Corvette Highlights from SEMA 2018 – October 30 – November 2, 2018
Welcome to our retrospective journey through the 2018 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) event as featured in the esteemed Vette Vues Magazine. Unfortunately, due to a family illness, Wayne Ellwood had to forgo his anticipated trip to SEMA, preventing the creation of his customary event report. In response, Ellwood curated an enlightening review of SEMA 2018 by weaving together a mosaic of online posts and images. To provide comprehensive coverage, Ellwood has thoughtfully included his own photographic archives from prior exhibitions. Join us as we explore the Corvette highlights and innovations of the SEMA 2018 showcase.
In this article:
- BATTLE OF THE BUILDERS: SEMA 2018
- RETURNING CARS ON VENDOR DISPLAYS: 2018 SEMA
- RACE CAR THEME
- PERFORMANCE VENDORS: SEMA SHOW 2018
- Here is our series on Corvette Body Kits:
BATTLE OF THE BUILDERS: SEMA 2018
Each year, fierce competition unfolds as talented builders vie for acclaim within their industry and the broader public’s gaze. The Battle of the Builder contest showcases exclusively new, awe-inspiring automotive creations, whether crafted by emerging startups or seasoned industry veterans. These remarkable vehicles embody the pinnacle of innovation and design, setting standards that surpass all expectations.
1966 – JERRY JACOBS (WHITE, FULL CUSTOM)
This remarkable vehicle stands as the result of Jerry’s dedicated six-year labor of love. An intriguing aspect arises as online images showcase a car that transitioned between 1963 and 1966 styles over this creative journey. Throughout this transformative build, Jerry Jacobs judiciously sought expertise when needed, enlisting assistance for the engine, exhaust, and paintwork while preserving his creative vision for various other elements.
Handcrafting the front valance, door sills, rear valance, and rear bumpers from a fusion of aluminum and fiberglass, Jerry’s artistry shines through. The engine, expertly engineered by MAST Engineering, produces an impressive 670 HP at the flywheel, setting the stage for a compelling automotive masterpiece.
1962 – LARRY CARNEY RESTOMOD by DAVE KINDIG
Dave Kindig’s craftsmanship shines in the creation of a custom 1962 Corvette, a spectacular gift for Larry Carney and his son. This vehicle exemplifies the traditional Kindig hallmark: unparalleled quality. Built on an Art Morrison 4-wheel independent suspension frame, it boasts the power of an LT-4 engine paired with a GM 6-speed transmission.
The extensive list of Kindig modifications includes skillful bumper tucking, emblem flush-mounting, the crafting of all trim (except the windshield frame, meticulously fashioned from aluminum stock), and a clever installation of a C3-style gas cap filler at the center of the trunk lid.
Notably, a specially-requested 4-tip exhaust system demanded the rear valance’s expert modification and the creation of a new license plate surround, elegantly encompassing the exhaust tips. The stunning wheels, a Kindig design, are skillfully produced by Billet Specialties. The vehicle’s interior receives the royal treatment with luxurious leather, completing this automotive masterpiece.
1958 – HEARTLAND CUSTOMS, JEFF PAGE, RED CORVETTE
In 1958, Heartland Customs, led by Jeff Page from Purcell, Oklahoma, unveiled their exquisite ‘Spec-Series’ masterpiece, custom-tailored for a fortunate customer. Proudly showcased at the Covercraft display, the ‘Spec-Series’ vehicles redefine classic Corvettes, offering a modernized driving experience while preserving the timeless aesthetics of these iconic cars.
This 1958 model, in particular, boasts a ‘hot cam’ version of the Spec 1 engine, delivering an impressive 480 horsepower at the flywheel. Built on a Roadster Shop chassis with rear independent suspension and a well-balanced front system, it promises a dynamic ride.
The car’s exterior dazzles with a metal flake finish, and the interior receives a lavish update with full leather accents. Notably, in 2018, this remarkable creation earned the prestigious GM ‘Car of the Year’ Award, solidifying its status as a true automotive gem.
RETURNING CARS ON VENDOR DISPLAYS: 2018 SEMA
1954 – TRANSITONS BY LARRY GRIFFEY
Introducing ‘Transitions’ by Larry Griffey of Knoxville, Tennessee, a stunning 1954 Corvette that graced the SEMA showcase before embarking on its journey to the Barrett-Jackson auction. Under the hood, this masterpiece roars to life with a custom Edelbrock supercharged 5.7-liter V8 LS1 engine, seamlessly paired with a 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission.
Larry’s artistry extends to the vehicle’s core, featuring a Jamison tubular chassis, C4 suspension, and custom anti-sway bars on both front and rear axles. Braking performance is elevated by high-performance Baer 14-inch 6-piston disc brakes, complemented by custom emblems and a unique LS engine cover. The interior indulges in sophistication, boasting Classic Instruments gauges, chrome accents by Advanced Plating, Vintage Air for climate control, and NuRelics power windows.
