Gallery: the best of SEMA 2012

FORD

While the reborn Cobra Jet Mustang Concept, complete with a twin-turbo 1,500bhp V8, signaled that there isn't going to be any end to the horsepower race anytime soon - GM and Dodge also brought out their big guns - it was the sweep of tuned Focuses, Fusions (the new Mondeo to us) and Escapes (new Kuga) that really stood out.

From TG US's own (and new GRC champion) Tanner Foust-tuned Focus ST - some nice suspension upgrades, a Mountune engine and a big exhaust - through to the Cosworth and Ford Racing effort that puts out over 330bhp, it was very encouraging to see the smaller cars getting the biggest slice of attention.

Maybe it's because it's too new or maybe because it already looks super good as standard, the tuned Fusions didn't work as well as their creators hoped. The bodykits and lurid paint jobs just didn't sit right on a car that is almost too good looking for this kind of treatment. Particularly the green Monster one. Looked like a woman wearing a kid's make-up.

The warmed over Kugas were much more successful, though. Throw on some bigger wheels and/or some lifestyle furniture like a bike rack and surfboard and they looked immediately more purposeful. Less family runabout, more urban escape pod.

All this is good news for Americans looking to downsize into something interesting. But it's great for us Brits, too as it will make it all the easier and cheaper for us to tune our Fords here. Economies of scale at work in our favour here.