SEMA 2017: a Spectacular Showcase of Corvettes in Las Vegas – Photo Compilation and Highlights
The SEMA 2017 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, had a great showing of Corvettes, ranging from GM’s Display, Ligengelter, Heartland Customs, The Roadster Shop, Auto Shoppe, Larry and Robbie Griffey, the Custom Shop, Ivan Tampi Customs, Apicella Designs, Cruzer’s Customs, Kindig-It Designs, Hot Rod Barn, Carr’s Corvettes & Customs, Eddie’s Rod and Custom, Vini’s Hot Rods, and Nowicki Autosport Design. Clearly, it was an enormous year for the Corvette! Corvette historian and journalist Wayne Ellwood has presented us with a photo compilation of numerous Corvettes, sure to have us all in a trance. Read on to enjoy!
Article and Photo Compilation by Wayne Ellwood
A reprint from Vette Vues Magazine
With everyone feasting on rumors of a 2019 mid-engine C8 Corvette, GM was hard-pressed to keep Corvette fans focused on 2018. But, drawing on an old and new inventory, they put up a good show. The feature Corvette car was, of course, the 2018 Z06 Carbon 65 Edition. This was displayed on both the main floor and the outdoor mobile display.
2018 Z06 Carbon 65 Edition
There was also a 1957 air box car drawn from the Heritage Center.
GM’s Display with Miscellaneous Corvettes at the 2017 SEMA Show
This was followed by a smaller grouping of miscellaneous Corvettes….a development car with magnetic ride, a Corvette mounted on a rotisserie to display chassis details, and a “Connect & Cruise” display. This latter item was basically a plug-and-lay package to update any older car to newer LS and LT condition.
Lingenfelter Display at the 2017 SEMA Event
A central feature for the Lingenfelter group was the Lingenfelter Special Edition 2017 Corvette Z06 Serial #001 is the most highly optioned Corvette given away in (the Detroit) Corvette Dream Giveaway history. With 800hp and 800 ft/lb. of torque, it has been equipped with the most powerful upgrade Lingenfelter offers for the C7 Z06. The car has an 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission. The Z07 track package includes an adjustable transparent wickerbill, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and the Lingenfelter signature edition special graphics.
Ken did a repeat display for the Superformance Grand Sport continuation car.
Also on display at the 2017 SEMA show area was the Dirk Stratton drift car and various engines and performance parts. Ken’s C5 Optima Challenge car was (as last year) in the Optima Battery booth area.
Menace – 1972 Corvette by Heartland Customs
Jeff Page of Heartland Customs, from Purcell (OK), constructed this 1972 Corvette called MENACE. The car was built for owner Dennis van der Breggen in Holland. The original design was by Tavis Highlander of Highlander Design, also in Purcell (OK). The car was on display in the Covercraft booth and, like many of the very high-end cars presented at SEMA, it was entered in the Battle of the Builders, the Mother’s Shine Award competition, the GM Design Award competition, and the 2017 SEMA Gold Award competition.
Numerous design features stand out. Many of these were prefaced on Facebook, but they include a highly modified Roadster Shop chassis to accept even larger tires, a combination of under-car and side exhaust system, and the Lingenfelter LS7 427/LS9 supercharged engine making a mild 860 HP. The highlight of the exhaust system is the side-exiting aspect, in the style of the 1950s Mercedes 300 SL—the fender vent location was entirely redesigned to accommodate this concept. The exhaust system is a 304 stainless steel round tube until modified to an oval section for under-car clearance. The system continues upward to the side exit ahead of the electronic exhaust diversion actuators. Exhaust tips are custom fabricated into square outlet tips, with a slight taper toward the exit point. This is rounded over and has a slight rearward skew. Called the SLS Stirling Moss exhaust tips, this style feature will likely become quite popular.
