Words: Mike Ryan
It’s an automotive aftermarket industry trade show first and foremost, but to many, the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas is a custom car show, too.
Each year, it seems that exhibitors aim to outdo each other by presenting increasingly bizarre cars on their stands.
4x4s and SUVs aren’t immune from the crazy custom touch at SEMA, either.
In past years, all the major 4x4 and SUV manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Jeep, Ford, Dodge, VW, Toyota and others, have displayed custom and concept off-roaders at SEMA. The 2022 show was a little light in terms of manufacturer representation, but Ford, Toyota and Jeep were there with some fresh concepts.
Beyond the major manufacturers, there were plenty of accessory companies on board, as well as OEM suppliers, camper fitout and conversion specialists, camper trailer builders and more.
Australian companies have been represented at SEMA in the past and were part of the show in 2022 as well, including ARB, Patriot Campers and Old Man Emu, to name a few.
EV conversions are a relatively new part of SEMA, but the amount of companies offering EV components and displaying electric-powered vehicles – new and old - has grown massively in the past couple of years.
Away from the EV space, some of the innovations at SEMA 2022 included the ‘SeaSucker’ accessory system that uses suction to allow various accessories, like roof racks, recovery gear, antennas and the like to be mounted without permanently impacting the vehicle’s body.
What the Americans call overlanding, ie. 4x4 touring, has boomed in popularity in recent years, leading SEMA to add the “Overland Experience’ section in recent years; a space dedicated exclusively to these vehicles. Some of these are behemoths, based on the biggest pickups and fitted out to an amazingly detailed and luxurious level inside. Others are more humble and show that overlanding can be done on a modest budget.
Outside the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Centre where SEMA is held, there’s just as much to see, with wild lifted trucks, slammed trucks and some unlikely vehicles that have been given off-road-inspired makeovers.
What’s shown here is just a sample of the off-roaders on show at SEMA 2022.