The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) held its new products showcase at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3. The largest automotive trade show in the world, the four-day event can best be described as “Disneyland for vehicle enthusiasts.”
Featuring not only new products and a peek into future offerings, but everything that’s also readily available from manufacturers and SEMA members is on display. There’s also many show vehicles in the various product booths and presenters can compete for top honours in their respective category.
This year there were 260 vehicles entered in the Best Builder Competition. Judged by a panel of industry experts the Top 21 are chosen, then broken down into three categories including Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road and Sport Compact. Now in its third year, this competition features the best builders in the country who come to SEMA to win the coveted title of the Ultimate Builder.
For Anthony De Guzman of Winnipeg, his first trip to SEMA in 2014 was with Performance Auto and Sound Magazine. His highly modified 1993 Toyota Supra was displayed as the 2014 PASMAG Tuner Battleground Champion. At that show he was asked to consider entering his car in an upcoming SEMA Best Builder Competition.
“I came home and started adding upgrades and building the car to the next level,” De Guzman says. Rebuilt from the ground up as a feature car, De Guzman relied on the help of his car crew Garage106. “It was really a team effort and, along with my crew, I have to thank Wayne Fabian at Wayfab Creative, Speed Factor, Bomex Graphics and special thanks to my cousin Alvin De Guzman for the bodywork and pearl white paint.”
With the help of Doctor Shine Auto Spa who detailed the Supra before, during and after the show, the car caught everyone’s eye throughout the event.
While having your vehicle at SEMA is an honour in itself, the thought of driving away with an award is for most but a dream. Going up against the top builders like Ringbrothers, Detroit Speed and Roadster Shop, to name a few, can seem unsurmountable. For De Guzman, the effort produced a hat trick of awards he never saw coming.
“I couldn’t believe they called out my name,” he says.
Taking one of the Top 21 awards was just the beginning, as his Supra went on to win the Top 7 in the Sport Compact category. De Guzman also claimed the Young Gun award. The first year for the award, it recognizes talented builders under 35 years of age. The only Canadian to win an award at SEMA this year, De Guzman shows it is possible.
“It was a surreal experience competing against the big-name shops and it felt great putting Manitoba on the map.”
Invited back to compete next year, De Guzman has to look at producing a new build, but currently he’s preparing the Supra for the upcoming Piston Ring World of Wheels at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in March 2017.
Dealer of the week
Sales Rep: Tony Dang
Dealership: Murray Hyundai
No. of Years: Four
Favourite Model: Hyundai Tucson
Why: “The Tucson is the right size for me,” Dang says. “Its got everything I need. It’s great in winter and really good on gas.”