Best Prod­ucts of SEMA 2017

For Half a Cen­tury, the SEMA Show Has Been the Place to Re­lease New Prod­ucts—Here’s What We Saw in 2017

Hot Rod - - Contents - Chris Shel­ton Cour­tesy of SEMA

hHalf a cen­tury ago, the re­cently formed Speed Equip­ment Man­u­fac­turer’s As­so­ci­a­tion did some­thing that never ex­isted: It hosted a trade show for parts and ser­vices in­tended to mod­ify cars and trucks. It was a small af­fair—so small the card ta­bles and fold­ing chairs of its few dis­play­ing ven­dors didn’t take up all of the base­ment un­der Dodger Sta­dium.

A lot has changed in the past 50 years. For one thing, SEMA of­fi­cially changed its name to Spe­cialty Equip­ment Man­u­fac­turer’s As­so­ci­a­tion. Then it moved the show to Las Ve­gas. And it did some­thing un­prece­dented in the 40 years it’s been there: A trade show about car trin­kets be­came the sev­enth-largest trade show in the world and the sec­ond largest in Las Ve­gas (in case you’re won­der­ing, the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show owns top dis­tinc­tion in both cat­e­gories). The con­ven­tion space cov­ers nearly 1.3 mil­lion square feet.

With such a large tar­get mar­ket in one place, SEMA ven­dors use the show as an op­por­tu­nity to an­nounce their new prod­ucts or ser­vices. To be fair, most of the 2,700 or so new-prod­uct en­tries are for things you prob­a­bly don’t care about it—things like in­ven­tory or ser­vice soft­ware or spe­cialty tools or what­ever. But if the size of the largest new-prod­ucts cat­e­gory tells you some­thing—stuff that makes your car go faster, stop in a shorter dis­tance, or turn bet­ter—it’s that per­for­mance dom­i­nates the show.

Here’s a col­lec­tion of what we think are the coolest parts in those per­for­mance cat­e­gories. We slipped a few in that don’t nec­es­sar­ily im­prove per­for­mance as much as im­prove your ex­pe­ri­ence with your fa­vorite steed, but that’s also a big rea­son why we do the things with cars that we do.

Sure, go­ing to the SEMA Show is still the best way to see what’s new out there, but as a trade-only show, not ev­ery­body is al­lowed to go. That said, you can still see ev­ery one of the 2,000-plus new prod­ucts at SEMApho­tos.com. Oth­er­wise, take a look at what we found. We’d like to think it’s the cream of the crop.

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