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SEMA 2005 - notoriously B-I-G!

SEMA 2005 - notoriously B-I-G
11.11.05. Some say, “It’s out of control.” Some say, “It’s a three-ringed circus.” But, everybody agrees the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas is notoriously B-I-G.

Big is not always better though (I never saw it all in four days), and navigating the vast halls takes time perseverance and good walking shoes. It also takes an open mind as the show expands and incorporates much more than the 13 founding members of the Association could ever have envisaged.

This fine Impala lets the body do the talking in conjunction with modern rims and a perfect stance - beautifully understated  

For those interested in the roots of the show, the traditional hot rod and drag racing arenas, you might be disappointed as the majority of those guys have moved on to the more manageable Hotrod & Performance Trade Show and the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, leaving SEMA for the less hard core but vastly wider more generic industry. Of course, companies such as B&M, Edelbrock and Holley are all still there but spread margarine-thin between the bling brigade, car manufacturers like Chrysler, Ford and GM and a g-gillion wheel manufactuers most of whom, since the Show was sectionalised, are now corralled into the vast South Hall.

Although Honda was, for the first time ever, the Vehicle Manufacturer of the Show, introducing the new Civic Si, Ford, once again, stole the show. They had a truly amazing display with a working dyno set up right on the floor and Carroll Shelby sitting right next to his namesake Mustang.

With the 1966 Sebring-winning Ford GTX1 roadster as inspiration, Ford SVT engineering supervisor Kip Ewing unveiled his take on that legendary racer during the opening day of the SEMA show

There was a Ford GT cut in half that you could walk through and a new hot rod, “Ashley’s Roadster,” designed by Thom Taylor and built by Dan Webb that had the buzz. Next to it though was a sad ’40 Ford convertible hammered out of copper and mounted atop a GT chassis. Thom’s comment at the show was, “There’s going to be a blood bath at the car makers this winter with thousands of layoffs. Next year, I think the show will look very different.”

Copper-bodied '40s Ford on GT chassis

Thom Taylor designed roadster 

Over in the GM display there was Jay Leno’s ’32 Bowtie Deuce which married a Dearborn Deuce ’32 Ford Convertible Roadster body with a ’34 Chevy grille—all in pearl white and lilac. Let’s hope there are no children. Under the hood, however, was a new LS7 small-block—as opposed to the old LS7 big-block. Nevertheless, it produces 600 hp according to GM.

Jay Leno's Chevy-grilled Ford roadster

By far one of the best displays at SEMA was this one from Dynamic Contol who make Dynamat. The car is a brand new, yes, brand new Brookville 3-window cut in half and made to look like and old lakes racer. Just the coolest

Perhaps the coolest hot rod display was the one in the Dynamic Control booth where they had cut one of Brookville’s new ’32, three-window bodies in half. The outside of the car was finished to look like an old dry lakes racer but the inside was used to display their product. It was killer.

Left to right its: Ken "Posie" Fenical, Steve Moal, Troy Trepanier, Bobby Alloway and Chip Foose.They're in front of the awesome Dynamic Control (Dynamat) display

Another lakes racer of note was George Poteet’s Troy Trepanier-built ’67-’69 Barracuda complete with a turbo’d Mopar 4-cylinder. Indeed, the Sixties cars were perhaps the most prevalent and the most inspiring. The A-list included Bobby Alloway’s black ’70 Challenger and Alan Johnson’s orange Barracuda—both awesome.

George Poteet's "Blowfish", a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda with a turbocharged 4-cylinder Mopar motor. The car is a whole new way of going Bonneville racing

Alan Johnson's 'Cuda 

On the whole, the vehicles displayed at SEMA are over-the-top because that’s the only way to get noticed in the crowd. Subtle doesn’t get it and there aren’t many you’d take home. Designer Larry Erickson summed it up when he said, “Good design is often timeless but a good time is often tasteless.”

Posies debuted the Aeroliner in the Flowmaster booth. This strange art deco-ish creation had some weird proportions and the largest hood ornament in the world. Some people liked it, not all. He has also inveted a cocktail to go with the car. Let's hope it's in better taste

Of course, SEMA is really about selling product and therefore the introduction of new products and the various awards given to them mean much  for the companies involved. Few, however, could have seen the investment Brookville Roadster made in its new ’32 3-Window body which was the well deserved winner of Best New Street Rod/Custom Car Product. It’s just a perfect repop of the original. Everything else paled in comparison.

Brand new Brookville 3-window body

Story: Elliot Jacobs
Photos: Elliot Jacobs & SEMA

Hummer unveiled their H3 Race Truck at Sema 

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