What Does a Car Painter Do at SEMA? Drool, Schmooze, and Absorb
Anyone who knows Spook well enough to walk a car show’s grounds with him knows that you’ll get his no-nonsense take on what he sees there. So, what do car painters like him and his son Thomas do while exploring a show the calibre of SEMA?
- Drool over the amount of passion the smaller builders brought to the show with their high attention to detail.
- Schmooze with suppliers of the fine products we use in the shop, starting with our hosts 3M, but also including Axalta, Griot’s Garage, Mother’s, Meguiars, and several others. It’s always good to meet our partners face-to-face, and we’re proud of the quality they put into their products as they help us make kool stuff.
- Absorb the interesting styling trends, while mostly for the newer market, and contemplating what might work in our cars. This was even kooler when we’d see new technologies given a klassic feel.
Here’s Spook’s Take on SEMA 2016
Most days we walked about 18K steps as we explored the acres and acres of exhibits that made up SEMA’s 50th annual show in Las Vegas. This, with Spook’s broken toe (and still-healing broken ribs).
We took LOTS of pictures of SEMA 2016 – hundreds of them. Check them out and let us know what catches your eye.
It can take a bit to digest THAT much input – and we got Spook to give us the lowdown on the top five trends he noticed at this year’s show. Here they are.
SEMA 2016 Trend #1: MUSTANGS, Like, Everywhere
It seemed like everyone got the memo: Build a Mustang for the show this year. Ford had a huge presence at the show, and everywhere you looked, there were Mustangs. OK, there were also some Jeeps, Ford trucks, and a hefty helping of mid-90’s Porsches… but mostly, there were Mustangs. He’s not much of a Mustang guy, but he did appreciate seeing so many variations of the same car.
SEMA 2016 Trend #2: I Like Big Trucks and I Cannot Lie… But WOW
When Spook’s 6′ 3″ frame is dwarfed by a truck’s body, it might be too big. The engineering is beautiful, and who wouldn’t want to own the whole road by driving a gargantuan vehicle on it? Spook’s ’97 OBS F250 looked like a Matchbox compared with these behemoths.
SEMA 2016 Trend #3: New, New, New
We saw a FEW classic Dubs, but not many. In fact, there weren’t many classic cars at all – a few, and some of them were jaw-droppingly gorgeous – and they seemed to draw more crowds than the herd drew. Might be an indicator exhibitors should pay attention to next year… build something more interesting, and people will flock to it.
SEMA 2016 Trend #4: Here a Wrap, There a Wrap, Everywhere a Wrap, Wrap
Combine this trend with the last one (maybe half of those Mustangs were wrapped), and you’ll understand a correlation he made between wrapped Mustangs and booth bunnies (also everywhere)…
Once you’ve seen half a dozen, you’ve seen them all. Different shapes, sizes, and colors – some with more meat on the rolling edge than others… but overall, not particularly interesting.
What does a car painter do when he sees wraps? Usually, he kind of makes ‘that’ face – you know, with the one eyebrow up. You see, wraps ARE kind of cool because your options are virtually unlimited. You can fake a paint job and come up with practically any look you can imagine.
But, it’s a wrap. He’s a paint guy. ‘Nuff said.
SEMA 2016 Trend #5: Paint, Sort Of
It wasn’t ALL wraps at SEMA, of course. Some builders went with paint finishes. A few even did it well, like this Caddy with the L-O-N-G straight panels and near-flawless paint.
All the work that went into building cars worthy of this magnificent event was easy to see. Innovation, brilliant engineering, creative design – it was all there. So it was puzzling to see many vehicles with a fit and finish that was lacking. Orange peel, incomplete polish processes (hologramming), and lack of attention to detail kind of drove him nuts.
No doubt there’s a major crunch time right before completing a build and getting it out to the show. While the builders did a spectacular job on the builds, many shorted themselves when it came time to do paint and polish. Because of this, many of the cars felt somehow incomplete, rushed, and lacking… in the one element that takes up so much of the build’s overall appearance.
SEMA 2016 – A Feast for the Eyes
So much to see, so many cool peeps to meet – a great trip out to Vegas that we’ll definitely do again.