A SEMA Newb’s Perspective

A SEMA Newb's Perspective

by Connor Harrison

Before this year, I had never been to SEMA (or Vegas for that matter). Well, the stars aligned with my calendar and wallet, so I decided that I would make the pilgrimage to what is considered the epicenter of the automotive aftermarket. The show had never really held much interest to me. I had always believed that it was a massive convention with an overwhelming sea of half-assed show cars and shelves packed with trendy bullshit. If you can’t tell, I’m not much of an optimist. I went into the unknown without much of a game plan,  and having no past experiences to help shape a plan of attack I mostly just wandered around aimlessly for several days absorbing the sight and sounds. And honestly, I didn’t hate it. Yes, there was a disturbing amount of cars with big wheels and bolt-on fender flares that were laid out on air ride. There were also a lot of well-built cars, quality engineered parts, and interesting people to connect with. Read on for some quick observations of a SEMA-newbie.


First off, SEMA is massive. Even with how big it is, floor space is still at a premium which makes it all very densely packed. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer scope of it all. Every day I would walk for miles through the same halls, and I would still see new things with every pass. I never even had time to take a look at all that was happening in the parking lots outside the convention halls!
I was initially taken aback by the sheer number of cheap Chinese “performance” parts suppliers that were in attendance. It seemed that everywhere I looked was another booth that appeared to have been named by drawing adjectives out of a hat and then sticking the word “power”, “speed”, or “racing” on the end. Please, stop buying these cheap parts for your cars.
Not surprisingly, there was a strong presence of trendy show cars showing off their bolt-on fenders, air ride, and big wheels. Many of these vehicles had no business behaving in such a fashion, and were likely the result of poor parenting.
Lamborghinis are often cited as being the perfect subtle sleeper. Their simple and sleek designs are often mistook as being Camrys or Corollas, fortunately this one is able to stand out from the crowd a little with a Liberty Walk body kit.
Is your Smart Car lacking in street cred? Do you feel inadequate at your local car shows? Well, you’ll just have to learn to live with it, because making it look like this won't help.

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