Automotive News

Fast Facts

Breaking news from SEMA members, including Truck Accessories Group, Covercraft Industries, Advanstar Automotive Group, Quantum Automotive, ReadyLift Suspension, Motovicity Distribution, Silver Sport Transmissions and more.

SEMA Hall of Fame

Honoring Four Visionaries

A pioneer is an innovator. An innovator is a dreamer. A dreamer is an enthusiast. And an enthusiast is what we all are. Each year, the SEMA Hall of Fame recognizes members of SEMA and the automotive aftermarket community who have made a difference as they dreamed ideas and built change—enthusiasts with drive who inspired others and transformed a hobby into a thriving industry, leading a trade association to reach more than 50 years of age and 6,500 members deep.

Torrid Two-Wheelers

Azusa was home to Go Kart Manufacturing, one of the pioneering go-kart fabricators in the mid-’50s, and the race track was located at its facility. Minibikes were a natural offshoot of go-karts. Go Kart Manufacturing built its first minibikes, called Go Kart Cycles, in 1958. Not long after, brothers Ray, