SEMA 2017 recap - 1946 Plymouth Deluxe 4x4 conversion trar

2017 SEMA Show – Recapping The World’s Largest Automotive Event

The Specialty Equipment Manufacturing Association, more commonly known as “SEMA”, has been hosting its trade show since 1967, and this year was one of the biggest I have seen in the 17 years I have been attending the SEMA Show. This trade-only event started small and was held in the basement of Dodger Stadium with just 5 display booths. The show blossomed quickly, and in 1977, the show was moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center where it has remained ever since. Bigger than ever, the 2017 SEMA Show hosted more than 70,000 buyers, with 12 different sections across four halls, with an ever-expanding outdoor pavilion that features three driving courses and vendor displays.

This may be one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Built by Rick Dore, this project is just that- an unfinished project, shown at SEMA in raw aluminum.

This may be one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Built by Rick Dore, this project is just that- an unfinished project, shown at SEMA in raw aluminum.

Because the SEMA Show is trade only, the average gearhead can’t get inside, but the outside area is a little different. No badge is needed to visit the expansive car show that has come to dominate the event.

This wild little 1984 VW Rabbit is powered by an LS engine and was built by Connor Hofford, and competed in the SEMA Battle of the Builders.

This wild little 1984 VW Rabbit is powered by an LS engine and was built by Connor Hofford, and competed in the SEMA Battle of the Builders.

We spent the week at the show and saw all the cars. So, so many cars. While the show is a trade-only event, it has also become the world’s largest car show. With hundreds of cars on display, it is easy to get lost in sea of chrome and rust. Yes, I said rust, because if anything has become apparent, rust is now a popular finish, even for show cars. Personal preferences aside, there are so many vehicles on display you are bound to find several that you could fall in love with. 

While many of the cars you see at SEMA are top-end builds, you will also see some oddballs, like this 1946 Plymouth Deluxe that has been dropped onto a 4x4 truck chassis.

While many of the cars you see at SEMA are top-end builds, you will also see some oddballs, like this 1946 Plymouth Deluxe that has been dropped onto a 4×4 truck chassis.

LT swaps are hot right now, and if you don’t know what that is, it is the next evolution of GM powertrain. This direct-injection engine comes in a 4.3 V6 and V8s in 5.3 and 6.2 liter versions, with a 6.2 supercharged model called the LT4, making 650 horsepower. Like the ubiquitous LS-series engines, the LT platform is starting to catch on in the world of hot rodding and engine swaps, we captured several vehicles that had been LT-swapped. Direct injection also means that the intake valves don’t get cleaned with fuel wash, so you have to use a special cleaner to keep one in top shape. 

Another showstopper was this Chevy truck camper. Slammed to the ground with an LS-swap, this thing always had a crowd.

Another showstopper was this Chevy truck camper. Slammed to the ground with an LS-swap, this thing always had a crowd.

 

You can also find some unique talents at SEMA as well, like Jada Paxton, an artist brought out by Shell to do custom sharpie art.

You can also find some unique talents at SEMA as well, like Jada Paxton, an artist brought out by Shell to do custom sharpie art.

 

Jada inked this entire Ford F150 by hand. It is quite impressive.

Jada inked this entire Ford F150 by hand. It is quite impressive.

There are always lavish vehicles on display at the 2017 SEMA Show, so many that is impossible to even see them all in four days. We have compiled a few of our favorites from the show to share with you. Enjoy!

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the 2017 SEMA Show, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Jefferson Bryant and SEMA.

about author

Jefferson Bryant

A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.

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