In American popular culture, the lifespan of trends, events, and famous figures has drastically shortened thanks to social media and the sheer amount of information with which we are bombarded daily. Car culture experiences some resemblance of this phenomenon, most notably with the rapid evolution of the stance scene and the uncountable offshoot meets, clubs, cliques, and minute-long videos overdubbed with lo-fi hip-hop. Not every part of the car world has been subjected to the diminished length of relevance, however. Some staples of this world have continued to remain at the forefront of enthusiast lifestyle and have become synonymous with the life we love. The SEMA show in Las Vegas is one such event that is an annual Mecca for anyone with an affinity for cars and this year, their 52nd annual showcase, the best of the best from all over the world once again are gathering to display internet-breaking builds of all makes, models, styles, and backgrounds.
If you have ever been to Las Vegas, then your memories are most likely a blurred haze of neon, ostrich feathers, and a dinging sound that undoubtedly has caused PTSD every time your door chime rings. Las Vegas any other time besides SEMA is already a hectic experience that has provided vessels for gonzo journalists and smooth-talking card counters to glorify Sin City in its unchanging mentality of gilded extravagance. Vegas during the weeks before and during the SEMA convention is all of the Vegas you love and hate, but the average value of cars on the road and parked in various garages around the strip exponentially rises.
When you arrive, it is an instant whirlwind from the airport to your hotel. As you make it to the strip, you find auto enthusiasts of varying notoriety all milling about, enjoying drinks, playing the casino games, and watching the astounding builds cruising the streets before they have to make it to their load in time. The sensation can be overwhelming, and the convention has yet to even begin. Once in your hotel, the reality sets in that there is nothing you can do to take your mind off of the beginning of the show. The longer you have to wait, the greater the risk becomes that you go overboard on whiskey sours and black-jack early in the week. With possibly days to go before you set foot in the convention center, anticipation can easily overcome your best intentions. Cue explaining why you missed that breakfast meeting with a prospective vendor or buyer.
When you reorient your moral compass and take the time to get away from your hotel to go car spotting, what you can find becomes a wonderful teaser to what you will see. This year, some of our guys took that time to make the smart choice and go exploring. Some of these cars are dedicated show cars to be there as exhibits, some are private owner’s cars just there enjoying their favorite vehicle. The feeling is quite unique, to walk into a parking deck and see GTRs, M3s, and RWB Porsches parked in between Camrys, Accords, and other various rental cars of equal mundanity.
The SEMA convention provides that yearly peak, the high water mark from where the season once again turns cold and that tide of building energy breaks way for the recession before the next year. Constant changes in the Auto industry, all depicted at SEMA, represent the first time these fads are fresh and new. The inverse effect of that energy built during the next year is farther away from the relevance of that trend until the next years vogue is shown once again at SEMA in Vegas. The styles may change, the scene evolves, but SEMA will always be there.