SEMA

Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s RTR takes on the Ford Ranger


Attracting attention from multiple shops and Ford’s own accessories team, the mid-size Ranger pickup has been one of the more-popular project vehicles at this year’s SEMA show.

The RTR Ranger featured at SEMA shows off the depth and breadth of upgrades RTR, owned by drifter Vaughn Gittn, Jr., is making available to Ranger customers. The basic package includes front and rear fender flares, an RTR graphics package, a Fox 2.0 suspension kit with external bypass shocks, and Nitto Ridge Grappler tires on 17-inch RTR Tech 6 off-road wheels.

RTR Ford Ranger

RTR Ford Ranger

RTR Ford Ranger

RTR Ford Ranger

RTR Ford Ranger

RTR’s SEMA demo also boasts a Ford Performance cat-back exhaust. Additional upgrades, such as a leather package and RTR grille with an integrated LED light bar, can drive up the base cost of $9,800.

“Being an off-road enthusiast and a lover of the great outdoors, I am in love with the way the Ford Ranger RTR can allow you to explore roads and lands less traveled,” said Gittin, Jr.

“The smaller footprint of the Ranger RTR allows navigation on narrow canyons and the tight trails that you find off the grid. The Ranger RTR has the capability to traverse all terrains and looks great doing it!”

RTR has close ties to Ford. The company’s package can be ordered and installed at local dealerships.

The Ford-RTR partnership has resulted in several other exciting vehicle collaborations, including a 700-horsepower supercharged Mustang package. RTR first got into the pickup game with a skunkworks F-150 project that arrived back in April. 

RTR’s “Rambler” build appeared alongside several other featured projects in Ford’s booth this year, including an in-house build featuring Ford’s various dealer-installed accessories for its new pickup.



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SEMA

Icon’s FJ40 Roadster is old-school cool, simplified and modernized


Fans of classic 4x4s tend to appreciate their simple forms, basic amenities, and rugged durability, but Calfornia design and engineering house Icon reckons that even some of the simplest classics aren’t quite as bare-bones as some might like. Enter the Icon FJ Roadster, which debuted at this year’s SEMA show.

The Icon FJ Roadster is a new offering aimed at buyers looking for a modern version of a stripped-down historic off-roader. From all appearances, this FJ40 is about as basic as it gets, with clean, crisp finishes, no air conditioning or heater, no doors, and an almost-factory aesthetic. However, upon closer examination, this old-school 4×4 boasts a lot of cleanly implemented new-school tech and conveniences that have been cleverly disguised beneath a tidy, well-thought-out exterior. 

“We are probably best known for obsessing on small details,” said Icon co-founder/lead designer Jonathan Ward. “But for the FJ Roadster, we decided to go super-simple: no A/C, no doors, less weight.”

ICON FJ Roadster

ICON FJ Roadster

ICON FJ Roadster

ICON FJ Roadster

ICON FJ Roadster

To achieve this, Icon strips a Toyota FJ40, which was built from 1960 to 1984, down to its bare essentials and rebuilds it from there. The seats are of lightweight construction, and while they boast comfort touches such as three-stage heating elements, those components are made of carbon fiber to minimize their weight contribution. 

Likewise, the FJ Roadster’s entertainment system is a modern unit with wireless Apple CarPlay and a five-channel digital amplifier, but you wouldn’t know that from the dashboard; everything is neatly tucked away and virtually invisible. The gauges appear analog, but the underlying electronics are based on modern, OBDII technology. 

Perhaps the sneakiest element is the FJ Roadster’s powertrain, which has also been thoroughly modernized. This example boasts a 6.2-liter General Motors LS-series V-8 with 430 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and the factory 4×4 system. Buyers can also opt for an automatic transmission, as well as a 2.8-liter Cummins diesel. 

This exercise in minimalism creates a juxtaposition between classic form and modern capability. Think of it like a modern Hummer H3 disguised as a classic Land Cruiser; or, as Ward puts it, “a pair of all-terrain sport sandals.”

Icon’s efforts to modernize the FJ Land Cruiser don’t come cheap, despite the minimalist theme. The Icon FJ40 Roadster starts at $185,000, which is $30,000 less than other, better-equipped FJs offered by the company. That’s a lot of money, but Icon creates smart, beautiful, and thoroughly modernized vehicles that maintain their old-school aesthetic.



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SEMA

Toyota embraces the Supra’s tuner following with a SEMA onslaught


The fourth-generation Toyota Supra became an icon of the tuning scene thanks to a robust and power-friendly inline-6. Now, Toyota is looking to capitalize on that reputation with a slew of new builds based on its latest and greatest sports coupe. 

GR Supra Heritage Edition

The GR Supra Heritage Edition is aimed squarely at those feelings of nostalgia. This 500-horsepower build from Gazoo Racing (which was largely responsible for the Supra’s development) packs serious Y2K vibes on the outside and some extra power on the inside. 

The headlights and taillights on the GR Supra Heritage Edition are both custom jobs designed to mimic the iconic MkIV Supra’s. Under the hood, it gets a modified turbocharger and a custom intake and exhaust. A little computer massaging brings out its 500 ponies. To fit the wide wheels and tires under the rear bodywork, the Motorsports Technical Center effectively redesigned the rear suspension. 

GR Supra Performance Line Concept

GR Supra Performance Line Concept

The GR Supra Performance Line Concept by Toyota Customizing & Development is an aerodynamic showcase above all else. The custom body and winglets are designed to improve downforce and reduce turbulence. The exterior add-ons are carbon fiber, and the side skirts make this build appear lower to the ground without any suspension work. A set of Bride racing seats rounds out the package.

