The majority here does not really care about those things but the American car fans get hyper. “Can it be a bit more?” The question about styling, function, comfort and safety. Conclusion: Tuning is in. At this year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show the Las Vegas Convention Center was all about superlatives. SEMA represents the $ 33.4 billion automotive supplier market that is growing every year with the desire to build and potter around in the car in the land of opportunity.
In the land of opportunity, tuning your own vehicle is a passion that spills millions of dollars into the manufacturers’ cash registers. The reason for this is that there is no technical monitoring or mandatory vehicle acceptance regulations. Anything goes.
Of course, many new maximum pimped cars are presented. In between are the traditional muscle cars and somewhere in between, the mixture of both. Performance is on demand – under the hood and around it, in the interior, in the sound system, the tires and and and …
In addition to automobiles, which are simply eye-catching (even if one might not want to tune his own car for reasons of originality), the great craftsmanship of the Americans is outstanding. Personalization is a big topic – even for cars used in everyday-life. If you are interested, you will participate in one of the nearly 50 lectures and discussions in the context of the ‘Vehicle Technology Sessions’. These are training programs that accelerate the expansion of the US aftermarket automotive industry and support Do It Yourself enthusiasts.
At the SEMA you’ll meet the who’s who of the scene, such as Ryan Friedlingshaus (West Coast Customs), Richard Rawlings (Gas Monkey Garage), Richard Petty (Petty’s Garage) and the customizing legend John D’Agostino of Celebrity Customs, who shows his artwork on automobile shows since the early 70’s.
Classic vehicles are also gaining more attention in customizing, including through the myriad of US TV shows such as “Fast ‘n Loud”, “Overhauling” or “Graveyard Cars”, which showcased their over-aged Plymouth Roadrunner at SEMA. Conversions of classic models also testify to this trend at SEMA. Some swanky muscle cars hide their power, such as the olive green Rolls Royce Silver Shadow with a turbocharged V8 Chevrolet engine.
The tuningmania stops at nothing. At Covercraft’s booth: A Chevy truck from the ’50s with a built-in plane radial engine. A modified Lincoln Continental with gilded trim or an American school bus as a low-rider with corresponding engine tuning. There are no limits in Las Vegas.
Also the tuners did not stop in front of legendary autoclassics from Germany this year. Popular objects were Volkswagen Bugs and Bullis as low riders. In the outdoor area was the Porsche 356 to marvel, wearing the aggregate of a modern Porsche Cayman in the rear. A red Volkswagen Polo with an eight-cylinder Big Block under the hood and of course the appropriate suspension tuning, Beetle low-rider up to the modern Audi Electric Biturbo. Porsche expert Magnus Walker ordered in Germany in 278 hp 2.5 liter engine for his 1967 Porsche 911 ST, which he showed at the fair.
Of course it is fun to marvel at the crammed vehicles with PS and chrome extras, but the majority of visitors want to see new products. It’s about the detail. Small business owners who specialize in tuning are looking for the kick for their customers, which makes old cars even more chic.