Larry's Sweet 16 From SEMA 2012


Editors can be sodemanding. First, he says as long as I’m at the SEMA Show, he wants me to select a truck of the day.

I did, and even though theshow ran four days, I actually picked five trucks because on my way to pick upmy media credentials the day before the show opened, I walked past , and I just had to share it with you.

You might recallmy other truck du jour selections: Kyle Gann’s (aka K-Daddyz) and its custom cruiser bike; Winslow Bent’s restored and modernized ; Jim DeLozier’s survival cell; and Gregg Ovist’s.

But, no, that wasn’t enough tosatisfy the editor. He also wanted a post-show Top Ten or Delightful Dozen orsome other alliterative amalgamation of pickup trucks I saw at the show.

Before sharing my selections —let’s call them the Sweet Sixteen — I should share with you my criteria forincluding them.

First, I had to findthem among the hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles that not only were displayedwithin the three huge buildings that make up the Las Vegas Convention Centerbut vehicles that also spilled outside the building, onto the various convention centerparking lots.

Second, I had to findsomething about the truck that made me stop and take a second look.

Third, I had to be able tofind some information about the truck. (Note to vehicle owners: If you’re proudenough of your pickup to display it at a car show, whether it's a big nationalshow like SEMA or your local weekly cruise-in, make up some sort of displaycard that includes the year, make and model and either your contact info or a brief description of what makes your truck special.) I would have loved to include afew others I saw at the show, but I couldn’t find any details or evencontact information.

So having said all of that,and excluding my trucks dujour, here’s my Fab 15 (+1) for 2012.


To celebrate its 60thanniversary, WD-40 had Chip Foose work some magic on this 1953 Ford F-100. Thetruck is an homage to the truck that delivered the first case of WD-40 back when the corporate name was the Rocket Chemical Co. The truckhas a modern powertrain and suspension. After SEMA and some other West Coast auto shows, it will be sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in January inScottsdale, Ariz., with proceeds going to two children’s charities. (In 1969,Rocket changed its name to WD-40 Co.)


This is the ICON D200 Reformer,a project by Jonathan Ward at ICON and Gale Banks at Gale Banks Engineering. ICON started with a 1965 Dodge 200 crew-cab pickup (U.S. military ret.), butplaced it on a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis, added KoreBaja Chase suspension, Hutchinson beadlock wheels, 37-inch BFGoodrich tires, aParabellum bison-hide interior with Wilton wool carpets just like a Rolls-Royce, and an amazing JL Audio stereo. From Banks came a somewhat modified 5.9-literCummins turbo-diesel inline six that pumps out 975 pounds-feet of torque, makingthis both a refined and rather fast daily driver. For good measure,there’s a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle in the pickup bed. Watch our interview with Ward .


Jeff and Jacob Matauch builtthis 1954 Chevy 3100. Jeff works for paint supplier PPG in Michigan. Earlierthis year, the won the best truck award at the DetroitAutorama.


Before he joined the VWerksdivision of Venchurs Vehicle Systems in Adrian, Mich., Pat Muldoon was adevelopment engineer at Chrysler and Mopar, where he helped create the RamRunner, Chrysler’s answer to Ford’s Raptor. At SEMA, VWerks showed its answerto the Ram Runner, the Ram Baja KTS, which for around 10 grand (flared fenders,paint, lifted and Bilstein-shocked suspension, wheels and exhaust) gives youthe look, if not quite the full off-pavement capability, of the more expensiveOEM trucks.


Wild Diesel is a family-owneddiesel repair shop founded in 1994 in West Haven, Utah, where Ken Jones alsobases his truck-pulling team that competes in the United Truck and TractorEdge Pulling Series with this 2010 Ram.


This 1970 Chevrolet C10 is PhilGerber’s daily driver. If Gerber’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s partof the family behind The Roadster Shop in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Ifthis C10 looks familiar, it’s because it was an exhibition entry into theGoodguys' Street Machine of the Year autocross this summer in Columbus, Ohio,where it would have won the competition had it been a car instead of a truck.


