SEMA, the legendary automotive event that collectively brings together ever piece of the industry once a year under the desert sky of beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.
Whether you are into jacked up trucks, the latest and greatest exotic cars, aftermarket parts for every make/model imaginable, or basically ANYTHING that falls under the umbrella of “automotive,” then this show will surely pique your interest.
Add the mystique of their “industry only” ticketing system (so the public cannot just walk in, although it’s not that hard to get a pass), and SEMA remains a staple in auto show lore.
This was our first time at the show, and as soon as I got out of my Uber and approached the convention center I felt the sheer magnitude of this behemoth of an event.
- Cars of Interest
Our work with exotic cars on the daily combined living in beautiful south Florida where Bentleys and Ferraris are a dime-a-dozen left us with a recipe for disappointment at the SEMA show.
Though some builds are quite well-done and could be appreciated by all, not a lot of innovation was found in the exotic space at the 2018 show.
The real stars of the show were actually a contender you wouldn’t think: trucks.
Trucks were the models that dominated the show, wrapping around and throughout the entire convention center.
Some jacked up to the heavens, others lower than hell, some meant to be rigid and tough with function over form, and others built to evoke emotion with their incredible design and beauty.
The reception of these trucks astounded me, but I have to admit that some of these trucks were built better than the exotics. And their modification dollars are almost 1/4 of what it costs to mod a Lambo or McLaren to a similar deviation away from stock.
But what caught this long-time car enthusiast eye the most?
It would be the oldies but goodies. Lots of old time classics were there, clean and modified perfectly. Seeing as the bulk of attendees at the show is mainly 40-50 year old men, I am sure that I am not the only one that found the blast from the past as a beautiful and unexpected surprise.
- Who SEMA Show is REALLY for
Though my excitement was lacking on the cars of choice for the show, it can be explained.
Everyday I am blessed enough to be exposed to exotics of all kinds on the daily so it REALLY takes something special to get me to break my neck.
But the good news is, I am the exception, not the rule.
The SEMA show is incredible for those types of people who don’t get to see these types of cars every single day.
SEMA is first and foremost an industry event, which means that shop owners, techs, employees of aftermarket companies, and more are who comes to the show – and they may not get to see much outside of their niche all year.
Whether you are from New York or Wyoming, if modified cars aren’t roaming your block every day, then you will surely find excitement at every corner of the SEMA show.
If you own an automotive shop specializing in modifications than I highly recommend sending one of your reps, if not yourself, to the show one year. Just so you can see the calibre of vendors at this show.
It truly is the breeding ground for high profile networking between vendors/owners that is unlike any other. It should be – after all, that’s what it’s for.
- Change of Pace Since Growth of Social Media
It is no secret that the show has lost a little bit of it’s exclusivity and excitement over the last few years, despite still being an “insider’s” event.
This has nothing to do with the show or its sponsors, just the growth and breadth of social media.
While at the show I hosted an Instagram Live for our followers, allowing over 85,000 people to see exactly what I was seeing at the show without having to fly out, book a hotel, nor request/pay for a ticket.
I wasn’t the only person doing this either. Big time YouTubers who have millions and millions of subscribers had professional camera teams there, recording content for vlogs that you can now find on Youtube with a quick 2-second search.
What once was a show exclusive to only the true insiders of the automotive community can now be viewed through a camera lens by anyone and everyone with internet access.
So while the show wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned in my mind to be, I can’t deny the feeling of camaraderie being in the vicinity of these other car loving nuts of all ages.
The coolest part of the entire weekend had to be the fact that ADV1 gave PJ the biggest surprise by making his Lamborghini Huracan Performante their main advertisement photo on both their large hanging banner AND their pass-out pamphlets.
Definitely the highlight of the trip to say the least.
But if you are wondering if you should ever make the journey to the motherland of all things cars at least once in your life… I say do it!
While I had a tinge of disappointment on the “exotic car” end of my being, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the amount of vendors, spectators, and creators that were all present in one place. Plus, you’re in Vegas, which doesn’t suck!
Remember the show is NOT open to the public so if you ever want to go be sure to check out their website around August of every year to secure tickets before they sell out, and figure out what or who your “in” is going to be to get a pass.