(Chris Wood attended SEMA 2011 on behalf of LXForums.com. Since she was there, we asked if she'd take a little time and be a guest blogger here to give you another take on the annual automotive aftermarket show. For more on Chris, see her first post.)
Oh my goodness. Where do I begin? Totally overwhelmed is an understatement!
I was already in awe just walking up to the Las Vegas Convention Center and seeing all the cars outside. I was on a mission to pick up our badges, so I blew by them all. It wasn't easy. I wanted to stop and look at each one but I had to get those badges or else all we'd be doing is looking at stuff outside.
Got the badges and started with the South Building. Kevin DuBiel and I took our time looking at all the cool rides and chatting with some of the owners. Both of us were just blown away over all the incredible cars we encountered. We also got a big kick out of seeing how many lanyards we could collect. I think Kevin (right) said we got about 20 each. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with mine because I have no clue!
We spent a lot of time in the Mopar® section which, by the way, was my favorite. Could it have been because my favorite car, a '71 Plum Crazy Challenger was there? Maybe.
Was it because I got to meet Sam Hübinette and Jeg Coughlin (below). Perhaps.
Or was it that I got to see my friend John Fortuno's Fatchance2.0 in person? Could be. I do have to say there are no words to describe the workmanship and intricacy of the detail put into this car. It. Was. Breathtaking!
As we walked around the Mopar exhibit, we saw new Dodges and there was one that was orange and towing a Challenger that was the exact same color. There was a long line of people waiting for autographs from the very successful Mopar racing teams. This was when I got Sam's autograph for my own self! We also saw the Mopar '11, black as night with a Mopar blue stripe that ran down the left side of the top of the whole car.
There were several fantastic classic cars from the '70's--a blue 'Cuda, a green Super Bee Charger and a Plum Crazy Challenger (guess again which was MY favorite?!), and I took photos in front of each, but where I really wanted to be was behind the wheel driving them! They also had two of the new Fiat 500s there...one was a daily driver and the other was black and sported out and wicked, if such a tiny car CAN be wicked! They were cool though!
About halfway through the day, we realized there was a second floor to this building and needed to step it up. No more lollygagging! Get in, take a picture, and move on! As much as I wanted to take the time and look at everything, we just couldn't. There were still two more buildings to go through!
We wandered around the South Building which was mostly for wheels and tires. I couldn't believe all the sizes and colors that the wheels came in. There was even a wheel that was almost as big as I am. And colors? Whatever color of the rainbow you wanted...it was there. We walked by one exhibit that had an Audi that had a finish that was just polished metal...it had lights in the rims that phased through about seven different colors. Very cool.
We made our way up to the second floor and found everything that you could want for trucks, trucks and more stuff for trucks! There were wheels and trailers and lift kits, stuff for 4x4's--you name it, it was there...anything you could want for a truck.
We went back to the Mopar exhibit in the late afternoon because we heard that they were going to unveil a mystery car that had sat on the stage all day, covered and taunting us all. You could see that it was mean and that it had a tall blower on it, but that was all.
They unveiled the car and introduced Jeg Coughlin as a new driver for Mopar for the upcoming racing season. He spoke with President and CEO of Mopar Brand Pietro Gorlier, and when he spoke you could tell he was very accessible and my boyfriend stepped to him and asked for his autograph. He mentioned that Mr. Coughlin was very forthcoming with it and a very nice guy!
During this unveiling, Mr. Gorlier talked a little about what Mopar had coming up in the near future, and this was particularly exciting! They had a Challenger on display that will be hitting the market soon that is race ready from the factory! They also showed a photo of this gem on a projection screen with an asterisk at the bottom and the disclaimer that the car is not street legal. What a car!
He also spoke about a couple of motors that Mopar had coming out in the near future and we are going to see very soon, two motors that are modified off the Viper engine that hit over 600 and 800 horsepower. Needless to say, not only was I impressed but I added that to my "I want" list. By the end of day 1, we just barely covered the South Building and took more than 300 pictures.
Got back to the hotel, took my shoes off and my feet thanked me profusely. Unfortunately for them it was short lived as I had to put shoes back on so we could meet up with other LX Forums members. About 20 of us gathered at the Hard Rock for a nice dinner. Company was great. We laughed, caught up (some of these folks I haven't seen since Spring Fest in March) and just had a wonderful time. Headed back to the hotel and PASSED OUT!
Tune back in Monday evening to see how Chris Wood's Day 2 and Day 3 at SEMA Show 2011 went.