Kia’s chopped and dropped custom quartet hits SEMA 2015

Chris Davies - Nov 3, 2015, 6:12 pm CST
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Kia’s chopped and dropped custom quartet hits SEMA 2015

A mobile photo editing studio with slide-out seating, a mud-loving off-road buggy, and a sensible sedan turned chopped custom: Kia has gone a little crazy for SEMA 2015. The Korean car company, celebrating its fourteen year rise from the bottom of the J.D. Power rankings to its current spot in second place – just behind Porsche, fact-fans – has brought a quartet of new one-offs to the annual custom car show in Las Vegas, some more ridiculous than others.

The Optima is usually Kia’s sensible sedan, but for SEMA it’s been given the classic chop treatment. Gone is the roof, the windshield is shortened, and the A1A Optima – named after the A1A highway that leads to Key West – gets rear suicide doors opening into a custom interior with bucket seats front and back.

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While cutting the roof off a car is generally bad news for dynamics, the A1A Optima slots reinforced steel tubes through the bodywork for structural integrity. Ksport coilover sport suspension drops it on the 20-inch wheels, and there’s a performance exhaust for the 245 HP four-cylinder turbo engine.

Meanwhile, the PacWest Adventure Sorento gets a rugged makeover, with a new undercarriage making it taller and giving the BMF S.S.D. 17×8.5-inch beadlock-style wheels more travel under their swollen fender flares. Fox Racing 2.0 coilover shocks and Eibach springs, along with custom bumpers front and rear, and wraparound steel skip plates and side bars help keep things protected from tree stumps and ditches.

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You might expect a dreary paint job, but in fact Kia used a combination of electric and deep forest green with a pearl and candy effect paint process. Twin LED light bars slot into the matte black accent bars, as does an integrated winch, and there’s a snorkel intake for deep water use.

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Should even more mud be your terrain of choice, the Forte Koup Mud Bogger might be the answer. Four inches higher than normal, and sitting on 28-inch off-road tires, it has ridiculously wide fenders and side skirts.

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Inside, most of the original dashboard has been stripped back to the essentials, with Line-X protective coating to the carpet-free floor, and two Sparco Evo II Red Race Seats instead of the usual chairs. A hand-built rollcage and panoramic roof round things out.

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Finally – and my personal pick for CES use, if I can persuade Kia to entrust me with the keys – there’s the Photo Safari Sedona. Starting out with a Sedona SUV, it chops out the back for external storage, and adds a custom tubular steel roof rack for mounting cameras or even a photographer wanting to capture chase scenes.

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Open the sliding side door and a swiveling Beard Torque racing seat slides out: retracted, it puts you in front of a mobile photo studio, with a 27-inch iMac 5K that gets its own independent power supply and a handmade walnut desk.

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LED lights all round, 17-inch wheels for offroad use, and various tie-down points keep photo equipment from sliding around during more aggressive maneuvers. There’s even a radio headset system so that whoever is in the back can shout at the driver for spoiling their Photoshop work.

Sadly none of the four look likely to make it to production, but there are plenty more images of the new custom cars in the gallery below.



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