For the last few years, the Toyo Treadpass has been one of the SEMA Show’s most anticipated elements. It’s not hard to understand why either; the vehicles – all of which are making their public debut as either brand new or reimagined builds – are unique, varied and always spectacular.
A few months ago no one even knew if the SEMA Show would even go ahead in 2021, but regardless of that fact, this year’s Treadpass display of 32 cars did not disappoint.
For me personally, the show was even more special.
Not only was this my very first trip to Las Vegas for SEMA, my personal Nissan Z31 project made the Toyo Treadpass cut, which was a true honor. A huge effort went into finishing off the build ahead of it being shipped out to Vegas, and I’ll be sharing that story with you in the coming weeks. What I can say is that it was totally worth all the time, stress and financial investment; I will never forget this experience.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect is the people I’ve met over the course of this week. The Treadpass cars are all great, but interacting with the people behind them and hearing their stories really made the event for me.
Of course, Speedhunters will be taking a closer look at a few of these builds in the near future, but for now I want to share with you some of my personal favorites.
Where do we start? Well, seeing as this carbon-clad R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R was mentioned in an earlier SEMA preview, let’s jump right in here.
Jaw firmly picked up off the floor, how incredible does this look? Japan’s Garage Active team have featured on Speedhunters before, but this is a brand new build specifically for SEMA, and one of their best yet.
Featuring their full ‘dry carbon’ wide-body kit, Garage Active has once again stuck with the RB26 engine, albeit increasing displacement to 2.8-litres and bolting a giant Garrett turbo good for 800+ horsepower on the side.
An OS Giken OS88 6-speed sequential gearbox sends the power to all four wheels and, as you’d expect given the amount of carbon used, weight has been cut down by a couple of hundred pounds too. Despite having a full interior.
Given the values of these GT-Rs now, it’s awesome to see such a big build still being put together by the Garage Active team. More of this please.
Yep, that’s a wide-body, twin-turbo, LS-powered DMC DeLorean. If there’s one car you could’ve never anticipated seeing at the SEMA Show, or any other place around the world, this is surely it.
Owned by fabricator Tim Moceri, the custom DMC-12’s initial concept came from Speedhunters’ friend Khyzyl Saleem, before being made a reality by Tim and the team at Salvage To Salvage.
Sitting on custom KW coilovers, the rear view with turbos dangling down is something else. And with that kind of power behind it, 88mph should come and go in just a few seconds…
When Lexus built the GS300, I don’t think they ever planned it to do any form of racing. But take one look at the 507 Garage build and tell me it doesn’t look ready to decimate all.
Digital guru Jonsibal is responsible for the initial render, and with the help of Shawn and the team at Attacking The Clock Racing this monstrous GS300 was born. It’s easily one of my stand-out builds here; the attention to detail – and focus on speed – is second to none.
I can’t wait to see (and hear) this thing being used in anger. We’ll need to do a proper story on this soon.
One more build from the Salvage To Salvage guys, this time a Chevy C10 truck casually packing a full Tesla powertrain.
EV may be something we all succumb to in the future, and whatever your thoughts are on that, the fact you can still incorporate this level of creativity – even without a proper engine – is something I can definitely get behind.
But if EV isn’t for you, there’s always Ruffian Cars. Before someone screams, ‘It’s not an original GT40 chopped up’, know that it’s not exactly a kit car build either.
Starting life as a Superformance Mark 1 GT40, Ruffian Cars have gone wider, lower and thrown even more power into the mix for one of the baddest-looking builds at SEMA this year.
Check out the rear rubber – they’ve somehow squeezed 19×14-inch wheels under the arches. Want to have a guess at the offset? Negative 102. That’s not a typo, either.
You can see more of the build over on the Ruffian Cars website here.
Who else still has a massive soft spot for any rotary-powered car? Jonny Grunwald’s FD3S Mazda RX-7 makes you want to get on Craigslist immediately and buy something packing a spinning dorito. Because under that bonnet is a three-rotor 20B from Lucky 7 Racing, and the TCP Magic aero makes it look straight out of time attack.
But, it’s still a street car – even with upwards of 1,000hp on tap from the 20B and giant Garrett G42 turbocharger combo. This thing must be an absolute rollercoaster to drive, and the noise? We need videos.
If you’ve ever been to SEMA, you’ll know the Treadpass has quickly become one of the go-to spots for hero builds. 2021 is no different; Stan Chen and the Toyo team have once again smashed it with their car selection.
Truth be told, the spotlights above are just a small insight into the full set of cars on display, so we’ll pick this back up with a Part 2 very soon. If you thought the cars above were wild, wait until you see the six-wheeled G-Wagen and a Pandem-kitted BMW 8 Series.
Where to start? The rear of that DeLorean is off the hooooookkk!!!! Please do a feature on it!
+1 on that. I do recommend checking out the "Salvage To Savage" YouTube channel. They have a pretty in depth build diary on the C10. It doesn't get super in detail with every little thing, but they're pretty good about going over their general thought and design process. I've been following it all along. The DeLorean build is a lot less in depth, but both are worth the watch.
It´s (Salvage to Savage*) Great article and pictures Brandon!
Just this section alone is a real wild trophy truck with a rotary or supercapacitor away from SEMA getting it's $h1t together so everything isn't yet another yawnfest brodozer or LWB with a retro theme. Glad to see no one was stuck in 2010 anymore... 2022 is gonna be a fun year if these shortages can see a resolution and we replace these gridlocked factory/union/covid workers with robots and Kukas faster. Bailout and retire the workers, not the zombie companies still tryin at hydrogen, do-it-all suv's/crossovers, and pointless garbage. We want our pure market sports cars, leave the "mobility solutions" to everyone else.
Great article! I have to ask, how's the mask mandate there? asking as an event organizer.
According to Sema's website: "SEMA is 100% committed to delivering a great Show in November!
Expected Health and Safety Requirements: Based on current COVID-19 indicators and trends in Clark County, Nevada, attendees at the 2021 SEMA Show can expect that face masks will be required while indoors during the event. Currently there is no requirement to show proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test for trade shows, and there is no indication these measures would be in place in November."
I remember back in May when I first saw this Z31 and I immediately fell in love with the safari gold and all mods job. Can't wait for the full cover article for this Z31 project.
Awesome cars. I really am enjoying your writing Brandon. Good job!
I can't take the credit on most of the writing for this one. I only wrote a few paragraphs of it mostly about enjoying meeting the people. I was too exhausted from the week to think straight
And this is why SEMA is awesome!
My favorite builds here have to be that Z31, LC500, RX-7, G63 6x6, GS300, Skyline, M2, 850CSi, 356 Carrera, and 308
The Z32 and Carbon R32 are easily the best builds here. The others were either rushed and took shortcuts or just need to pay more attention to details and finishing work (sheet metal self-tapping screws, panel gaps/fitment, paint runs, etc)
Damn they are all really good builds but that C124 in copper/brown hits right in the feels. She is so beautiful
The absolute dream of shooting SEMA without people. Great stuff, Brandon. Looking forward to seeing more on your Z!