Grand Sport 6 – 1963 Corvette by Heartland Customs
Heartland Customs also presented A 1963 Corvette called GRAND SPORT 6, built for owner John Hadorn. This blue 1963 Corvette was unveiled for the first time at SEMA and took pride of place in the Griffin Thermal Products booth. The Grand Sport 6 is a conservative interpretation of the original Grand Sport and is ideally suited to the owner’s modest personality. It shares a similar front end, hood, and many other features but lacks many other add-on scoops and gadgets, so common to the more kit-based replicas. The chassis is a Roadster Shop product; it supports an LSX engine with a Borla 8-stack fuel injection system. The rear-drive line has been narrowed to permit a wider wheel-tire combination. The fenders have also been sectioned and re-formed to assist in the tire fitment and the overall Grand Sport concept. The car features many machined billet pieces and 3-D printed pieces. The interior features high-back seating with leather and matching blue stitching; all this wa8 completed by Kutting Edge Interiors from Missouri.
1963 Black-on-Black Corvette by the Roadster Shop
Owner Mark See had his black-on-black 1963 split-window Corvette built by Phil and Jeremy Gerber from the Roadster Shop in Mundelein (IL). While it looks to be near stock, it has a multitude of modifications that take it over the top. The black-on-black theme is carried throughout the car. The bumpers have been cut and formed to fit tightly to the body. All trim is in brushed nickel, also adding to the black theme. The interior was completed by Avante Garde Designs in Palm Springs (FL). It includes full black diamond-pleated leather with a vintage racing theme (switches and controls). The engine is a stock LT4 with a T56 transmission. Sidepipes are also in the brushed nickel finish.
Split Ray – 1966 Corvette by The Auto Shoppe
This 1966 Corvette, Split Ray, was first seen at the 2017 Detroit Autorama and here in VETTE VUES. To summarize, the car is owned by Dennis Johnson and was built by Scott Roth of the Auto Shoppe in Knoxville (TN). It was designed to bring the 2015 Z06 Corvette interior into the C2 Vette. Everything was then designed to fit that theme. The RS Fastrack chassis was cut and modified to the requisite dimensions. The body was cut in the car’s center and widened by 6 3/8″. That’s how much it took for the C2 body to fit over the C7 interior. The wider package allowed the use of EVO 19×11 and 20×12 wheels without having to flare the fenders. With a new chassis, the accompanying LS9 motor, and the wider body, the modern interior now sits comfortably in the overall package. The Auto Shoppe also built a 1959 Corvette for Dennis’ wife, Charlene. Scott’s wife is still waiting for her car.
1954 Red Corvette by Griffeys Hot Rod Shop
The second SEMA Corvette to have appeared in the Detroit Autorama is this Soul Red 1954 roadster owned by Larry and Robbie Griffey of Knoxville (TN). It was built to homage the 1956 Corvette concept, largely constructed on a 1954 production model. It was a GREAT 8 finalist.
Body modification is possibly the least noticeable feature, but taking the most effort. The car’s floor was removed and re-installed with a one-inch reduction at the rear, one and a half inches at the A-pillar, and two inches at the front. The body is also widened 3 inches at the rear, tapering to one and three-quarters inches at the front. Other technical features include a modified Jamison double tubular high-performance chassis and narrowed C4 suspension. The car is powered by an Edelbrock Supercharged LS1 motor with a 4L60E automatic transmission. The material provided indicates that the car was designed to change the transmission to a 6-speed with minimal effort quickly. Custom six-piston Baer brakes bring the car to a stop. Billet Specialties wheels are 18×8 and 20×10. The interior was designed and crafted by Pro Interiors. Gauges are by Classic Instruments, air conditioning by Vintage Air, and power windows by New Relics. The painting was done in-house using Tri-Coat Red by Matrix.
