In case you have been living under a rock for the past, oh I don’t know, 40-something years, we are going to give you a little info on the history of the SEMA show. The first SEMA Show was held in 1967 in the basement of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Back then the acronym SEMA actually stood for Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association, but in 1970, government regulations became an issue and the name was changed to Specialty Equipment Market Association to improve the overall image of the association. Stinkin government! Anyhow, SEMA started off with a whopping 98 manufacturer booths and an attendance of 3000 people. Not open to the general public, the purpose of the show has always been to bring the automotive aftermarket community together under one roof by providing attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities.
Today, SEMA is held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas convention center and has become one of the single largest events to bless the massive venue. Which, by the way, consists of 7 miles of halls! It is estimated that the 2013 SEMA show issued over 126,000 credentials prior to the event, and handed out thousands more on site. The numbers represented a 7 percent increase over last year, and the highest in SEMA Show history. On the show floor in the Las Vegas Convention Center were 2,381 exhibiting companies, representing every corner of the automotive specialty-equipment market – from accessory and appearance products, performance products, wheels, tires and suspension. Representing mostly small businesses, the exhibitors take advantage of the shows 60,000 buyers from all around the world.
Obviously, if you are in the auto industry, making it out to SEMA once in your life if pertinent. For many, making it as many times as possible is optimal. American Restomods has been in business since 2009 and 2013 marks the third visit for our bossman Ralph.
Although he can’t make it out every year (he is a pretty busy man!) he does he best to make the trip every other year. “We visit to educate ourselves on new products, tools and processes. It’s also nice to meet face to face with many of the vendors that we do business with from all over the country,” Ralph explains.
This year we had an extra reason to venture out since Rutledge Wood’s 1949 Chevrolet step van was being showcased in the Magnaflow booth. Although the build has progressed a bit since it left our shop, our blood sweat and tears are part of that van and we were proud to see it shine!
Highlights from the event:
Ralph spent about 45 minutes talking with Michael Cuningham who has brought back a modern version of a historic 1939 Indy 500 engine, the Lencki Six. This is an amazing engine that he is hand building and would be incredible for the right project. Check out some videos here:
We’ve toyed with incorporating Detroit Speed products in a few builds this year. We have another one on the table and took the chance to meet the folks at Detroit Speed and look over their products. Incredibly well designed, we have a feeling this stuff will find it’s way to American Resto Mods in the near future for a project that we are not able to make public yet. But stay tuned! This could get very exciting!
Although Ralph only had time for two days at SEMA this year, he was on a mission to seek out products that are a good fit for restomods. Of course, there were more than a couple of cool products that caught his attention. We have decided that in the name of keeping your attention, we will simply mention the products in this post, with the intention of creating separate articles on each of the product later and explaining them in more detail. If you simply can’t wait, we will provide the links to the products and you can hop on over and check the out immediately.
E-stop electric emergency brake system:
Although electric e-brakes aren’t entirely new this approach was pretty cool. Rather than an entire after market system, this product just replaces the manual hand or foot lever with an electric pull that applies up to 600lbs of force to fully engage the e-brake at the push of a button. It also appears simple to install. Check it out here.
Unisteer electric steering motor:
It is installed inline with the steering column so it will require significant fabrication but it maintains a mechanical link so if the unit ever failed you are still in control. This would allow for a cleaner engine pully system by eliminating the PS pump and belt and gone are the leaks and hydraulic plumbing. Their focus has been ATV and such but they are developing a larger unit for cars and trucks. Check it out here.
Until next time! For now, head on over to our Facebook page to check out a few pics from the show: