Just a decade ago, manufacturers were still pulling out all the stops for SEMA. The cars had wild paint jobs, super-fast parts under the hood that probably made the engines explode, and all sorts of other doo-dads and whizz-bangs. Now Chevy's bringing this sad Impala.

SEMA, the automotive aftermarket show that's not even open to the public, is getting a bit long in the tooth. Its heyday was in the years leading up to and surrounding all that Fast and Furious malarkey, but now it's mostly just a trade show for lightbulb and tooling manufacturers. Sure, your local supercharger company might still be slapping one of their products onto a Corvette, and that's really wonderful, but it's just not the same.

Last year, Toyota brought Parker Kligerman's Rally Camry, which was mostly just broken always, and this year, we've got an Impala with wheels and mirror caps.

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Yay.

I don't mean to dump on SEMA, I really don't. It's got a great sense of community, and the people who are passionate about the aftermarket are the sort of people who are really passionate about the aftermarket. And passion's great. But things, at least from the big manufacturers, are starting to look a bit shabby. Like one of Chevy's other offerings, this SS.

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If you're going by past SEMA tradition, it'd be reasonable and prudent to assume that sure, what it might not have in exterior fiddly bits, it's surely made up for it under the hood. Something like a 14.0-liter V8, 12 turbochargers, 3 superchargers, and a cold-air intake y0.

But here's the actual list of what it's got, straight from Chevy:

  • Enhanced Some Like It Red Hot exterior with body-color door handles and mirrors
  • Chevrolet Accessories grille kit, fog lamp bezels, side fender vents and rear spoiler
  • Chevrolet Accessories stripes for the hood and deck lid
  • Chevrolet Accessories high-gloss black 20-inch wheels – 20 x 8.5-inch in front and 20 x 9-inch in the rear
  • Chevrolet Accessories wheel caps with the Holden logo
  • Chevrolet Accessories sport pedal kit and cargo net
  • Chevrolet Accessories floor mats and cargo tray with the Holden logo.

Some stripes, some wheels, some floor mats. That's about it.

There's also two (TWO) Sonic "concepts," one labeled "Performance," because it has a cold-air intake and a high-flow exhaust system, and one labeled "accessories," with a lowered suspension and some door sills. This is one of them, I can't be bothered to differentiate because my soul might bleed:

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If this was 2002, there might be fire shooting out of that tailpipe.

And here's a drawing of a Cruze that is being called the "Cruze RS Plus" for some reason, I have no idea why, and it's got a stripe and a subwoofer. Except not yet, because this is just a drawing:

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Wow.

Where's the crazy paint jobs? Where's the wild interiors? Where's X to the Z Xzbit, or the modern-day equivalent?

Where's SEMA?

(In Las Vegas, where everything goes to die.)