Over the last 37 years, SEMA has showcased products of the aftermarket auto industry. In the early years, it was called the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association, and as the group of companies continues to grow, the show has become so large, that it's difficult to see everything in four days. Early on a few vehicles were displayed in individual booths. Most were race cars that the exhibiting companies owned or sponsored; they were mostly Indy race cars or drag racing machines. After a few years, the product line changed to more of a general aftermarket showcase, causing a name change to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, which is now housed annually in Las Vegas.
Over the years, the trade show has also become a major vehicle show. Walking the isles of the show, we found many reworked cars, trucks, street rods, and customs, and a very large tent in the parking lot housed a bunch of custom boats. Pickup trucks have become one of the most popular vehicles at the show. Some trucks were fairly mild, such as a late Silverado totally covered in vinyl that replicated a golf course or a new Hummer fitted with a Cadillac Escalade front end. There were also many early trucks. RB's Obsolete Parts' '47 Chevy Panel was a knock-out, as well as other early model trucks. There was about a dozen reworked pickups in the huge Ford display. For the most part, they were redone with trick items that we see on trucks featured in Truckin'. Smooth bodies, bumper caps, different grille treatments, and so on seem to have become the norm. They even featured an '04 F-150 designed by Jimmy Shine, a fabricator from SO-CAL Speed Shop, that was decked out in a vintage hot-rod look.
A majority of vehicles featured wild paintjobs. Many companies purchase a new truck and have a wild paintjob applied, then park it outside to entice attendees to find their booth to see what else they have to offer. Here we offer a few samples of items that drew our attention, along with many other showgoers.