SEMA History

Growth Potential Unlimited

Custom Trade ShowOrganizers of the first High Performance and Custom Trade Show, which was held 50 years ago at Dodger Stadium, recognized early on that the Show needed to move out of the ballpark’s halls and into a proper convention facility for it to have any growth potential. The second show—already being referred to as the SEMA Show—did just that, relocating in 1968 to the Anaheim Convention Center.

Gone Jeepin’

In the summer of 1957, Petersen photographer Bob D’Olivo rode with a convoy of 251 Jeeps as it crossed Northern California’s infamous Rubicon Trail for what was then the fifth Jeeper’s Jamboree. As it still does today, the ’57 Jamboree convened in Georgetown, a small mining town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Turbo Buick Pioneer

In 1981, Hot Rod magazine Executive Editor C.J. Baker wrote an in-depth profile of Junior Johnson’s No. 11 “Mountain Dew” Buick Regal, in which Darrell Waltrip won the NASCAR championship that year. This photo opened that story in the November 1981 issue. Johnson is leaning on the race car; the other man in the photo is Gale Banks, posed with a turbocharged V6 engine he built for the Hot Rod project car behind him.

The California Kid

It isn’t often you can capture this many iconic figures in one candid photograph, but that’s exactly what Petersen Publishing photographer Pat Brollier managed to do on a June day in 1974.At left is actor Martin Sheen, next to him is Pete Chapouris, and behind them is Chapouris’ trend-setting ’34 Ford three-window coupe.

On the Fly

When Petersen Publishing Company photographer Eric Rickman took this photo in October 1958, Paul Schiefer’s involvement in developing a safe, “slipper” clutch for drag racers was still a decade away. So was the honor of being the very first inductee into SEMA’s Hall of Fame.


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