SEMA 2018: The Bling, The Rats, and The Swaps

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is without a doubt the best place in the world for any gear head. You can see anything from the craziest Diesel trucks all the way up to multi-million-dollar super cars. The show  is held in Las Vegas every year and allows aftermarket manufactures to make connections and display their products. Most manufactures use full builds to display their products even if it means an exhaust manufacture has 3 fully built trucks just to show off one new system. I mean, it’s how you grab attention right? Another remarkable thing about this show is its size. In 4 days of wandering and checking things out, we were still unable to see everything. That is not just 4 days of messing around, that’s using every available minute to try and see as much as possible. The only down side to this incredible event is that it is not open to the general public. It is for industry members only. This means you must be part of the automotive industry to get a pass into the show. However, on the last day of the show (Friday), the general public is welcomed to join the SEMA Cruise and SEMA Ignited. The SEMA Cruise is the best way to see the builds if you are not able to get inside the show. You basically get to see all of the builds leaving the inside of the convention center in a parade type style. SEMA Ignited is a after party where some of the vehicles are parked outside for display. During this after party, the general public can check out some of the builds up close and also see entertainment like Nitro Circus and Formula Drift.

When it comes to our world of diesel, there were many noticeable trends and outstanding builds. The Diesel Performance side was overwhelmed by the aesthetics. The first major trend we noticed was the bling. This means big wheels and completely detail oriented suspensions. Many of them where so well done that it was hard to find any faults in them at all. Some might call them pavement princesses or whatever new nickname these high dollar builds have these days, but you cannot deny the amount of hard work that goes into them just like the off-road side. When it comes to the wheels specifically, American Force dominated the show. What is really different about these wheels is that many where 26 inches and up.


Another big trend this year at the SEMA Show was diesel powered Rat Rods. Rat Rods have been around for a very long time, but their combinations with diesel power seems to be on the rise. Most of them spotted where either rocking a 4BT Cummins or a 12-Valve Cummins. A Cummins engine is small enough to fit in most of the older cars and trucks while also having the right old-school look to them.


Diesel re-power also seemed to be a big hitter this year. It seems that the oil burner addiction has spread across the industry. Many vehicles have had their mediocre gas engines replaced with diesel. Some of them are purpose built off-roaders and some are resto-mods. It is good to see so many different types of builds being powered by diesel. The R2.8 Cummins also made a huge splash this year.

If you ever get the chance to attend this event or even the general public sections at the end of the show, you have to go.  There simply is nowhere else in the world where you can see builds of any style all in one place. Below we have included a few more of our favorite builds from the show, enjoy them because we are already looking forward to SEMA 2019.


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