The beginning of every year is an especially busy time for anyone who works in the automotive industry: after coming off of the holiday rush, we go straight back to work and face a flurry of shows that reveal what is new in the truck world. Media days for the Greater L.A. Auto Show were January 2-3, followed by the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two days later, and CES in Las Vegas soon after that. While the Detroit show is considered the big show for OE companies, the Los Angeles show has distinguished itself by offering a strong combination of new vehicle introductions, one-off concepts, and an impressive amount of aftermarket presence.
The following is the cream of the crop we saw while at the Los Angeles show -- some of what you will see are vehicles that have strong aftermarket potential, some are interesting introductions, and some are the best vehicles that were on display in the aftermarket section of the show.
If this truck looks familiar, it's because it was on the cover of the Feb. '03 issue of Truckin'. This '03 Dodge Ram was painted in Hemi Orange paint, uses a Kenne Bell supercharger for added horsepower, and sports massive 26-inch wheels and tires.
Dodge debuted this vehicle in Los Angeles. It is called the Magnum SRT-8, which Dodge refers to as a performance sports tourer, another new vehicle niche. It uses a 430hp 5.7L Hemi V-8 backed by a five-speed Autostick. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle will have optional all-wheel drive available, and is meant to be a powerful vehicle with cargo carrying capacity, towing capability, and street-friendly handling.
An entire hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center was used to display aftermarket vehicles and products. Kentia Hall is where most of the great modified vehicles could be found, including this Brabus-built Mercedes-Benz G500. After Brabus installed its 400hp engine and added more luxury touches to the body and interior, the company renamed it a G6.1, referring to its 6.1L V-8 engine. If it's in your budget, you can have this package put on your G500 as well.
This was one of the finest vehicles we saw at SEMA at the end of last year, and we were quite happy to see it on display for the public at Kentia Hall. This F-150 was built by Gaylord's Custom Trucks, and its body features sculpted lines that are unlike any other truck in existence. If you think that is an exaggeration, take a close look at the lines this truck now has. It's also a recent Truckin' cover truck; you can read about it in the May '03 issue.
One look at this H2 and you instantly notice the huge lift and massive tires. What you can't see is the Star Shield coating on the paint. Star Shield is a protective film that will prevent rock chips from damaging your vehicle's paint. And, as you can see in this photo, it accomplishes this without interfering in any way with the vehicle's paintjob.
Osram Sylvania makes Xenarc, a line of street-legal High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting systems for many trucks and SUVs on the market. These systems can replace the driving lights installed from the factory, or can be put in custom locations. A set of HIDs was recently put on our sister publication Truckin's SUV's Project Escape, with impressive results.
The Eliminator is Ecology Auto Parts' monster truck. It had been a competition truck in the 1990s, going up against such famed monster trucks as Grave Digger and Big Foot. The Ford uses a 580ci engine that runs on methanol, and has a steel body and frame. The truck weighs more than 15 tons, making it quite possibly the heaviest truck per cubic inch at the show.
For those of you who thought that no one modified Monteros, here's one for you. Yes, the paintjob is stock, but the Montero rides on sweet chrome wheels and Toyo tires, has a complete Kenwood mobile electronics system with Scosche wiring and connectors, and was given Sirius Satellite Radio, the alternative to XM Radio.
Bert's Mega Mall, in Azusa, California, put this Sky Supreme boat on display. Bert's started out as a bicycle store, and expanded to include motorcycles and eventually watercraft. Ever since Truckin' launched its Water Toys section, we've been looking for some awesome truck/boat combos. Too bad this one wasn't towed in by a matching truck. Maybe that can be Bert's next project...
Crownline is a company that makes bowriders, deck boats, and cruisers, and that the company had a display at the L.A. Auto Show is a testament to the growing enthusiasm for boating. This model's trailer was painted to match the boat. Could this one find its way into Truckin's Water Toys section?
Wheel Warehouse had a sizable booth in Kentia Hall. In it, the company displayed several cars and SUVs with some of the wheels it sells. This Escalade was displayed with a set of Gianelle wheels. Wheel Warehouse
Another vehicle in Wheel Warehouse's booth is this '03 Range Rover. The vehicle's new-for-'03 body style works quite nicely with the chrome wheels it was given.