Scenes from the Innaugural 1967 SEMA Show
We were getting nostalgic about SEMA so we dug into the archives to come up with some cool photos of the very first SEMA Show, back in 1967. This was when muscle cars were just coming into their own. It’s a big change from ’67 to the two million square foot event you see today. And here are some images of the show’s humble beginnings.
The first SEMA Show was held in the basement of Dodger Stadium. In this photo of the Hellwig Spring booth, you can see the Dodger World Champion banner from 1955 hanging from the rafters.
That first year, the show brought out 98 manufacturers, mostly sellers of hot rod and drag racing parts and services. About 3,000 industry insiders attended.
In ’67, SEMA itself was still a novelty. Even its name was different. Up until 1970, SEMA stood for “Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association,” but with all the “Speed Kills” press around, the organization changed its name to “Specialty Equipment Market Association.”
That first year, the show had just two cars on display.
The first car was “Wild” Bill Shrewsberry’s L.A. Dart, a nutty wheelstander powered by a supercharged 426 Hemi mounted at the rear. Shrewsberry was also recognized for his work with the Barracuda-based “Hemi Under Glass,” and the drag racing version of the Batmobile.