Body enhancements are a testament to Larry’s craftsmanship, including a tapered body drop, widened proportions, and the removal and extension of rear wheel wells. The cowl undergoes modification to accommodate a 1956 windshield, while the cowl vent and gas lid are elegantly omitted. The rear hatch welcomes a 1956 removable top for a striking finish. Safety is paramount with the inclusion of a roll cage, hidden fuel, brake lines, and custom CNC machined fender trim reminiscent of the 1953 Corvette prototype.
Distinguished by a custom hood scoop, split, and widened doors for power roll-up windows, a lift-off hardtop, and remote-controlled door latches, ‘Transitions’ redefines automotive excellence. Its polished aluminum and stainless components, along with intricate CNC machine work by Lokar, exude refinement. Finished in striking Soul Red paint, the interior boasts Deep Earth leather. This award-winning ‘Vette commands attention on Billet Specialties wheels.
1963 “SPLIT SECOND” BY EDDIE’S ROD & CUSTOM SHOP AT THE 2018 SEMA EVENT
Behold the ‘Split Second’ 1963 Corvette, skillfully crafted by Eddie’s Rod & Custom Shop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a returning star at SEMA. Building on last year’s acclaim, this iconic vehicle received a stunning makeover, beginning with a custom IRS Art Morrison chassis that elevates comfort and handling. Equipped with adjustable coil-overs all around, this Corvette boasts a 500 HP 327 small block engine, complete with a custom fuel injection intake manifold. Power is harnessed through a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, while a robust Dana 60 rear end ensures stability.
The ‘Split Second’ doesn’t compromise on performance, featuring 14.5” carbon ceramic Wilwood disc brakes with 6-piston calipers for impeccable stopping power. Custom B-Forged 19” wheels elevate its aesthetics. Despite retaining the classic lines of the C2 Corvette, a closer look reveals flush-mounted windows and the absence of vent windows on the doors. The hood maintains its original direction but now operates with electronic actuators, far from the stock mechanism.
Inside, the dashboard receives a modern touch, seamlessly accommodating an iPad 4 as the control interface. The wireless touchscreen takes command of various functions, from ignition to climate control, making it a truly innovative ride. Notably, this exceptional vehicle earned the prestigious GM ‘Car of the Year’ Award in 2017, cementing its status as an automotive marvel.
2018 – ZR-1 STYLED CUSTOM BY IVAN TAMPI
In 2018, Ivan Tampi made a captivating statement at SEMA with not one but two extraordinary vehicles. The first in line was his very own ‘ZR-1 Styled Custom’ C7, showcasing the exclusive Tampi XIK Limited Edition carbon fiber Widebody kit. This comprehensive kit encompasses the ITC XIK Hood, carbon fiber targa top, hood, pillars, halo, trunk, and a striking XIK GT-style carbon fiber wing.
The exterior is a testament to Ivan’s unique vision, boasting a sleek black finish complemented by a custom copper-tint coat, which magically shifts to a captivating brown-green hue. Rolling on Tampi-designed Kompression wheels, this vehicle is a true work of art.
Inside, 2017 witnessed the introduction of a custom ITC Alcantara interior and a custom carbon fiber overlay, setting the stage for a lavish driving experience. In 2018, Ivan’s commitment to excellence continued with the integration of additional custom copper carbon fiber elements, creating an overall effect that’s nothing short of mesmerizing.
A second car was called WHITE DRAGON. The body kit is very similar. The paint is a dazzling Pearl White color.
RACE CAR THEME
1982 – “STEAM” THEME RACE CAR AT SEMA 2018
In 1982, the ‘STEAM’ Theme Race Car made its grand entrance, boldly redefining the common ‘STEM’ acronym, which typically stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The extra ‘A’ in ‘STEAM’ represents ‘Art,’ and it’s not just a concept; it’s woven into every fiber of this stunning presentation.
This 1980 Corvette was meticulously crafted to serve as a club-level race car, equipped with virtually everything needed for high-performance action. However, its purpose extended beyond the racetrack; it was strategically designed as a promotional vehicle. Its mission? To underscore the vital connection between practical application and adult education, championed by the Warren County Tech Center’s ‘Advanced Motorsports Academy.’
In a collaborative effort, partners like the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Holley Performance, the National Corvette Museum, SKYCTC, and the Warren County Tech Center rallied behind this initiative. The car’s journey began as a Corvette L82, but it now boasts a race-prepped 2006 6-liter engine coupled with a GM TH350 transmission, ensuring a thrilling ride.
1982 – RACE-THEMED CORVETTE
In 1982, another captivating race-themed Corvette took the spotlight, courtesy of Jeremy Adams, showcasing the seamless fusion of performance and artistry. This remarkable vehicle was prominently featured at the ‘Borg-Warner Gauges’ display, further underscoring the dedication to precision and innovation in the automotive world.
2003 – KYLE LOFTIS C5 DRAG CAR
In 2003, Kyle Loftis, renowned for his ‘1320 Video’ on YouTube, brought a roaring 2001 Z06 drag car to SEMA, igniting the passion of performance enthusiasts. This extraordinary vehicle is a true unicorn, often sparking legendary tales of its production statistics. However, it’s the remarkable performance figures that truly steal the show.
