Automobile manufactures and a small handful of car aficionados know that the SEMA trade show stands for the Specialty Equipment Market Association. This premier automotive event previews the hottest products yet to hit the market place. Billed as the world’s largest trade show of its kind, many consumers are taunted by the fact that this show is exclusively for vendors and buyers only. This leaves both the aficionado and average Joe curbside to patiently await for the hottest items to hit the market place — unless of course they are employed by or subscribe to ToyHauler Magazine. We went armed with an arsenal of cameras knowing what “bling” we would see. Quickly we gravitated towards all the eye candy of automobiles & accessories. Vehicles spilled from the inside halls to the outside lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The moment our crew hit the pavement of the convention center they set off through the 2 million square foot facility punishing their feet just to take our readers behind the scenes at the 2005 SEMA show.
Tens of thousands of vendors and buyers both domestic and international poured into the Convention center for this four-day event. Focused on wheeling and dealing, this show reinvents the art form of shopping, turning it into a sporting event of sorts. Covering both north and south halls from front to back entailed walking 34 miles. With automotive accessories alone generating 3.1 billion in sales last year, buyers could be seen non-stop shopping from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Display booths were outfitted with lighting rigs normally associated with a concert at an arena. Some booths were even two stories tall. These elaborate set ups would set the pace for what would be displayed. The bigger the set up, the bigger the bling. Asanti rims were no stranger to bringing on the bling with diamond encrusted rims. This is one show where we will have to let the pictures do the talking. So what can you expect to see on the road in the not so distant future? The scales were tipped to both extremes. What was once large, became larger, and what was once small, became smaller.
We found it rather fitting that Las Vegas was the chosen city to host the SEMA show, and incredibly ironic that it was scheduled to start the day after Halloween. After all, both culminate around fantasy and this is one show that turns fantasy into a reality. Continuously, we had to keep telling ourselves we could believe what we were seeing. If you had dreamt it — they had built it; if you wanted it — it was there on exhibit; if you were unaware it existed — they enlightened you. And enlightened we were — especially when we fixed our eyes on the Renegade motor coach, pulling the ultimate stacker trailer parked on the second floor. This beautiful distraction was an elusive oasis, a mirage in the middle of the South hall beckoning us to leave our booth for a tour and reminding us that we should be riding.
Ninety-six hours later, our altoid tin was empty, our staff in dire need to sit, and our minds numbed by the perpetual bass note that had filled the upper halls of the convention center. The SEMA show allowed for the thousand of attendees to reflect upon the past with classic car exhibits, while giving all a glimpse of the alluring and futuristic designs yet to come. With that said, we were certain what happened in Vegas would not stay in Vegas and we hope you enjoyed the show.