You hear mixed things about SEMA. As someone who's never attended, I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I'd received varied reviews, ranging from, "you're going to want to bleach your eyes after this" to "the things you'll see there are amazing."
Frankly, everyone was right on all accounts.
Upon entering the show I was immediately overwhelmed. The size is mind blowing, and makes basically every other auto show look small. Fun fact: SEMA is the second-largest trade show to hit Vegas. The first? The heavy equipment and construction show.
After walking down a few aisles it quickly became obvious that this show is repetitive. Once you've seen a booth full of turbochargers, you've seen a booth full of turbochargers. Same goes for brakes, suspension setups, and the like.
One must wade through the show with a close eye to find the true gems. Of course, for everything you find that is amazing there are plenty of things that will horrify or disgust you.
Here are just a handful of things that stopped me in my tracks for various reasons:
The company responsible for this monstrosity is KRC Modified. KRC is a Japanese-based tuner, and it flat out ruined this perfect Mazda RX-7.
This Ram pickup truck is brought to us by Valvoline, and it's fantastic. The modifications are functional, and they only enhance my desire to slide behind the wheel and hit the pavement or dirt.
No vehicle stood out to me like this 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS. It's beyond over-the-top. In fact, it's downright ridiculous to the point of being amazing. The paint, the details, the engine, the engraved brake rotors, it's all so absurd that it's great.
I would be lying if I said anything other than I love this classic Chevrolet Tonka pickup truck. The wood. The paint. The simplicity. It spoke to me.
The amount of ridiculous and imposing pickups at SEMA was too great to count. This is merely one example that I came upon.
This classic wagon was gorgeous. The attention to detail, fit-and-finish, and presentation was perfect. It even had individual throttle bodies under the hood.
I couldn't help but drool over the Trans Am Depot Bandit. The screaming chicken on the hood, gold wheels, and T-tops all made me want to do a big burnout and wave the American flag.
H&R had the BMW 3.0 CSL race car sitting in its booth. What more can be said of this amazing race car?
After experiencing SEMA for the first time, I can tell you that every single thing you hear about the show is true. All of it.