SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) was founded in 1963 by a small group of manufacturers producing automotive performance parts. This association was formed to set standards, promote the industry and develop programs that would support aftermarket products. The organization has expanded to include additional interests of its members – government legislation, foreign trade, education, market research, etc. And, the membership has grown to comprise all aspects of the business which now includes retailers, warehouse distributors and publishing companies.

To bring the stakeholders from the performance aftermarket together the first trade show was organized in 1967. The event was held in Los Angeles – it attracted just under 100-manufacturers and approximately 3,000 attendees. In 1977, the SEMA Show moved to Las Vegas which was better equipped to handle the growing requirements of manufacturers and attendees. Today, the show, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (over a million square feet of floor space), boasts over 2,400 exhibitors and more than 170,000 people with ties to the automotive performance aftermarket. Visitors from 140 countries can see the hottest automotive products and attend demonstrations, educational seminars and special events.

This is an Audi R18 Ultra. The Ultra and e-tron Quattro competed in the 2012 World Endurance Championship and won the prestigious 24-Hours of Le Mans. This highly sophisticated race car has a monocoque chassis constructed with carbon fiber and aluminum. The engine is a 3.7-liter V6 which is turbocharged and uses Audi TDI technology. In addition, this 2,000-lb. race car runs on diesel fuel.
The Nitto Tires booth featured this Ferrari 458. The 458 was introduced in 2010 and is powered by a 4.5-liter Ferrari F136 V8 engine. The body for this car was designed by Pininfarina. However, there have been some styling changes made to this particular model. It is fitted with a Liberty Walk body kit. Liberty Walk was founded by a Japanese entrepreneur, Wataru Kato. The company produces a kit for many high-end cars.
Bisimoto Engineering was founded in 1995. The company was formed to fill the need for laboratory, dynamometer and race track proven high-performance products. Their latest project is this 2014 Honda Odyssey called the Power-Van. Some of the upgrades and modifications include – AEM ECU, Bisimoto exhaust system, Arias piston and twin turbos – all of this adds up to an Odyssey with over 1,000-horsepower.
Mobsteel whose company slogan is ‘Rides To Die For’ was commissioned build this delivery truck by FedEx. Constructed in just six weeks, this truck uses the cab from a 1981 Freightliner but the rest of the vehicle had to be fabricated. It is powered by a Cummins diesel which produces 550-horsepower. A custom chassis was necessary to accommodate the air suspension. The interior includes sheet-metal and wood floors.
This vehicle is the result of a collaboration between Banks Power and Freightliner. Banks Power was founded by drag racer Gale Banks. His company provides performance parts for automotive and marine engines but specializes in diesel applications. This truck is a 2008 Freightliner Cascadia. It was built to compete at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb and was driven by Mike Ryan. Powering the Freightliner is a 14.0-liter Detroit Diesel.
Ford used the show to highlight the Ford Focus ST and employed the services of different custom shops to modify the cars. One of the Focus’ used styling cues from Jimmy Clark’s 1965 Indianapolis 500 winning Lotus 38. The car shown here is sporting the Gulf Oil paint scheme used by John Wyer’s team on the Ford Mirages and GT40s in the mid-60s. This particular Focus was modified by the Universal Technical Institute.
The Toyo Tires Treadpass provided SEMA visitors with a route between the Central and South Halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It also showcased a wide array of unique vehicles – ranging from customs to exotics all sporting Toyo Tires. This is a second generation Nissan Skyline GT-R – first introduced in 1973. It is powered by a two-liter in-line six-cylinder engine and fitted with a five-speed transmission.
Mazda debuted four concept cars - one of them was the Mazda3 Clubsport. The car features a host of upgrades which included Brembo four-piston calipers with drilled rotors, Bridgestone RE-11 235/35R19 tires mounted on Ray 57 Motorsport wheels and a Cusco coilover kit. The exterior was fitted with a Mazda Design accessory aero kit and finished with Slate White paint and Club Sport custom graphics.
Another of Mazda’s concepts cars was the Mazda6 Clubsport. The car was fitted with a Mazda Design accessory aero kit and spoiler. The Mazda6 was painted Composite Grey and also received the Club Sport custom graphics package. Tires used on this model were Yokohama 245/35R20. Brembo six-piston calipers, drilled rotors, an H&R spring kit and Racing Beat performance exhaust completed the upgrade.
This is a 1955 Morris Minor Series II Traveller. The Morris Minor line was in production from 1948 to 1971 with over 1.3-million being built. The Traveller model was introduced in 1953 and powered by an 803-cc four-cylinder motor. This car participated in the 2013 Hot Rod Power Tour and has been fitted with a modern engine. In addition to the motor, what makes this vehicle unique is the set of Michelin TWEEL airless radial tires.
This 1960 Rambler American Wagon has been heavily customized. Owners, Bob and Jackie Rose of Ceres, California have replaced the straight-six motor with a small block Chevrolet V8. The transmission has been upgraded to a Turbo 350. This Rambler also features a Mustang II front suspension, Ford nine-inch rear-end and four-wheel disc brakes. The paint and bodywork were done by Bob Cole.
The Mach 40 is the vision of a retired engineer, Terry Lipscomb. Lipscomb’s idea was to combine the features of a ’69 Ford Mustang and GT40. He employed Mike Miernik to come up with the concept. The services of Eckert’s Rod and Custom and Hardison Metal Shaping were used to construct the car. The mid-engined Mach 40 is powered by a 5.4-liter four-camshaft aluminum V8 which is supercharged.
