Display vehicles leaving the SEMA Show always caused a bit of a kerfuffle. For one thing, motorized stuff almost always looks better rolling than sitting. For another, the drive-out offers a rare opportunity to see pretty much every vehicle on display. That’s more significant than you’d think; even if you’re lucky enough to have a pass and four free days to use it, it’s unlikely you’ll see everything spread out among the million square feet of display space. It’s huge-22 acres-and it’s spread out.
So in 2011 SEMA began organizing the drive-out as a parade format and promoting it as an event unto itself. To call it a success is an understatement; fans packed the road leading to Paradise giving entries a kind of license for dramatic exits. It was pretty rad.
But in 2014 the organization took things to another level. That year it created SEMA Ignited, a giant after-party that terminates for the cruise. It was fantastically weird: food trucks, diesel-powered rat rods doing eternal burnouts, exotics pegged at redline for minutes at a time, train-horn blasts, kooky hair, cackle cars, drift exhibitions, and customized hybrids. Woe betide the outsider who stumbled upon this spectacle (although it wasn’t likely-even though the events are open to the public, SEMA rightfully charges for the spectacle). The Ignited event also served as the platform for the Battle of the Builders, a competition that pits some 200 entrants against each other. Read about that part here.
The decision last year to host the event at the Gold Lot immediately adjacent to the convention center shortened the drive. But…in light of the questionable registration status of some vehicles and the ability for a couple hundred gearheads to find trouble on the way to the space made it understandable (things got a little aggressive at times).
This year was basically last year’s event, redux. Although now far better practiced, things went a little smoother (there’s always room for improvement of course but we’re not complaining). Here are some highlights.