2017 SEMA Show

Keeping a low profile at the ultimate automotive get-together

As a fan of custom cars and trucks, there’s a plethora of custom shows all throughout the nation. From local high school car shows to annual picnics, there’s a healthy dose to choose from; but then there’s the annual SEMA Show—the ultimate trade show geared at making our dreams come true.

For the past 17 straight years I’ve never been home for Halloween, and that’s because of SEMA. We’re usually there a few days early to set up for the show and in what seems to be a ritual, I’ve traded in a night of partying for, well, a night of partying, networking, and catching up with old industry friends. In short, SEMA becomes a central hub for global visitors and it’s a place where car junkies come to get a fix, manufacturers showcase their latest offerings, and automotive journalists race to find what’s relative to their given markets.

For 2017, things were no different. We saw so many incredible builds that it was overwhelming. The custom platforms on display included everything from SUVs to CUVs, imports to hot rods, and who could forget the custom restorations, and of course lowriders. With a sprinkling of lowriders found throughout the show, it’s safe to say that lowriding is a minority segment of the show that delivers maximum impact.

Of all the trends, it seems as if the European and import side have focused more on smaller-diameter wheels and fatter tires, while the off-roading market seems to have taken an opposite approach—going with larger-diameter wheels with thinner, stretched tires. In a weird way it was as if they took a note from the good ol’ mini-truckin days, but to each its own; I thought it was pretty damn cool.

As we scoured the show, our cameras were firing and our minds started to wander as we got lost in all the products and custom builds—but it also got me thinking. It got me thinking about how lowriding is one of the few (if not the only) segments of aftermarket car customizing that has deep roots when it comes to our wheel selection. We run wire wheels in either 13s or 14s and that’s about it. We stick to the core of tradition, and to be honest it’s pretty impressive. Whereas so many other segments of the wheel industry shift and transform, lowriding sticks to its traditional values and it’s good to see that we’ve come this far without having to become shape shifters and diameter chasers.

So as we enter yet another chapter in lowriding there’s great pride taken in our culture, and it’s also incredible to see how we’ve influenced other builders and how they have influenced us. In all, cars offer an instant connection and there’s much to learn, not only about lowriding but all segments of car building, so enjoy the flicks and get some inspiration.