Team Rutledge Wood GR Supra Hyperboost Edition

Team Rutledge Wood GR Supra Hyperboost Edition

If power is your thing, former “Top Gear” host turned NASCAR analyst Rutledge Wood’s GR Supra Hyperboost Edition build is right up your alley. This build makes use of a custom exhaust manifold that allows a larger Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger to be fitted to the engine. Total output after finessing? 750 horsepower. The team upgraded the brakes and suspension and threw on a custom widebody aero kit to back up all that added oomph. 

“I love the Supra, I own two Supra MKIVs so my mind started racing, thinking about what we could do to this machine,” lead builder Rick Leos said in a statement. “The GR Supra design came so naturally since the lines were already so aggressive and beautiful.”

GR Supra 3000GT Concept

GR Supra 3000GT Concept

Last but not least is the Toyota Customizing & Development GR Supra 3000GT, which Toyota teased last month. Inspired by the 1994 Supra TRD3000GT tribute, this body- and suspension-focused build eschews extra power in favor of a wild body kit, big wheels and an upgraded interior. Inside, the 3000GT boasts FIA-approved Bride racing seats and an audio system overhaul from Pioneer. 

The custom body work gets some help from a one-off exhaust system from HKS designed specifically to fit the new rear fascia. The exterior finish is a wrap, rather than paint. The 3000GT rides on Tein Street Advance Z adjustable coilovers and TWS Motorsport 19-inch wheels backed by Brembo GT-S monobloc brake calipers. 

This is just a taste of what Toyota brought to SEMA this year, and its offerings are not limited to its new flagship sports car. If you’re in Vegas, Toyota’s exhibit is brimming with goodies and is located in the Central Hall. 



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SEMA

Electric Ford Mustang has 900 horsepower and a manual transmission


Ford shocked (pun intended) audiences at the SEMA show in Las Vegas on Tuesday with the unveiling of the electric Mustang Lithium.

Developed in partnership with German engineering outfit Webasto, the car is a one-off prototype built to demonstrate the potential of electrification in a package familiar to performance fans.

“This one-off Mustang prototype is a great opportunity for us, together with Webasto, to showcase to our customers what a new electrified powertrains can do for performance in a car they already know and love,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s product chief.

Ford Mustang Lithium concept

Recall, a Mustang Hybrid is due in 2020 and it’s conceivable that a battery-electric Mustang similar to the Mustang Lithium will eventuate at some point. That might be anathema for V-8 lovers but a rundown of the Mustang Lithium’s specs should appeal to even those fans able to identify an engine just by the sound it makes.

Drive comes from a single motor rated at 900 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, which makes the Mustang Lithium considerably more powerful than the Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro drag racing prototype unveiled at last year’s SEMA show, which made 700 hp and 600 lb-ft.

Powering the electric motor in the Mustang Lithium is an 800-volt battery developed by Webasto and capable of discharging a megawatt of energy. But where the vehicle really stands apart is the choice of transmission: a 6-speed, 3-pedal manual reinforced with billet internals to handle the torque dished out by the electric motor. Ford Performance half shafts and a Super 8.8 Torsen differential were also added to help get the power to the ground. The final bit of the equation is a set of 20-inch forged wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

Ford Mustang Lithium concept

Ford Mustang Lithium concept

To counter for the weight of the battery, Ford added some carbon fiber body panels. The suspension was also tuned to suit the specific weight distribution of the electric powertrain. Sadly, there are no performance numbers quoted but you can bet the vehicle is quick down the strip and around the track.

Ford plans to use the prototype as a testbed for battery and thermal management technologies the automaker is developing with Webasto for future products. Ford will launch at least 16 EVs in the next five years, the first of which will be the Mustang-inspired SUV due in 2020.

For more from the SEMA show, head to our dedicated hub.



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Hennessey, SEMA

The 1,200-hp, $200,000 Hennessey Resurrection Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE worships at the church of speed


As the 2019 SEMA show kicks off in Las Vegas this week, John Hennessey has found religion.

The follow-up to The Exorcist—a 1,000-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1—The Resurrection has more power from a different engine, and is based on the current Camaro ZL1 1LE.

The Resurrection Hennessey 1,200-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

On E85, The Resurrection produces 1,200 hp at 6,800 rpm and 1,000 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. To get there, Hennessey’s team dropped the Camaro ZL1 1LE’s factory 650-horsepower supercharged LT4 6.2-liter V-8 and bolted in a 755-horsepower supercharged LT5 6.2-liter V-8 from the C7 Corvette ZR1. From there, The Resurrection breathes better with a high-flow air induction system and 112-mm CNC billet throttle body, while the factory 2.65-liter supercharger and cylinder heads are CNC ported and attached to an upgraded pulley. A larger intercooler double-times in The Resurrection, while the camshaft, pushrods, and valvetrain receive upgrades to handle more power.

The power is sent to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission with an upgraded Centerforce clutch and flywheel or a 10-speed automatic transmission with upgraded clutch packs and torque converter.

The Resurrection Hennessey 1,200-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

The Resurrection Hennessey 1,200-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

All of this translates to a 0-60 mph spring of less than 2.3 seconds on its way to a a 9.3-second quarter mile at 150 mph and top speed of more than 220 mph, according to Hennessey.

To feed the beast, the fuel system has been upgraded, engine management system has been recalibrated, and the engine received a tune.

The Resurrection Hennessey 1,200-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

The Resurrection Hennessey 1,200-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

It’s likely The Resurrection will be heard long before it’s seen thanks to its 1 7/8-inch long-tube stainless steel headers, stainless steel midpipes, and high-flow catalytic converters.

Each of The Resurrection Camaro ZL1 1LEs will come with a 1-year/12,000-mile warranty along with a serialized dash plaque.

Hennessey said it will only build 24 examples of The Resurrection and each will cost $200,000, which includes the cost of a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.



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