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2016 SEMA Convention Highlights

The 2016 SEMA convention was bigger and better than ever. This year’s event was the 50th anniversary. I have been an attendee many times over the years, but this year was my first covering it for Spekture. What a daunting, overwhelming task! Some of this year’s pertinent facts:  over 1.2 million square feet of exhibitor space which doesn’t include an additional 1.5 million square feet of attractions, nearly 3000 automotive related companies from 140 countries, with approximately 1500 vehicles on display. Even making a plan ahead of time of when and where to go proved to be nearly impossible task of seeing everything there is to see. After one day of walking the convention I was practically on bed rest the next day! Imagine trying to see every nook and corner of a major airport! It’s pretty much the same task!

For those who have never attended, the SEMA convention (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) is held every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the world’s biggest and best automotive industry trade show. Along with the normal range of exhibitors show casing new products, new technologies, and new services this year’s show had a battle of the builders competition pitting customizers and builders in a competition to see who built the best vehicle in various classes and overall, show vehicles for display only, drifting and 4×4 demonstration and ride along events outdoors, a new product showcase featuring almost 3000 new products of anything you can possibly think of directly or indirectly used on or in relation to a car or truck, Huge displays by all the major automotive manufacturers show casing new vehicles and new technology, a multitude of very informative seminars, and what’s becoming a very popular cruise and after party the last day of the show starting Friday afternoon going on into the evening.

The battle of the builder’s competition is a very popular part of the show. Over 200 builders competed this year with 260 entrants in 10 categories. Among my favorite entries was an amazing  61 Chevy Impala station wagon with a 409 owned by Jesse Greening of Cullman, Alabama that started as a coupe, not even a wagon! Last was what actually turned out to be the overall winner of the battle of the builders- an amazing Camaro owned by Cam Miller of North Logan, Utah which was on display in the Mother’s booth outside.

Another very popular part of the show for many attendees are the spokes models such as the ever popular Traxxas Girls. Many spokesmodels are celebrities of varying backgrounds various companies use to help attract more people to their exhibit.  Some are directly associated with the automotive industry, some of whom are not, but are enthusiasts just like the rest of us and are recognizable from TV shows they have appeared in. I was fortunate to capture photos of a few celebrities like Courtney Hanson formerly of the show Overhaulin and Power Block TV, NHRA pro drag racing sisters Courtney and Brittney Force (daughters of legend John Force), and the cast of Velocity channel’s show All Girl’s Garage.

Custom builds that are far from the ordinary are another favorite thing to check out at SEMA. There was a Toyota GT86 with a Ferrari 458 engine and a 70 Plymouth Cuda with a Cummins Diesel as shown below,

If those weren’t your cup of tea, how about the GTT by Zero to 60 Designs out of Corona, California? They managed to somehow merge a new Ford GT supercar with a new Mustang GT:

The top trending vehicle models in five categories announced by manufacturing exhibitors are the Ford Mustang as the Hottest Coupe, the Dodge Charger as the Hottest Sedan, the Ford Focus as the Hottest Hatch, the Jeep Wrangler as the hottest 4×4-SUV, and the Ford F-Series as the Hottest Truck. These are the vehicle projected as having the most consumer interest in modifying or purchasing accessories for. Check out more highlights of the 50th annual SEMA convention below:



Bernie Smith
Bernie Smith

Las Vegas based photographer, I have always been a huge fan of all forms of photography. It wasn’t until relocating to Las Vegas and digital camera technology evolved that I was able to fully realize my love for photography. Automotive, motorcycles, beauty, glamour, pinup, retro, swimwear, and fitness themes are all areas of particular interest.

60’s Muscle cars have been a part of my life since I was 14 years old with particular emphasis in Fords, Mustangs, and Shelbys being my specialty having owned and restored more than a couple rare examples. Having worked as a Ford Senior Master certified technician over 20 years has provided the means to stay current with cutting edge technology. A high performance late model fuel injected car has it’s own unique appeal to me, just as the old school muscle does. Motorsports and college football are also huge passions of mine.
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