Our Favorite LS/LT Builds From This Year’s SEMA Show

We might be a little biased, but every time we go to a trade show or event, we’re always on the lookout for the latest and greatest LS and LT swaps. While they are commonplace these days, it never ceases to amaze us what platforms they wind up in. On top of that, SEMA usually brings us a host of late-model rides built to the hilt. Oddly enough, however, this year seemed to be a little lacking on the late-model front but there was no shortage of swap madness. So, without further ado, we bring you the top LS/LT swaps of SEMA 2017.

1. Magnuson’s Sixth-Gen Camaro

This car recently set the internet on fire when a video of it revving its 427 cubic inch LT, topped with the newest R2650 supercharger, went viral. And understandably so. We’ve never heard such an amazing sound, and that’s saying something. While we love the sound of a turbo setup, nothing matches the insane whine emanating from Magnuson’s latest creation.

We stopped by the booth and the guys there told us that this car was put together in two weeks! Let that sink in for a second, two weeks. We know a lot of these builds come down to the wire but two weeks is an insanely short amount of time, especially considering everything for the supercharger, including the plenum and the accessory drive, had to be made to get the supercharger on the car.

We’re told that the blower is throwing 18 pounds of boost at the setup, though the team hasn’t had time to dyno it yet—they estimated it to be in the 1,200 horsepower range. We can’t wait to see this thing on the track and the dyno. One of the coolest features is that each trumpet on the front of the supercharger has a MAF slotted into it making it a pretty trick setup. The car also utilizes both direct- and port-injection systems to help keep up with the monstrous power this thing is making. Stay tuned for a fuel feature on this behemoth.

2. Suzy Bauter’s 1963 Rambler Wagon

While Suzy Bauter’s LS may not have a ton done to it, where it sits was definitely eye-catching for us. Her 1963 Rambler American wagon is one of the most unique LS swaps we’ve ever seen. The car was designed for autocross and sports a fifth-gen Camaro independent rear suspension and a first-gen F-body front clip. Suzy selected an iron-block LM7 to motivate the car, though it is completely stock aside from a 750 cfm Edelbrock carb and matching intake manifold.

While the 5.3 may be run-of-the-mill, the rest of the build is anything but and thus made our list for the shear novelty of the build. We would love to drive this wagon as then we could tell our friends that we loved wagons before wagons were cool. Suzy plans to supercharge the LM7 and is hoping to extract nearly 600 horsepower out of the upcoming build.

3. Detroit Speed’s Camaro IROC

Though you’ve probably seen this destroked LS7-powered IROC before, it is still one of the best looking cars we’ve ever seen—though admittedly we have a soft spot for third-gens. This isn’t just a show car either. Detroit Speed is openly campaigning the car in the Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car. It even competed in Las Vegas the day after these were taken. You would never know though. Every inch of the car is immaculate and the front racing seats have been recovered to mimic the IROC’s iconic ‘80s styling.

4. The Green Mamba

Built by Bob Bertleson, the Green Mamba is hands down one of the best looking C3s to ever exist. We caught our first glimpse of this gorgeous ride at LS Fest and got an even closer look at this year’s SEMA show. The car was built from the ground up by Bertleson, who is a powder coater by trade.

The car is a 1968 that has been fitted with a 427 cubic inch LS pumping out 650 horsepower. As you can see, the whole motor was done in a satin black that really adds to the look of the car. The LED headlights up front really set it apart from any C3 you’ve ever seen and the tucked carbon fiber bumpers are flawless.

The car sits on a set of Forgelined wheels sprung by mainly Detroit Speed suspension components—though they are attached to the stock C3 chassis. Again, the car is right at home on the show floor but is frequently entered in autocross events throughout the country. We didn’t think it was possible to look any better, but this thing looks best going through the cones at speed. We’re green with jealous rage.

5. Yenko Camaro

We wouldn’t be doing you a service if we didn’t mention the Yenko Stage II in our top 5 round up. While the official Yenko may be gone, their spirit lives on in Classic Industries’ new offering of sixth-gen based Camaros. The Stage II makes 1,000 horsepower via a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger.

Power like that is rare and in this case it’s two-fold. All Yenko Stage II cars will be built on 1LE chassis making them fairly rare to begin with. However, Classic Industries will only offer 25 of these ultra-rare vehicles to the public. All come equipped with forged internals, CNC ported LT4 cylinder heads, and of course boost from the twin-screw supercharger.

There is a fourth surprise vehicle coming from the guys at Classic Industries that has yet to be revealed—so stay tuned for more on that.

And with the completion of our top 5 list, we are officially done with our coverage of this year’s SEMA show. The year’s not over yet and PRI is just on the horizon. Stay tuned for more awesome products and builds soon.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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