Having recently returned from the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I have to tell you—it was totally off the hook. There were thousands of vendors, tens of thousands of buyers, and a boatload of random people whose sole purpose was to block my every attempt to walk the aisles freely. It was a total zoo, and it was awesome!
Now, I've attended the previous 10 or so SEMA shows and this was by far the most insanely hectic one I can remember—a major contrast to just three years ago when vendors were more like carnival barkers trying to get you into their booth to check out whatever it was they were trying to get the automotive world to see. The lack of foot traffic meant wide-open aisles. You could walk from the front doors of Central Hall to the rear in a matter of minutes—all done without invading anyone's personal space or performing an unintentional photobomb while someone was in the process of getting a shot with that certain celebrity or automotive icon. Well, that may have been good for attendees who wanted to get where they wanted to lickety-split, but not so much for the aftermarket vendors. This hobby we're into relies on consumers consuming and sellers selling. So, from what I saw at the 2013 SEMA Show, 2014 looks like it will be a banner year for the automotive aftermarket industry.
Another thing I noticed (see, I tend to pay attention to a lot of random stuff) is that this year's show featured quite a few spectacular, freshly built second-gens on the floor. Not that I didn't see my fair share of awesome first- and fifth-gens, but it just seemed like second-gens are beginning to really make a statement, especially in the Pro Touring/g-Machine segment. I'd have to say the guys who are building these Camaros have a plan in place before the first bolt is turned counterclockwise or fender removed. The wheels and offsets are stellar, the stance is precise, the horsepower is big, and the paint is spectacular. To me, this shows that we're at a point where looks, handling capability, and making sick power can happily coexist within the same vehicle. Now, I'm not limiting this to only the second-gens I saw, but overall, it sends a message loud and clear that there is a huge demand for our classic cars to go left, right, and straight, and do it as fast as possible. Oh, and while we're at it, we'd like to get at least 20 mpg on our way to wherever it is we're going. Well, I'd have to say today our demands have been met. By speaking with the fellas who own many of the fantastic cars at the SEMA show, a common goal was to build a stupid-fast car that carried the mannerisms, functionality, and reliability of a modern-day sports car, all done without giving up the style and panache that a classic ride exudes.
So while I carry on about the positive state for the future of our industry, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how the February issue just might be my favorite every year due to the fact that we get to take one last look at the best Camaros we've featured in the magazine from 2013. We do this every year as a way to give special recognition to those who we feel have built the coolest Camaros that represent what Camaro Performers magazine is all about.
So I hope you enjoy this very special Best of the Best issue, and as far as the remainder of 2014 goes, I have no doubt it will be a year to remember. I'll see you at the track.