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, boasts over 2,300 exhibitors and in excess of 150,000 people with ties to the automotive performance aftermarket. Visitors can see the hottest automotive products and attend demonstrations, educational seminars and special events.

2016 was a special occasion for SEMA as it marked the association’s 50th anniversary.

This beautiful 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was built by Quality Custom Rides but what makes it truly unique is the car’s V12 engine. This motor was created by brothers Matt and Shane Corish of Dandy Engines. Two Chevy LS engines had cylinders removed and then welded together to form a single powerplant. The motor is and produces 717-horserpower. It will retail for $35,000.
Another stunning car which was in the AXALTA display was this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda fitted with a 6.7-liter Cummings diesel built by Weaver Customs. The turbocharged engine produces 1,500-horsepower which is as much as a Bugatti Chiron. But that is not the most impressive engine performance spec – this Cuda produces 3,000 lb.-ft. of torque. The car is aptly named ‘Torc’.
Another vehicle parking in the AXALTA compound was this 1960 Ford Starliner. The Starliners were a fastback version of the Galaxie - produced from 1960 to 1961. This car was built by the owner Gerald Feigl.
A couple of years ago General Motors re-introduced the COPO (Central Office Product Order) Camaros. These hand built cars – sixty-nine in all – are not street legal. They are intended for NHRA drag racing. The unique cars are available with a number of different engine options and a three-speed automatic transmission. They are sought after by automobile collectors.
This Mustang was on display at Toyo Tire ‘TREADPASS’ along with some other exciting cars. This 1970 Ford Mustang wide body is called Muzilla as it is fitted with a 3.8-liter twin turbocharged Nissan VR38DETT GT-R motor. Not only that, it sits on top of a 2010 Nissan GT-R chassis!
Called ‘The Executive’ this 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS is powered by a V8. The car was restored by JH Restorations. Some of the upgrades include an MSD ignition system, Flowmaster exhaust system, Hotchkis system upgrade and Wilwood disc brakes.
The new reproduction of a 1966 Ford Shelby Mustang fastback was located in the Ford exhibit. This is an officially licenced reproduction concept by Revology Cars. The ‘60s styling is combined with modern technology. This Mustang is powered by a 5-liter DOHC Ti-VTC ‘Coyote’ V8 which makes 435-horsepower. The latest in electronic engine management and accessories has been incorporated.
This 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS is called El Rey by its owner Albert De Alba. The paint and body work was done by De Alba and his son. It is evident that many aspects of this car have been modified – sound system, suspension, upholstery and exhaust.
The ‘Rippin Rooster’ is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air built to compete in off-road events. The car started out as a ’55 but in the mid-80s it was updated to a 1957 model. The ‘Rippin Rooster’ has done well in competition winning the SCORE points championship four times and most recently it won the vintage class two consecutive years(2013 & 2014)in the Mexican 1000.
The Vettesthetics F35 Stealth Fighter C7 was built to pay tribute to the Men and Women of the United States Armed Forces. Over 1000 man hours have gone into building this 2016 Z51 Stingray which features a wide-body kit and F35 livery. This Corvette will be auctioned of benefit military charities.
This 1994 Mazda RX-7 was another exciting vehicle located on the Toyo Tire ‘TREADPASS’. The Mazda has been fitted with a Rocket Bunny wide-body kit. The front of the car resembles that of the Mazda RX-3 produced from 1973-78. The car is equipped with GReddy coil-overs, a StopTech big brake kit and Rotiform KPS wheels.
This second generation Dodge Charger was found on the Toyo Tire ‘TREADPASS’. This body style was introduced in 1968 and redesigned in 1971. This flat black Charger with purple trim is a 1970 model. Under the hood of this car sits a 730-horsepower R5 NASCAR engine with Holley electronic fuel injection. The roof has been chopped three inches and the body sits on a tube frame chassis.
This Mad Max creation is from the off-road company Fab Fours. This is a much modified 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Renamed the Kymera it is powered by a twin turbocharged 5.9-liter Cummins diesel engine. Some of the other modifications to the truck include coil-over suspension with Fox Racing shock absorbers and 20-inch wheels.
Making its debut at the 2016 SEMA show was the Toyota Motorsport GmbH GT86 CS-Cup. The car was prepared using a 2017 Toyota 86 by the German division of Toyota Motorsports. This is Toyota is built to compete in a single-make series. As a result, it is not street legal or available at your local Toyota dealership.
This Porsche is a creation of RWB/Rauh-Welt Begriff. RWB/Rauh-Welt Begriff is a Japanese company which specializes in Porsches. This car is fitted with the firm’s trademark bodywork and tuned to produce 600-horsepower. The Martini Racing livery is reminiscent of the Carrera RSR that won the 1973 Targa Floria.
Attracting a lot of attention was this 1972 Ford Maverick which was restored and customized by students at Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California. Providing direction and guidance was actor Sung Kang – best known for his role in the Fast Furious film - Tokyo Drift. The car has a road racing appearance and is powered by a four-cylinder 2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost.
Motorcycles were well represented at the SEMA show. The ‘After Hours Bike’was found in the Heatshield Products booth. This bike uses a Harley Davison motor with a six-speed transmission. And, in what seems to be common practice, the front wheel is much larger than the rear – 30-inch front and 16-inch rear.
Hyundai had their IONIQ at SEMA. This vehicle was built as a land-speed record car to compete on the Bonneville Salt Flats. With some aerodynamic changes, the IONIQ was able to reach a speed of almost 254-km/h which established a new land-speed record for production-based hybrid vehicles.
Ford had plenty of racing vehicles in their display area. This is a 2016 Ford Focus RS built as the result of a collaboration between Ford Performance, M-Sport and driver Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division. This purpose built Rallycross car features all-wheel drive, an EcoBoost engine producing 600-horsepower with the ability to go from 0-60 mph in less than two seconds.
This creation came from Diamond Eye Performance. This lowered 1948 Ford F5 CEO Hauler is mounted on a 1985 GM C30 chassis with front and rear air ride suspension. The custom fabricated hauler bed is carrying a much modified twin-turbocharged 1965 GMC C10 called ‘Demon Smurf’.
Pro drifter Ryan Tuerck replaced the four-cylinder engine in this Toyota GT86 with a V8 motor. Nothing unusual about this type of modification in the drift world except the V8 is from a Ferrari. This Ferrari engine is from a 458 which produces 570-horsepower and 398-lb.-ft. of torque. To complete the installation Tuerck had to have the exhaust exit ahead of the front wheels.
It took two years for ASD Motorsports and RTR to build Ken Block’s 1965 Ford Mustang. Under the hood of this tube-frame car is a 6.7-liter V8 prepared by NASCAR engine builders ROUSH Yates. This motor produces 845-horsepower and 720-lb.ft. of torque. This all-wheel-drive vehicle also employs a six-speed manual transmission. Video of this car can be seen by searching the internet for: ‘Gymkhana 7’.
There were over fifty cars parked in the Optima Street Car Alley. The vehicles were owned by participants competing in the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational. Teams qualify at events throughout the year for an opportunity to compete in the final judging at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The car pictured is 1968 AMC AMX driven by Bob Gawlik.
Drawing a lot of attention was this 1972 Chevrolet C10 Pickup. This truck was built by Air-Art with help from 405-Kustomz and Corwine Automotive. Under the hood was an LS3 6.2-liter Camaro engine with a 6L80 automatic transmission. Seven airbags with dual 380c compressor is used to raise and lower the vehicle. The hood incorporated ’57 Chevy Rockets and the pickup bed merged ’59 Impala fins.
This 1973 AMC AMX Javelin was built to resemble cars competing in the SCCA Trans Am series. In keeping with this theme, the car has Wilwood six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston on the rear. The AMX rides QA1 coil-overs and Nitto NT555R tires. Unlike a Tran Am car, the original AMC engine has been replaced with a GM LS3 and the differential has been swapped for a nine-inch Ford.
The changes made to this 1971 Plymouth Barracuda are subtle but extensive. Manns Restoration started with a very rusty Cuda – the firewall, floor pans, trunk pan, rear frame rails and quarter panels were replaced. The original powertrain and driveline have been swapped for a 6.1-liter Hemi with a Magnacharger and TR6060 transmission.
The Lexus RC F GT3 appeared at last year’s SEMA show with the promise that the car would compete in the last half 2016 IMSA season – unfortunately, this did not occur. Lexus has indicated that two of these cars will race in 2017 with Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports team handling the preparation. To date, the Lexus has been tested by the driver line-up of Scott Pruett, Sage Karam, Jack Hawksworth and Robert Alon.
Honda/Acura had a large contingent of specialty vehicles in their display area. This 2017 Honda Civic Coupe Racing Concept was the work of Team Honda Research West. This group of designers and engineers was responsible for the development of the tenth generation Honda Civic. The car will make its racing debut at the USAF 25 Hour of Thunderhill in December.
Plenty of interesting cars were parked on the Toyo Tire ‘TREADPASS’. This 1974 Datsun 260Z is fitted with a JDM five-piece G-Nose conversion and painted in a colour scheme reminiscent of the JPS sponsored Formula One Lotus’. The original motor has been replaced with a turbocharged 2JZGTE from a Toyota Supra. This car was built by JS Vintage Motorsports.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering used SEMA to showcase their Superperformance Grand Sport Corvette. Lingenfelter has been in business for over 40-years providing engine and chassis components for most General Motors products. The Corvette is equipped with a modified LS3 which includes a Borla Semi-Crossram Injection system that produces 550-horsepower.
Hyundai had a number of vehicles in their booth to demonstrate that cars could be more than just an economical and boring means of transportation. The candy-coloured Veloster Concept was modified by Gurnade. The obvious enhancements are the wide-body kit, lower ride height and aftermarket wheels. The car also included engine upgrades, bigger brakes and a coil-over suspension.
Fans of the Pirelli World Challenge series know that it has been a tough year for the domestics competing in the GTS class. To fight against the influx of GT4 prepared cars, Ford has built a Mustang to FIA GT4 specifications. The car was designed by Multimatic and powered by a 5.2-liter dry-sump V8 engine. Additional pieces include a six-speed transmission, 18-inch forged wheels, Brembo brakes and an aero package.
The Honda/Acura display included this 2016 Honda Civic Coupe fresh from the Global Rally Cross Championship. This Civic was built by Olsbergs MSE (OMSE) with technical support from Honda Performance Development (HPD). To be competitive, this 2920-pound car has a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that has been upgraded to produce over 600-horsepower.
Don Lindfors built this 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup called the ‘BOSS 32’. This hot rod uses a Ford Boss 351 Cleveland engine and a Ford Top Loader 4-speed transmission. Coker supplies the tires which are mounted on American Torq Thrust II wheels.
Vaughn Gitten Jr.’s 2017 Mustang Fastback is one of many race prepared cars in Ford’s display. Gitten’s Mustang is built to compete in the Formula Drift series. This car has been lightened and weights 3100-pounds. It is powered by a ROUSH Yates engine that produces 900-horsepower. In its debut season, this car finished third overall.
The Mazda booth included two MX-5 concept cars. This roofless white Mazda is called the MX-5 Speedster Evolution and the colour is called ‘White Ether’. This design exercise included reducing the weight of the car by 350-pounds which brings the overall package to just under 2000-pounds.
This 1951 Ford affectionately referred to as a ‘Shoebox’ has always been a favourite with the Hot Rod crowd. This particular ‘Shoebox’ was built by Byers Custom and Wicked Fabrication. In keeping with the performance theme, the car uses an Art Morrison chassis with an independent suspension and a quick change rear end. Powering this old Ford is a fuel injected Lincoln V8.
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro was built by the Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois. The engine is an LT1 from Texas Speed which produces 680-horsepower and before it gets to the rear wheel it goes through a Tremec T-56 prepared by Bowler Performance. Extensive modifications have been made to chassis, suspension and sheet metal.
Factory Five is best known for their Roadster line of Ford Cobra replicas. But the company that was founded in 1995 offers kit cars other than the Cobra replicas. An example of the variety of their product offerings is the 1933 Hot Rod. This replica of a 1930s Ford can be purchased for $19,900 and includes everything except the running gear.
This wide-body 2017 Honda Civic Type R Prototype was located in the Honda/Acura display area. In addition to the wide-body kit, the car is fitted with an aero package that included a splitter, air ducts, side skirts and a rear diffuser. The Civic is also equipped with 20-inch wheels and 245-series high-performance tires.
Making its debut at SEMA in the GM booth was the hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2. This military-themed truck is powered by an electric motor producing 177-horsepower and 236-lbs.-ft. torque. The truck has a top speed of about 60-mph with a range of 140-miles. Hydrogen powering the vehicle is stored in three tanks and they can be filled in 3-5-minutes.
This old GT-R was parked in the OS Giken booth. OS Giken is a Japanese company that specializes in engine and drivetrain components. This Nissan was built by the Z Car Garage. In an engineering exercise to demonstrate the company’s expertise, the original engine was replaced L28D diesel engine block using a TC24-B1Z cylinder head.
Another car parked on the Toyo Tire ‘TREADPASS’ was this 2007 Porsche Cayman S. The engine was upgraded with parts from Fabspeed and the exterior was fitted with a wide-body kit from Pandem. The suspension uses components from KW Clubsports and Rennline.
Classic Restorations, the licensed and factory authorized builder of Shelby Mustangs are responsible for this new reproduction of a 1967 Ford Mustang fastback. Unlike the original GT500, this car is powered by a 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine which is mated to a Tremec T-5 five-speed manual transmission. Other modern upgrades include coil-over shock absorbers and front and rear disc brakes.
Petty Garage had two cars on display – one of them was the Petty’s Garage Scat Pack Challenger which is an upgraded 2016 Dodge Challenger. Some of the features of this car include a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi producing 720-horsepower, an air ride suspension, adjustable sway bars, and a big brake kit. Continental Tires are mounted on HRE 3-piece wheels.
Hyundai was at SEMA and used the opportunity to show what could be done with their product offerings. This Hyundai Elantra was modified by ARK Performance to create the ARK Road Race Elantra concept. The car received a wide- body kit and a custom vinyl wrap. The engine is turbocharged and the car has a performance exhaust system. Modifications to the suspension include; coil-overs and new roll-bars.
Initially, all Rat Rods were older cars soon after trucks were constructed using this style. Now, imports are being built using Rat Rod techniques. A great example is this 1972 Datsun 510. The exterior remains in its weathered condition but mechanically there have been a number of upgrades. Probably two of the most significant changes are the Toyota front suspension and the Mazda 13B rotary engine.
The center piece of the Ford display was the class winning Ford GT from the 2016 24-Hours of Le Mans. Ford suffered a number of mechanical problems in the season’s opening event at Daytona but they were sorted for the June classic. The Chip Ganassi Team entry driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais won on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s first victory at this track.
Spotted in the Shell/Pennzoil display was this Australian Ford Falcon. This is the XA model which was produced between 1972 and 1979. The car looks like a cross between a Mustang and Torino. In Australian motorsports, this car proved quite successful winning the prestigious Bathurst 1000 on a number of occasions.
Derale Performance constructed this 1966 NASCAR style Mercury Cyclone GT using mid-60s engineering practices (non-tube frame chassis) but fitted with current aftermarket performance products. The car uses a Ford built by JMS Racing Engines. Stopping the Mercury are Wilwood calipers and Hoosier racing tires are mounted on 15-inch steel wheels. For comfort, the car was equipped with two cup holders.
If you have an extra $189,950, you could buy this 2015 Shelby Daytona Coupe. This is chassis CSX9141 built by the Hillbank Motor Corporation. Hillbank is a supplier of a wide range of replicas, concept cars, body kits, performance parts and accessories. The car is equipped with a fuel injected all aluminum engine and a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual transmission.
It’s not uncommon to find customized pickups at SEMA but this utility truck is a new twist. This very clean 1968 Chevrolet C10 was built by TinWorks Fabrication. Obviously, not meant to serve as a workhorse - the compartments on the box of the truck cannot be used as the vehicle is lowered and they are needed to accommodate the Billet Speciality Wheels.
There were a number of vehicles on display that support charitable causes. An example is this 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air (2 Door Sport Coupe). This frame off restored Chevy is to be sold by Mecum Auctions to support Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.
The Honda/Acura display included the brand new 2017 Acura NSX. This car has appeared on track in 2016 at World Challenge practice sessions. This NSX is prepared to FIA GT3 rules and includes an aero package. Powering this car is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. HPD used SEMA to introduce the 2017 driver line-up for the World Challenge and IMSA series.
Roadkill’s Stubby Bob was originally a 1950 Ford F6 two-ton dump truck. After it was shortened by four-feet the original flathead V8 was replaced with a engine. The 454 is mounted backwards and is fitted with Weiand 8-71 supercharger, Holley carburetors, MSD ignition system and a Comp Cams camshaft. The colour is identified as ‘rust’ and apparently, the truck does HUGE wheel stands.
The Holley group of companies had a significant number of vehicles on display. In their area was this 1966 Chevrolet C10 pickup. Built by the Car Classic Studio this truck was powered by a Chevy LS1 with LS6 cylinder heads. The induction system had two turbochargers with a Holley electronic fuel injection system. The powertrain included a GM transmission and the very popular Ford 9-inch rear end.
Unlike most customs, this car is not powered by a V8. Instead, this 1952 Chevrolet Skyline Deluxe uses an inline motor and the common Turbo 350 automatic transmission. Almost every aspect of the Skyline has been modified. It uses the very popular nine-inch Ford rear end and has a four-link rear suspension.
This is an example of the many great looking trucks that appeared at the 2016 SEMA show. This 1969 Chevrolet C10 was built by Kevin and Danton Stickel at Delmo’s Speed and Kustom and appeared in the Royal Purple booth. The truck uses a dry sump LS7 engine and the suspension and chassis use a lot of Porterbuilt components. Atturo AZ850 tires on mounted on wheels created by Delmo.

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