This is the 2014 SEMA show from my perspective (as it related to vintage bmw’s and old cars in general). Jeff was kind enough to send me out to the SEMA show this year on behalf of Ireland Engineering. A number of years ago we actaully had a booth, but given that vintage bimmers are a pretty small market it hasn't . Mainly the purpose this year was to have a meet-and-greet with a number of suppliers and just checking out what’s new.
The shear size of the show was mind boggling. I’ve been to some of the larger oem-type car shows like Geneva but the sheer number of exhibitors at SEMA was a bit overwhelming. What was even more impressive was the variety and the quality of the cars. Off-road, wheels (there was an entire hall dedicated to wheels), vintage, etc. There was really something for everyone, including us vintage guys.
BMW brought the sole 2002 at the show. It was tucked away slightly but it still garnered plenty of attention. I stood back for a while and watched as many many people walked right by the new bavarian iron to ooze over the little 2002. The car itself was beautiful and fairly original except for some niggles not worth mentioning. What I did like was the rubber trimming someone had put on the outside of the grills, just enough to keep the paint and grills metal separated.
Also while in the BMW booth I got to meet Dirk Muller and Joey Hand. Both of whom were very friendly and confessed to me they felt a bit of jealous of fellow competitor Tommy Milner’s 2002.
The only other bimmer that could be considered was one E30. Igor (CaTuned) came down with his polarizing Estoril E30 on air and had it parked rather prominently out front of the convention center. Again I sat back and watched this vintage bimmer create a disproportionate amount of attention compared to the cars it sat next to.
Nearby was this neat beemer bike (don't know much about bikes, maybe someone can enlighten me).
Also worth mentioning was the rather overwhelming wide body M4 by Vorsteinner. You can see a suttle nod to the box-flare in the rear.
I think we all have preached that the old bimmers are cars that everyone can love, but to really witness it firsthand among the most ardent of each community's enthusiasts was enough to make me smile.
A period competitor to the 2002 was this really neat period Trans-Am Pinto that Galpin showed up with. It was cool to note the 48’s and stepped headers. More on this car here ( http://www.hotrod.com/cars/featured/1411-1971-ford-pinto-trans-am/ )
Tracklite wheels showed a couple new applicable designs. The wheels that were apparently available for 2002's were the Ffourty, Drum (my favorite new wheel at the show), holeshot, and Burn. STR also mentioned to having new 15x8 offerings. Konig also seemed to have more offerings but the persona I talked with didn't know specifics.
VDO was showing off some new reproduction 356 gauges that looked like they would be rather similar to the 2002’s.
At the Momo stand were a bunch of stylish looking wheels including the Prototypo (which a representative said was by far their number one seller). What was interesting is that he said they were going to be releasing the Daytona (this is like a prototipo with a mohagony rim).
Engines: While not specifically bmw related there were so many great engines I just had to bring up a few. These weren’t the obnoxious twin-turbo behemoths that seem to have invaded SEMA for the purpose of filling magazine pages, these were the engines that I hope you’ll enjoy the most.
The first one that grabbed me was this beautiful v8 apparently lifted from a 1972 can am car (builder claimed it was from a chaparral, I was thrown off by the mclaren rocker covers.). He had stealthily switched to an electronic injection setup. Loved the hardline bits.
This one made me laugh pretty good. A Sherman radial engine stuffed in a low-rider chassis.
There was this very nice flathead engine, would love to incorporate the wire loom setup somehow to the M10,M20,M30.
Next to the flathead was this rather crazy twin-turbo diesel engine. The intake was machined from one piece.
Then, the engine that for me was the highlight of the entire show. I was walking by the cosworth stand (where they were hawking FRS bits) and there, off to the side, stood the zenith of racecar engineering. The Cosworth CA… I couldn’t believe it and quickly did a 180 to drool all over it’s carbon and cnc’d perfection. This 20,000rpm engine is an engineering student’s wet dream and here it was being bypassed by people who had no idea they had walked by greatness. (here’s a great snippet about the engine http://www.f1technical.net/features/18858 ). A man behind the counter smiled knowingly and asked if I knew what it was. This progressed into a great conversation which led to him talking about his E30 M3 and the time spent with the Schnitzer brothers.
He then kindly took the lid off the carbon airbox so I could see how the throttle was setup. Think of this system like a glorified slide throttle where-in at full throttle the barrel rotated so there was a striaght shot for the intake charge.
Throttle in the closed position
Throttle in the open position
Overall this was a very fun event to go to if only to be a witness to the shear calidoscope of all things automotive aftermarket.