It doesn’t matter if you prefer trucks over cars, or compacts over classics; if you’re an enthusiast, you love them all. The shinier, lower, higher, louder, smoother, faster—the hotter. But there’s hot—and then there’s hottest—and those vehicles are what industry insiders agree represent what SEMA itself is all about—automotive aftermarket accessorizing and modifications.
Can you imagine the absolutely awful job of being a SEMA judge? Talk about stress. It’s probably easier to pick the least hot cars than the hottest. So, you gotta hand it to these “experts” who, for the second year now, somehow managed to narrow down the more than 1,000 modified cars, trucks, and SUVs into a super hot list of only four—the Hottest Car, the Hottest Sport-Compact, the Hottest 4x4 SUV, and the Hottest Truck. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, 2012 FIAT 500, 2012 Jeep Wrangler, and 2012 Ford F-Series were named the the hottest vehicle winners of SEMA 2011.
Four on the Floor
Hottest Car: Chevrolet Camaro The only car to receive this award and to receive it twice, the current-generation Camaro is considered the most “accessory-friendly” vehicle. Not that Chevy did a bad job with the stock, production version of this car, but the aftermarket has taken it to extremes, with a huge number of parts and accessories for Camaro personalization and performance upgrades. In fact, GM has done several modifications to a few of its own Camaros. Check out Corvette and Camaro Concept Cars at SEMA.
Hottest Sport-Compact: FIAT 500 The little FIAT 500 hatchback packs some big accolades. Besides being awarded Hottest Sport-Compact at SEMA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also awarded the 500 “Top Safety Pick” honors for 2012—impressive for a vehicle of its tiny stature. Besides the Pink Ribbon Edition, proceeds from which benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and FIAT 500 by Gucci Limited-Edition models, Mopar (Chrysler’s parts and performance division) offers over 150 accessories for the diminutive Italian-designed 500.
Hottest 4x4 SUV: Jeep Wrangler Jeeps have always been fan favorites for modifying, but sales are expected to boom for the 2012 Jeep Wrangler, thanks to it getting Chrysler’s new Pentastar V6 engine—and a 40-percent stock horsepower increase as a result. This is all the more reason for off-road lovers to gravitate toward the new Wrangler, what Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC calls “the most customized SUV in the marketplace.”
Hottest Truck: Ford F-Series Four Ford F-Series tricked-out trucks made this an obvious pick for Hottest Truck platform, perfect for accessorizing. Superlift Suspensions and Matchbox hooked up to build out a bright orange “brush truck” with a 10-inch lift system on 41-inch Interco IROK tires. This is getting to be a pattern for Ford pickups: Check out last SEMA’s Ford Super Duty Pit Boss.
If you’re new to the world of SEMA, it’s an annual trade-only auto show highlighting aftermarket parts and innovations, which takes place every fall in Las Vegas. “As the visionaries and innovators of the industry, our SEMA Show exhibitors determine the winners of the SEMA Award based on the vehicles they showcase in their booths,” said Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. “With each booth vehicle representing one vote, the most prominent models in each category are the winners. The SEMA Award celebrates these outstanding vehicles that emerge each year at the show.”