SEMA is possibly the most prominent and powerful advocate of automotive recreational activities in the world. It’s annual show in Las Vegas is one of the must attend events for manufacturers, dealers, enthusiasts and anyone else that has an interest in the automotive industry. Knowing these facts, it is incredible that this association came from such humble beginnings as this video clip shows the history.
Documentaries can be stuffy academic exercises if they are not done correctly. Fortunately, this video includes contributions from some of the founding giants of both automotive innovation and the pursuit of speed! Legendary figures such as Ed “Isky” Iskendarian, Alex Xydias, and “Speedy” Bill Smith relay stories of their experiences as fledgling racers before they and others created an entire industry.
The personal stories related by these racing heroes have an amazingly common touch. These people have accomplished some great things in their careers but before they were legends, their moms sounded just like our moms. I would venture to say that there are few of us who began hot rodding as teenagers and probably received the exact same discouragement from our own mothers.
It’s always a lot of fun to view images from the past that hold so much important history. Yet in reality, they were just a bunch of car guys having fun, same as us. It makes you realize that the next great idea could come from a local weekend racing event or late-night thrash taking place in a garage somewhere. As long as there are people who think that they can make something a little bit better, or make their car go a little bit faster, innovation in the automotive industry will continue.
The footage shown of the events at the dry lakes, drag strips and on the streets reveals the hot rodding scene as it was. Whether or not it will continue all depends on our actions today. Hot rodding is in jeopardy from those who would take away the few venues left where we can enjoy our favorite sport. Fortunately, we have some powerful allies such as SEMA that can help us preserve, protect and grow hot rodding for future generations to enjoy as we have.