In 2017, this Z06 blazed down the track, achieving awe-inspiring 9-second times. But with great speed comes great challenges, and the car endured a fiery incident on the racetrack. It emerged from the flames as a phoenix, reborn, and rebuilt to meet the highest safety standards.
A comprehensive fire suppression system and essential safety equipment, including a roll bar from RPM Roll Bars, were installed to ensure Kyle’s safe return to the track. Now, with the green light to run a certified 9.99, this drag car has already shattered expectations with an impressive 9.70 elapsed time.
NOWICKI-MICHELIN CONCDPT 7 AT SEMA 2018
The NOWICKI-MICHELIN CONCEPT 7, masterminded by Jeff Nowicki, first debuted as a groundbreaking package for the C7 Corvette. Forging strategic partnerships with industry giants like Michelin and Purifoy Chevrolet, Jeff meticulously curated a performance and appearance package that not only excelled but also enticed Corvette C7 enthusiasts.
Over the following two years, Jeff tirelessly evolved this design, staying in step with emerging technologies and product advancements. Today, Corvette C7 owners can revel in a world of choices, all crafted from precision-engineered carbon fiber composites.
Each component adheres to exacting standards, prioritizing flawless fit, impeccable finish, and impeccable production quality. From the heat extractor hood to the carbon front grill center bar, fender gill inserts, rear tail light bezels, rear spoiler, rear lower diffuser, carbon ‘A’ pillar trim, to rear quarter air intakes, the CONCEPT 7 offers an array of captivating options.
PERFORMANCE VENDORS: SEMA SHOW 2018
LINGENFELTER PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING
Discovering Excellence with LINGENFELTER PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING
Ken Lingenfelter, a longstanding presence at SEMA, has seamlessly steered Lingenfelter Performance Engineering into a realm of unparalleled automotive acclaim. As a well-respected powerhouse in the industry, the company continually explores fresh horizons, introducing cutting-edge products and forging dynamic partnerships.
One striking example is the collaborative synergy with Superformance, where both entities exemplify peak performance to drive the Grand Sport continuation car to new heights. Each year’s SEMA show becomes a canvas for unveiling innovations, whether from Lingenfelter’s own portfolio or via strategic alliances.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Ken extends his impact to the community with charitable endeavors and captivating car raffles, such as the 1965 Corvette featured this year. His unwavering contributions are acknowledged throughout the industry, a fact emphasized when he shared insights with Brian Brennan, Editor of VETTE magazine, representing the HOT ROD family.
RON FELLOWS DRIVING SCHOOL
Situated a mere 60 miles away in Pahrump, Nevada, the Ron Fellows Driving School has become a coveted fixture at SEMA year after year. Enthusiastic Corvette aficionados can’t help but sing praises of the remarkable driving adventures this institution bestows upon them.
GM LT-5 CRATE ENGINE
Chevy Performance took center stage at the 2018 SEMA event to showcase its latest masterpiece, the LT5 crate engine. This powerhouse, the same engine propelling the 2019 Corvette ZR1, is now available for enthusiasts, offering a ready-to-install solution for a wide range of ambitious projects.
Boasting a commanding 6.2-liter displacement, the LT5 stands as General Motors’ most formidable mill ever introduced in a production vehicle. With an impressive 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque attainable on regular pump gas, this engine eclipses its predecessors, the supercharged LS9 and LT4 powerplants, setting new standards in the realm of raw horsepower.
INNOVATIVE AUTO SOLUTIONS – BORLA EXHAUST
Innovative Auto Solutions, hailing from Albertville, Minnesota, is renowned for its innovative range of electric and electronic products designed to simplify your life. Their offerings include remote start systems, windshield de-icing solutions, and more. In the world of exhaust systems, BORLA EXHAUST stands as a specialist.
At SEMA 2018, a striking drift car adorned with their products drew attention, although it was challenging to pinpoint the exact sponsor. Nevertheless, the juxtaposition of a crashed car endorsing a product added a touch of unexpected humor to my day.
MOTUL Lubricants Steal the Spotlight with Their SEMA Display: Unveiling the Captivating ZR-1.
SEMA 2018: Uncovering Hidden Gems – GM’s 2016 Track Day Car, an Enigmatic 1963 Build, and a 1962 Bound for Barrett-Jackson Auction.
Here are some other articles you might enjoy:
SEMA REVISITED SERIES:
- 2013: Corvettes at SEMA 2013 Overview and Photos
- 2014: Unveiling the Spectacular Corvettes: Sema 2014 Event Review with Stunning Photos
- 2015: Revisit The History Of Corvettes At SEMA 2015 In Las Vegas: 30+ Custom Vettes
- 2016: Sema 2016 Corvettes: Where Vettes are Put to the Test by Builders and Big Names
- 2017: SEMA 2017: Looking back at the Ultimate Corvette Showcase in Las Vegas
- 2018: Revving Up the Excitement: Corvette Highlights from SEMA 2018
Here is our series on Corvette Body Kits:
- C1 Body Kits
- C2 Body Kits
- C3 Body Kits
- C4 Body Kits
- C5 Corvette Body Kits
- C6 Corvette Body Kits
- C7 Corvette Body Kits
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