Each and every year, the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show takes over the Las Vegas Convention center for a week of modified vehicular mayhem.
Imagine, for a second, every single performance part supplier and manufacturer in one place at the same time. Now, take all the people who work at these companies, or at the magazines and blogs that report on them, paired with owners of built-to-the-max cars, and you've got an unfathomable group of people, products and vehicles intent on celebrating automotive excellence.
As you might guess, it's difficult to cover the show in its entirety, or relay its magnitude in a few pages, so we've broken down SEMA 2013 into several categories to capture our highlights from the event.
Among the highlights were a rash of widebody kits, encouraged by the success of Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche 911s from a few years ago. The trend for bolt-on widebodies has continued with companies like RWB and Bisimoto having fun with the Porsches, while Liberty Walk had kits on display for BMW, Lamborghini and Ferrari. So join us for a recap of SEMA week and visit europeancarmag.com for larger photo galleries, as well as links to our video walkabout and post-event drag race.
As usual, there were plenty of show-worthy BMWs, including Mickey Andrade's E93 BMW 328i, dubbed Ric Flare. It features a unique Liberty Walk widebody - the first to be fitted to a wagon, and installed by LTMotorwerks. Tying it together was a set of HRE S107 wheels and Rotora big-brakes. We love the car but it was a shame there wasn't time to add some go to the show. However, Mickey's considering a turbo-diesel swap. Stay tuned!
We also had to include some of the Liberty Walk M3s ,  in our top pick as well. Sure, there were many of them, but they were still menacing and several caught our eye, including the Bag Riders 328i , complete with M3 bodywork, Rotiform wheels and a Bag Riders air suspension. The matte red wrap didn't hurt, either...
Away from the crazy body kits was some insane bodywork on the LTMW F30 328i. The car had been through many phases, but at SEMA 2013 it featured a blend of BMW M Performance parts and LTMW custom bumpers. Discovered in the Injen booth, the engine bay was as pretty as the rest of the car, thanks to its black wrinkle finish and exposed Injen intake.
Decisions, decisions... As confessed Porscheophiles, it was next to impossible to choose a favorite, especially when older models were being revived and updated. Despite all the widebody kits, we found ourselves drawn to the classic lines of the Rotiform 964. Finished in Seafoam and displayed in the H&R booth, the 911 was like no other. It had the recently-released Fuchs-style Rotiform wheels as well as a jaw-dropping interior with details like custom upholstered Recaro A8 seats and a Ruf shift knob. This 964 was the total package.
Up next was the stunning RWB Porsche 930 in the Toyo booth. Although the car had little motor work and not many mods inside, it was executed extremely well. Somehow, after seeing so many RWB cars over the years, they don't get old since Nakai-san puts his unique style and personality into each car he builds.
There was also a completely over-the-top RWB 993 on display, and while it wasn't our cup of tea, many attendees were leaving puddles of drool nearby.
Bisimoto returned to SEMA with another 964. Starting with a naturally aspirated model, they used the car to debut a new bolt-on turbo kit. The company admitted the car's completion was rushed because of other projects, but it will have a complete makeover and should look even better in the coming months. Flat black paint with blue Fifteen52 Formula TR wheels was definitely a look we approved of!
To our surprise, Mercedes attendance was low this year. However, top dog was definitely the SLS Black Series from Weistec Engineering. Having just driven this $275000 car on the track (see the AMG driving feature in this issue), we can tell you it needs nothing more, but Weistec felt it could use a substantial power boost and new shoes. Boasting around 900hp and with looks to kill, we were uncontrollably drawn toward it.
There's no doubt the hottest, most talked about car of SEMA 2013 was the Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 Italia. We had our doubts about fitting a widebody kit to something as perfect and chiseled as the 458. It's hard to imagine anybody cutting into such a high-dollar exotic, but that's exactly what LTMW did. And while some may consider it sacrilege, we loved its hardcore stance on wide Rotiform wheels and Nitto tires. Not to mention the tri-tip titanium exhaust... The Liberty Walk 458 was gorgeous and constantly surrounded by a crowd.
We can't give all the credit to Ferrari, though, because we'd be ignoring the stealth bomber in the Mobil 1 booth. The Underground Racing Lamborghini Aventador was gorgeous in its grey coat, sitting on healthy HRE wheels, barely hiding massive yellow brakes. The Underground twin-turbo system boosted power to 1500hp at the wheels. Yes, you read that right, and it apparently gets this monster to 60mph in a mind-bending 2.2sec.
And just like that, we were looking at another Ferrari 458 Italia. We couldn't stop staring at the unique lip kit and massive rear wing on the Super Veloce Racing 458 - yet another vehicle built by LTMW for the show. We also loved its sick HRE Vintage wheels and appreciate the overall attitude of this badass Ferrari.
There wasn't an abundance of Audis at the show and our favorite was probably the AccuAir S7. Featuring the company's iPhone app-controlled air suspension, a custom BBi Autosport exhaust and purple Vossen wheels, it definitely looked the part on the show floor - and we mean that literally. Thanks to its air-ride, the front bumper was resting inches from the carpet.