There is not another show in the automotive industry that compares to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show that happens every year in Las Vegas. This trade-only event started way back in 1963 and has grown uncontrollably for the last 55 years. The first SEMA Show was held in the basement of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, before being moved to the Anaheim Stadium in 1974. In 1967 the show had 98 manufacturers staffing booths and an attendance of 3,000 people.
This four-day event now attracts over 162,000 attendes, 36,000 media representatives, and 2,400 exhibiting companies. The SEMA Show now boasts 1.2 million net square feet of exhibition space and another 1 million square feet of features and attractions. And if it’s cars, trucks, and SUV’s you want to see, you will, plus a whole lot more. With over 1,500 featured display vehicles on hand, it is almost impossible to view them all in a four-day span.
For 2018 it seemed like the trend was classic cars and lifted trucks. We saw way too many bolt-on suspension trucks than we care to mention and more LS-swapped vehicles than one could imagine—the latter of which we’re A-okay with. From domestics, classics, and imports there was no lack of creativity with the LS-swapped builds. Even the Ford guys are getting into the LS swap mix, and there were several that did very well at disguising the Chevrolet powerplants in their blue oval cars.
The sheer magnitude of the show is absolutely overwhelming for a first-timer and if you ever get to go expect your feet to pay the price. To give you an idea of the size of SEMA, the staff averaged about 18 miles over the four-day event per person, and most were in the South Hall only. We’re thankful that we made it through this year’s show, but if you have never been, you’re in luck because there is always next year. We hope to see you there in 2019!