SEMA 2008: The Top 8 Most Outrageous Pickup Trucks


By Larry Edsall

“Outrageous” is an adjective that's rarely heard at the SEMA show. That's because so much on display there is, well, so inherently outrageous — “exceeding all bounds of decency or reasonableness,” as Webster’s defines the word — that it's accepted as normal.

Even so, there are things at SEMA that stand out from the norm, not the least of which are some of the customized cars and, of course, the pickup trucks.

Using a very liberal definition of outrageous, we’ve selected this Great Eight of pickups that we find to be, well, outrageous, whether for unique architectures or powertrains or simply for exceeding all bounds.

No. 8: 2009 Scion xB by MV Designz


Toyota didn’t build the Scion xB as a pickup truck, but it let customizer Michael Vu of MV Designz convert one of the boxy 2009 wagons into this interesting four-door pickup. The Scion xB pickup features Vu’s own wide-body kit, front and rear fascia, pop-up fuel filler and power tailgate. Reyes Upholstery supplied new surfaces for the interior, which features a lot of stuff from Alpine Electronics, where Vu was an engineer before launching his design and customizing business in January 2005. The Scion pickup rides on TRD lowering springs and uses TRD Big Brakes inside 22-inch USW-forged wheels that wear Nitto Invo tires.


No. 7: 2006 Chevrolet SSR drag racer


Mark Hicks, who owns a powder coating and chrome business in Bloomington, Ill., has a thing for the Chevrolet SSR. He already had a couple customized versions in his garage when he decided to build a one-off SSR drag racer. Hicks tracked down Jon Moss, who built lots of toys and concepts during his long career at General Motors, to make sure Hicks’ truck would be unique. It is. It’s built around a funny-car chassis and runs a 540 with a 1471 blower. Moss went to ASC, which worked on the SSR for GM, to do the special body molds he needed for a vehicle that’s wedged 7 inches in the front and 5 inches at the rear. Retired from GM, Moss now consults with Sherwin-Williams and its Planet Color paints, thus the Mango Light with Scaraveus Crystal color and Candy Apple Red flames. Hicks hasn’t raced the car, but he plans to as soon as he upgrades his NHRA license, probably early next year in Gainesville, Fla. Hicks expects the car to run in the low 6’s. If it doesn’t, he says he’ll put in an even more powerful engine. 


No. 6: 1938 Ford Cab Over Engine Truck


Randy McDaniel was at the Pomona swap meet a few years ago when he saw a rusted, dented 1938 Ford cab-over truck that had spent its better years as a working farm truck in Fresno, Calif. “It ran, but it was beat,” he said. But McDaniel, of Yorba Linda, Calif., liked the truck, knew that probably nobody else had one, and hired McMillan Piston, Paint and Bodywork of Bellflower, Calif., to create the outrageous hauler displayed at SEMA. Powering the two-tiered hauler is a 5.9-liter Cummins diesel engine. McDaniel has a collection of half a dozen cars, including another — a blown 1934 Ford coupe — that was also on display at SEMA.


No. 5: Freightliner SportChassis with Eliminator Boat


As if any Freightliner SportChassis isn’t outrageous enough, Freightliner says its SEMA SportChassis is “the ultimate pickup line.” The big — no, very big — pickup comes with either a sided or, in this case, a flat bed that’s used to show off an Easy-Run Engine Test Stand that just happens to hold a 632-cubic-inch Merlin-block engine that pumps out 780 horsepower and 815 pounds-feet of torque. That’s pretty strong, but not as strong as the 38-foot Eliminator 380 Eagle XP ICC boat the truck pulls. The boat is equipped with a pair of 625-horsepower Ilmor V-10 engines. The engine in the Freightliner that pulls everything is a 330-hp Cummins that provides a mere 1,000 pounds-feet of torque.   


