For many, November means the end of the best part of the year, but car enthusiasts spend their entire year looking forward to it. The first week of the month only means SEMA to them, regarded by many enthusiasts as the one industry show you have to go to. Although the fact its perennial home is Las Vegas probably doesn’t hurt, either.
For the uninitiated, SEMA — short for Specialty Equipment Market Association, the group behind the show — is the most important U.S. show for the aftermarket industry, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center every November. The show consistently brings in more than 100,000 of the biggest names in the industry, representing 100 different countries and more than 60,000 buyers to pick up some of the newest and hottest wares the industry has to offer.
While the parts the manufacturers bring along are some of the most innovative on the market, it can be hard to visualize exactly what the parts are capable of if they’re just sitting on a table or hung on a pegboard. That’s why most of the vendors commission some of the greatest custom car shops in the country to build a complete car centered on their parts. The result proves to be some of the most forward-thinking, cutting-edge, and downright jaw-dropping automotive masterpieces year after year.
Unfortunately, not just anyone can get into the show. You have to be a card-carrying member of the automotive industry. But, as we do every year, Chevrolet Performance is showing up in full force, bringing no less than 35 vehicles decked out to the nines with some of the best parts and accessories Chevrolet Performance has to offer. So even if you’re not in the industry, we’ve got the best inside look at what to expect from Chevrolet Performance at the 2013 SEMA Show.
As has been true for some years, Chevrolet Performance has one of the larger displays in the multi-hall convention center, which keeps most of the Bowtie-wearing cars on the main show floor. As the premiere year for the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, the truck storms the show floor in numbers. As a perfect showcase for how versatile a truck can be, the Silverado is shown in the Cheyanne, a light-weight version of the truck; the HD Dually Concept, perfect for hauling just about anything; the Black Ops concept, with armor and on-board gas masks; and even a version designed by country music star Brad Paisley. Fans of older sheet metal will even be able to see a 1978 Silverado 4x4, restored to nostalgic perfection, but with a modern LC9 E-ROD Crate Powertrain System keeping it emissions-friendly.
Collaborative design can also be seen with an all-new SS Sedan styled by 4-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, and a five-door Sonic designed by Motocross rider and fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael. The small hatchback gets a couple other looks, too, with a version decked out in a line of new Chevrolet Performance parts meant for the Sonic, and a version showcasing its personalization potential.
Of course the highly anticipated all-new Corvette Stingray will share some of the spotlight, with a pair of cars customized to appeal to the East and West coasts of the U.S. The Atlantic concept uses a Corvette Stingray convertible as its base, letting the ocean air flow through your hair on a cruise down the Coast, while the Pacific Corvette Stingray Coupe Concept is perfectly set up for negotiating the Coast’s notorious canyon roads.
The perennial favorite fifth-gen Camaro has many iterations as well, but this year is the debut of the renewed 2014 car. Making big waves this year is the track-devouring monster carrying the iconic Z/28 badge. The Z/28 also donates some of its parts, along with parts from 1LE and ZL1, for a V-6 and an SS Camaro, courtesy of Chevrolet Performance’s Camaro-Specific Parts.
That’s just a sampling of what’s in store for this year’s SEMA Show from Chevrolet Performance. In fact, there’s so much going on that there are more cars in the convention center’s main lobby, and even cars roaring around the Ride & Drive track outside the convention center. And that doesn’t even include the countless Chevrolet-based cars built by the best custom shops in the country, which just can’t seem to resist taking Chevrolet vehicles to an even higher level.
To get a real sense of all that’s going on, you really have to be at the show. But if you’re not in the industry or simply can’t make it, we have the next best thing. Keep an eye out here or at TheBLOCK.com for up-to-the-hour updates throughout the week, straight from the front lines.