It's the mega-automotive event that some would say is a "can't miss" affair, the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show, or just SEMA. A weeklong typhoon of cars, parts, industry heavy hitters and that carpet, oh, that endless carpet. Just when you think you've made your way to the last row of car-related happenings, another hall awaits you. Then there are the cars in the front of the convention center, the connecting outdoor hall, and of course the adjoining parking lot where demonstrations are going on throughout the day. It's exhausting.
But beyond the sore feet and dry throat from the amplified Las Vegas air conditioning combined with constant jabbering, it's an absolute a car guy mecca, and if you've never been before, you definitely need to figure out a way to make it happen (it is still an industry event, but Fridays of the weeklong affair are now open to the general public).
Personally, after having attending a dozen or so SEMA conventions, I've developed a system for coverage. It's a system that works great for the first day or two, then goes to hell by the third day but nevertheless, I stick to it. Like Pac Man, I steadily make my way from row to row, snapping photos, catching up with old friends and trying my best to take it all in. As a rookie, I tried to get through the entire show in a day and that was a huge mistake. There's simply too much good stuff to look over.
From the mild OEM displays with the bare minimum of modification, to wild, outlandish builds that have you shaking your head in admiration or disgust, depending on what you're looking at - SEMA has it all.
In 2006, there were still plenty of cars rocking chrome spinners throughout the show. Honda's booth had a V6-swapped Element built to drift, as well as Stephen Papadakis' S2000 drift car on display. Additionally, they featured a Fit build-off, where various tuners put their spin on Honda's little people mover. Skylines, Supras, ultra-exotics and more muscle cars than you can possibly imagine littered the convention center.
In 2006, my favorite build of the show was undoubtedly the 1969 Volvo Amazon wagon. Powered by a turbo inline-6, the car was said to make almost 800hp. Yeah, a Volvo - I told you SEMA has it all. Enjoy.