Half-full glass at SEMA 2021

Under promise

I was a little disappointed after this year’s SEMA. Not at all from the event itself, but instead from the social media posts I saw around the show during and after the fact.

There was some positive energy focused on a few cars or stands, and my friends exhibiting parts or vehicles at the show were obviously thrilled to be involved. On the other hand, it seemed that many of the casual observers were bent on portraying the SEMA Show 2021 in a bad light, and obviously these rumors seemed to be drowning out the others. Photos of blanks and small crowds along with the usual “Overfender Nationals” complaints and Bluetooth drive masts flooded my feeds.


Despite great adversity and hardship, the SEMA Show went on, thanks to thousands of people who worked behind the scenes to make it a reality.

So why not celebrate this instead?


It is no easy feat to make a show of this magnitude in normal times, let alone while a contagious virus is still taking the lives of over 1,000 people in the United States every day.

I don’t want to dwell too much on this in this post, but Covid was definitely the elephant in the room this year and ignoring the reality would be irresponsible.


Despite this, thousands of booths filled the approximately 2.5 million square feet available in the Las Vegas Convention Center. I heard from a SEMA attendee that this would also be the largest trade show in the US this year. I couldn’t find anything to confirm this, but it wouldn’t surprise me given the country’s slow recovery and recovery from Covid and the surprisingly strong turnout at SEMA, all in all.


Also, the Boring Company Tesla tunnel thing underneath the convention center was pretty cool and pretty effective too.


This does not mean that everything has been perfect, and attendances have certainly been fewer than in previous years. And of course, there was also some empty space around the show.

Some big names have pulled out and I’m sure a lot of smaller companies couldn’t justify that even this year. But it was by no means the doom and gloom that I saw depicted upon Instagram Other Facebook. If you try hard enough, you can make anything look bad, but why should you?


Sure, there were a lot of pretty shoddy vehicles on display at the show too, I grant you. However, this is not something unique to the Covid-era SEMA. This is always true.

For every car I really like, there are probably 100 that aren’t to my taste, aren’t quite finished, or are just plain ugly. For example, I never really gave brdozers a second look; I prefer to spend my time looking for the things I really like.

Excessive delivery


I spend my time at SEMA researching the brands I appreciate and who have worked hard over the past year to develop new and innovative products in the hope that they will end up on our cars, just like always. I spend my time looking for cars that I think are really cool, that were built by guys and girls like you and I who have been racing for the past year, just like always.

To me, SEMA simply means finding the best and most interesting cars and knowing that I will probably still lose half of them in this truly huge show.


For example, I learned that Hotchkis makes an incredible bolt-on setup for a first-generation Mustang that greatly helps improve handling and adjustability, and I was blown away by the light weight of the QA1’s carbon fiber driveshafts. The SFI-certified piece at the top of the display weighs a fraction of its steel counterpart, but is still capable of withstanding 750hp from an outer diameter of just 2.25 inches. I’ve also spotted dozens of noteworthy cars, some of which will get the spotlight here in the next few days.


You just have to take the good with the bad, and what you focus on is entirely up to you.


SEMA has always been like this for me, just like any other auto show where you have to take your eyes off the things you find objectionable and instead focus on what turns you on. This year has been no different, and for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the tens of thousands of people involved in the making, from employees of SEMA itself to designers, manufacturers, builders, tire companies, manufacturers, automakers, airline pilots, Las Vegas police and many others who made this a reality.


And also a dog. How can you have anything negative to say about this nice guy?

Trevor Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan

cry Me A River



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here