Rare Car Network

Rare Car Network
Unique Classics, Replicas and Build Culture
						Sema 19 2
SEMA 2019 Recap

Photos from the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas

By Dean Larson

Photos by Dean Larson and Steve Temple

Attempting to summarize the SEMA Show is like trying to encapsulate the whole automotive hobby. With more than 160,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibiting companies, it’s fair to say a massive portion of the hobby is represented there. New products are unveiled, top builders are crowned and many of us get our first look at hot new models — namely the mid-engine Corvette this year. So what were this year’s highlights?

Well, the aforementioned C8 Vette is a great place to start, as we got our first look at a couple hardtops, a targa top and the exciting new convertible. Our media passes got us in the hall 30 minutes early, but still, the area surrounding the new Corvette was mobbed. Everyone wanted a look at the headline-grabbing Chevrolet, and it’s safe to say that the product didn’t disappoint.

The interior was really a highlight for us, along with the convertible and targa-top mechanisms — as they’ve been integrated into the car’s design seamlessly. I’ll say the wheels left me underwhelmed, but I needed only to walk to the wheel and tire hall next door to solve that issue.

There were a couple other models that had a strong presence at the show this year as well, including the Toyota Supra. This long anticipated matchup from BMW and Toyota has had fan boys hot and bothered for years, and Toyota responded with influx of customized Supras of every flavor. Sure, it may be a BMW Z4 wearing fancy clothes, but we’re all about it.

It was also a big year for several off-roaders, including the Jeep Gladiator pickup and Ford Bronco. Likely drumming up Bronco buzz, Ford was promoting the classic SUV all over the show, including a dedicated corral outside featuring historic Bronco racers like Big Oly (piloted by Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe in the Mexican 1000, Baja 500 and more).

Countless onlookers were duped inside Ford’s booth in Central Hall by a Bronco silhouette concealed by a blue sheet. Hoping for a first look at the upcoming Bronco, countless people gathered, only to witness the unveiling of a ’68 model owned by Jay Leno. A beautiful build, but not the anticipated Bronco rerelease. But hey, this isn’t Autoweek, so let’s talk about some replicas.

As we’ve come to expect, Factory Five Racing had a ton going on in their outdoor and indoor displays. The company said we’d be getting a first look at a couple new products, so we made it our first stop when the show opened Tuesday morning.

Expanding the red-hot Hot Rod segment is the new Speedstar coupe. It’s based on FFR’s successful Hot Rod chassis, but incorporates streamlined elements acquired in the purchase of the Rat’s Glass company. We were also impressed by the array of ’35 Hot Rod trucks, especially Joey Logano’s drift truck and Mark Gearhart’s 1,000+ hp Drift Rod. These rigs really need to be seen up close to be appreciated!

But what really grabbed our attention was the company’s upcoming front-engine hyper car. The bronze powder-coated chassis in their booth showed off FFR’s technical excellence, and a V12 LS engine to boot. Carbon fiber body panels are coming, and we can’t wait to hear more on the project in early 2020.

Superformance also came with several replicas, including a GT40 in Gulf colors and a Custom Series roadster in a sinister gray, black and red color scheme. We also spotted a similar roadster with a disguised Chevrolet powerplant under the hood and a freshly overhauled Daytona Coupe.

The burnout experience in the Ford Out Front display was not quite as exciting this year without the Cobra sessions that we’ve enjoyed in the past courtesy of Superformance, Hillbank Motor Corp and V’s Performance. Word is that new personnel in charge of the event for Ford dictated that only Ford production vehicles be allowed to take part, making the event a bit more monochromatic.

We were pleasantly surprised to find replicas and other fiberglass cars throughout the convention center halls as well. Next to its custom Ford GT, Borla was displaying a stellar Kellison J car, and Shelby dealer Denbeste Motorsports had a stunning aluminum Shelby Cobra on display. I saw an Infinity-based Vaydor for the first time with my own eyes, and was quite surprised with the quality and the crowd it drew. These cars and many more will be covered in upcoming features in print and on our website, so stay tuned.

Another first for us this year was the presentation of the RCN Drivers’ Choice Awards, as voted by you, the readers. In the program, we had companies nominate themselves in a list of categories we established. We then asked our readers to vote for their favorites, and the results were astounding. We presented roughly 30 Drivers’ Choice Award certificates to some of the top finishers at the SEMA Show, and had great time doing it!

Watch for full features on the Driver’s Choice Awards and the cars you’ve seen here in the coming months.

Comments for: SEMA 2019 Recap

comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories You Might Like

Filed Under

Events SEMA 2019