The Mother of all Aftermarket Shows takes Las Vegas by storm with thousands of new parts, countless show cars, and new in-show competitions.

Story and photos by Glenn Oyoung

SEMA. Aftermarket industry insiders simultaneously drool and cringe when they hear these two syllables. This is the show where big business gets done and ambitious renderings become reality. It’s also the show that requires stamina to attend the after-hours “networking” events and still post up on time in the booth the next day. Since the first SEMA show in 1967, countless builders have lost sleep and probably shaved off life expectancy doing the trademark mad dash to SEMA.

I’ve personally shaved off some of my shelf life trying to get  show cars ready, including rattle-canning “race-inspired” cars the night before load-out and stripping cars on my front lawn. I’ve also been on the receiving end of some serious dog-ate-my-homework whoppers and scrambled to fill a booth at the last minute.

With that in mind, it’s been refreshing to now visit SEMA, enjoy it from a totally different perspective, and just soak it all in. According to SEMA, last year’s show featured almost 3,000 new parts and drew over 70,000 buyers from all over the world. If the  size of the lines at the hall entrances is any indication, I’d expect to see some serious lift in the attendance numbers for 2018 when the stats are finalized.

In between meetings and press events I shot the cars that caught my eye as I walked at a fast and furious pace (pun totally intended). More than individual cars, I think the proliferation of contests is an interesting part of the ever-evolving SEMA Show. The mainstay is the “Battle of the Builders” (BOTB) event which is now in its fifth year and highlights the best builds of the hundreds of cars at SEMA. The SEMA Award recognizes the hottest  new trucks, 4×4/SUVs, sedans, coupes, and hatches. Brands also get in the mix with  their own competitions. This year JE Pistons sought to recognize the craft of engine-building with their clever “Masters of the Motors” competition.

One of my favorite new events at SEMA was the culmination of the first-ever Hot Wheels Legend Tour. I had the chance to interview Hot Wheels Head of Design Ted Wu who was clearly proud of the response that this fun competition has elicited nationwide right out of the gate. More on that to come, suffice it to says the competition was fierce.

Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels. Competition winner Luis Rodriguez in front of his “2 Jetz” build.

Without further ado and right in time for Halloween candy binging, here’s a gallery of assorted SEMA eye candy. There’s still another day of SEMA on the clock and believe it or not most folks are already thinking about going even bigger and better in 2019.