It's extreme, edgy, extravagant, and exhausting. It completely fills the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo Center (over 1 million square feet, in case you were wondering). It draws more than 100,000 attendees each November. It sports more than 1,900 exhibitors. It only happens once a year, and only in Las Vegas. It's the world-renowned SEMA Show, and baby, it rocks.
At SEMA (short for Specialty Equipment Market Association), you'll see it all-more than 2,000 vehicles that represent the cutting edge of aftermarket technology and function. You'll also see rigs that sport so much over-the-top bling, you'll bust out laughing. It's so Vegas. Each night after the show closes, you'll see the cutting edge of partying as many attendees of Vegas' largest event move en masse onto the Strip (we've heard that what happens there, stays there, so we'll move on).
As we do each year, we eagerly jumped out of the rack early each morning before the crowds saturated the show floor (magazine staffers always go to bed early at SEMA) and we photographed some of the more noteworthy and fascinating rigs. What follows is a virtual tour of those rigs as well as a few other items.
What it is: '05 Toyota Tacoma
Found at: Smittybilt booth
Particulars: This beautiful Tacoma showcases a slew of Smittybilt products including a tubular rear bumper, bed divider, bed extender, billet grille, and running boards. Underneath, it has Fabtech's new 6-inch suspension lift; Weld 17x10 Pro-Crusher wheels; LT305/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires; and a TRD exhaust system. Inside, there are Katzkin leather seat covers and a bunch of thumpin' MTX Audio gear. The exterior paint was designed and applied by Doug Starbuck at Starside design.
One more thing ... : That way-cool front winch bumper is a Smittybilt product, and it holds a Warn 9.5ti winch, four lights, and a pair of D-rings
What it is: '05 Ford F-150
Found at: Skyjacker booth
Particulars: It's a two-wheel-drive, but hey, outside the Snow Belt, built 4x2s are hot properties. This one has the brand-new Skyjacker 6-inch lift; 37-inch BFG A/T tires; new Weld Dune 6 wheels; Reflexxions Dominator cowl hood; Precision Phat Billet grille; Perry's Fab-N-Fiber fiberglass prerunner front fenders; new SSBC Force 10 brakes; N-Fab bumper, nerf bar, and new spare-tire carrier; numerous Baja Designs 8-inch Sol Tek HID lights; Optima Yellow Top battery; and K&N Aircharger intake.
One more thing ... : See those body trim pieces that look like they're riveted on? They are.
What it is: '06 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab
Found at: Trail Master booth
Particulars: We figured there would be mega Mega Cabs, but this was the only one we saw outside of the Mopar booth. It has Trail Master's new 4.5-inch suspension lift that is said to retain the proper caster and pinion angles while increasing wheel travel. The kit allows fitment of 35x13.50 tires and it allows use of the stock wheels. This particular Mega Cab also had Trail Master's 2.5-inch front leveling kit installed. This allowed fitment of LT235/65R18 Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ tires on MT Classic Lock 18x10 wheels.
One more thing ... : Up front, there's an OR Fab front bumper with three KC 1801 lights.
What it is: '02 Chevy Avalanche
Found at: Rhino Linings booth
Particulars: JH Custom Wheel and Accessory and Rhino Linings of Bolivar, Missouri, created this sharp-looking Avalanche. The rig's lengthy list of features include a Fabtech 6-inch lift; a Truxxx lift and level kit; Air Lift 1000 Series load-assist rear airbags; Rancho RSX Series performance shocks; 35x13.50-20 Mickey Thompson ATZ all-terrain tires; 20x9 Detata Cross wheels; Corsa Performance Power Pulse RSC stainless steel after-cat exhaust system; AEM Brute Force cold air induction intake; Ohio Generator 200-amp alternator; Putco Liquid billet grille; All Sales billet Bow Tie; and a huge A/V system.
One more thing ... : Every piece of exterior body cladding has been coated with Rhino Linings Tuff Stuff. The graphics are Rhinos UV Topcoat in matching black with Dodge Viper Race Yellow fading into Viper Red.
Form And Function
What it is: '05 Chevy K2500HD
Found at: Fabtech boothParticulars: One thing that you can always count on at SEMA is that Fabtech will have a cool truck in its booth. This year, it was this awesome Chevy sporting Fabtech's new 9-inch long-travel coilover conversion kit. The kit includes, but is certainly not limited to, the company's Dirt Logic 4.0 coilover shocks; Dirt Logic bumpstops; long-travel rear leaf springs and hangers; and Dirt Logic 2.25-inch shocks. The rig also features 37x13.50 Toyo Open Country mud-terrain tires; 17x9 American Racing wheels with OMF bead locks; Acro HID auxiliary lights; Precision solid billet grille; ORU rear differential cover; Magnaflow after-cat exhaust; and a smokin' paint job by Jerry Lathrop Designs and Craig Haynie.
One more thing ... : The coilover conversion kit gives the Chevy 12 inches of front suspension travel.
What it is: '06 Nissan Frontier
Found at: Nissan booth
Particulars: When Ryan Hagel designs a rig for SEMA, the results are always spectacular. Case in point: this wicked Frontier. It features a Spencer Low Racing-built suspension with 18 inches of rear travel and 12 inches of front travel; 35-inch BFG Baja T/A tires; custom KMC-built 17-inch bead-lock wheels; custom Hannemann fiberglass fenders; front and rear Warn winches; Spencer Low Racing custom exhaust, rollcage, and bed cage; and Mastercraft Rubicon racing seats.
One more thing ... : See that cool front bumper with winch mount and light tabs? Spencer Low Racing made that too.
What it is: '06 Hummer H3
Found at: Full Throttle Suspension booth
Particulars: Without a doubt, H3s were the hottest rig at SEMA. This bright red one stopped traffic with its brand-new 9.5-inch Full Throttle suspension system with dual shock hoops and Fox Racing 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks; 37x13.50 Boggers; 17x10 Weld Velociti wheels; Real Wheels billet accessories; Precision billet grille; and Directed Audio stereo components.
One more thing ... : Gobs of underbody components have been powdercoated.
And Now For Something Completely Different
What it is: '89 Chevy Caprice
Found at: MHT Luxury Alloys booth
Particulars: In street terminology, this is called a "hi-rise," and these are all the rage nowadays. It's not a car on a truck chassis. The suspension for this pimpin' ride was created by the guys at Red's in Miami, and it took more than 100 hours to create. Because lift kits for Chevy Caprices are a tad rare, most every component had to be hand-fabricated. Example:the A-arms, tie rods, and spindles were all stretched. In addition to the custom fabbed parts, the car is fitted with Lamborghini brakes and rotors, 3/4-ton truck ball joints, and Skyjacker shocks. The rear axle is the stock housing with 4.56:1 gears and Summers Brothers axles.
One more thing ... : Those are 28-inch MHT Condo wheels.