December '21

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 103

44 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2021 SPECIAL REPORT: THE SEMA SHOW EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a two- part series examining the formation and devel- opment of the SEMA Show from its beginning until the mid-1990s. Part I appeared in the November 2021 issue of THE SHOP magazine. W e left off last time with the SEMA Show having made the big move from California to Las Vegas. Again, special thanks go to Donna Imrie Foulger for sharing the real story of how the SEMA Show got started. Now in the 1980s, each year the SEMA Show was growing, and Jim Davis, SEMA chairman at the time, shared his thoughts regarding the upcoming 1981 SEMA Show to industry members: "Walk the aisles of the show. Inspect the highly professional displays and booths. Examine the wide array of new products which are introduced each year. When the first SEMA Show was held 16 years ago, it was almost exclusively a showcase of racing parts and custom accessories. Since that time, we've experienced the van craze and the myriad of new products spawned by that industry. The off-road market boomed a few years ago and is still going strong. Now we are seeing a host of new products aimed at the mini-cars and the import market." At the same time, Chuck Blum, SEMA president, noted that the show was growing approximately 25% each year. In 1982, the SEMA organization took over full control of the show from Robert E. Petersen. MORE TO SEE By 1983, the SEMA Show had further broadened its scope with the addition of the emerging import car market. The event was now called the SEMA/AI Show as a result of joining forces with sister organiza- tion Automotive International Association. In 1984 the name was changed again, this time to the SEMA/AI/APAA Show, reflecting the added participation of the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association. No matter the name, the show was becoming known as the national showcase of the industry's latest parts, components and accessories, as well as for offering a sampling of the latest innovations from the Detroit auto manufacturers. As Blum reminded members of the auto- motive aftermarket in his preview of the 1986 show for a story titled The Business Side of Drag Racing from Lopez Publishing, none of it was by accident. "Every move by SEMA, and the industry, has been carefully and deliberately thought out. Many board members, past and present, will tell you of major decisions which were bitterly argued and debated, and sometimes were implemented only after being brought up several times." But, he added, "it has all, ultimately, been Part II: Partnerships, growth & no signs of slowing. SPECIAL REPORT: THE SEMA SHOW SEMA SHOW By James Maxwell Begiings Three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford visited with Linda Vaughn at the Hurst booth in 1987.

Articles in this issue

view archives of THE SHOP - December '21