SEMA 2016 - This is it!

I have been an annual visitor to Tokyo Auto Salon since early 2000's, I have visited number of events in Fuji Speedway, Odaiba Tokyo, or Yokohama.  This blog has taken me to places I didn't know existed to take pictures of cars that I didn't know I would ever get to see, but few things excite me more than attending the grand daddy of them all: Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas, known for most of us as SEMA(Part 2 Part 3 Part 4).

First things first: it's Vegas baby!

Good news is that I get to go via Los Angeles, which is known as car capital of the world; bad news is that I have to travel to Los Angeles, which means 1000s of dollars worth of air travel, hotels and car rentals.

But let's concentrate on the good: before even setting off To Vegas, a quick stop over at my favorite Coffee Bean at Malibu Country Mart and this happened!

Yes, this is a Porsche 997 GT3RS 4.0!

Unfortunately my car spotting adventures ended here as there was a 5 hour drive ahead of me.

Long story short, I made it back to SEMA and it was worth every penny and every second spent on getting there

I mean, just wow! The experience of being there in the center of it all, surrounded by people truly passionate about cars,

and having thousands of awesome rides to check out in a lively, for lack of better word - extraordinary, yet very authentic atmosphere is beyond surreal!

So without further ado, let's see what's happening in this huge exhibition stage and surrounding areas.

This year show grew even further with more pavilions, external areas and even part of the desert being allocated for shows and various events.

Obviously super clean extensive builds is one of the reasons I came here,

of course so were the supercars,

or JDM tuners,

along with the bimmers, for obvious reasons

Or a bit of both...

But stuff out of the ordinary, built for no other purpose than to stop people in their tracks and force them to stare at these achievements in amazement is definitely a good reason to travel 7000 miles.

Yes, this is a bat mobile, with machine guns...

Speaking of machine guns, this is Vegas, so it's not surprising that military theme was a big thing at SEMA

And these guys know how to take it to the whole new level.

Not even sure why this thing was here, but who am I to question logic of SEMA exhibitors?

They've got a tank!

I don't even know what it is, but it looks functional.

Americans love their trucks

and it was certainly seen at this show as there was an army of super-clean lifted trucks in the external exhibition area sitting there as if they are preparing for apocalypse of some sort.

Nothing defines the bat-shit-crazy American Car Culture as a hot rod, and that's something we don't see a lot of in Japan, especially when built in such high quality.

One cannot just walk by without appreciating attention to detail and craftsmanship

This is definitely right place for this man: Aaron Kaufman from Gas Monkey Garage was there in the flesh!

I am sure there were plenty of hot rods for him to check out,

But this one definitely caught my attention

Perhaps it is the long wheelbase that is a define giveaway of the fact that this is no ordinary car

The engravings on the engine clearly indicated the brand of the original car; yes, it was a  Rolls Royce rat rod!

Something you don't get to see every day for sure!

Classic American muscle cars were of course what defines SEMA show as demand for these machines is growing exponentially.

It is always to see classic American metal such as this timeless Corvette Stingray being treated with magic touch of modern technology,

featuring completely engine rebuild and conversion to fuel injection with individual throttle bodies,  I can only imagine what this sounds like.

Speaking of engine sounds, we all know how loud this monster can scream....

But to think that this show was all about stationary vehicles would be to make a giant mistake.

There were total of three skid-pads where professional drivers were taking out various vehicles for a spin.

It was awesome to see Vaughn Gittin Jr. drift around in his RTR Mustang

and Ken Block show what the little Fiesta is capable of.

If I was to single out the most obvious casualty of this show, apart from consumed coffee and doughnuts or sore feet, that would be the tires.

Overall the show was massive, you can wonder around for hours if not days looking at endless rows of of amazingly rebuilt classics

and stunning looking new models,

Here perhaps is a look into what SEMA will look like in near future: electric vehicles.  Yes, we are obsessed with internal combustion, but engineers at Tesla and Unplugged Performance by Bulletproof Automotive tell us that cars will always be fun and modding is here to stay regardless of what type of vehicles we will be driving in the future.

But for now, internal combustion is king, so have a look at this 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSI,

with LS3 engine swap!  Being equipped with custom made by K&N intake and completely redone suspension, steering, along with body reinforcement this old era USDM machine can give most supercars the run for their money

Forced induction was definitely a big thing at the show as it is becoming performance enhancement of choice for car manufacturing.

The inexpensive and reliable bolt on turbo or supercharger kits are becoming popular upgrades for NA models as well.  We will cover more turbo setups when we cover JDM machines present in the show.

I was particularly excited to find this 1972 Ford Maverick as it was built by Sung Kang along with three teenagers just to prove that "if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything". Actor known to many as Han from Fast and Furious is sponsoring entire project to restore and build a car that he drove in Fast 5.  The end result, what we see here will be auctioned for charity.

Unfortunately, I did not see Sung Kang in person, but this guy decided to swing by, much to the joy and excitement of the crowd.

All in all, the event showed its true colors from day one was worth the marching band celebrating 50th anniversary of SEMA show.   Please scroll down for more pictures and stay tuned for further updates where I will bring you BMW's, JDM's, and Supercars!




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