Sema: Cars Gone Wild

by : Anthony Fontanelle

At this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, automakers and car parts manufacturers will flaunt their hottest products. And one of the automakers that intend to grab the limelight is Auburn Hills-based Chrysler LLC. with a bunch of wild cars.

The SEMA show, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from over 100 countries. Last year, the show drew over 50,000 domestic and international buyers through two million square feet of exhibits. The displays are segmented into 11 sections, and a New Products Showcase features more than 2,000 newly launched parts, tools and components, the organization said.

Most minivans may not call the SEMA show home, but Chrysler designers have created a family hauler worthy of the license plate DBL-DWN. The Black Jack, one of eight pimped-out rides from Chrysler, will introduce at the SEMA show next week complete with a card room and a large screen TV, reported the Detroit News. Its smoky subtle exterior gives way to garish sin City's showroom inside, where a lighted table and floor sparkle over the suede and leather interior.

"I found inspiration in those old lounges and bars," said the minivan's designer Marc Reisen. "We put 10 to 15 coats of paint on here before we knew we got it just right."

Underneath the paint is an orange pin stripe that illuminates under the bright light that spells out "Black Jack" on the hood. It is extreme, fun and cuts to the point of how carmakers showcase vehicles at SEMA. Take the ordinary and make them extra outrageous, said Ralph Gilles, the vice president of Jeep/truck design.

"Under every SEMA vehicle there is an underlying truth," Gilles said. "Sometimes we're trying to stimulate interest in Mopar (Chrysler's aftermarket parts division); other times we're trying to test the waters and show people (a vehicle's) potential" through radical design.

Gilles said that the Dodge Ram BFT is an example of an extreme truck with real-world potential. "A savvy truck guy can look past the cosmetic parts and see a truck with a 10-foot bed," he said.

Designer Scott Krugger said that almost everything on the BFT, which stands for Built For Towing, is already factory-produced. The design team put a regular cab on a 160-inch heavy duty frame. They also used the metal from a Mega Cab's doors to extend the bed to 10 feet, he added.

All of Chrysler's SEMA vehicles are built by the Mopar Underground design team. The team consists of ultimate enthusiasts dream up and creates just about anything on wheels.

Included in this year's Chrysler's SEMA lineup are the two-door Jeep Wrangler JT with a 5-foot bed, Jeep Wrangler Ultimate equipped with a 392-cubic-inch Hemi crate engine and an overhauled interior, Jeep Wrangler All Access premium interior vehicle with excellent off-road capabilities and 35-inch tires, and minivan racer Dodge Caravan R/T with a spoiler, hood scoop and 20-inch tires.

Another entry from the maker of the is the Avenger Tuner Stormtrooper which includes a 4-liter V-6 for added power and Internet connectivity for all four passengers.