SEMA Show 2018


Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct 30th – Nov 2nd , Words & Photography: James Maxwell

Now in its 52nd year, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show is stronger than ever and it reflects an aftermarket industry that is now valued at 43 billion dollars and with a world-wide audience. Endless amounts of new products and display vehicles fill the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center and this year the event further expanded with the addition of four huge portable buildings on the south side of the building, so everywhere you looked there was something to see.

            As enjoyable as it is to walk the show (which runs over four days), it can be rather challenging to see everything, as there are so many ‘distractions’ that make it difficult to pass by. The name of the game in a successful SEMA Show visit is to plan ahead and map out early the things you want to see, and then − if there’s time afterwards − one can just roam around as there are so many other interesting attractions. Besides the educational seminars and industry workshops, everywhere you looked there were people from the racing and aftermarket circles, including Richard Petty, Chip Foose, Mario Andretti, Ken Block, Kenny Youngblood, Leah Pritchett, Dave Kindig and John D’Agostino, just to name a few.

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            There is the massive area set aside for new products, as each year the various automotive aftermarket manufacturers choose this high-profile event to launch their new wares. Keeping organized is the key to walking around this huge affair, and with sections reserved for Racing & Performance, Hot Rod Alley, Wheels & Tyres, Restyling and Car Care Accessories, Mobile Electronics and Restoration Marketplace, it does make it slightly easier.

            On Friday night after the event, there were special drifting demonstrations and more at the ‘SEMA Ignited’ gathering, this year moved to the rear of the Convention Center. The Battle of the Builders competition was won by Kyle Tucker’s fabulous low-slung ’69 Camaro. This is a “trade-only” event so if you’re somehow professionally attached to the automotive aftermarket it is safe to say that, if at all possible, you need to be there! The 2019 event takes place from November 5-8, 2019.

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