SEMA 2012: Our Favorite LS-Powered Cars Of The Show, Part 2!

C’mon, you didn’t really think we only picked five cars to showcase on LSX Magazine, do you? Last week we brought you part 1 of the story of our favorite LS powered cars featured at this years SEMA show. Now we’ve put together five more for you to drool over. Go ahead, we won’t look. Truth be told, we wish we could have taken these home with us.

V-Series Cadillac, 1940s style

The first car is an early ’40s Cadillac that has received some subtle body mods, along with a complete CTS-V update. In other words, it’s still rocking it’s vintage body, but under the hood was a complete, boosted LSA straight out of a V2!

Although the owner was nowhere to be found, despite our best efforts, we took a peek inside the old-school Caddy, and this is what we saw; an interior straight out of a 2012 CTS-V!

Inside, was much of the same story with a V2 steering wheel, seating upholstery and much of the dash being borrowed from an apparent donor car. Although we didn’t find any of the 21st century Cadillac outside of the car, we did happen to spot a pair of “V” badges on each door, along with the script, “SUPERCHARGED” below each emblem.

The whole car sits on a set of 20-inch remakes of the original wheel, polished to a mirror-like luster. We couldn’t find the owner anywhere during the whole show, despite coming back to this car several times throughout the week, and leaving a card.

2012 Factory Five Cobra

While the Ford Racing blue might raise a few eyebrows, we totally dig Rick's E-Rod powered Cobra kit car.

Ok, so this one might not be all that original, but when you do see one of these Factory Five cars around, it’s either powered by a fuel-injected SBF or a carbureted 289 or 427 Ford mill. Kudos to the owner, Rick Sheley, for taking the road less traveled with this LS3-powered example.

The LS3 in question is one of Chevrolet Performance‘s E-Rod examples, and it is backed by a Tremec 5-speed manual gearbox with a Ford 8.8-inch 3-link rear end out back.

It features a Gunmetal Grey paint scheme adorned in a a pair of Grabber Blue Shelby-style racing stripes over the front and rear decks.

The rest of the car is typical Shelby Cobra, with chromed sidepipes, driver positioned roll bar, and an attitude that still emits fear into the competition, much as it had back in the 1960s.

Is this the beginning of a new trend? Who knows? While we doubt this is the very first LS-powered Cobra kit car, and we have a strong suspicion that it won’t be the last.

 

2012/1969 HPP Trans Am

Throwback-style light blue leather gives this 'Trans Am' a vintage look and feel.

In an attempt to stray from the pack of other companies building “new” Trans Ams off of the current Camaro, HPP Cars has taken a different route. Whereas others like Lingenfelter and Trans Am Depot are trying to mimic the styling of the second-generation T/A, HPP is actually looking towards the first-generation Trans Am for their inspiration.

Makes sense to us if you really think about it. The current Camaro is essentially a remake of the first-generation ’69 model, and to base a Firebird or a Trans Am off of the inaugural year T/A seems much more logical to us rather than use the second-generation as a basis for the build.

So as opposed to other companies recreations, where you would see a Shaker scoop and a hood bird, along with ’70-81 fender vents, you’ll find a ram air hood and the lower fender-mounted heat extractors from 1969 on this car.

We think HPP nailed it with their rendition of what a modern remake of a Trans Am should be. It’s heritage enough to be retro, yet there are enough amenities for it to be a modern daily driver.

Of course, it’s backed by an LS3 and an 6-speed manual transmission, with the option for several performance upgrades including a supercharger. If only Pontiac were around to see this, we think it would inspire them to build another Firebird/Trans Am. 

 1965 Nova “Surf Wagon”

How would you like a cherry '65 Nova wagon as a first car? No? Well how about one powered by a 430hp LS3 with a complete DSE suspension package, Baer brakes, and 18-inch hoops? ...Thought so.

When you think of LS-powered cars, it’s pretty likely that you don’t instantly think of a ’65 Nova station wagon. Well, this Nova built by Detroit Speed (DSE) and Jet Hot Coatings will put those old stereotypes to rest. 

This Nova was purpose-built for 16-year old Bridget Kavanaven as her first car. With a 430hp E-Rod LS3 under the hood we’re already jealous, but there’s more. Lots more.

Backing that LS3 is a Bowler 4L65E transmission, while a pair of coated Jet Hot headers expel the spent gases.

Interestingly enough, this Nova is still rocking all of the original paint, sheet metal and trim. Underneath, it sits on a full DSE suspension package and 18-inch wheels, which are designed to mimic the  14-inch steelies the car came with.

Those massive (for an old Nova) 18’s are wrapped in BFG rubber. Oh yeah, and Baer brakes sits behind those huge rollers. Lucky kid.

’55 Chevy Bel-Air

Offenhauser, what?? This LS3 was incredibly clean, and sported an unusual look from what we typically see in an LS powered Tri-Five.

We spotted this shoebox near the Flowmaster booth, and while the details on this car are few, the results speak for themselves. First, there’s no going wrong with an LS3 into a ’55 Chevy, no matter how you do it. But the way this car was executed is what really caught our eye.

Sitting low on a killer set of 20’s, this unusual green-hued Chevy had not only an LS3 under it’s hood, but a retro-styled theme going on with it. Those who remember Offenhauser would have been taking back when they saw that name scripted onto the fuel rail covers of the alloy mill.

The Bel-Air featured all of the factory chrome trim, a welcome change from the “shaved look” we’ve become used to in the past. The only difference we’ve spotted are the flush mounted door handles that catch your eye as you walk past this gleaming beauty. 

Every inch of this car appeared to be perfect. Like the Cadillac featured above, if it were ours, we probably wouldn’t have been further than five feet away from it the whole time.

Every aspect of this shoebox was C-L-E-A-N!

LS Eye Candy

But with all of the cars at SEMA, there’s just so much to see, so we can’t really blame someone from straying away from their rides to admire someone else’s project. We hoped you enjoyed the second part of this series. We did our best to bring you something you’ve never seen before, while still being relevant to our publication. We already can’t wait for next year!

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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