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#MTSEMA18 – Tow Rigs

When It Comes to Nearly EVERYTHING on Display at SEMA, Diesel Is Responsible for Getting It There

KJ Jones
Nov 1, 2018
Photographers: KJ Jones
As the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show soldiers on at the Las Vegas Convention Center, we’re going against the grain a bit with this report on our daily findings. Instead of giving you more photos and information about all of the customized diesel trucks on display we turn our focus on one of many unsung heroes that plays a crucial role in the annual confab’s success: The tow vehicle.
In most cases, the rigs that transport vehicles, parts, display equipment and almost anything else that’s associated with SEMA (from all over the U.S.), are dirty, bug-splattered, and after being driven great distances, far from being “pretty (in the car-guy sense of the word).”
Instead, we view tow rigs as being utilitarian first, and if an owner chooses to spruce up appearance with aftermarket wheels, or artistic graphic/promotional signage, then, so be it. Of course, ECM programming for better fuel economy and basic bolt-on performance upgrades (cold-air intake systems, high-flow exhaust, etc.) typically make up the extent of upgrades that these trucks receive, so it’s very clear that they’re separated from the show pieces they transport by veritable light years.
Photo 2/24   |   Sema 18 Tow Rigs
But, looking at this from the real-world perspective, a majority of the Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, Peterbilt, Freightliner and other tow and support rigs that are parked throughout the convention center’s surrounding area, are all powered by diesel engines (yes, even the Volkswagen). Diesel gets it done, and we feel that these trucks also deserve a moment in the spotlight.
On Wednesday, Diesel Power Editor KJ Jones detoured away from the bustle of SEMA 2018 and spent an hour roaming North Parking Lot at the Westgate Hotel, to check out and collect photos of the rigs that really do the heavy lifting for builders and companies displaying at show. Not much shine here, but the rigs featured in the gallery are as real-deal as they come. Enjoy our look at just a small sample of the tow rigs of SEMA (there are hundreds—or more of them here), and be sure to follow Truck Trend Network and all of the Motor Trend Group’s coverage of the 2018 SEMA Show by using the hashtag #MTSEMA18.