• Panel Chair: Brian Warrener, Associate Professor & Director of the Center for Beverage Education & Innovation
  • Jennifer Broderick, Professor
  • Sarah Malik, Associate Professor
  • Deana Marzocchi, Associate Professor
  • Dean Mistretta, Assistant Professor

SEMA 2023 Highlights: From Custom Builds to Live Music Entertainment.

SEMA Announces Winner of 2023 Battle of the Builders Presented by Mothers Polish SEMA has crowned Andy Leach’s ’60 Buick Invicta Custom in the Hot Rod/Hot Rod Truck category as the winner of the 2023 SEMA Battle of the Builders Presented by Mothers Polish competition.

The “X-60,” a custom ’60 Buick lnvicta, was meticulously crafted by Leach at CAL Automotive Creations. This build showcases concept-car styling, featuring a wedge-sectioned body adorned with machined brass trim. The unique chassis, complete with sculpted floors, is a one-off design boasting an I-beam-style derived from both an IFS and IRS. The car rides on nine-piece layered wheels and is powered by a 401 Nailhead motor, equipped with a crank-mounted ProCharger.

Other top finalists include:

4 Wheel Drive & Off-Road

Jared Hancock–’78 Jeep Cherokee Chief S

Young Guns

Charles Spencer–’69 Chevrolet C10

Sport Compact    

Jordan Henke–’87 Merkur XR4TI

Other SEMA Highlights:

Brand New edition to SEMA, first time ever “SEMA FEST”.

It featured two stages and 22 musical acts, SEMA Fest attendees enjoyed a variety of unforgettable motorsports entertainment, which included demonstrations from Formula DRIFT, Hoonigan and Nitro Circus.

“The SEMA Show is about preserving and promoting car culture, and instilling that passion for cars in younger, more entertainment-oriented generations,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “SEMA Fest will help us build new audiences that are passionate about the automotive lifestyle.”

Photos by Sonja

SEMA Fest headliners included: Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Wiz Khalifa, AJR, Third Eye Blind, Bush, Walk the Moon, Ludacris, The Struts, Badflower, Chase Matthew, Meg Meyers, Ayron Jones, Rome & Duddy, renforshort, Starcrawler, Dead Sara, Bones UK, Brooke Alexx, Paper Idol, The Foxies, Good Boy Daisy and Hot Crazy.


The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has announced a five-year vision to expand the SEMA Show into an “all-city” experience. Officially called SEMA Week, the expansion’s goal is to create the most passionate and exciting automotive event in the world. SEMA Week will kick off in 2023 with new concepts, activities, and events introduced over the five-year roll-out period.

SEMA Week will be headlined by the SEMA Show, which will remain a trade-only event Monday through Friday. On Friday, the final day of the SEMA Show, a limited number of enthusiasts will be able to attend the SEMA Show through the Friday Experience program, which launched at the 2021 SEMA Show. Beginning on Friday evening of SEMA Week, SEMA will take over the Las Vegas Festival Grounds through Saturday night with an all-new SEMA Fest.

“We have been watching the connection between enthusiasts and our industry grow for more than a decade and, as the industry’s trade association, have a responsibility to help facilitate that connection in new and meaningful ways,” said James Lawrence, SEMA Chairman of the Board. “By creating SEMA Week and SEMA Fest, we will be able to maintain the integrity of the trade show that makes it a must-attend event for automotive professionals while introducing a new platform for enthusiasts and the industry to engage with one another.”

For 2023, SEMA Fest will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds and be open to everyone, bringing together automotive enthusiasts with the aftermarket industry in a high-octane and immersive festival-like celebration of car culture. SEMA Fest will feature top music and entertainment, car show and cruise, VIP experiences, craft food, automotive celebrities, and motorsports. It will run alongside the popular SEMA Ignited Cruise and SEMA Show after-party, which draws thousands of enthusiasts on Friday night.

SEMA Week is also scheduled to include a SEMA Auction, featuring some of the best builds from SEMA and many more amazing vehicles to headline the festivities. SEMA will continue to expand and refine SEMA Week over the next five years, rolling out new events and activities throughout the city of Las Vegas. The evolution of SEMA Week preserves the trade aspects of the industry and business components of the SEMA Show, while enabling enthusiasts from all over to join in the festivities and enjoy car culture-focused events throughout the SEMA Week experience.

Additional details for the 2023 SEMA Show, SEMA Week, and SEMA Fest will be announced in the coming months.

For more information, visit sema.org

2022 Los Angeles Auto Show

An early look at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, of all-new and refreshed vehicles during the show’s media preview day. While many auto shows have been dominated by all-electric vehicles, large SUVs and pickup trucks recently, a healthy mix of pure EVs, hybrids and gas-powered cars of all sizes are making their grand entrance at the LA Auto Show this year. Even as big SUVs and pickups continue to outsell their smaller counterparts, most of the new vehicles showcased in L.A. are compact or subcompact cars that easily accommodate city life and offer generous fuel efficiency.

