HomeThe MarketEye Candy: SEMA seen through a 20-something’s eyes

Eye Candy: SEMA seen through a 20-something’s eyes


New Ford GT at a 40 degree angle | Photography by Hans Marquez

Going to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, is like going to the Oscars. Not just anyone gets to in, and it’s a place to see and be seen — at least for the millennials.

SEMA is impossibly big and can only be measured on the scale of tolerable foot pain, which might cause you to be desensitized to some of the most unique and rare cars in the world.

Going to SEMA definitely ruins every car show you go to afterward because nothing even comes close. It’s basically the coolest, most exciting, most exhausting and most overwhelming show you will ever experience in your life.

This was my second year in attendance so I thought I was fully prepared for the SEMA madness. But I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of preparation can really prepare you for what you see in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center.

GT-R with wide body kit, wrapped, and features gold wheels

The first day of the show I had reserved for interviews and maintained such a tight schedule that wandering around the show was impossible, but this didn’t stop me from annoying my photographer, Hans Marquez, with my annoying squeals and pointing every five feet “Oh look at that! Oh look at this! Isn’t this the coolest thing you have ever seen? I need one of these! Ohmygawd, that’s so legit!”

I’ve always thought of the SEMA Show as showcasing the newest technology and vehicles, so in a way, I was surprised to see as many classic vehicles as I did. What made them appeal to me was the flawless paint, the glittering chrome, and the utilization of new technology, whether it be gauges, exhaust, or big-brake kits.  It’s ironic because from a millennialist point of view, I don’t care a whole lot about a good paint job because I’m going to either wrap the car, dip it or replace whatever I can with carbon fiber, plus I would just about die if I had anything even close to chrome on a car; yet here I am appreciating it all.

With the rise of the Datsun 240Z in the collector car market, I saw a lot of them at SEMA, in addition to the Skyline GT-Rs and Nissan S14s.

Everything that remotely resembled a race car made me stop and drool and I loved seeing such a large presence of Formula Drift cars, because after all, it is the millennials’ motorsport.

In-your-face trends this year included wheels in variations of gold tones, directional wheels were very popular, as was a heavy presence of Rocket Bunny Wide body and Liberty Walk kits. These kits are essentially fender flare kits riveted or bolted on as part of the style, and depending on the particular vehicle, may include side skirts, and front or rear bumpers.

2005 Nissan 350Z native to Arizona

With SEMA pretty much being the end all, be all of car events for millennials, I really enjoyed seeing some well-done Arizona cars from my native state displayed in the show.

In between interviews and gawking at cars, I loved window shopping for new parts and day dreaming about what new stuff I would put on my car; just saying: Rohanna wheels are at the top of that list followed by a few pieces from the Truefiber booth.

Ford dominated the SEMA Show and really appealed to my demographic with ride-alongs from Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Ultimate Fun Haver or his RTR Formula Drift Mustang. Ford also had the biggest display inside the main hall with all the cars you wanted to see from the automaker, including a stock and race version of the new GT — at a 40-degree angle up in the air.

By hash tagging a photo with #FordSEMA you could have that photo printed and hung in the Ford booth which was also really cool and engaging because it made me feel like I was even more a part of the show then I already was. It also allowed me to showcase Marilyn (my Mustang) at SEMA, even if it was just an Instagram photo at the Ford booth.

Photography by Hans Marquez 


Nicole James
Nicole Jameshttp://nicoleellanjames.com/
Nicole James has been involved in the automotive world her entire life. Her dream car is a 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe. She currently drives a 2005 Mustang affectionately known as Marilyn and uses the car to participate in track events, car shows, and explore the world around her. Nicole joined the ClassicCars.com Content and Marketing team in 2014. Nicole is an automotive journalist and the creator of Pretty Driven - an online source for car culture and news for millennials, as well as a contributor for ClassicCars.com. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @Nicoleeellan

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