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
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.