Contrary to popular assumption, the biggest west coast auto show is not the one held in Los Angeles. This honor actually goes to the annually held, Las Vegas-based, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show. The most recent SEMA show took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center this past November, and featured over 2,000 auto parts and equipment companies, and more than 125,000 attendees on hand during the four-day show.
The SEMA show has come a long way since its inception in January of 1967, when it was held under the grandstands of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. The event originally featured 98 booths and approximately 3,000 attendees; that’s not even a drop in a bucket compared to the global attendance that the show has created during the past 42 years of its existence! The show has anything and everything that you could ever imagine needing within the automotive world. SEMA serves the industry’s top designers well, as they get the chance to bust out their latest creations and merchandise, while receiving direct feedback from auto enthusiasts.
We were happy to help represent our Lowrider genre at this show, and we worked hard to ensure that every step of the process was done efficiently, and with the utmost care. We attacked the show in full business mode, as we set up our booth upon arrival. Aztec served as our calling card, as we featured three of the nation’s top rides. The first hauled up to Vegas from Chino, California, was Tomas Vasquez’ latest addition to his Impala collection. He brought up “El Patron,” a ’59 Impala, formerly owned by Joe Esparza. The ’59 had everyone talking, as the former cover car was immaculate, and featured items that you would typically find at the show as well.
Vegas local Michael Grey, of UCE car club, also represented our community, with his classic ride “Sin Sixty.” The fire engine-red convertible left people reminiscing about the classic that they used to own in the past. Hector Leyva’s ’82 Cadillac Brougham showed the luxurious side of Lowriding, as the candy red cruiser exhibited its fine wine sense of taste, as well as the fine pinstripe lines that accent and define this Pearled-out Caddy.
The show had a few Lowriders that were spread throughout the event space, one of them was a boldly painted Monte on display at the House of Kolors of booth, a first for the Valspar company. Another first for House of Kolors was the invitation of the legendary artist, OG Abel, who hung out with the industry’s best and showed off his paint and design skills. Abel created some classy airbrush panels, using all the newest-to-code HOK paints. The Ford Company had a Lowrider Flex built for the show, proving that Lowriders have been accepted by big corporations, as well as mainstream America.
The attendees highly anticipated the debut of the 2010 Camaro, which was one of the show’s biggest models on display throughout the week. With that said, LS technology really stepped their game up. We saw items that included all new wiring harnesses, and computers from manufacturers like Holley. Turbonetics, a company that was previously mostly import based in nature, has now jumped into the LS motors as well. March Performance stepped to the plate with LS brackets, and also currently offers some of their products fully chrome plated, so as to cater to the Lowrider market. Dakota Digital had their best new products out as well, exhibiting cutting edge technology for today’s modern consumer.
Some cars have turned into kit cars, including Cars Inc’s ’57 Bel Air convertible, and the first generation Camaros. GM developed a new crate engine system, designed to help the owners of these types of vehicles pass even the strictest of smog laws, including California’s. The LS3 is going to come with catalytic converters, and a canister, both necessary for the modern engine to pass the smog laws, while ensuring a smooth ride in your classic.
There were several other items that were new and hot, including a regulator system for your electric fuel pump. This is available from Professional Products, and it will help to regulate the fuel flow to your carburetor, or your fuel injection system. MSD also introduced their line of coil packs for the GM’s LS engines. Be Cool introduced their new line of level entry aluminum radiators, hoping to fill the needs within that market. If you’re getting into metal fabricating, then the Miller Plasma that was introduced at the show is a must-have product for you. This compact cutter is perfect for the casual enthusiast, and it can be used at the professional level as well.
It feels like just yesterday that we were at the Las Vegas SEMA show, but before we know it, we’ll be preparing for next year’s show as well. This show keeps getting bigger and if you stop going for a while, you’ll find yourself behind the curve, having missed out on catching the latest products available to help you build the perfect Lowrider. Now take a look at a few of the things that caught our attention.