Copper Tango – 1962 Roadster by The Custom Shop
This 1962 Corvette Roadster is a resto-mod built by The Custom Shop in Flanagan (IL). Owner John Wargo has included some unique features… that are quite innovative. Starting with the supercharged 598 cu inch engine and Holley EFI injection, this car travels with a dyno-proven 1086 HP. It rides on an SRIII custom chassis. The chopped windshield features a fairly standard exposed raw glass edge in an (almost) frameless mount system. The small frame mounts on each door feature a rear-pointing camera, feeding to a large display screen in the center console area. The paint was a faded five-color version of Mango Tango Copper. The bumpers, which are deeply recessed into the fenders (front and rear), are painted in satin silver. LED taillights and projector fog lamps serve as lighting. Door handles are shaved and replaced with an electronic system. Signs say the car is for sale.
C7 2014 Green Hornette Corvette by Ivan Tampi Customs
The Green Hornette Corvette is a customer car from Washington state. The basic C7 was sent to Ivan Tampi to work his magic. The car carries the base engine, providing additional power via a front-mounted supercharger and a full two-bottle nitrous system. For the interior, it carries a custom ITC Alcantara interior with a custom carbon fiber overlay. The Tampi XIK Limited Edition carbon fiber Widebody kit, ITC XIK Hood, carbon fiber targa top, hood, pillars, halo, trunk, and the new XIK GTStyle carbon fiber wing have been applied on the exterior. The car has custom green paint and Kompression wheels.
2016 Widebody Corvette by Ivan Tampi Customs
Ivan Tampi’s second presentation was even more tricky. This time Ivan presented a widebody Corvette with all of the same body and interior panels, but this Ivan used a custom copper carbon fiber throughout the parts and the interior. The overall effect is truly stunning…. Including the fact that while Ivan says the car is black, it looks brown (copper). Prediction – This is something that’s going to catch-on.
1962 Corvette Roadster by Apicella Designs
Owners Rod and Victoria Granberry brought a silver-gray 1962 Corvette convertible to SEMA as the supporting display for DOUG THORLEY HEADERS. Apicella Designs designed the car. The primary fabricator was Wes Oshanyh from Apicella, and the painting was by Mickey Casta, also from Apicella. The car is presented without bumpers or a top; all holes and gaps for those accouterments have been shaved and filled. The rounded front end remains stock with black grille inserts and projector headlamps. The side of the car is quite remarkable. Very large and very long vents (C3 scaled-up) are dominant. The car’s rear features a race-style horizontally mounted spring-shock combination in the trunk. The rear taillights, as are the exhaust outlets, are a custom design featuring a Black Widow dual exhaust system and dual tips. The engine is a basic Chevy LS combination with Doug Thorley headers.
1959 – David Fuller’s Corvette Resto-Mod
Brian Cruz of Cruzer’s Customs in New Braunfels (TX) built this subtle custom for owner David Fuller. The changes to the car are so subtle that many have to be identified to help you see them. One example is the shape and fit of the bumpers. The rear bumper, in particular, has benefitted from hundreds of hours of manipulation to define sharper lines, fill the exhaust outlets, and bring the whole fit to within 1/16 of an inch of the body. The front bumper had a similar treatment, with the license plate bracket being removed.
The chassis was sourced from the Roadster shop. The engine, driveline, and exhaust are all updated from stock. The engine is an LS3 GM model yielding 480 HP. AS YOU WOULD IMAGINE, a GM 4L70 transmission is used with significant modifications to the linkage to make everything fit. All pipes are stainless, and all lines are also of stainless type. Wilwood brakes are used. Budnick wheels are in the salt-lake-racer style, 19×11 in rear and 19×9 in front. LED 5 ¾ inch headlights replace stock units. It has more modern seats with lumbar support and full adjustability. Suede inserts complement the leather-covered seats and door panels. The paint is XALTA base/clear in original GM colors of Frost Blue and Inca Silver.
