SEMA SHOW SIZZLES

IT WAS STEAMY IN SIN CITY AS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE GLOBE SWARMED TO CHECK OUT THE WILDEST CUSTOM CARS AND HOTTEST NEW PRODUCTS OF 2018.

WORDS MATT RAUDONIKIS PHOTOS CRISTIAN BRUNELLI

LAS VEGAS Nevada is a Mecca for tourists who travel there to gamble and play in any of the hundreds of hotels and casinos Sin City is famous for. With tens of thousands of hotel rooms available, the city is also home to some of the biggest conferences and exhibitions in the USA, but there’ one time each year when Vegas is overtaken by petrol-heads from around the globe.

The SEMA Show brings gear manufacturers, customcar builders, off-roaders, drag racers, hot-rodders and street-machiners to the Las Vegas Convention Centre for four automotive mayhem. It’ a trade-only show, so you need to be in the business to gain entry, but once within the massive halls you’ be awed by what a huge industry we’ re a part of.

With the NHRA running drags at The Strip the weekend before the show, and qualifying for the Baja 1000 taking place in the surrounding desert during the week, there are plenty of racers and celebrities also in town and working their sponsors’ show booths. It wall to wall cars, people and products, and after five days of walking the show I still didn’ see all of it.

There are custom cars, trucks and 4x4s, with every taste – from mild to wild – catered for. When we arrived on the day before the show opened many of them were rolling into the Convention Center straight off the street, regardless of how wild they were.

One of the first cars I saw was the Lamborghini LM002 from Italian Design and Style, and I was amazed that anyone would modify one of them; and that was before I saw what engine was under the hood. It’ no surprise that it heads our Favourite Five 4x4s from SEMA 2018…