Autos > Fun on wheels
    SAVE   |   EMAIL   |   PRINT   |   RSS  
Toys for your ride from Vegas car show
SEMA show in Las Vegas puts wacky car gadgets and wild cars on display.
November 3, 2005: 3:24 PM EST
Get invoice and market prices, specs, reviews and photos
• Sport • Sedans
• SUVs • Luxury
Get used car pricing, reviews, ratings, and more.
Photo GallerylaunchSee more photos

LAS VEGAS (CNN/Money) - If the typical car show is like a three ring circus, the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association's annual Las Vegas trade show is like the world's biggest side show.

The freaks are in the house. And the parking lot.

The real purpose of the show is all business. It's where makers of automotive "aftermarket" parts and accessories meet with the people who sell and use their products. The general public isn't allowed.

The show, which started Tuesday and closes Friday, has attracted about 120,000 attendees so far, said Peter McGillivray, a spokesman for SEMA.

This is high-volume business, though. In every way. With about 2,100 exhibitors actually managing to cram the enormous Las Vegas Convention Center and its surrounding parking lots, companies have to work hard to attract attention.

Bright lights, loud engines and loud car stereos are everywhere. Many of the larger booths house at least one wildly customized car. Often, the wild show cars have little or nothing to do with the company's product. Like the attractive young women wearing tall boots and small outfits (They are another popular feature at most of the larger booths.) the cars are there to grab attention.

The most interesting products are often at the smaller, outlying booths. That's where small start-up companies pitch items they hope will find space on auto parts store's display racks next year.

Most of the products are things that the typical consumer would care little or nothing about. These are products aimed, ultimately, at knowledgeable automotive enthusiasts and the companies that serve them. Highly specialized manufacturers offer high-performance exhaust systems, suspension parts, stereo components and things like that.

Other companies, however, offer items that anyone who has ever driven a car can appreciate. Items like the Fries & Things French fry holder or the Izon neck massager.

Items that enhance, or at least embellish, a car's appearance are another main attraction. Car paints offering a variety of effects -- from shimmering rainbows to shiny metallic looks -p are on display all around. Iced Out Emz, Inc. offers adhesive-backed letters and numbers encrusted with diamond-like crystals.

GloRyder's CenterLights shine outward from the center of a car's wheels giving them a seemingly sourceless neon glow.

To see some of the products that are being offered, check out our gallery.

Feedback  Top of page

Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?