Ever since 1963, SEMA has been the hotbed of custom truck trends. Every year manufacturers do trick out every kind of truck imaginable to show off their custom parts.
It’s a cutthroat competition where the newest and sometimes weirdest trends show up. Here’s a short list of the coolest trends we saw this year.
1. Laying Flat on the Rockers
At the show, we found more Silverados and Rams than we could count. The F100s wowed the audience like usual. But it was really the custom SUVs that took the cake.
If you don’t know, rockers are the panels along the lower sides of the truck. Typically, manufacturers set the suspension to keep the rockers far from the ground. One custom trend this year is to drop the chassis sow low the rockers almost touch the ground.
Custom fanatics have been doing this to pickups for a long time, but dropping SUVs onto the rockers is a new trend.
2. Beyond Reasonable Suspension Lift Kits
The Monster truck trend has been around since World War II. But we’ve not been able to jack up trucks to such awesome heights while maintaining that chromatic sense of beauty until now.
Most customizers at the show took your most famous models and turned them into monsters. For example, Tim Dunaway of FLO Airride built the Midas Touch out of a brand new 2018 Ford F-250 Platinum.
He used SORD hydraulic adjustable shocks and a sheet metal radius arm setup. He converted the steering to high-steer crossover steering. He used double overlay with mirrored stainless steel on top of the complete suspension to give it a shiny (Midas) touch.
3. Military Paint Design
We saw Pacific Truck Colors and other companies showing off one of the most unusual trends in years. But you’ll probably agree that it’s one you and your neighbor will replicate in the next year or two. Military paint design is on the rise.
What is military paint design? Military vehicles were designed to withstand the most brutal environments. Thus, every design choice from the chassis to the paint job was a matter of function over form. Paints were rugged and made to protect and not look pretty.
But what happens when you use military grade vehicle paint on a brand new truck? You get a beautiful and badass truck that can withstand brutal abrasions. It creates the best conversation starter too.
Of course, you could just buy a Polaris Dagor and trick it out to the max. It really depends on what you want. Do you want to have an unusual looking pickup or an actual military monster?
4. Hotrods Won’t Go Away…Ever
This year, the Mad Max vibe was strong. Mike Burroughs of Tanceworks took advantage of a recent trend in hot rods: distressed.
Mike took a 1931 Ford Model A and turned it into a race truck. He replaced the engine with a supercharged Coyote V-8. The pushrod was racing inspired and the bell crank rear suspension allows the truck to ride on centerlock IMSA prototype wheels.
Too Many Custom Truck Trends to Count
The SEMA featured more incredible truck trends than we have room for here. If you’re interested in more classic custom trends, check out our classic car section.