For the most part, you know what to expect from car shows. Automakers have their preferred shows where they reveal upcoming model year cars and trucks. German brands like BMW have a strong presence at the Frankfurt auto show, while the Big Three American manufacturers flex their muscles at the Detroit auto show.
If you think of those traditional shows like a standard concert, then SEMA is like the Burning Man of car shows. The event—which took place in Las Vegas last week—is where the freaks come out. Imagine the cars you drew in your notebook in elementary school, where the only limitation was your imagination. Those fantasy cars are brought to life at SEMA. Car manufacturers, custom builders, and after-market parts makers all try to outdo each other, taking diverse elements and mashing them up together to create something awesome. From a WWII-era jeep with eight wheels to a track-ready minivan, SEMA proves that you can never go too over the top.
Here are the 10 most badass cars from SEMA 2015.
1. TOYOTA TONKA 4RUNNER
For many guys, trucks are basically toys for grown-ups. In that spirit, Toyota teamed up with Tonka, makers of the toy trucks every boy played with, on this unique 4Runner. The Tonka graphics are laid on top of a stealth matte black paint job, and the burly SUV has a 10-inch lift and 38-inch tires which are illuminated by LED lights at night.
2. HENNESSEY VENOM GT
The numbers on this Venom GT from Texas-based Hennessey are absolutely insane. It produces 1,451 horsepower, which is 207 more than the old version. With that kind of power, Hennessey says the Venom GT can go from 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, hit 200 miles per hour in 12.8 seconds, and top out at 280 mph. At those speeds, the car should come with a fresh pair of underwear because you will definitely need it.
3. MAZDA MX-5 SPEEDSTER
Who needs a roof and a windshield? Mazda brought this MX-5 Speedster to SEMA which uses a wind deflector in place of a the standard pane of glass. It’s all in service of saving weight, with the Speedster tipping the scales 250 pounds lighter than the standard MX-5. The custom Blue Ether color only adds to the appeal.
4. DODGE CHALLENGER GT AWD
A muscle car with all-wheel drive sounds like a contradiction. But Dodge added it to this Challenger GT concept, and it kind of makes perfect sense. Dodge has an established muscle car legacy, but the company is also headquartered in Detroit, which is known for its brutal winters. With all-wheel drive, this 450hp Challenger would let drivers flex their muscle year-round.
5. HYUNDAI TUCSON ADVENTUREMOBILE
Hyundai is not the first automaker that comes to mind when you think of off-road adventures. But the brand tapped Southern California tuner John Pangilinan to create this Tucson “Adventuremobile.” The concept was equipped with a pop-top tent on the roof and solar panels to power all your devices in the great outdoors.
6. BMW M4
The M4 was already one of the best recent entries to the mid-tier sports car market. For SEMA, BMW figured out a way to make it even better, thanks to aerodynamic modifications like a carbon fiber grill and spoiler. But really, the star of the show is the paint job. The classic livery, with blue, violet, and red stripes atop a white body, looks good on just about everything—and the M4 is no exception.
7. SKJ CUSTOMS VOLKSWAGEN BUS
Your standard hippie-mobile would run and hide if it saw this custom VW bus from Utah-based SKJ Customs. The front suspension and the basic outline of the engine are the only elements that come from an actual VW bus. Everything else, including the shorter chassis and metal body was crafted by hand to create something that is both familiar and unprecedented at the same time.
8. WILLYS CJ-2A DUAL DUALLIE
Duallie trucks (with four rear tires instead of two) are nothing new. But a dual duallie with eight tires? That is crazy, especially when they’re attached to a 1946 Willys CJ-2A with a ton of farm equipment, including a buzzsaw. This jeep is built to do work, not to go fast, and to be admired.
9. DRAGG FORD MUSTANG
This is not the cop car you want to see in your rearview mirror. Drag Racers Against Gangs & Graffiti partnered with Ford to build this police car that rivals those in Dubai. The Mustang has a 900-horsepower engine and a performance suspension that will make running you down when you’re going 80 in a 55 a breeze.
10. TOYOTA SIENNA R-TUNED CONCEPT
The thought of driving a minivan is enough to make most guys cringe. (Might as well just cut the balls off while you’re at it). Toyota figured out a way to assuage those concerns by building a track-ready Sienna. With performance tires, wheels, brakes, springs, and shocks, the Sienna R-Tuned completed a lap of a track outside Los Angeles a second faster than a Chevy Camaro SS. Of course, the interior of the minivan was stripped out to achieve that speed, so it won’t be easy to strap in a car seat.
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