While the 2014 SEMA Show is now in the history books, highlights from the annual event live on as media coverage continues to highlight the vehicles, products and activities from the event. One consistent theme year after year is that the SEMA Show is a place for the industry to discover new automotive aftermarket trends.
A car’s electrical system can be a challenge for a do-it-yourself hobbyist. That’s why car magazines—for about as long as there have been car magazines—have covered the topic to help enlighten shade-tree mechanics. For instance, Hot Rod magazine published an article in its June 1963 issue called “Wiring Made Easy” to illustrate the basic tools, hardware and steps needed to wire a hot-rod project. But the car in the opening photograph wasn’t just any hot rod. The subject car was the XR-6—a futuristic, built-from-scratch roadster that was the brainchild of Hot Rod’s LeRoi “Tex” Smith to “investigate the uses of modern ideas in hot-rod design,” as Smith described it. The XR-6 would go on to appear on the cover of Hot Rod’s August 1963 issue and also nab the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at that year’s Oakland Roadster Show.
Builders Race Their Creations on the Dragstrip to Raise Money for SEMA Cares CharitiesEleven of the nation’s premier custom-car builders crafted miniature pinewood hot rods that raced head to head this past summer at the fifth-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Pinewood Builder’s Challenge during SEMA’s Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, which was held July 18, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. The hot rods took to the track to benefit two children’s charities just before the banquet started. The cars were then autographed by the builders and displayed in the HRIA booth at the 2014 SEMA Show.
Shelby American had a presence at the High Performance and Custom Equipment Trade Show at Dodger Stadium in 1967, the event that would go on to become the SEMA Show. It’s interesting to see what’s in the Shelby booth—as well as what’s not. Shelby’s iconic Cobra roadster and the GT350 Mustang are represented only by photos on the booth’s back wall. Note, too, the “wanted” poster on the easel soliciting for manufacturer’s representatives to handle Shelby’s parts and equipment.The engine in the center of the booth is a small-block Ford outfitted with a Paxton supercharger. Shelby began offering the blower on ’66 GT350 models, though the expensive option found few takers. Only 11 GT350s left the factory as supercharged models.
We’re pleased to report that the SEMA Data Co-op has surpassed critical mass and is rolling! Your industry-owned product data repository now has more than 350 brands covering more than 2.7 million live part numbers. Every week, we see thousands of data exports pulled down by data receivers—our industry’s resellers and retailers. That means that more products are getting more exposure, leading to increased sales. That’s great news. Meanwhile, the marketplace continues to evolve. These days, more than 50% of all sales begin with online research, and studies show that a product listing that offers an image is more than twice as likely to sell as one with no image. Rich data—images with multiple views, video files, audio files—is reported to be as much as 17 times more likely to prompt a sale.
As a trade association, SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by the SEMA membership at large. Board members serve three-year terms, with the chairman-elect automatically assuming the role of Board chairman after completing his or her two-year term. “The SEMA Board of Directors is vital for setting our priorities and addressing issues that promote growth for all the association’s member businesses,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Our directors represent the breadth and depth of the $33-billion specialty-equipment industry, and we appreciate their spirit of volunteerism, along with the considerable industry experience and insight they bring to their leadership role.”