There are over 1,500 vehicles at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. So choosing favorites isn’t easy. However, there are always standouts. Here are 10 of our favorite rigs that caught our eye at the 2019 SEMA Show.
10. El Toro Verde Toyota Land Cruiser
This 1966 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser was located in the Yokohama Tires booth. The rig belongs to Mike Pearlman, CEO of NORRA, the National Off Road Racing Association, which hosts races including the Mexican 1000 and NORRA 500. El Toro Verde means “the green bull,” and it has a 400 hp small-block V8 crate engine, Method wheels, Yokohama tires, and a host of other performance mods. The FJ was Pearlman’s daily driver in high school and is still alive and kickin’. What a cool vintage vehicle.
9. The Chain Smoker
This is called the “Chain Smoker.” The owner found this 1947 Fargo FL1 sitting in a field in Manitoba essentially dissolving. To fill in the “gaps,” the owner used chains, and hence part of the vehicle’s identity. It’s obviously been highly customized, and now features a built 12-valve Cummins turbo diesel engine (where the smoker aspect comes in), air ride suspension, and a ton of other unique bits. A head-turner to be sure, and distinctly one-of-a-kind. More on Instagram at @chainsmokerrat.
8. Big Blazer
This is a K-50 Chevrolet Blazer built by RTech Fabrications in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Everything about this beast is super-sized. Got to love that classic yellow- and-white paint scheme, too. Big and beautiful!
7. Chevy C-10 Brown Sugar Camper
This is clearly not your ordinary camper setup, but just look at this thing—it’s a crazy camper masterpiece. This super-slammed restomod is just oozing with character. Built by River City Rods in Iowa, the ’83 square body is slammed to the ground with air ride suspension, rolls on 22s, and is powered by a drive-by-wire LS engine. So rad it hurts. And yes, the camper is fully livable.
6. Clean Green Land Cruiser
There were several 80-series Toyota Land Cruisers at the SEMA Show, but this one was just a little different. Located in the Overland Experience area, the green paint, tan wheels, and super-clean look really caught our eye. Simple and understated—sort of unusual at the SEMA Show.
5. Dodge Van “Dajiban”
Oh man, this Dodge Ram Van is sweet! It follows the Japanese trend of Dajiban (DAH-jee-ban) and is a phonetic spelling of “Dodge Van” with a bit of a Japanese accent. The vans are lowered, tuned, and even raced! This one apparently has a 408 cid V8. It may have even had us looking for used Dodge Ram Vans on craigslist last night. Weird, wacky, wonderful. Frankly, I’d love to know more about this van.
4. Jeep Wagoneer
This Jeep Wagoneer was so clean, so classic. Not overdone, not gaudy, this rig was done by Max-Bilt out of Eau Claire, WI but featured in the Crown Automotive booth. The gorgeous canoe atop this full-sized Jeep was icing on the cake. Sometimes being subtle makes you stand out, and at SEMA, that’s the case for certain. Great build.
3. Sugga Sweet
This Volvo TP21 Sugga was sweet as sugar! Built by Eddie’s Rod and Custom out of Iowa. It’s a modern take on a classic four-wheel drive Volvo Sugga, which was a WWII vehicle. This thing was over-the-top but in a very cool way. It’s like the anti restomod restomod. And while Suggas means “sow,” this rig was no pig, especially with a Cummins 6BT under the hood.
2. New 2020 Chevy-Powered EarthCruiser EXP
EarthCruiser vehicles have long been some of our favorite overland vehicles. These Mitsubishi Fuso-based rigs are some of the best long-term travel vehicles out there with nearly everything you’d need to cross globe. The company debuted it’s newest vehicle at SEMA which will now feature Chevrolet LS power, Dynatrac axles, and an Allison transmission providing increased capability, power, reliability, and durability. This rig won a best overland vehicles award at the SEMA Show, too!
1. Boosted Suzuki Jimny
Sweet mother of all things Jimny: we’re in love. We rented a new Jimny during our Iceland trip, and fell in love with it. So when we saw this Jimny—it’s even the same color as our rental—we were smitten. Even more impressive is the fact that this custom Jimny is boosted and highly modified, complete with subtle wide body kit, and Volk TE37s on Toyo Open Country tires. In case you were wondering, this little turbo 4WD was built by Car Style Japan and was one of three new Jimnys at the show. Ugh; it almost hurts to think about how awesome this is and the fact that as U.S. residents, we can’t buy one. Regardless, this boosted beauty is our top pick from this year’s SEMA Show.