1957 Black Corvette Resto-Mod by Kindig-It Design
Dave Kindig summarized the spectacular build. Apparently, this 1957 was purchased in 1965 by Richard and Bonnie (Charity Kindig’s Mother and father). Dave modified it to give it new life. Power is from a Lingenfelter LS7 with LS3 heads and Borla Injection. The transmission is a 4L80E by Bowler Transmission. All of this rides in an Art Morrison Chassis with an independent front suspension and a triangulated 4-link rear suspension. Steering is via an Ididit steering column with a power rack. Brakes are by Wilwood with six pistons 14″ front and rear. Other features include a Ron Davis Radiator, a stainless fuel tank with a built-in fuel pump sourced from Rick’s Tanks. The Billet Specialties one-off custom wheels are 19×8.5″ and 20×10.5″ with Michelin Pilot Sport tires 245/40/19 front and 285/35/20 rear. The exhaust is a 3″ pro-XS by Borla Exhaust—finally, the wiper components by Rain Gear. The car’s interior features Vintage Air, Dakota Digital HDX custom one-off gauges. Modified original seats are wrapped in Crest Leather with China Red leather. All panels are custom-built and leather-wrapped by JS Custom Interiors. Power windows by Nu-Relics have been added, and the whole thing is wired by Team Kindig-it using an American Autowire kit. Ogden Chrome performed all chrome.
1965 Gray Convertible by the Hot Rod Barn
Mark Stewart’s freshly built 1965 Corvette appeared on the AXALTA PAINT booth. The car features a tasteful blend of vintage styling and modern performance. Built at “The Hot Rod Barn” by Jason Reitz, Joliet (IL), the heartbeat of this build is a dry sump LT4 engine, with a BTR Stage 2 camshaft, Katech high-capacity heat exchanger on supercharger cooling system coupled with a TremecT56 Super Magnum 6 speed transmission. The engine also received an increased boost using a modified lower pulley. The monstrous power plant breathes through off-road side exhaust. The SRIII chassis is supported at all four corners with C6 Corvette spindles and control arms. In addition, Jason Reitz used a 35-spline Eaton True Trac differential with a 3.70 gear. The Currie Fab9 IRS connects to 33 spline ZR1-style hubs. Braking is Wilwood Superlite13″ 6 piston front brakes and13″ 4 piston rear brakes, with custom painted calipers. The power steering and A/C compressor brackets were fabricated to fit the LT4 dry sump engine.
1962 Jazz Blue Resto-Mod by Carr Campbell
Chris Kearney approached Carr Campbell (Carr’s Corvettes & Customs, in Plano, TX) to build a 1962 Corvette resto-mod that would carry the classic styling of a ’62 Corvette but would have the build quality, performance, comfort, conveniences of a modern sports car. The result is an extremely elegant car with a stunning color combination and endless details. The car was hand-built from the ground up, starting with an Art Morrison C1 Corvette “3G” Sport Chassis, Corvette C6 front suspension, and a triangulated 4-link Strange 9″ in the rear. Carr chose a Detroit Speed & Engineering power rack-n-pinion steering and JRI Coil-overs front and rear. The brakes are by Wilwood with 14″ 2-piece slotted and cross-drilled rotors (front) and
On the interior, Carr used an Al Knoch Interiors‘ A-OK seats with ’78 Corvette Doeskin leather and Doeskin perforated leather in the seating areas. The door panels are in a stock ’62 Corvette pattern by Al Knoch and are covered in Doeskin leather. Cut pile carpeting is from Auto Custom Carpets. Gauges are the original gauges to the car that have been restored, calibrated, and then painted the faces white. The steering wheel is a C1 15″ steering wheel wrapped in Doeskin leather by Gabe’s.
1963 Red Corvette by Eddie’s Rod & Custom
Growing up, Robert Chisuano always wanted a 1963 Corvette; after locating his teenage dream car that was a wreck, he had Eddie’s Rod and Custom in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, build it how he envisioned it. The car was seen at Billet Specialties display.
