Maybe it was the odd economy. Or perhaps the tension of a close national election. Either way, the mood at the country's largest automotive aftermarket show was a little funky for 2008. But that didn't stop us from having a little fun in Las Vegas at this year's Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show.
For the first time ever, MWerks displayed a project vehicle at SEMA. But rather than take the easy way out and hire a transporter, we decided to drive our Project 135i 1750 miles from Chicago to Vegas. And back. Solo.
OK, solo wasn't originally part of the plan, but our driving partner had to back out at the last minute for a family emergency. That left yours truly to cover the entire trip in one shot, with only 30 hours to get there in time for setup. Fortunately, the 135i is a perfect cross-country tourer, and the drive went smoothly. After 28 hours of driving (and a two-hour nap in the trunk), the little white 1er arrived at the convention center ready to take its spot. It was, without a doubt, the filthiest display car when it arrived, but an hour or so of quick detailing left it as presentable as all the other street rods, muscle cars and freakshow projects on exhibit.
Inside the show halls were most of the usual vendors, showing off everything from brakes and suspensions to wiring harnesses and car stereos. And wheels, of course. Judging by the cars on display in the wheel hall, you might be lead to believe that Roll-Royces, Benteys and Lamborghinis exist for the sole purpose of showing off 20-inch-plus rolling stock. It borders on vulgar, but hey, that's SEMA.
Click the link in the story navigation for a gallery of BMW, Mini and Rolls pics from SEMA. Visit our sister site MotiveMag.com for a full show gallery that includes more than 2000 pictures of the entire show.
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