The hot-rod market is reminiscent of a time gone by, but it’s really an industry committed to giving new life to time-tested vehicles. The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) continues to break new ground for the niche in the resources it offers and approaches it tries. While 2014 has already been a year of fresh ideas, there’s more excitement in store.
The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) will install new leadership following its most recent election cycle. Dennis Roberts, vice president of Distinctive Industries, will take over the chair position, and Erika Wiesman, the owner of Hydro-E-Lectric Inc., was selected as chair-elect. They laid out their backgrounds and plans in recent interviews with SEMA Member News.Roberts has been involved in the restoration industry for more than 30 years after having been introduced to musclecars in 1970 through a ’70 Trans Am owned by a friend of his older sister. He bought a ’67 GTO as his first car in 1974 at the height of the gas shortage and became a hands-on restoration enthusiast for life.
SEMA Member News—July/August 2014
Getting to Know the ARMO Chair and Chair-Elect
Dennis Roberts, vice president of Distinctive Industries and ARMO chair.
Tom’s 4x4 Superstore’s Blueprint to Continued Growth Starts With Customer Service Tom Pickett has been a Jeep enthusiast for most of his life. He bought one at the end of 2009 but quickly realized that there was nowhere to buy parts for it in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So, in February 2010, he decided to walk away from a lucrative career in automotive manufacturing and build the foundation for Tom’s 4x4 Superstore—a Jeep and off-road parts supplier and installer that officially opened in June of that year.
If you think texting while driving is a distraction, imagine changing 45-rpm records while barreling down the highway. “Wherever you go, listen to your favorite sounds by being your own disc jockey,” wrote Bud Lang in this Car Craft magazine how-to from 1963. “At the drags, beach, mountains or while just cruising around with the guys or your favorite chick, you can now play your own 45-rpm platters on an automatic reject record [ARC] changer that is designed for genuine driving pleasure.”
Once a year, SEMA provides members with a way to select the Board of Directors—the volunteers who help SEMA make decisions that will help your business and the industry to succeed. I want to thank the many members who participated in the nomination process; we have some very strong candidates again this year. And thanks in advance to all of you who will be first-time voters, as well as all our regular voters.
The SEMA Launch Pad competition, in which automotive innovators under the age of 40 showcase their business plans for marketing a product or service, has returned for 2014. Last year’s inaugural winner was Jonathan Mill for the E-Stopp, a pushbutton emergency brake and anti-theft device for custom vehicles. For the 2014 competition, the top 10 competitors will gather votes through the SEMA Facebook/YouTube voting platform. The top five individuals will then receive invitations to pitch their business ideas during a special event in front of an industry-fueled crowd at the 2014 SEMA Show.
According to a SEMA study on the utility task vehicle (UTV) market, nearly 82% of UTV owners have purchased or plan to purchase equipment upgrades for their vehicles. This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts. This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts.