Friday, November 4, 2011

Gearhead Mecca - THE SEMA SHOW

It's been 6 years since I last attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV.

SEMA! What's that???  For the unknowing, unchristened and non-ordained - you can find all the genric info you want about SEMA at Wiki = SEMA .

Onward... Only the vast convention halls of Las Vegas, NV can properly house all the exhibitors, seminars and massive crowds that attend each year.

Just one floor of three, major halls
To be honest, not a whole lot has changed since my last visit. The most notable was the complete lack of the car stereo crowd. Maybe they have their own shin-dig now. Too bad, I was hoping to see the latest "double din" navigation and sound boxes as it's time to replace the perennial, piece of junk system in my '04 Dodge, Cummins pickup.

No matter, I was able to visit a number of vendors who's wares I partake in for my regular vehicles and of course, for the race car. Autometer found the high-emp, gauge I needed for the clutch pack fluid temp on the race car trans. GoPro informed me of firmware upgrades to allow more simple interaction with their camera and I visited a number of off-road light manufacturers as we prepare for a few night races in 2012.

Best of all - in regards to new products, I spied the latest, cool stuff in the "new product, showcases at the rear of the south hall, second floor. This is where all the latest innovations are centrally showcased in large display cases and tables. One of the waves of innovation from many, many vendors included the Apple, Ipad, Iphone and Ipod as rich data displays for everything from vehicle telemetry to GPS services. In fact, there was so much of this that these applications seem to be in a price war. As an example, an Ipod based ODBII report system sold for hundreds of dollars just a few years ago - now, many can be had for $30 to $75. NICE!

Another new product in abundance was very well featured vehicle alarm systems, in particular for stationary vehicles. These systems would reach out and call, text or email you if the vehicle moves or is intruded upon. Hopefully this will reach the RV community soon as this would be a boon for RV owners while their vehicles are in storage or left unattended for any length of time in a park or while boondocking.

Of course, SEMA is full of eye candy too include pretty booth girls and awesome vehicles. For the former, see the articles that set the standard for these beauties in my old publication HERE...

I still say.. WOW!!
Back to the wheels...

A COPO Camaro anyone? This version came with a 
supercharged 327 LSX motor. A variant is the LSX, 
naturally aspirated 427. Both are backed by the 
venerable Powerglide Transmission.

There are hundreds of extremely nice vehicles
on display, from the concept cars of the big
manufacturers to relics like this '32 Ford Coupe in 
Lakester trim. This car was truly one of 
the most interesting at the show. It looks
extremely authentic for the period, as if it just
came down Cajon Pass from El Mirage in 1956.

Far nicer than the Dukes of Hazard "General Lee" around the corner.

Just a few mods to this old Caddy!!
The workmanship was incredible.

It gets better. This 1967 Pro-Touring Nova was a true
work of art. I looked hard and outside of the body shell
itself, I doubt there was another original component
of the car in the vicinity. 

A very, very nice and very, very fast Old Goat! ... 
Like me - well, the "nice" part, anywaze..

See the full scoop on this car in the video below.

This is a Kit Car, a "Super Car, Kit Car" no less, by
Factory Five Racing. Me thinks that with a well mannered,
900HP, LSX motor, it could pretty much embarass a number of
Euro-exotoc cars. I may have to look into this. 
The build could be as much fun as the drive.

Ah, the innovators of Land Speed Racing! 
Behold the "under 100 cubic inch" class record holder at
Bonneville this year. In there is a small, four cylinder, Suzuki 
Hyabusa motor. More than enough power to pus the 
car to 120+ MPH. That coot in the background on the
cellphone is the owner and builder. 

LSR is comprised of the most fervent of gear heads.
And, if you haven't been to or, are not planning to go
to Bonneville, you simply don't fit the mold.

Speaking of the LSX Motor... This is the latest,
state of the art, push-rod V8 available to the masses.
454 Cubic Inches and over 700HP 
as it sits, removed from the crate.

My oldest Son has just been hired by UPS. A great
company to work for while the young man attends college.
This 1953 Ford Panel,  UPS truck was a fine tribute to the
company and it's employees.

How about a Cummins, 12 Valve powered Funny Car! 

God Bless America!

Outside there were many, many vehicles on display. The
"Car Crazy" people from Meguiar's invited custom car
owners to bring their passion from around the globe.
Here are just a few.

A stunning, Ford Falcon from Down Under.

Last but not least, there are the oddities of SEMA, 
where strange construction, crazy ideas and sometimes 
stuff that is downright ugly is on display.

Behold the MOST UGLY CAR at SEMA 2011
The "Storm Chaser Ball of Crap"!

This incredible pile of shit has the most horrid craftsmanship
I have ever witnessed. Every weld looks like it was made
with a coat hanger and a car battery. The phrase "booger weld"
has never had a better factual basis. The car is as ugly and stupid
as the TV show and it's moron characters of shrill, "dramatic girl" voices. 

Yes, it's that bad.

The builders of this car must have been sponsored by a
metal abrasives company. I can only imagine that hundreds
of flapwheel, grinding pads were used to semi-smooth
the pile before they tried to hide the remaining horrror with
multiple coats of spray-on, bed liner material.

Check out the masterful buffoonery in the work on the
door below. My 10 year old son can weld better than this!

Can you believe that the WSJ gave these pinheads some print?

Enough of that! 'Till next year..  I'll be back!!!


  1. Thanks for the SEMA tour, I enjoyed that. Very Nice!

  2. Thanks for the visit and post Joe, it is much appreciated.