The annual SEMA show is easily the hottest ticket for lovers of all things related to automobiles. Think of it as Comic Con for gearheads. From October 30th to November 2nd, the show was held in Las Vegas, Nevada; and, Sacramento-based writer and marketing designer, Kristin Berkery is going to tell us all about it. An avid fan and supporter of rallycross, she’s graced this site before with her first hand-accounts of this year’s Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare and GRC round at X-Games in Los Angeles, California. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter and her website www.ilovehorses.net.
What Does SEMA Stand For?
by Kristin Berkery
SEMA. Ask the attendees what it stands for and you’ll get some unusual (and incorrect) answers. But virtually everyone with a serious interest in cars knows what it is — a huge show featuring the most cutting edge cars and aftermarket equipment in the world. Last year, 132,000 people attended the event that takes place the first week of November each year at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The numbers aren’t in for 2012 yet, but they look very good in spite of Superstorm Sandy’s assault on the East Coast.
Some hot new cars that popped up all over were the Scion FR-S and its Subaru sibling, the BR-Z. Both cars are unique for their brands because they’re rear wheel drive. A part of me feels it’s sacrilege for a Subaru to be anything but all-wheel drive, but I’ll forgive them. The car is just too awesome for me to quibble about tradition.
Scion hosted a FR-S Tuner Challenge at their booth and attracted a lot of attention from fans. I thought the interior of this particular FR-S, with its black ostrich accents, titanium shifter, and woodgrain steering wheel, had unique retro style… but I couldn’t get past the Crest toothpaste-green exterior. Scion apparently disagreed with me and named it the winner of the contest. Clearly the designer had a sense of humor about his color choice by naming it “Minty FReSh.”
Newly-crowned Global Rallycross champion Tanner Foust showed off his car design chops by bringing his custom Focus ST to the enormous Ford “booth,” if that’s what you call a carpeted area the size of a football field. The car was so new that I was surprised the paint wasn’t sticky. Foust’s goal was to create a car that could go from commute to racetrack in the same day… and get you there fast. Word is, if you found a pair of Oakley’s above the sun visor of the show car, Tanner would like them back. Really.
This completely restored and customized 1956 Volkswagen Beetle with oval rear window was an eye-catcher as well. It had very little chrome, all four disc brakes, and big aluminum wheels, but it was still true to its “People’s Car” roots. It was so cool that it had an entourage of 2013 Beetles gathered around it hoping the coolness would rub off.
Of course SEMA is also the place to see every kind of customizing accessory dreamed up by man, from exclusive Japanese car fragrances to interior trim bling. (You could even find a shop that would make your car look like one of the SuperFriends.) One company, Luxwood Trim, manufactures some nice-looking interior trims that adhere to surfaces in your car, but I was less than impressed by their white textured veneer on the outside of a Dodge Challenger. Maybe it hides door dings.
By the way, SEMA is an acronym for Specialty Equipment Market Association. But does it really matter what it stands for?
* Photos provided by Kristin Berkery and used with her permission