Published on 11/16/2018

A Look Back at the 2018 SEMA Show

WORDS:

DAN HODGDON

PHOTOS:

MATT BEST

Stepping off the plane into the desert air of Las Vegas in the fall -- no matter your place of origin -- always seems full of possibility. While winter is approaching in most of the country, Vegas seems like the perfect retreat with its warm days and cool nights. Some travelers are looking to hit it big in the casinos of The Strip, others have made the journey for some rest and relaxation. Yet, during this time of year, ubiquitous bold automotive logos on polo shirts and hats also provide proof that the SEMA Show is in town once again, where the performance industry gathers to show off its newest products to buyers and one another.

TAGS:
vehicles, parts, events, sema
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TAGS:
Published on 11/16/2018
vehicles, parts, events, sema
WORDS:

DAN HODGDON

PHOTOS:

MATT BEST

A Look Back at the 2018 SEMA Show

Stepping off the plane into the desert air of Las Vegas in the fall -- no matter your place of origin -- always seems full of possibility. While winter is approaching in most of the country, Vegas seems like the perfect retreat with its warm days and cool nights. Some travelers are looking to hit it big in the casinos of The Strip, others have made the journey for some rest and relaxation. Yet, during this time of year, ubiquitous bold automotive logos on polo shirts and hats also provide proof that the SEMA Show is in town once again, where the performance industry gathers to show off its newest products to buyers and one another.

The BLOCK crew was among those in the middle of the sensory overload that is SEMA week, spending time in the Chevrolet Performance booth and scouring the Las Vegas Convention Center for the top Bowtie builds.

This year the event kicked off with a special event outside the convention center on Monday night as the sun began to set. At 6 p.m., Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, took the stage. He first introduced an original 1969 COPO Camaro which would appear at the booth throughout the week, before bringing the 50th Anniversary Edition COPO Camaro and its throaty rumble across the stage. Next up though was a COPO that made no noise at all, as the new electric eCOPO was unveiled to audible gasps from the spectators and media on hand.

There is still time for those interested in owning a piece of automotive history to register for a chance to be selected to buy a 2019 COPO Camaro simply by following this link.

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With the COPOs and their engines setting the stage for the week, the show kicked off on Tuesday morning with the three vehicles prominently placed in the Chevrolet Performance booth in the Central Hall. Located nearly in the center of the massive building, the booth’s Bowtie branding could be seen from every direction. A wide range of new vehicles, concept cars crate engines and transmissions filled out the popular display throughout the event’s four days.

Among the many highlights were areas to devoted to a variety of Silverado concept trucks and the new Colorado ZR2 Bison, the 2019 Blazer RS and 2019 Camaros. A variety of new crate engines made appearances as well. The supercharged LT5 could be found under the hood of a classic 1973 Chevelle Laguna, while the ZZ6 EFI Crate Engine currently powers the brand’s 1967 C10. In addition, Chevrolet Performance’s workhorse 1978 Silverado was there with an L96.

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For builders, enthusiasts and DIYers, one entire wall of the display was devoted to crate engines, transmissions, Connect & Cruise crate powertrain systems and a wide variety of accessories. The 2019 Chevrolet Performance New Products Catalog was available to the public for the first time as well.

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Meanwhile, across the three buildings of the packed convention center were dozens of stunning Chevrolet builds featuring Chevrolet Performance components. Among these were a select half-dozen which won coveted Chevy SEMA Design Awards and a unique trophy. The BLOCK visited with three of these builders to tell their stories and that of the vehicles. Roadster Shop’s 1970 Chevelle, Big Oak Garage’s 1942 Chevy pickup and Premier Street Rods’ 1956 Chevy truck all received awards and utilized crate engines. In addition, The BLOCK spent some time with Stoner’s Speed Shop’s LS3-powered 1956 Suburban Carryall, which was stationed at the Mobil 1 booth throughout the week.

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The SEMA Show is an annual assault on the senses, with its throngs of people from around the world, high-dollar builds, industry parties and general spectacle all intertwined with the bright lights of Sin City.

For the automotive industry, it’s like Christmas for a week, when all the new toys are unwrapped and ready to be played with for 365 days until it all happens again.

For more from the 2018 SEMA Show, keep watching The BLOCK and @theblockdotcom on Instagram. You can also check out all of the parts unveiled by Chevrolet Performance during SEMA here.

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