SEMA 2017'S EPIC FAILS

4WDrive - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY BRYAN IRONS

We’ll ad­mit that go­ing to Las Ve­gas for a week dur­ing Hal­loween and get­ting into the SEMA show is awe­some. Some­times the show in­spires new ideas, plat­forms and prod­ucts for us to sali­vate over, but then there’s also the “what in the….” train wrecks and fol­lies. The builders and de­sign­ers of this dump­ster fod­der have to be given a lit­tle slack as the process to be new and in­no­va­tive every year has been known to kill brain­cells faster than home­made party mix. For 2017, we were hard pressed to find any­thing that we would tag with Ralph Nader’s “un­safe at any speed” but there were some bloop­ers to be had.

2 Uh…Your Nip­ples are Show­ing

You know how I know that this rig will never see dirt? Com­mon sense would at­tempt to keep any ven­er­a­ble parts – such as grease nip­ples – out of harms way on the trail. Every lift kit in­stal­la­tion we have seen points out cor­rect grease nip­ple ori­en­ta­tion…grrr.

1 Lifted Truck, Dropped Hitch Vi­o­la­tions

We had hoped that this phe­nom­e­non was in our past, along with tow mir­rors flipped out with­out a trailer present, but we were wrong, so wrong. Wel­come to the barb­wire tat­too of the truck world. Funny how many suf­fer­ing from this prob­lem have said tat­toos as well.

3 An­gle of Your Dan­gle

We re­al­ize that when the money tree starts with­er­ing, some cor­ners must be cut. In that light, we can un­der­stand some of the ques­tion­able mod­i­fi­ca­tions on this Toy­ota – and there are plenty – but proper drive­shaft an­gles can­not be over­looked. For­get “slight vi­bra­tion,” we doubt this truck could do over 30 km/h even if the Dana 44’s would live.

4 Could you at Least Try?

You have a ve­hi­cle in SEMA peo­ple…make like you be­long here. “Ty­wrap it up there” and “Pfft, good enough here” will get you nowhere but on this list. Be­tween rusty brake shields on $100,000 trucks and seats with “ex­cite­ment” stains on them…we’re barely phased any­more.

5 Just Be­cause You Can

Look, we love the cre­ative mind of Daystar’s CEO, Mark Turner. Yet, just be­cause thou­sands across the na­tion have ditched the 3.8L turd-un­der-the-hood of their Jeep JK’s, doesn’t mean you have to re­pur­pose them… a pair at a time… with turbo’s… and faux chrome ac­cents. If we know Mark, this JK and its leftovers will see dirt, sand, salt and maybe rocks. We can’t hate it too bad as it was very well ex­e­cuted and still has func­tion­ing 4-wheel drive. We would gladly go for a ride just to see what 7.6 litres of forcefed scrap iron can do. We’d just need a pa­per bag to wear if things went south.

6 Swing and a Miss

Be­lieve it or not, we like weird and edgy when it’s done well. From the front, this San­taFe from Hyundai was look­ing the part. Nice stance, some good wheel travel and even some un­der­car­riage up­grades for the in­evitable belly drag­ging. We we right to start ask­ing more about it and get some ad­di­tional stats, but that goofy ex­haust stared us in the eye, just beg­ging to get squashed. Rather than come off as a pompous ed­i­tor to an “all know­ing” en­gi­neer, we gig­gled as we snapped a few shots and walked out of the ex­hibit. Bet­ter luck next time!

7 Grills are for Cook­ing, Peo­ple!

First, “An­gry Eye” grills showed up for the Jeep JK and we felt a lit­tle in­di­ges­tion, then the Grumper grill showed up for the plat­form and we hoped it would go away with a lit­tle pepto. Now it’s start­ing to in­fect other brands and we’re just not sure how much more we can take. We know that Fab Four’s owner Greg Higgs likes to push en­velopes, but this is get­ting out of hand. The new front grill of­fered for the Ram pickup line has crossed a bound­ary and we just can’t take it any­more. Be­tween the poor fit and “so ugly only a mother could love” ap­pear­ance, we’re just not sure what Higgs will do to us next. “Bar keep, two shots of bour­bon, please…”

8 Sacri­lege

Take a good look, this is how you ruin a corn binder. We may have even shed a tear (or 40) as we sat in the dark af­ter­hours of SEMA and looked at this poor piece of Amer­i­cana. It got us think­ing about our failed In­ter­na­tional Har­vester Trav­e­lall project rig and how it’s in a bet­ter place now. Be­sides the nose bleed height, the wheels were off-road blas­phemy.On a closer in­spec­tion, we were as­tounded by the lack of sway bars and the ap­par­ent ig­no­rance of how a ra­dius arm sus­pen­sion sys­tem works. As our gaze con­tin­ued on­ward, so did the 4x4 fol­lies, in­clud­ing the roll bar that would make a bet­ter head­board. May we all join hands and have a mo­ment of si­lence for this poor, abused Scout?

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