Give Swedish-born carbuilder Brent Karlsson with a wrecked 1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and he’ll giveyou back El Camaro, a Camaro with an El Camino-style pickup bed instead of a backseat and trunk. To enhance the stance, Karlsson stretched the chassis more than16 inches and widened the body four inches. Other modifications include a rearwing, shaved door handles and a Vortex supercharger atop the LT1 V-8.


If you like this 1956 FordF100, you can bid on it in January at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auctionin Scottsdale, Ariz. The truck is known as Obsession and was declaredlate-model (1953-72) truck of the year for 2011 by the Goodguys.Barry Blomquist built the truck over a three-year period.


Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle ofAddison, Ill., built this 1955 GMC pickup for Bruce Singer. Power comes froma cross-ram LS7 V-8.


The Little Red Express isMopar’s updated version of the classic Dodge of yesteryear. Components includea Mopar performance hood, 22-inch Mopar wheels — Hyperblack with gold insets— Katzkin leather interior, Hyperblack painted grille inserts and, of course,those big and bed-mounted exhaust stacks.


Rich Gengo’s 1951 Dodge B-3-Bwas a beater when he started resurrecting it. But earlier this year,it won the Top Eliminator honor at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals inPennsylvania. The cab and frame are original, but the frame was shortened andZ’d and boxed to fit in a 1960s-style bed. The wheel wells were extended fourinches so the oak bed floor could remain flat. Power comes from a 400-cubic-inch-displacement MoparV-8. Paint is Mopar Intense Blue. Wheels are Centerline Convo Pros. The truckalso has power windows, tilt steering column and air conditioning.


This 2011 Ford SVT Raptor wasshowcased on what is basically a bed of nails at the Toyo Tires stand at SEMA.By the way, those are Toyo Open Country A/T II 35×12.5OR20 tires on nine-inchBMF stealth black Rehab wheels. Body mods are from Addictive Desert Designswith Rigid Industries lights. A Roush supercharger boosts theengine’s output to 590 horsepower, as thre's a Roush off-road package and IconVehicle Dynamics stage 2 kit.


Pacific Performance Engineeringof Fullerton, Calif., was founded in 1985 to enhance the performance ofdiesel engines. It brought to SEMA this fairly stock-looking — except for thehood, gorgeous paint and wheels and tires — 1975 Chevrolet C10. Whatyou don’t see is under that bulging hood: PPE Hot+2 E.T. Race Tuner computer,wiring harness, GT4094 turbocharger, dual fueler and specially built Allisontransmission. It’s gone without all the gaudy show of so many aftermarket builds.


Cope Design of Denver used touse Scott Anderson’s 1950 Chevy as its shop truck, but then his Cope Designpartner Robert Thompson Jr. went to work on it and turned it into thisshowstopper. In addition to Thompson’s artwork, the truck has a 502-cid engineand a custom interior.


Lonny Spiva’s 2012 Ram BlueCollar Express has Belltech front and Kelderman rear air suspension, JBAperformance exhaust, Katzkin interior, Schott performance wheels, Cooper tires,AFE fresh air and a Line-X bedliner, and there are Renegade Wheels on the bigbike in the bed. (Note to truck owners: A motorcycle or even a bicycle in thebed is a great way to get your truck noticed.)


This is Jim and Martin McLaughlin’s1956 Chevrolet 3100 and came to SEMA from Canada. The yellow color is from the1999 Corvette pace car. The engine and transmission are from a 1996 ChevyImpala SS. The differential is out of a 1980 Trans-Am. Rear suspension iscustom four-link. Front frame clip is from a Camaro. The tailgate is power-operated. The interior comes from a 1996 Chevy Silverado with but with Trans-Am-styleleather. American Racing wheels are 18s in front and 20s at the rear.



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