No. 4: Paul Tracy’s 2008 Chevy 2500 HD 4WD


Indy racer and Las Vegas resident Paul Tracy is a car guy, or in this case a truck guy. Tracy’s 2008 Chevrolet 2500 HD 4WD was modified by Vegas-based Action Motorsports & Audio, the truck has been lifted 16 inches and features chromed and powder-coated King shocks from Showoff Motorsports. Action and Showoff also worked together on exterior fabrication that features Putco accessories, RBP grille and AMP Research electric steps. The truck rides on KMC XD 22x14 diesel wheels that wear 40x15.5x22 Toyo Open Country tires. The paint job uses Sherwin Williams colors applied by Action Motorsports and Interior changes include Lamborghini diamond suede and leather, revised gauges and lighting, custom fiberglass enclosures and Hushmat sound dampening so you can better hear the Kenwood and Kicker audio components. There’s also performance under the hood, with a custom engine computer and a Magnaflow/RBP exhaust system. 


No. 3: 2008 Chevrolet 'Super' Silverado by Bigfoot 4x4


You can nearly walk beneath this Chevrolet Silverado, which has been lifted more than 30 inches — 30 inches! — by none other than the folks from Bigfoot. And that lift is on top of 51-inch Firestone Duraforce AT-R rubber mounted on custom 24x16 wheels. DuPont’s Hot Hues paint, Warn winches and a bunch of Sony Mach One audio equipment also are part of the outrageous package. Oh, yes, lest we forget: The biodiesel, turbo-powered Duramax diesel gets a nitrous boost from Summit Racing.


No. 2: 2009 F-150 Electric Green Truck by PML


It says “No Compromise” on the rocker panels of this Ford F-150. That’s because this truck is clean and green, yet it delivers 600 hp. What makes this F-150 clean and green is the removal of its 320-hp, gasoline-burning V-8 engine (as well as the transmission, drivetrain, exhaust and differential) and the installation of four electric motors — one within and driving each of the four wheels. British-based PML Flightlink Ltd. calls its electric power system Hi-Pa Drive. PML says the green F-150 can travel as far as 100 miles without recharging the 40-kilowatt battery, or, if set up as a gas/electric hybrid with a small fuel-burning engine, the truck could exceed 100 mpg with a range of hundreds of miles.


No. 1: 2009 Toyota Tundra/Ducati Transporter


The Ducati Desmosedici RR is the world’s only street-legal MotoGP bike, and Toyota and Toyota Racing Development decided that a modified 2009 Tundra CrewMax would provide a great pit base for bike racing. The truck was modified in many ways, including installation of a 6.5-foot bed that features an array of solar panels and a flip-up bedside that opens to provide storage for bike-racing gear and tools. Rampage supplied the motorized bike-loading ramp. TRD provided such things as a supercharger for the truck’s engine and revised suspension. Fast Ed’s Interiors reworked the truck’s interior with Italian-inspired details.

Check out more pics and info about the Tundra/Ducati Transporter here.


The only vehicle upthere I think that really stands a chance is the Scion xB. The big tired trucks won't go over well in this economy, and folks with street bikes already have a carier of some type.............

I still say that if Ford does the right stuff the Ford with the electric motors in the wheels could be a big hit. I could also see it saving them money in the long run because making electric motors and a small engine to recharge the batteries is a hell of a lot cheaper than the new engines, tranny's and all they have to develop, R&D and then market.

It would definitely set them apart.

Nice article, Mike!

While some of these rigs truly are outrageous, others are downright ugly. But, I really love the paintjob on Paul Tracy's HD. The green flames against the glossy black background is really well done!! :-)

Thank Larry Edsall for compiling this list. He did a GREAT job!


cool/ sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet

Scion might have the image of a kid cadr, but there are very creative designs coming out of that company. I'm hoping they build a little trucklet cause it will have so many bells and whistles that it will tempt the compact truck market now. I imagine something with a midgate, lots of secure storage and maybe rear facing rear seats. I imagine something that flirts with vintage American truck lines and styling. Build it and they will come. Shame the big three don't see the HUGE opportunity now.

There is nothing I love to see more than a totally dressed and decked out pickup truck! These were great!

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