McTaggart: Once again, it’s time to dive back into the thousands of photos shot over the course of the 2016 SEMA show with Lohnes. Opinions are a funny thing, and it’s strange how we differ when it comes to what we like. You would think that we have a lot of mutual ground where we both can agree…and you’d be right. But the details are where we really start butting heads. What he may dig for one reason, I might like for another, or I might not get it at all…and he certainly has a similar view on what I like. And when you send two gearheads into a show like SEMA and cut us loose, sooner or later you have to compare notes.
Lohnes: McTaggart is right. For as much as rabid sports fans like to debate about players, strategy, coaches, and the things their teams should have done, car guys do the same things with the objects that we love. One of the most fun parts about SEMA is the huddle in the evenings around dinner, talking about the stuff we saw, the things we loved, and the other things that had us choking back our lunch for a second time. More 2016 SEMA cars to see!
1. Frank “Scoop” Vessels’ 1972 Ford F-100 Class 8 Baja truck
McTaggart: A 404ci Ford, C-6 automatic, 9-inch out back, and all of the off-road knowledge that Frank “Scoop” Vessels and Charlie Haga could throw at it, combined with BF Goodrich All-Terrains turned this 1972 Ford from your everyday F-series into a desert runner that ran the trails masterfully. In it’s heyday, this was an off-roading monster, complete with newfangled radial off-road tires and LPG fuel…for Baja, it was nothing short of witchcraft. Today…it’s an achingly beautiful bumpside Ford that has to be a riot to romp in the dirt with.
Lohnes: I have never attended a Baja race and I am not sure if I ever will but if I had a time machine I would go back to the early 1970s and look at all the bad ass Class 8 rigs that were the coolest things in the race. It is always fascinating to look a current technology’s grandfather and these things are what laid the ground work for the trophy trucks of today. If your opinion of this truck is anything other than it being awesome you are wrong.
2. Hot Rod pickup truck
McTaggart: I’ll fess up: other than the fact that the valve cover says “Mercury”, I can’t tell you much about this little hot-rod truck. Pre-1960 is my weak point. But what I can say is how this truck is presented: The stance is beautiful, the detail work is impeccable, the wheel and tire selection is spot-on, the blue is a perfect selection and unlike most pre-war vehicles, I want it. In a sea of ultimate overkill show cars, this little hot rod was refreshingly restrained and I love it for that reason.
Lohnes: The world is about balance. When there are extremes in one direction there are extremes in the other to counter them. The opposite end of the rat rod world is that of the impeccable high end hot rod and this is one of them. There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands into this truck I’d guess and if I had it, I’d spend it the same way. Easily one of the classiest machines at the entire show, every detail of this thing was thought out and executed flawlessly. From the cream colored wheels, the leather straps holding down the hood, and the knock off style mounting of said wheels, it is rolling perfection. Truly awesome.
McTaggart: If there was ever a perfect car for Las Vegas, a great big Caddy certainly fits the bill. I’m not surprised that a great big Coupe de Ville was on the floor. What I was surprised at was that Original Parts Group was making anything for it. That, and the absolutely impeccable nature of the Cadillac…if you could find a fault anywhere on this car, it was only after you spent hours going over all that was right with it. The only shame? The car sat inside all week, instead of showing off in the lights of the Strip…or better yet, Downtown.
Lohnes: One of the most unique things at the SEMA show every year is the OPGI display. Why? Because they always have some amazingly well restored cars in there. Not modified cars, not monster trucks, actual restored cars and this 1968 Coupe De Ville was all class. Other than lowering the ride height, we’d argue that there are a lot more things you can screw up than make better on a 1968 Cadillac when hot rodding it. Seeing this car the way it was when it came off the line really was a treat.
McTaggart: Omix-ADA, unfortunately, was better known for being the company that called in the U.S. Marshals on several companies that were selling counterfeit versions of their products. Shame that was the case, because between bringing in R. Lee Ermey for signatures and their collection of neat Jeeps, they should’ve had a better show. While the low-mile, nearly perfect 1991 Grand Wagoneer was very, very tempting, it was the 1966 Wagoneer paired off with a 1964 Fireball camping trailer that was the winner of the “WANT IT NOW” award. The Wagoneer was resto-perfect and with the trailer, brought about visions of camping by a lake somewhere quiet and peaceful, far away from the floor of the Convention Center.
Lohnes: Along the same lines as the above Cadillac seeing something, especially this 1966 Wagoneer as a stocker is pretty awesome at SEMA. If anything this is a reminder of what an SUV was actually intended to be. It is not laden down with luxury items and junk, it is a functional vehicle on a truck chassis that can do truck stuff while getting more than two people around. It is the thing you want to drag every OEM designer and engineer over to and scream, “THIS…MAKE THIS. MAKE ONE OF THESE.”
McTaggart: A red-and-white 1958 Plymouth. If “Little Bitty Pretty One” had been playing anywhere nearby, the “Christine” reference would’ve been set, right up until you saw the wheels. Sorry, but I can only picture large whitewalls and disc caps on the most violent Mopar this side of a Top Fuel-powered digger. But the 700 horsepower ProCharged 6.1 Hemi and NAG-1 under that huge hood would guarantee that sooner or later, smack talking anything about this car will end with that great big golden “V” on the grille embossing your hind end and high speed. Purists might not agree with a late-model Hemi taking place of the 350ci “Golden Commando” big block, but you can’t argue with the power difference.
Lohnes: This is a testament to what wheels can do to a car, for a car, or against a car. I just cannot get past the wheel and tire combo on this car. No matter the engine, no matter the quality of the paint, I just look at it and I can’t get away from the wheels. Square wooden blocks would actually be less painful to look at than these rollers.