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SEMA 2018 - Off The Beaten Path #MTSEMA18

The gems we found when we didn't go into SEMA's three massive show halls

Nov 1, 2018

The SEMA Show is massive, filling all of the Las Vegas Convention Center's three huge halls and then some. The space amounts to almost 2 million square feet of real estate—but that's just what you get inside the buildings. There's almost another million square feet of mostly parking lots surrounding the LVCC, and when SEMA comes to town, those too are temporarily occupied by tented exhibition halls and other activities and booths related to the event. And for this assignment, that's what we tried to cover—the show cars that for whatever reason didn't make it inside the show proper (and one that did but we'll explain later). By the time we were done, our iPhones told us we did almost 23,000 steps and roughly 9.5 miles—so yeah, today was a leg day.

Sema 2018 Penzoil S30 Photo 2/112   |   Sema 2018 Penzoil S30

Ford was the featured OEM this year (or it seemed that way), so there was a lot of Blue Oval-related stuff out in front of the venue that seemed to crowd out the diamonds in the rough—but we looked anyway. We were glad to see early on ENEOS contest winner Sean Shokouh's FD3S RX-7 by the entrance to the North Hall with the Evasive Motorsports FR-S, and around the corner from those two was a big honkin' Nissan Armada in GReddy colors and rollin' on TE37s (nice!) Other cars worth the stroll included the super clean Datsun S30 in the Penzoil booth, the Guac Zilla R35 GT-R (we can't make these names up, folks), and Liberty Walk's brand new Toyota 86 out by the Renaissance Hotel.

The Hot Wheels booth this year seemed to have an even bigger activation than usual, and at one point we felt like we were walking through our childhood in large scale—or rather, someone else much younger's childhood, 'cause they didn't have some of these die cast cars when we were kids. There was lots of the outlandish, for sure—like the bubbly, futuristic Diora II—and then there were cars a bit more relatable, such as the high visibility Nitto S30. The OG Racing Hakotora, though, won the day; we must've spent 5 minutes just marveling at the finned, three-dimensional carbon fiber wheels popping out from under the front fenders.

Sema 2018 RWB Hong Kong 911 Photo 9/112   |   Sema 2018 RWB Hong Kong 911

You wanna get nuts? Oh, we can get nuts—like the Polaris Slingshot over by the Central Hall, which had an unusual aluminum cage surrounding it that looked less like protection and more like art. Everyone was talking about Hot Rod's Restos Mazda RX-100 from Canada in front of the South Hall, and if you wanted old and over the top, we were a little more partial to the Roush Ford Coyote-powered MG MGB hatchback way out in the boonies practically on Paradise Road. Our off-the-beaten-path adventure concluded as we were leaving the convention center late on Wednesday of the show; cutting through the North Hall, which we typically never do, we stumbled across an RWB 911 we'd never seen before. Either named, or from Hong Kong, the full-bodied Porsche renewed our interest in the super-wide look, if only for a fleeting moment.

Sema 2018 3M E46 Photo 13/112   |   Sema 2018 3M E46
Bob Hernandez
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