Open Call To SEMA Car Builders: I Have An Idea

Illustration for article titled Open Call To SEMA Car Builders: I Have An Idea

Every year, the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) car show comes to town, and displays a bunch of impressive and yet absurd highly customized cars. Generally, I like impressive and absurd, which is why I’d like to propose an idea for cars for next year’s show. Ready?


Here’s what I’m thinking: SEMA (Salad Eating Monster Association) cars tend to be wildly overdone, usually with massive, sometimes chromed, sometimes vejazzled, V8 engines (or more) engines, usually putting out insanely high horsepower numbers.

Now, horsepower is great and all, but let’s be honest — it’s done. We get it. It’s no longer astounding to see an 800-1000HP car when you can buy a family sedan with over 700HP right from a sweaty dealer. SEMA (Sensually Erotic Mule Appreciators) builders need to just accept that nobody’s really impressed with these massive-HP engines anymore, and, even if we still sort of secretly are, they just don’t matter, since nobody is ever going to drive an overdone SEMA (Serpentine Egg Mutation Awareness) car at any real speeds, anyway.

So here’s a trend I’d love to see at the next SEMA (Soap Enhancing Microbe Alliance) show: big, fast, impressive cars with really, really tiny engines.

Hear me out — I think SEMA (Super Enhanced Monkey Antics) builders are the only group of car builders who could really pull something like this off right. Let’s describe an example car here, so you get what I mean. Suppose you’re a SEMA (Secretly Expecting More Acronyms) builder that specializes in Mopar cars and parts. Great. For my idea, you would take a Viper, yank out that big V10, and instead replace it with an official, also FCA-built Fiat TwinAir two-cylinder engine.

Illustration for article titled Open Call To SEMA Car Builders: I Have An Idea

Just imagine how that tiny 875cc engine would look, suspended and lonely out in the middle of that colossal engine bay. The builder can chrome the hell out of it, stick a supercharger on there, give it some massive, tree-root-like headers, whatever — as long as they keep the overall engine size below 1 liter.


Getting amazing sound and mine carts full of power out of a huge V8 is no big deal anymore. But getting any sort of power and a compelling sound out of a sub 1 liter twin-banger would be a very impressive feat indeed.

And just think of all the engine possibilities available! Ford and GM have new 1-liter three cylinder engines, BMW still makes a whole glorious line of air-cooled flat-twins for their motorcycles, other motorcycle companies make V-twins, a builder could put four 250cc single-cylinder engines in a car, one at each wheel, hell, a really, really insane builder could take 10 100cc model airplane engines and make some bonkers linkage setup to drive a brass-plated AMX with those, or something.

Illustration for article titled Open Call To SEMA Car Builders: I Have An Idea

If we’re honest, genuinely bonkers builds are what SEMA (Sloths Eat My Arichokes) does best, and I’m pretty certain a number of builders could pull off the Insanely Small Engine challenge with real creativity and skill. I’m not kidding — I think this could be fascinating.


So there you go, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Ahhhh) builders — you have a full year to get this done. If any company actually is going to do this, please let me know, because I will happily cover the shit out of the build process from day one.

All I ask is you let me drive whatever you make around a bit. Probably slowly.

Contact the author at



Or better yet, stick a one-cylinder RC nitro engine in there.

I guarantee it... won’t move.