Nothing can quite prepare you for the onslaught of over-the-top machines at the SEMA trade show in Las Vegas. You know it's going to be full of cool cars and parts, but the reality is that it's a sensory overload—after just a few minutes, you've already seen more cool iron than you saw the entire year driving on public roads. The only way you can find the truly great stuff is by cutting your losses and skipping over cars you would normally ogle over at your Friday night burger joint cruise. So where do all these cars come from?
It turns out that having your car displayed at the SEMA show has become a "must do" for many shops and enthusiasts. You've got to get that ticket punched on your dance card at some point in your hot rodding career if you are truly serious. And how do you get your car into SEMA? Turns out, it's pretty easy. Most of the attending vendors need fresh cars every year to help display their products and lure in showgoers, so they look all year to line these up. Booth space is often given over for this, but there are also hundreds of spaces outdoors that are assigned to vendors. If you think you've got what it takes, your best bet is to contact a vendor whose products you like and use. If they like the car, if they like your vibe, and you are a reliable trustworthy person, they may say "yes." You'd be surprised how eager they are, because that's one less thing they've got to get handled in the run-up to SEMA.