SEMA's Like a Good Time

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Las Vegas CA, Nov 3 2016 - For a brand like Special Car Store, it's a bit of gap in logic that we have not covered SEMA for any of their previous 49 annual events. Sorry excuse is that we felt Las_Vegased_out from 15 years of CES, NAB and countless other events by the time SEMA came around in November. This year we booked it on the 2016 editorial schedule - SEMA's time had come to not pass.

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As if event cursed, a destination wedding in Mexico the very same week put off the plan. We'd never wish for such change of plans, but the wedding went sideways 8 days beforehand; literally minutes before our cancellation deadline. No thanks to the unfortunate circumstances, we booked the trip to Las Vegas instead.

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With SEMA the first thing you notice upon arriving at the Las Vegas Convention Center is that we're not in little electronics or broadcasting anymore. This $#!% is big! Actually, you hear it first from the Uber ride under the train - the ominous sound of someone squealing the life out their tires. You see the cloud of smoky delight drifting across the front parking lots packed with exhibitor alleys. Then you breathe in the vaporized rubber and know you have arrived, and it's way better than the uninvited smoke in the casinos.

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South and Central Halls were guarded by a mile deep gauntlet of monster trucks. Monster is not the best word for them any longer: these are polished metal battalions of the prettiest beasts you didn't imagine but somebody cool did! Meguiar, Mothers and Armorall must sell tankerloads of spit'n'shine liquid to cover the rubber, paint and fabrics made for these days.

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This event is the automobile aftermarket product and service mecca - the joint is on high buzz mode. It takes at least a day just to wind your way and glance through all of the halls, alleys and sideshows. It would take weeks to go through every interesting part and place in detail. Numerous workshops and training sessions are available for budding professionals, or you could stand back and watch some dudes hand roll a sleek Daytona-like car in front of your eyes.

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 1963 Chevrolet Impala "El Rey" Low Rider of the Year 2011

The customized car and trucks and craft come at you in waves - sometimes so much and so many that visual overload obscures normal thought processes. Given all the careful work each of the creators and vendors, it seems a great disservice (and perhaps a sin) to stroll by without in depth observation and analysis. Alas, there are more subjects ahead and more things to do than you can shake a hood scoop at.

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As a photograph-centric publisher, we noticed right away that the crowds were huge and a never ending stream of movement. We strive for clear shots of automotive subjects to provide a level of quality and consistency - sometimes people, if part of the subject. This is one of the most challenging automotive shows for shooting unfettered cars in the middle of the show. While one has to bite their tongue for all the cell phone snappers that walk in front of your shot without thought, we'll thank the hundreds of folks who halted their progress waiting for a tired old camera to focus.

As always, the pictures just speak for themselves. SEMA is a good time.

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1958 Chevrolet Impala - American Graffiti car

1911 Marmon Wasp 1st car to win Indianapolis 500

1911 Marmon Wasp - 1st car to win Indianapolis 500

1970 International Scout II

 1970 International Scout II

Pictured below: Trion SuperCars handcrafted Nemisis RR; 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline; "Shangri-La" elegant roadster by Rick Dore; and 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hard top

by Randy Berg

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Trion SuperCars handcrafted Nemisis RR at SEMA 2016
1948 Chevrolet Fleetline at SEMA 2016
"Shangri-La" elegant roadster by Rick Dore at SEMA 2016
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hard top at SEMA 2016

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