Las is more: ex­treme Ve­gas show cars

More power, more tech, more pizza-serv­ing-ro­bot-arms. We visit the world’s great­est cel­e­bra­tion of af­ter­mar­ket ex­cess. By Jake Groves


THEY CALL IT Sin City for a rea­son, but it turns out it’s not just gam­bling and le­gal prostitution that at­tract folk to the Ne­vada desert. No, Las Ve­gas is also home to the SEMA (Spe­cialty Equip­ment Mar­ket As­so­ci­a­tion) show, which is the world’s big­gest gath­er­ing of au­to­mo­tive sin­ners, with thou­sands of tuners and af­ter­mar­ket man­u­fac­tur­ers de­scend­ing on Ve­gas to show off their heinous hand­i­work.

The af­ter­mar­ket in­dus­try is huge world­wide, but par­tic­u­larly in the US – the four-day show at­tracts more than 160,000 vis­i­tors, with 2400 ex­hibitors rang­ing from one-man op­er­a­tions to Ford, Chevro­let, Lexus, Honda and Toy­ota.

The scale of the show is ex­tra­or­di­nary, with five gar­gan­tuan halls packed with ev­ery­thing from new col­li­sion re­pair kit to mo­bile elec­tron­ics to rac­ing tech­nol­ogy. It takes up the en­tire Las Ve­gas Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Wan­der­ing round, you see pick-ups that have been raised by six feet, drift cars and Euro­pean su­per­cars slammed so hard they look like they’ve driven straight out of a Need for Speed video game.

The main­stream car brands have to dial up the wacky fac­tor to keep pace. Lexus had an ES sa­loon with an in-built wine cooler (be­low), Chevro­let made an elec­tric drag-spec Ca­maro, Ford showed more pick-up con­cepts than it knew what to do with, Toy­ota showed off four cus­tom builds of the new Corolla in dif­fer­ent de­grees of rad­i­cal, while Honda cre­ated a su­per­sized beach buggy based on the Ridge­line pickup, but us­ing two rows of Civic Type R seats.

After a few hours this sort of carry-onstarts to seem nor­mal. Wor­ry­ing…

Wor­ried by ris­ing sea lev­els? Al­wayscarry a boat

This should perk up the stop at Cor­ley ser­vices

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