The significance of Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has been growing in recent years. The show was once dominated by aftermarket concoctions by men in their sheds. Now, however, every major automaker tries its best to bury the Las Vegas Convention Center under a pile of snazzy style and performance concept vehicles. It’s Chevrolet’s turn and it has thrown some doozeys on top of the heap.
Chevy’s performance engineers mostly harnessed their inner redneck when it came time to build its SEMA cars. Topping the trailer park poster list is the Jeff Gordan SS performance sedan concept.
Most of the changes from the upcoming production model are cosmetic, with a custom satin paint job, a Jeff Gordon #24 graphic, custom wheels and a spoiler. The interior gets some perforated suede seats and a new steering wheel.
The engine is the standard “small block” 6.2-liter LS3 V8 pushing out 415 horsepower. Amusingly, the last time 6.2 liters was considered ‘small’ was 1971.
The real reason you might want this concept, though, is the suspension. The vehicle has been lowered and the suspension is set up for more aggressive handling. Apparently, the Chevy engineers sought the advice of Jeff Gordon himself for these tweaks. You can bet, then, that this car is really good at turning left.
Before you accuse me of getting all ‘blue state’ on NASCAR and the Chevy SS, you should know I do in fact want one of these…a lot.
But the SS isn’t all Chevy has to offer. Chevy also brought more Camaros to SEMA than there are living Icelanders. Some of these Camaros we have seen before, like the amazing track focused Z/28.
Also on display are performance concepts for both the V6- and V8-powered Camaros. These performance concepts feature a slight bump in performance. Mostly, however, they’re at SEMA to show off all of the dealer options that customers can bolt to their Chevy pony car.
Blood-pumpingest of all, however, are the Performance Garage Camaro and the Spring Edition Convertible cars.
The Performance Garage vehicle features the best of the Z/28 and the insane ZL1 in one miraculous package. It gets the short-throw shifter from the ZL1, shorty headers from the Z/28, and many of the hardcore track-derived suspension parts responsible for the Z/28’s quick Nurburgring time.
For those of who have a slightly more relaxed driving style – and good toupee glue – there is the Camaro Spring Concept. This stunning cabrio focuses on the style and experience of driving, rather driving it like Mario Andretti on meth. The standout features – to me – are the paint and the Blue Ray trimmed interior. Put together with the 21-inch wheels and the areo kit, this Camaro just doesn’t look like it is about to turn into a giant robot; it looks like it already has.
The total effect might be a bit over the top, but that seems to be the look that Chevy is going for with its SEMA cars this year. And, in Las Vegas, that only seems appropriate.