E3 Spark Plugs’ SEMA Show Highlights

Mach 40 at the 2012 SEMA Show. Photo by Scott Jacobs for Edmunds.

It’s arguably the most coveted ticket in town. The annual SEMA Show features the latest and greatest in specialty and aftermarket automotive equipment and is open only to confirmed industry pros – though each year a few wily wannabes are busted attempting to sneak past the gates with fake press badges. For those who make it inside whether legitimately or on the sly, the sights are definitely worth the effort.

This year, E3 Spark Plugs hosted a booth among the 11 miles of aisles packed with niche market products including light truck, street rod, wheel/tire, restoration, on-board technology, street performance, off-road, restyling, racing, mobile electronics, import/sport compact performance, powersports and paint and body equipment. More than 100,000 industry pros turn out to preview 7,500+ new trendsetting products displayed by upwards of 4,000 U.S. and international exhibitors. The numbers alone are overwhelming, and every exhibit aims to outdo the next. So we picked a few of the top sights to share.

The stars of the show are always the amazing restored vintage rides. And this year, it was the Mach 40 that commanded attention. This sleek, silver masterpiece in the Valspar Automotive booth began life as a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 that underwent a massive transformation courtesy of Oregon’s Eckert’s Rod and Custom. Its sweet-spot feature is its mid-engine conversion boasting an E85 swilling, Whipple-blown powertrain from a 2006 Ford GT mounted behind the front seats and kicking out upwards of 850 horsepower.

The Second Annual SEMACruise also was a sight to behold. Dozens of souped-up, tricked-out, eye-popping rides took to the streets of Las Vegas, turning heads all along the way. Celebrities graced our presence as well. A few included NASCAR racer Danica Patrick and celebrity chef Guy Fiery, who showed off his Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition. Oh, and then there were the beautiful SEMA booth girls. ‘Nuff said.

Did you attend the 2012 SEMA Show? Post your pics and stories on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.