The 2018 SEMA show is always a crazy week filled with all things automotive. There are new products as far as the eye can see, and more cars than imaginable in one area. Every year, those cars are range from the wildly modified vehicles and wacky concepts to bone-stock restorations. Some of the cars at the show draw serious attention because of their coolness, and others, their outrageousness.
Aftermarket companies and professional and hobby-builders alike use the SEMA show to display upcoming products and showcase how they look on hot rods and cool cruisers. No matter your automotive taste, you’ll find more than one car that really excites you. The problem is, since there are so many cars, it’s hard to see them all. Since there were so many cool cars to check out, we decided to put together a short list of some of the cooler Chevy rides we happened to come across.
Nestled front-and-center in the TMI Products booth, we found this gorgeous ’66 Nova built by Church Boys Racing. “I bought this car six years ago for my oldest son when he was 11 years old,” says Chuck Church Jr. “He expressed that he would like a ‘66 Nova. This is what my dad did for me when I was 11, so I bought him a ‘66 Nova also.”
The color was glommed from a 2017 Chevrolet pickup truck, and is called Unlimited Addiction. The body mods are subtle, and if you look closely, you’ll notice it also benefits from a set of Detroit Speed mini tubs.
Inside, you’ll find a Vintage Air A/C unit, complete TMI interior, and a dash filled with Dakota Digital gauges. The car utilizes a Church Boys Racing electric power-assisted steering, and Budnik steering wheel.
Finally, the drivetrain is made up of an LS3 crate engine from Pace Performance, fed by a FiTech EFI unit. Behind the late-model mill is a 4L60 transmission. The car is gorgeous, and stay tuned a for a full-length feature on this beauty coming soon.
Nestled comfortably in the AutoMeter booth was a Chevelle that was not unassuming in nature. In fact, it commanded your attention. The A-body was built by Ironworks Speed and Custom, and was the recipient of some cool and stealth-appearing upgrades. For instance, the hood bulges have been extended/elongated toward the front of the hood. A subtle, but cool mod, has to do with the quarter panels. “We wide bodied the rear quarter-panels 1-inch on each side,” says Rodger Lee of Ironworks. “We also designed the rear spoiler in Solid Works and then 3D-printed the actual piece. It’s attached to the trunk so it has a “stock appearance” of a spoiler that might have been,” Rodger stated.
Other exterior modifications include the exterior rearview mirrors that are modeled after a second-gen Camaro and were also 3D printed. Although a subtle mod, the front bumper was even modified to extend under the fenders
Way back in 1948, the Suburban was not what you would call “cool.” It was big, bulky, and didn’t wow very many people when it made its way to dealers. But, by today’s standards, they can be just as cool as any other hot rod – when put together correctly. Brad McKinnon has one that is put together so well, that is stopped passers-by at the show this year.
Brad found the truck at an estate sale and it looked nothing like it does now. “When I found it in an alley way in East Vancouver, it had no wheels and the grass was taller than the door handles,” says Brad. It did have a previously installed Nova front clip and a 327ci small block under the hood. For many guys, that would be a great start. But, Brad was not content with the older upgrades. Once the resurrection began, it received a new custom-built chassis, and the build took a total of 10 months to complete.
Under the hood is a 5.3-liter LS engine that benefits from a Magnuson supercharger. Behind that is a 4L60 transmission and a 12-bolt rearend that was narrowed 11 inches, and filled with an Eaton posi. Fitting th enormous 20×10 US Mag Artillery wheels necessitated the huge reduction in rearend width.
Crate engine swaps have taken on a new meaning lately. It’s no longer just replacing a six-cylinder with a small block, or a small block with a big block. New additions to the late-model engine market mean modern performance can be shoehorned into classic styling. The Laguna found in the Chevrolet booth received some of that late-model infusion. The folks at Chevrolet told us the car was inspired by its racing heritage. In 1973, the new body-style brought a new benchmark of sportiness to the Chevy lineup, and the car made its mark on the NASCAR world as well.
In this recreation built by Chevrolet, designers incorporated elements of the ZR1’s carbon fiber hood, along with a front and rear spoiler that pay homage to vintage NASCAR vehicles. Under the hood, we find a 755-horsepower tire-fryer taken from the heart of the new Corvette ZR1.
The LT5 supercharged-engine is mated to a T-56 Super Magnum transmission. Stopping is handled by six-piston Brembo calipers on the front and four-piston units on the rear.
Inside is an upgraded interior featuring Recaro seats, Corvette heritage steering wheel, Bluetooth audio, air conditioning, and power locks and windows.
Bel Air Beauty
It’s not very often we cover custom cruisers, but for some reason, this one really caught our eye. It was built by Randy Weaver of Weaver Customs in Sandy, Utah, and features a lot of custom appointments.
“I started with a stock car, and we know they are all kinds of ugly,” Randy said. “I decided I wanted to build something different.” That meant a simple chop and slam would not be the end result. Every body panel on this ’53 Chevy has been skillfully “tweaked.” Even the roof, hood, and trunk lid have been highly customized. Underneath, you’ll find a full-length belly pan. It’s also hard to notice, but the windshield has even been laid back 1 3/4 inches.
Inside, “one-off” doesn’t begin to describe what greets the eyes. Tunes are via a Kicker audio, and JS Custom Interior-stitched leather seats surround the passengers in comfort. And what can we say about the Dakota Digital-filled custom dash and waterfall console?
Under that sculpted hood is Chevrolet Performance LSX engine fed by twin Magnacharger superchargers that are Siamesed into one casting. The side-draft Weber carburetors are a really unique touch.
There were thousands of car to look at, and although this is just a sample of what was there, they each show the creativity of the builders, and the great products you could find at the SEMA show.