The Toyota Prius’ claim to fame has always been its eco-friendliness, but with a full redesign for the 2023 model year, the Prius hybrid and Prius Prime plug-in hybrid now have even more to offer. The compact car’s new exterior is sleeker, more aerodynamic and more muscular. The hybrid promises a significant performance and efficiency boost to go along with its exterior makeover. Inside, the Prius goes big on tech with an available 12.3-inch touchscreen; unfortunately, it also gets tighter headroom due to the lower roof.

Changes for the 2024 Subaru Impreza are less dramatic but still significant. The new Impreza is available exclusively as a compact hatchback with an updated grille, headlights and taillights. It also sees the return of the sportier RS trim with darkened exterior accents, black 18-inch wheels and a more powerful 2.5-liter boxer engine under the hood. While the updates promise more fun behind the wheel, enthusiasts will likely mourn the loss of the car’s manual transmission option.

The 2024 Kia Seltos small SUV gets a refreshed front and rear end, plus a new X-Line trim. It also sees a 20-horsepower jump for its available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and a new eight-speed automatic transmission that promises smoother power delivery for the engine. Inside, a new panoramic dashboard display merges two 10.25-inch screens for the infotainment and digital gauge cluster, respectively.

Electric vehicles may have been forced to share the spotlight this year, but one in particular still managed to steal the show. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 was revealed in early 2022 and made its U.S. auto show debut in L.A. The Ioniq 6 shares a platform with the Ioniq 5 SUV, and it sports a slightly shorter wheelbase and sleeker exterior with a dramatic swooping roofline. Hyundai also promises a more generous range but has yet to disclose those figures.

Another battery-powered vehicle that made its debut is the reintroduction of the all-electric Fiat 500e. Fiat says the subcompact car will be making its way to the U.S., though not for a while. The European version was unveiled in L.A. with three special-edition variants based on prominent Italian designers; however, the U.S. version won’t make its debut until the 2023 L.A. show and is only expected to arrive at dealerships in 2024. For now, only the gas-powered 500X SUV represents the brand stateside.

LA Auto Show: Nov 17-26 – The Most Influential Global Auto Showhttps://laautoshow.com/

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar

Taking inspiration from the classic “Safari buils” that have taken the world by storm, the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar arrives as a limited edition, off-road-ready version of the legendary 911. It features a twin-turbo engine from a 911 GTS, producing 473 hp. In terms of off-road credentials, the Dakar rides much higher than a standard 911 and uses all-terrain tires. Porsche will only build 2,500 units each priced at $220,000. This is by far the craziest 911 we’ve ever seen from Porsche.

Genesis X Convertible Electric Concept Debuts at the 2022 LA Auto Show.

The sleek four-seat convertible builds on Genesis’ previous X Concept and X Speedium Coupe design studies.

Korean luxury automaker added a third model to its now trilogy of X Concept design study vehicles this evening with the debut of the X Convertible concept on the eve of the 2022 LA Auto Show. The X Convertible shares its EV architecture and powertrain as well as much of its aesthetic and design with the previously revealed X Concept and X Speedium Coupe concepts. The electric four-seater continues Genesis’ exploration of Korean-inspired EV design in a drop-top configuration infused with a California vibe. That’s the state with both the highest electric vehicle adoption and the most convertible-friendly weather year-round.

Like the X Speedium, the X Convertible’s parallel, wraparound light signature evolves and stretches to form the frame of the automaker’s shield-shaped Crest Grille. The elongated body features subtle curves and an arching belt line that finishes with a slight downward slope towards the X Convertible’s rear. Out back, a subtle ducktail spoiler blends into the decklid and integrates a notched high-center brake lamp just above the double tail lights.

Large G-Matrix pattern wheels fill the bulging arches with a concave aero dish rim section designed to extract heat from the EV’s big six-piston brakes. The X Convertible has four seats, but the most important bucket is the one behind the steering wheel. The cockpit-style dashboard flows into a wraparound center console with an integrated touchscreen display that hugs the driver’s seat. Up front is a digital instrument cluster. 

The interior is finished in Gina Navy and Dancheong Orange leather. Matched with recycled wool textiles the colors and details of the interior are inspired by Korean roof architecture — funny, since the X Convertible is presented without a visible roof. There is a hardtop; it’s just folded away and hidden. The top uses transparent panels that attempt to create the feeling of open-air driving, even when rain or cold doesn’t allow it.

Like the X Concept cars that came before, the Genesis X Convertible is, for now, just a design exercise. Considering how much the convertible market has shrunk over the last decade, it’s perhaps the member of the trio that’s least likely to reach production. But, as a preview of what we can expect from the future of Genesis’ electric vehicle design and as gorgeous eye candy, the X Convertible is still exciting.