SEMA’s Engines Roar…Again

A Chip Foose designed Mustang was part of the Ford exhibit at the SEMA Show 2014.  Photo by Diane Taylor
A Chip Foose designed Mustang was part of the Ford exhibit at the SEMA Show 2014.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Twenty-five hundred exhibitors, 130,000 attendees and a $33 billion market. These were the statistics as the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show arrived in Las Vegas last week.

I always attend the SEMA Show just because it is so colorful and fun. Each year, I’m amazed at how many people love and know about cars. I have to admit, in my own childhood, learning to dress a doll in a pink dress was time that would have been better spent learning the various components of cars. My lack of understanding must show like a neon sign.

As I was watching a bunch of fellows doing “something” with a car engine, a young woman standing next to me (and listening to my confused audio explanation) volunteered the information that the men I was watching were in a contest to take apart and rebuild an engine. She added that a women’s team was also in the competition and several individual women were on competing teams as well. She didn’t say it, but I felt she wanted the world to know that not ALL women were doll-dressers.

I received helpful information from many people at the show, particularly the folks looking at cars. “So why are you taking a photo of this car?” I would ask. I always got thoughtful answers — car people love to talk about cars.

Big Crowd
The SEMA Show had an expected attendance of 130,000 people and 2500 exhibitors.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Media information at the show noted that the Specialty Equipment Market Association is “dedicated to helping businesses involved with vehicle customization”. The organization was founded in 1963, but the history of the automotive aftermarket industry dates back to the 1950s when hot rod and racing hobbies were just beginning.

The typical SEMA member company, we’re told, is a small to medium-sized business, with the owner entering the market as an enthusiast whose passion led to a career. Membership offers the business education, training, research, legislative advocacy as well as group discounts on insurance, shipping, etc.

At the SEMA show itself, about a fourth of the attendees were from outside the United States, and that is evident in listening to the conversations around the cars, many of them not in English. Celebraties were on hand. The TV show “Overhaulin'” with Chip Foose filmed a segment at the show. An Art Walk, featuring “leading automotive artists” decorated the Sky Bridge between the South and Central Halls. Awards were given. Driving demonstrations produced squealing wheel noises heard everywhere. And Friday evening, a number of show cars were on display at The LINQ Promenade.

Wheel dipped
Want to add temporary color to your vehicle? Auto Dip introduced a spray-on plastic covering that can last several years or be instantly peeled off.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Running concurrently with the SEMA show is AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo), an event at the Sands Expo and Convention Center with some 5000 exhibitors. I did not attend AAPEX, because the “sexy” stuff, the many display cars, are at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Westgate. However, show-goers could take a free shuttle between the two shows.

And lest we forget, educational sessions at SEMA covered everything from “I-CAR Collision Repair Training: Aluminum-intensive Vehicle Repairs” and “99 Reasons Why Your Favorite Car Sucks: How to Be a Successful Car Builder”to “Charisma and Your Business: Discover the Secrets Used to Make Your Business Magnetic and to Create Highly Engaged Customers”.

Clearly I missed most of this very big show, but stamina and time have their limits. The attached video was taken on Wednesday afternoon during about a three-hour visit to SEMA Show 2014.


2 responses on “SEMA’s Engines Roar…Again

  1. Uncle Ralph was there . I know he was . What was ” different ” about your presentation was seeing and hearing about a car show from a womans’ perspective . The day and the colors were great !

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