All Access: SEMA 2014 Day One Coverage

Article by Brian Hannon. Photography by Corey Davis, Joel Chan, Kenta Young and Ryan Randels.

Boots are on the ground as we bring you coverage of the 2014 SEMA Show from Las Vegas. This year’s show has not disappointed, with heavy hitters from the industry displaying the fruits of their labor with sick build after sick build. Since the show is not open to the public, Revvolution will continue to bring you the most impactful builds to inspire, and new products you’ll want to put your hard earned dollars toward. Check out Monday's preview article for the first impressions of the event.

For those who haven’t heard of SEMA, or have been living under a rock, it is the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association’s annual trade show. This is where buyers have the opportunity to interact directly with the best in the industry to network for future business opportunities as well as learn about new products and techniques. Since the focus is on bringing industry and retailers together, it is closed to the public, so you’ll have to rely on your faithful friends at Revvolution to keep you up to speed on the latest trends we see coming out of SEMA.

There are some definite trends we’re seeing at this year’s show. First and foremost, the riveted wide-body kits, like Liberty Walk and Rocket Bunny, are still wildly popular, adorning everything from Subaru BRZs, Lamborghini Aventadors, Ferrari 458s and the ever-popular BMW M4.

We’ve also taken note of an emerging trend with color and wheels. Quite a few builders are employing different colors between the barrels and spokes/faces of the wheels. Not just a black spoke and a polished barrel, but actual painting/powder-coating of the barrels. A perfect example of this was the M3 in the Falken Tires booth with a set of two-piece HRE wheels with a gray face and outer barrel and a contrasting teal blue barrel. It’s a unique approach that, if done properly, can help set off your set of wheels from someone with the same model.

The focus on stance is still prime, but we noticed a decrease in unusable camber angles when the cars were dumped. Along with this were less super-stretched tires and fitments that appeared a little more road-race inspired. Could this signal a shift in priority to function over form, or at least a better harmonization of the two concepts?

Air suspensions are still front and center with Accuair and Airex leading the charge, landing on most of the major builds. We still have to put our Project BRZ through its paces with our setup from Air Lift Performance, but it looks like our decision to go with an air-suspension setup is well-supported by the industry.

In addition to the emerging trends, three platforms also rose to the surface as the most embraced by tuners. Continuing the momentum that’s been growing over the past few years, the BRZ and FR-S held steady as a platform that you could literally trip over wherever you took a step in the show hall. Wide-bodies, turbos, superchargers and wild, naturally aspirated setups were prevalent. It also helped that Scion sponsored a tuner challenge between Super Street, GT Channel and Speedhunters bringing together three drastically different interpretations of how to best exploit the platform.

With regard to brand-new platforms, it was a two horse race between the BMW M3/M4 and the 2015 Ford Mustang. Though the M3/M4 has been out for a few months, it received treatments from mild to wild including quite a few M4s adorned with Liberty Walk wide-body kits. The Mustangs were turning up with supercharger kits on the 5.0-liter V8s and tuning options for the new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo, along with suspension and aero-tuning alternatives.

We’ve already covered 10 miles of show floor and we still have more to go. Since you can’t get into the show, keep following Revvolution for continued updates of the happenings at SEMA.

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Brian Hannon (BHRP)

Grew up around cars and racing, a passion fueled by my whole family. Participated in numerous track days with cars and motorcycles as well as covered the NASA East Coast Honda Challenge for Grassroots Motorsports. Now that I'm in Colorado I'm enamored with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb... borderline obsessive...
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Such awesome paint jobs... I am pretty sure any of those blues who look great in the garage!

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would** my b.