Vroom…The SEMA Show returns to Las Vegas with Jay Leno, Keith Urban and much more fun!

The Ford F-100 Eluminator concept truck features an electric crate engine under the hood. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Las Vegas — The SEMA Show is every car enthusiast’s dream. It returned to the Las Vegas Convention center last week after being held exclusively online last year due to COVID-19. An estimated 100,000 people attended the 2021 event making it the largest convention to return since the pandemic began.

There were thousands of aftermarket parts and accessories for both classic cars and performance vehicles. High performance engines, custom brakes, shocks, struts, wheels, tires, audio equipment, and camping gear. It was all on display at the SEMA Show.

“Every year, we try to find a kid with a car and we help them restore it,” said car enthusiast Jay Leno. “The fact that he has four Grammys and plays concerts is purely coincidental. A true car guy, does a lot of wonderful work. His wife bought him this car.”

Leno helped Ford unveil a customized 1969 Mustang for country singer Keith Urban. It was Urban’s 2nd anniversary gift from his wife, Nicole Kidman.

“She bought it for me and I didn’t know,” said country music star Keith Urban. “We were driving to Starbucks one morning and she said, we just need to fix something in the barn. We started the car and she said, can you just run down there and there’s this black Mustang with a bow around it. I’ve never seen a bow on a car before. I put it in a music video that we did and it was time to get it restored.”

On Tuesday during the Ford Motor Company media event, the cover came off Urban’s restored Mustang. This was first time seeing the car with all of its new upgrades. Ford swapped out the 5.0-liter Mustang motor and replaced it with a Coyote engine, ROUSH supercharger with new tube headers. It now producers over 700 horsepower. In the trunk was a matching Fender guitar of the same color.

“Wow, my goodness,” Urban exclaimed after seeing the restorations. “I saw a piece of it outside and it was jet black. It’s amazing in the light how blue it gets. How amazing. Everybody at Ford thank you for doing an exceptional job. Everybody worked so hard on this.”

There was a much bigger focus on electric vehicles at this year’s SEMA Show. Performance vehicles can run on electric motors, too.

Ford also introduced an all electric F-100 Eluminator concept pickup truck built on a 1978 F-100. It comes equipped with an electric crate engine designed for retrofitting internal combustion engine vehicles. Those crate engines sell for $3,900 and are now sold out following the show.

“For people who are skeptical of electric cars, this is going to save our gas engine cars,” Leno added. “If you want to have cars like this (Mustang), you need to drive something like this during the week. There’s no reason to sit in the 405 freeway in an internal combustion car going 20 mph with 700 horsepower. Use your electric car during the week then on weekends, you take your Mustang or whatever it is you have out to have fun and enjoy it. I think that is the real future. The government won’t be cracking down because everybody is driving electric so overall pollution goes down. It’s really exciting. The Mach-E is amazing. I really welcome it you know.“

Meanwhile, Chevrolet showed off it’s all new 2023 Corvette Z06. The new sports car produces an impressive 670 horsepower! While the Z06 was first revealed online, the SEMA Show was the first time people could see the new sports car in person. Look for it to arrive at U.S. dealerships in summer of 2022.

“Pretty much everything is different from the looks to the powertrain,” said Shad Balch, GM Communications Director. “The biggest difference is the 5.5-liter flat-plane crank engine. It’s a screamer! Our engineering team decided that this was the next best move in order to get the power and performance out of the vehicle that we knew it could achieve. When you look at it, everything is different from an aero and design standpoint. Looking at the rear of the car, obviously, what jumps out at you is the high wing spoiler. This is part of the Z07 performance package, its carbon fiber. It adds about 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. All of that aero is what keeps the car stuck to the ground, allows it to make turns really fast and stop really fast.“ 

Toyota premiered its new GR Supra Sport top. It features a removable roof made of two panels that can be stored in the trunk. Check out this “Tacozilla” Tacoma camper that pays tribute to campers from the 70s and 80s. It drew lots of eyeballs at this year’s SEMA Show. 

The Ford Bronco off-road experience offered test drives for attendees. It was last seen at motor Bella in metro Detroit. The Michigan-based automaker showed off the all-new Bronco DR which stands for Desert Racer. It produces 400 hp and can only be driven off road. Its price tag is estimated between $200,000 and $300,000. 

Racing is another component of the SEMA Show. Everything from NASCAR to IndyCar to Formula One. There were lots of celebrity meet and greets as well. 

Toyo Tires premiered over 35 vehicles at the SEMA show. Some of the new vehicle builds included: 1975 Chevy K5 Blazer, 2021 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab RST, 1982 DeLorean DMC 12, Lexus LC 500 convertible, 1986 Nissan 300zx, and the 1994 Mazda RX-7. The California-based tire manufacturer had displays inside and outside of the convention center. 

There was even a Mystery Machine van with Scooby Doo sitting in the front passenger seat. Fans will remember seeing the van in the popular animated cartoon series. 

We can’t wait for the SEMA Show to come back next year!

Video by Jason Rzucidlo / AmericaJR

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2021 SEMA Show…

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