Car Lovers, car builders, car suppliers and car celebrities all were in town last week for the SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This is a show for folks who want to restore or restyle their rides. They are artists who decorate vehicles, mechanics who can rebuild motors, and folks who simply want to add a few automotive extras to make their friends jealous. LOTS of folks like the idea of building and personalizing cars, and SEMA is their show.
A sister show, AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) is held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, and we did not attend that show, though most visitors shuttled between the two shows.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) annual show (the show with the most personalized vehicles on display) draws an estimated 160,000-plus automotive enthusiasts from 140 different countries. In addition to walking the show floor, attendees can attend a number of special events and competitions and some 100 educational seminars.
To help folks get around, a colorful (and frameable) map by Tomlambmaps.com was included with the show directory.
Security is tight at SEMA, as is parking, so this reporter parked at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino and hopped a 10:30 a.m. shuttle to the convention site. Sadly, the return buses weren’t scheduled to depart until after 3 p.m., so I tested my comfortable footwear with a good deal of standing waiting for a return shuttle. Obviously the folks at SEMA are sure that attendees will at least attend four hours of the show every day; hence the bus schedule.
However, SEMA is always interesting, and I saw some gorgeous one-of-a-kind cars and trucks and met some nice folks (on the buses and on a bench when I finally found a place to sit). The vehicles on display (some 1500 of them) were spectacular and 2400 exhibiting companies on hand occupied the entire Las Vegas Convention Center (parking lots included). The show is so large that the convention center offered some 60 different places where attendees could purchase food.
As I mention (too often, I think) I am not an automotive enthusiast (other than having a car with few mechanical problems), but I still enjoy melding into the SEMA crowds.
You will see what I saw at SEMA in the attached video.