HomeThe MarketEye Candy: Classic cars at the SEMA Show 2015

Eye Candy: Classic cars at the SEMA Show 2015


Perhaps the most stunning classic at the SEMA Show was this 1949 "Golden Empress" Cadillac by Ryan's Rod & Custom of Ninety Six, South Carolina | Larry Edsall photos
Classically spectacular: 1949 “Golden Empress” Cadillac by Ryan’s Rod & Custom of Ninety Six, South Carolina | Larry Edsall photos

Each year, the annual trade show of the Speciality Equipment Market Association, better known by its acronym SEMA, draws nearly 150,000 people from the automotive and aftermarket industry to the Las Vegas Convention Center where 2,000 new products are introduced and where thousands more are on display once again.

Those products often are showcased on customized or personalized vehicles that range from mild to wild. Actually in many cases, far beyond wild.

I’ve been attending the show since the early 1990s, when I was working at AutoWeek magazine and learned that a prototype parked in the far back corner of the convention center’s Central Hall would be going into production as the Chevrolet Impala SS, a full-size muscle car.

For the past dozen or so years, I’ve been at SEMA scouting new products for a weekly feature I write for The Detroit News, one of Motown’s two daily newspapers.

With the launch of Classic Car News, I’ve also shared in this space during the show a daily “SEMA Seen” car feature from the show. This year I was joined in that effort by Nicole James, a 20-something reporter on our staff.

The show’s been over for a week, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have a lot of photos to share. So I’m presenting this Eye Candy gallery today, and Nicole will have another tomorrow.

I focused on the classic cars at the show and how the aftermarket industry is customizing them. Nicole viewed the show from the perspective of the next generation of car enthusiasts (who will become collectors as soon as they can afford the time and money).

Our web guru, Tony, will have a fit that I’ve included so many images in the galleries below, but at least I’ve divided them into three. How did I sort them? Much to my surprise, it was by color.

Red is always a popular color with car enthusiasts and customizers, but as I edited my photos, I was struck by how many of the cars at SEMA this year were painted in hues of blue.

So there’s a blue group and a red group and then a third gallery of other colors. Silver and gray were popular, but so were golden orange (tangerine?) and, of course, there was the ever-popular patina.

Get Red-ee:


Photos by Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Recent Posts