On display in the Central Hall was Mickey Thompson’s Challenger I. Built by Thompson, the Challenger used four GMC 6-71 supercharged Pontiac engines. At the Bonneville Salt Flats on September 9, 1960, he succeeded in traveling at a speed of 406.6-mph. Unfortunately, Thompson suffered an engine issue and could not make the return run required for an official record. He would move on to other challenges including the Indy 500.
From 1961 to 1965 Chevrolet produced a Corvair van called the Greenbrier Sportswagon. The 1964 model was originally equipped with a flat six-cylinder engine which produced 95-horsepower. The motor in this van has been replaced with a big block Chevrolet. With power plant modifications such as a twin rear mount Jack Shaft driven Torqstorm Superchargers the van now has 1,000-horsepower.
Toyota had a large display of vehicles in the Central Hall. Among them was this 2013 Toyota Camry prepared to compete in rallying events. The Camry was built by Detroit Speed. The V6 engine is fitted with a Turbonetics turbocharger which relies on a Spearco intercooler. The Camry has a Custom DSE exhaust system and ECU chip upgrade from AEM. The original brakes have been replaced with Baer pads and rotors.
This is a 1953 Studebaker Champion that competes at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was built to set a land speed record in the Gas Competition Coupe category. The fourth generation Champion is a very popular vehicle among land speed racers. This particular Studebaker is prepared by Stupidbaker Racing and owned by Paul Gilliam. The original straight six-cylinder engine has been replaced with a Chevrolet V8.
This 1969 Ford Gran Torino Talladega GPT Special was located in the BASF booth and attracted a lot of attention. The Torino was meant to showcase BASF’s product line of paints. But the paint isn’t the Ford’s only striking feature. Under the hood is a fuel-injected V8 which produces 700-horsepower. The body of the car sits on an Art Morrison chassis and the rear-end is equipped with an Eaton posi-traction unit.
This 1966 Chevrolet Suburban is ‘a far cry’ from what originally rolled off the assembly line. This fifth-generation Suburban was on display in the Mr. Gasket booth. Called Lime Crush it was built by the Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois. The truck is powered by a Chevrolet motor that produces 500-horsepower. The Suburban also uses many of Mr. Gasket’s aftermarket performance parts.
This is a replica of the Backup Pickup. The vehicle is based on a 1965 Ford Econoline Deluxe pickup truck. It was driven by Dick Harding and George Tuers and visited drag strips in the late 60s and early 70s performing demonstration runs. Once the front of the truck was in the air the steering was controlled by shifters connected to T-33 aircraft-grade brakes on the rear. Powering the vehicle was a V8.
This creation was built by Gary Weckesser and is called the MACH IV. This show car uses a chrome - moly chassis and is powered by four Ford Windsor V8 engines – giving the vehicle a total displacement of 1, It is interesting to note that the MACH IV is four-wheel-drive with all the power going through a single clutch. And, although it is a show car, it has posted 7-second quarter mile times at 180-mph.
The Banks Power booth had several engines on display including this one fitted in a dragster. The car was built and is campaigned by the Banks Race Shop. This blown V8 engine runs on diesel fuel. The motor is loaded with Banks performance products such as CNC cylinder heads, billet supercharger intake manifold and a Banks dry sump system all of which contribute to an output of 1,500-horsepower.
Invictus by S-Max was responsible for exhibiting this 2004 Nissan 350Z at the SEMA show. The builder of the Nissan is Muzzy Yousefi. The engine has been upgraded with many aftermarket performance parts -some of which are an S-Max intercooler, Vortech supercharger and NOS nitrous system. A wide body kit was installed on the 350Z courtesy of Veilside. Lastly, the car is fitted with Jline wheels and Toyo tires.
This truck was on display courtesy of HornBlasters. The basis for this build is a 2005 Ford F-650 but it has received many enhancements. The chassis has been extended to accommodate a third cab. Some of the exterior modifications include: 2004 Ford F-150 headlights molded into the front of the truck and 24.5-inch Shrek billet aluminum wheels. The powertrain is a Caterpillar C7acert diesel engine.
Presenting this 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 was Oracle Lighting. The modifications made to the Viper were by Design Craft Fabrication. The V-10 engine has received a Vortech supercharger, AEM infinity tuning and a MagnaFlow exhaust system. The original chassis has been replaced with a custom fabricated tube frame. The exterior of the car has Oracle halo headlights and an APR front splitter and rear spoiler.
This DP Riley was entered in the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series by Chip Ganassi Racing. The BMW-powered version of this Riley was driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The team started the season with a victory in the prestigious 24-Hours of Daytona. The final win of the year was at Road Atlanta. The duo finished second in the Driver’s standings. For 2014, the Chip Ganassi team will be using Ford EcoBoost engines.
No this isn’t one of the original Ford Cobras. It is a replica of the original Cobra produced by a company called Factory Five Racing. This particular model is the company’s Mk4 Challenge model which is the competition version of the Factory Five Mk4 Roadster. The Mk4 Challenge is designed for road racing and can be found competing in the National Auto Sport Association’s Factory Five Challenge Series.
Each year, the Ford Motor Company has a significant presence at the SEMA. An area in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center is used by Ford to display their latest offerings, race cars and custom builds. They have also rented a large area of the Convention Center’s Silver parking lot. Ford uses the lot to demonstrate their cars and trucks and also provide ‘ride-alongs’ to show attendees.
Mercury Racing, a division of Mercury Marine, brought a very unique vehicle/engine combination to the SEMA show. They used a British kit car, the Ultima GTR, and mated their QC4v marine engine to a Ford GT transaxle. The 1650, designed for off-shore racing is a 9.0-liter all-aluminum DOHC, twin-turbocharged V8 engine making more than 1,600 horsepower. The motor retails for $68,000 without the ECU and turbos.

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