Here’s my quick wrap up of the first day at SEMA. The day started with a press conference where SEMA announced the new product showcase awards. At this press conference, Apolo Anton Ohno, the most highly-decorated Winter Olympian in history attended the public unveiling of his new custom 1964 Cadillac Deville convertible. (You can see a few photos of his new car in a post I wrote over at Photofocus.com.)
The next press conference was also fun – Chevrolet Camaro, Fiat 500, Ford F-Series and Jeep Wrangler were named winners of the Second Annual SEMA Award.
The show floor was absolutely packed. There were people from all over the world and cars to match. There were lots of cars to see for sure – but also lots of things that go with cars. I got my first look at the new GoPro HD Hero 2 – which won the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award. I’ll be adding several of these babies to my kit. There were some very cool, customizable car covers from Coverking.
Mr. Ohno wasn’t the only celebrity I saw on day one. Several NASCAR drivers were in attendance as was the crew from West Coast Customs. Comic Sinbad was seen on the show floor. A big crowd waited for Chip Foose’s autograph at the BASF booth. (The BASF employees running the booth were acting like jerks to everyone – not sure what that was all about.)
Some of the cars of note:
Mazda had a lovely 1967 right-hand drive Cosmo on the show floor. It’s a car with only 6000 miles on it. You might recognize this as one of the cars in a new video game that’s popular with XBox owners. The car is absolutely NOT for sale – I tried.
I saw the new Scion iQ everywhere. This is one cute little car and a customizer’s dream. The car isn’t on sale yet, but the tuner versions are awesome. If I wasn’t horizontally challenged I would own one. The new Scion concept car – the FR-S was on the floor and it’s a dreamboat!
The Fiat 500 was another customizer’s favorite as was the Hyundai Veloster – which also stormed the show floor. Both are very attractive, affordable cars and the customizers and tuners are flocking to them.
My hands-down favorite car at SEMA so far is the beautiful, elegant, heart-stopping 1936 Auburn speedster replica. The Model 876 was built by California Custom Coach. Prices START at $100,000 but if there was ever a car worth that amount of money – this one is it. It’s a hand-built car that offers lots of attention to detail. From the bronze and triple chrome exterior trim pieces and windshield mounts to the Connolly leather seats with contrast piping, and contrast stitching – this replica is probably better than the original in most ways. The builders have paid attention to making the car as period correct as possible. It even has functional headers. Unfortunately due to huge and I do mean huge crowds constantly surrounding the car, I didn’t get many photos of it but I will make additional attempts throughout the week.
Good photo opps at SEMA or not it doesn’t matter. I’ll have some GREAT photos of this car eventually because I absolutely WILL have one!
More from SEMA in Las Vegas tomorrow.
Helmet Cameras @ GoPro.com