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  • 2006 SEMA Trade Show - An Excuse to Party!

2006 SEMA Trade Show - An Excuse to Party!

The Annual SEMA Show Isn't Open To The Public, Doesn't Offer Trophies For Tossing A Keg The Farthest, And Yet Still Manages To Draw 400,000 Spectators A Year

Mike Finnegan
Mar 1, 2007
Photographers: Galen Armenta, Kevin Aguilar, Greg Ballard
Photo 2/96   |   sema Las Vegas 2006 air Bag Man
How does this sort of thing happen, really? SEMA is a trade show, yet it draws rock stars, movie stars, fabricators, television personalities, and wannabes to the Las Vegas Hilton Convention Center the first week of November each year. It also draws about 400,000 folks like us to sweat out the 30-plus miles of carpeted aisles jammed with aftermarket auto parts. You want to know why this show is so popular? It's because it combines the four basic food groups of automotive customization success: amazing trucks, hot women, parts we can't afford but love to look at, and beer. It's true. Beer is sold in every hall of the convention center, so that if you aren't working and trying to look respectable like us, you can drink yourself silly while gawking at spokesmodels and rappers. Heck, if you are really into building trucks, you can even tackle guys like Boyd Coddington or Chip Foose as they walk the floor. That might get you kicked out, so save the tackling for the end of the show.
The Women
The second coolest thing about this show is the willingness of the aftermarket companies to hire hotties just to draw attention to their booths. Oftentimes, the chicks have no clue about the product they are supposed to be pushin', but that's OK because we really don't listen when they talk, anyway.
Things That Made Us Go "Hmmmm"
Celebrity Truck Junkies
This show has gotten so big that even celebrity car aficionados make sure to take in the sights and make sure to be seen. We spotted rock stars, TV stars, movie stars, action-sports nut-jobs, and even a few has-beens roaming the show.
GM's Big Tease
Walking through General Motors' booth at SEMA was frustrating because not only was the place packed with people gawking at Jay Leno's turbine-powered car, but there were several trucks inside that we wanted to drive and couldn't.
SS427 Silverado
Our absolute favorite was the SS427 1/2-ton shortbed Silverado. This amazing machine sports Corvette running gear, an incredible interior with billet aluminum gauges that feature moving neon tubing instead of sweeping needles, a great stance, and superb styling. Ground Force suspension components lower the truck and six-piston Baer brakes bring the thing to a halt. The truck rolls on Pirelli Scorpion 305/40ZR22 tires and custom 22x10-inch rims. The six-speed manual Tremec tranny and 505hp aluminum small-block make this truck perfect in our book, but the entire package is to die for. Unfortunately, this thing will probably not see production. We couldn't get a straight answer out of the suits in the booth about anything, so pictures will have to suffice for now. But, if you're like us, you'll be blowing up the phone lines at your local Chevy dealership asking to have The General build this thing.
OCC Silverado
One look at this Silverado and you might think the boys from Orange County Choppers had built it. That was exactly the point. GM decided to build a theme truck around the OCC style, filling the bed with EVO motors and laying the chrome pipes flat on the carpet. Under the hood, those lucky Teutuls scored an LS7 but with the 4L85-E automatic tranny, instead of the six-speed like the SS427 truck has.
The Big Red
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s personal sport truck is-you guessed right-a Chevy Silverado. Well, Chevy decided to take cues from that truck and build its own Big Red on a whole other level. Earnhardt collaborated with GM designers on the truck, visiting the GM design studio in Warren, Michigan, to discuss the exterior and interior enhancements, which include all-new front-end sheetmetal and rear fenders, as well as a flying bridge-type rollbar with integrated off-road driving lamps. The interior is as luxurious as the exterior is off-road-capable, with rich, black leather upholstery. Big Red is powered by GM Powertrain's 6.2L Gen IV V-8 engine, a high-output, all-aluminum engine with variable valve timing that produces 380 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. It transfers its power to all four wheels via a Hydra-Matic four-speed electronically controlled transmission. The front and rear axles are equipped with 3.73 gears and Eaton ELocker electronic locking differentials, which help the truck deliver exhilarating performance with tall off-road tires. Stopping power is enhanced with a set of Baer disc brakes, including six-piston calipers and 15-inch cross-drilled rotors in the front and twin-piston floating calipers with 13-inch cross-drilled rotors in the rear.
The stance is achieved with a Rancho 4-inch lift kit, with adjustable front and rear shocks, along with GM front coil springs and re-arched rear leaf springs.
Befitting this one-off off-roader, it wears unique, GM-designed 20x12-inch wheels. These CNC-machined wheels have a bold, deep-dish design. They feature 5.125-inch backspacing in the front and 3.375-inch backspacing in the rear, which helps push out the wheels to the edge of the vehicle, enhancing the rugged look of the Big Red Silverado, while simultaneously providing increased off-road driving stability and a lower center of gravity.
Amazing Rides
Our tongues were dragging on the ground even further once we hit the rest of the show. With so many killer rides and custom metal everywhere, SEMA is a true playground for any automotive fan.
Amazing Rides
Photo 65/96   |   sema Las Vegas 2006 2007 Tundra
See Ya' Next Year!
Oh, how we want Santa to drop a nice red '07 Tundra like this one down the chimney this year. We promise we've been good.



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