Event coverage by Neema Amini
Every year, during the first week of November, the Speciality Equipment Market Association (or SEMA) hosts a massive automobile products trade event within the Las Vegas Convention Center. Throngs of automobile enthusiasts -- numbering up to nearly one hundred thousand -- push their way through the halls of the convention center to drool over souped up sports cars, tricked out trucks, speciality rides of all sorts and pretty much any part you've ever imagined a vehicle could have… and then a thousand more.
For someone who had hitherto considered himself a hobbyist, if not an enthusiast, the experience is humbling. The world of automobiles is far, far larger and more complex than I had previously imagined.
Despite the vehicular stimuli overload, ranging from hot rods fashioned from vintage Studebakers to tri-wheeled offroad scooters, I am primarily here to see five vehicles: the finalists for the Gran Turismo Awards. Since 2003, Sony has hosted the GT Awards at the SEMA show, selecting one car as "Best of Show", and including it as a playable car in the next Gran Turismo. This year, from a crowded field of many contestants, five remain.