was designed to wow the public as well as show Ford’s commitment to fun and innovation. The first of these major changes was the introduction of yet another performance variant of the Bronco. The all-new Bronco DR debuted shortly before SEMA and is dubbed as a "purpose-built turnkey Desert Racer". Fitted with the 5.0 Coyote V8 motor, the Bronco DR is designed to let people buy a true trophy truck in the same way that they can buy specifically track-based versions of some cars. While only 50 are being made at first, it does show that the Coyote motor does fit in the Bronco platform fairly well.
The second of the major debuts Ford had to share was their first electric crate motor for purchase. Dubbed the Eluminator (a play on the Aluminator name) the engine puts out 281 horsepower and 317lb-ft of torque while costing just shy of $4,000. This motor is derived from the one found in the Mach-E and can be installed on various platforms. While the engine is a good setup, the purchase does not include the battery or driveline which may make swapping it into vehicles difficult at first. Ford however decided to show this motor’s true potential by mounting two of them in a classic F-100 pickup. To develop an awesome hot rod of a truck, these motors were used to create a serious 480 horsepower and 634lb-ft of torque - more than enough to launch the F-100 they had used into the future of the engine swap.