While some might mistake the Super Show in Vegas as our last big event of the year, our schedule does not slow down after that event one bit. In fact, the truth of the matter is that we get busier with several trade shows, all of which help us to bring you the latest in automotive innovation and design. One of the biggest shows that we have attended for years is the Specialty Equipment Market Association show, or as some of us refer to it, the Sema show. The four-day show has over 5,000 cars and this year, it drew more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers. This show isn’t open to the public, so we attend on your behalf to bring you anything and everything related to the latest happenings in the automotive world.
After we set up our area, we make our way through the huge Las Vegas Convention center to check out some of the latest products to hit the market. This year’s show had it all; custom cars and new products, including Optima’s new battery chargers which made their debut at the show. For all you ‘62 Impala owners, EMS has saved the day, in that they are the first to deliver billet hinges for that year’s model of Impala. MSD introduced their Atomic EFI, which will easily update a carbureted engine to fuel injection in a few hours. Dakota Digital had gauges for most applications and their Led tail lights have grown in availability for several cars now.
When it came time for paint products, Sata had a spray paint simulator that allows you to spray and shows you potential mistakes so that you can learn from them without actually spraying and inhaling the paint chemicals that come along with it. Speaking of paints, PPG’s vast selection of paint colors were displayed on custom hoods painted by some of Lowriding’s best. The House of Kolor booth had a few guest artists come in to do a few pieces. Planet Kolor featured artist Ron Fleanor, Aka “Flea” of South Carolina. Other celebrities and master builders included metal fabricator Jesse James, Chip Foose, Troy Trepanier, Scott Whitaker, rapper Coolio, and rapper Too Short.
Zoops introduced a double alternator bracket that allows the owner to add a secondary battery of his or her choice. Mac’s Custom Tie Downs introduced their Pivot, which will help you balance out your engine during install or removal. CFR Performance had their latest pulley and bracket setup on display at this year’s event, while Vintage Air, the company that started the front runner system craze, introduced a new LS front system. Lokar launched several new products, from the carbureted to the fly-by-wire gas pedal. Dynomat introduced there precut Dynomat Xtreme sound deadening, which is ideal for the early Impalas. For all the Entourage Lincoln fans, CPP introduced a front disc brake kit to help stop those heavy vehicles.
The engine compartments at this year’s show were by far some of the best I have seen in a while, but I’d say that the quality of the cars at this year’s event was on a higher level overall. Of course you get a little of everything at Sema, and this year’s show had a few cars that stood out; from the coolest cruisers, to some of the strangest, including an oversized shopping cart that looked like something out of a Jackass movie. Other cars on hand included the coveted 2011 Ridler Award winner, a 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible that was on display at the Meguair’s booth. The Eaton booth had Troy Trepanier, of Rad Rides by Troy, who debuted his latest custom creation; a 1954 Buick show-stopper that combined old-school elegance with high-tech performance. Flash Gordon’s Motorhome with a flying bridge that holds 5 and is complete with a functioning steering wheel for driving from the roof was one of the more grandiose builds we saw out there. Complete with a rear staircase for access to the bridge, this behemoth had it all. The Decoliner is the latest creation by Randy Grubb, nicknamed “the Blastolene Decoliner,” as he casually refers to it. The Decoliner is the creative design and mechanical blending of a 1950 White Coe (cab over engine) cab mated to a 1973 Gmc Motorhome, which took Grubb 5,000 man hours and over 18 months to complete. The “kings of bolts,” ARP Fasteners, had a clean frame off 1973 Firebird built by Detroit Speed, which featured every bolt replaced with an ARP bolt to accent the LS engine and custom panels. Meguair’s Car Crazy booth had several cars being showcased, including David Georgette’s 1962 Impala from Vegas’ Desireable Ones Car Club. One standout that had everybody taking a second look was “El Nomado,” a custom made El Camino which was designed and built by Joe Cherry and his hand picked team of master craftsmen. This build created nothing less than a breathtaking example of what a 1958 El Camino could have looked like, had GM decided to produce this car in 1958 instead of 1959.
The wheel and tire hall had every wheel and tire combination imaginable. Manufacturers like Lexani showed their elegant designed wheels at a prime location exhibit at the Ballagio Hotel. Diablo Wheels also featured their 30-inch Reflection wheel and tire combination. The south hall of the Convention Center is usually filled with hot chicks from all over, some of this year’s babes included Tanya Love and Joselyn Cano, who were representing the Strada Wheel Company. The Player group featured alloys and the strongest wire wheels in the industry. When it came time for rubber, Coker tire was the king of the 5.20, while Continental killed the track with their Extreme Contact DWS tires. General Tires had a great Suv and truck tire for our secondary vehicles, which have always been key while towing our show vehicles.
As Chevrolet celebrated its 100-year anniversary, they also hosted the Sema Cruise which had a Baja 500 feel, as attendees lined up to get a glimpse of the show cars leaving the venue. Just when you thought the cars and the technology couldn’t get better, Sema never disappoints, as we saw a ton of innovations at this year’s show. Now, check out some of the baddest cars and the latest products to hit the automotive market. For additional images and web exclusive coverage log onto our website: www.lowridermagazine.com.