The car started with a custom IRS Art Morrison chassis to give this old car a new comfortable, and better handling ride. The chassis includes adjustable coil overs all-round. This Corvette is powered by a 500 HP 327 small block with a custom fuel injection intake manifold, a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, and a Dana 60 rear end. Stopping power is provided by 14.5” carbon ceramic Wilwood disc brakes with six-piston calipers. He liked the looks of the custom B-Forged 19” wheels. As for the body, Eddie recommended keeping to the original lines of the beautiful C2 Corvette and not changing the overall look or size of the car. But, as you look closer, you will see that all the windows have been flush mounted and vent windows removed from the doors. The hood opens in the original direction but is far from stock and operated by electronic actuators.
The dash has been shaved and cleaned on the interior, fitting only an iPad 4 as its control interface. The wireless touch screen will actually operate all of the car’s functions, including ignition, starting, headlights, power windows, hood, door locks, heat and a/c controls, stereo, and GPD.
1972 White with Black Trims by Vini’s Hot Rods
Vini Madrigal presented this 1972 in the stock Corvette white (PPG) as the centerpiece of his shop’s work. At first glance, you may not see some of the details…a combination of the color choice and the lack of radical body mods leads you to think this is a stock car. You must stop and look carefully to see that Vini has used a delicate hand to produce an outstanding 1972 custom. Standing outside the car, the most obvious touches are the asymmetric hood stripe in black and blue. The blue is repeated in the brake calipers, the accent line through the lower sill plate, and the interior Classic Instrument gauges. Look more carefully, and you’ll notice that the door handles and locks have been shaved. Bronze Budnick wheels have been selected. Wheels and Continental tires are 18×10. The bumpers and front grilles are painted in gloss black. BAIR brakes and Ridetech suspension have been added.
Nowicki, Michelin, Purifoy Concept Z
This year Jeff Nowicki of Nowicki Autosport Design linked up with Adam’s Polishes to continue to put the best complexion on his already stunning Michelin-Nowicki Concept 7 Corvette. Jeff first enhanced this design two years ago. He wanted to take the new bold direction of the C7 and offer Corvette owners a bespoke collection of exposed carbon fiber components. Corvette C7 owners can choose from various carbon fiber composites, each built to exacting standards with an eye on fit, finish, and production quality. Pieces offered include the heat extractor hood, carbon front grill center bar, fender gill inserts, rear tail light bezels, rear spoiler, rear lower diffuser, carbon ‘A-pillar trim, and rear quarter air intakes.
You can never list everything at an event as large as SEMA, so let’s wrap up with a few miscellaneous items that caught my eye.
Ron Fellows Driving School
Of course, the Ron Fellows Driving School is always on-site due to their proximity. This year, I caught Ron at his display.
A random Corvette was seen at the NITTO tire display.
A brand-new Callaway shooting brake Corvette was caught near the Mother’s tent in the outdoor display area.
Dave Schroeder HOT ROD Street Drag Series Corvette
Finally, some cars don’t tell their story to the casual observer. Just walking around, you would not recognize that this drag car, built and belonging to Dave Schroeder (Toronto area), is part of the HOT ROD street drag series. Cars must be street driven to various locales and raced…no trailers. At the end of the season, a winner is declared. The car also appeared at the 2018 Toronto Autorama, along with his new C7 style body.
It was a real pleasure taking a journey back in time and visiting the Corvettes at SEMA 2017 event in Las Vegas, Nevada. This spectacular event showcased an amazing collection of Corvettes, each a work of art in its own right. All the leading names in the Corvette world were in attendance, highlighting their exceptional products and skills. Wayne Ellwood has consistently delivered extensive coverage of SEMA every year, so don’t forget to subscribe and stay up to date! Furthermore, we’ll continue our tradition of “Looking Back at SEMA.” To relive more of the event’s illustrious past, take a look at our other blog posts.
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
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