SEMA Ignited lets car enthusiasts check out vehicles

The Specialty Equipment Market Association convention and trade show ended Friday with a kaleidoscope of pastel, neon, matte and reflective finishes and an orchestra of automotive sounds.

The Friday evening parade of custom cars, pickups, high-lifted trucks, offroaders, sports cars and safari vehicles capped the weeklong SEMA aftermarket car show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The vrooming vehicles, grumbling low-riders and cracking hot rods entertained the general public who’d paid to experience the SEMA Ignited after-party following the show for industry professionals.

Jemar Cosby of Modesto, California, realized a dream of his by attending the show on Friday.

“I sit at home and YouTube all the time with these shows, and now I get to come to one,” said Cosby, 41.

He and friend Andre Turner traveled from Modesto to catch the show. Turner also watches car shows on YouTube, and Cosby recognized a few people from videos he’s watched on YouTube.

“I didn’t know ‘em. I just said, ‘Go ahead and take a picture, man. I got you,’” Turner said with a laugh.

Cosby was there for the trucks — old school, new school, old body style, Ram TRX, it didn’t matter. Turner, 55, has come to each show since 2017. He prefers his trucks lower to the ground rather than lifted. Turner can appreciate a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, he said, but he likes old school American muscle cars.

A few minutes earlier, a man nearby called out to the driver of a red sports car in the parade.

“Let’s hear that motor!”

No response. He yelled again.

This time the car roared, and a few people clapped. Bystanders pointed their phones at the passing cars, and passengers pointed theirs or waved right back.

Last looks at SEMA

Before the after-party, SEMA attendees had one last chance to check out the massive show, which included displays, including the Chip Foose Experience exhibit of 20 remodels and new creations by the “Overhaulin” star; a collection of more than 50 off-road racing vehicles in SCORE’s Baja 1000 Experience; and interactive driving demonstrations.

An autograph line to meet Foose on Friday afternoon stretched nearly the length of the experience. Foose mingled with gawking car buffs eager to catch a glimpse of the famed car designer. He said he was glad to be back at SEMA after last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic.

“Everybody has a story about their car, and they want to tell it,” Foose said. “I love hearing it.”

He looked toward the line of people waiting to meet him.

“They’re here to meet one person. I get to meet everybody,” Foose said.

The first person to meet him during the 1 p.m. autograph session was Jim Plumb of Washington, who brought nine model cars for Foose to sign. He’d been waiting since 10 a.m. Friday after waiting in line Thursday but running out of time Thursday.

“This one’s down a little bit from 2019, but it’s still a good show,” Plumb said.

Farther down the line, Skip Madara could barely contain his excitement. He runs a car wrapping business in Fort Worth, Texas, and admires Foose for his craft. The 47-year-old bought a metal print of a Foose-designed GTO Roadster for an autograph.

“Nobody geeks me out like him,” Madara said.

Contact Mike Shoro at [email protected]. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.