Top 5 Best Classic Cars at the 2017 SEMA Show

Alex Reid
by Alex Reid

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Every year, builders flock from all over the world to showcase their wild and innovative products at the SEMA show.

Vendors trick out cars in order to show what can be done with their products, and while a lot of them use new cars as a base for all their modifications, a lot of them look to the past for inspiration.

Here are the five best classic cars we saw at SEMA 2017.

1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud

This is a 1958 Rolls-Royce silver cloud that’s been totally reworked by Jonathan Ward at ICON. Everything underneath the skin of this car is totally new — it has an Art Morrison chassis and an LS7, which means it makes a stupid amount of horsepower, but you can’t tell any of that just by looking at it. The larger wheels suggest that he something might be going on underneath, but for the most part, this is a real sleeper.

The interior has been totally done in beautiful green, but the exterior patina has been left alone. The body has rust in a few places, but it’s still structurally sound. It’s cool to see cars like this that look original but are hiding modern tech underneath — which is a big theme at this year’s show — but this particular one is great because it’s rare to see vintage Rolls-Royces or Bentleys having this treatment done to them.

ALSO SEE: 2017 SEMA Show Full Coverage

1948 Tucker 48

This is a 1948 Tucker 48 and only 51 of these were ever built. This one has been totally redone in a pale metallic blue and it looks amazing. On one side, it has brand new wheels and on the other side, it has original wheels with big fat white walls. The newer wheels suggest that it’s hiding something special under the hood, which is actually the trunk, and that would be correct — it’s got a twin-turbo LS motor that you can barely see, so this thing probably hauls.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Aftermarket Trends from the 2017 SEMA Show

1952 Cunningham C-3

This car is incredible. It’s a Cunningham C-3 and only 25 were made in the 1950s. This is a street version of the Cunningham race car that would have raced against Ferrari in the golden age of motorsports. This one is fitted with a 331 Chrysler Hemi and is in its original condition with nice patina. A lot of its original chrome has rust or bubbling on it, which gives it a unique look. Inside, you can see that the dashboard is stock, complete with the original paint (what’s left of it). This car has received an under-the-surface restoration, but you can barely tell. All 25 Cunningham C3s are still in existence today and Jay Leno completed a full restoration of one in 2016.

1970 Mustang Boss 302

This Boss 302 is owned by Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. The actor was involved in every step of the process during this car’s build, which was undertaken by Speedkore and looked over by Ford. The interior has a cool weave pattern that matches the carbon fiber accents around the car, giving it a great modern look while keeping the vintage feel alive. The exterior has been painted in a subdued shade of yellow. It features Mini-Lite-style wheels that give it an SCCA look and should be able to handle the 580-wheel horsepower that the supercharged 5.0L engine is sending to them. As if RDJ couldn’t get any cooler, he also happens to have one of the best cars at the show.

Foose P32

This is a ’32 Ford Roadster that’s been modified by Chip Foose as an homage to Second World War airplanes. Foose’s customization style can be polarizing and some of his builds are slightly over the top including the Mach 1 Mustang he brought to this year’s show, but this a wonderful little hot rod, envisioned as if Second World War pilots turned their planes into cars after the war. With its bare metal finish, it has a Lincoln-Zephyr flathead V12 and the interior is done in a period-correct style to look like the original car that most of the parts are sourced from, bridging the gap between hot rod and fighter plane. This car totally speaks to the era where everybody was in love with airplanes. Well done, Foose!

Alex Reid
Alex Reid

More by Alex Reid

Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • DriftGirl DriftGirl on Nov 07, 2017

    these are great, but....there were nicer cars there

  • Mobycat Mobycat on Jan 26, 2018

    While it definitely can be cool to "upgrade" an older car, I can't imagine ANYONE doing much to a Tucker. Those are $1,000,000+ cars now. I'm presuming it's chassis #1010, which had a seized motor.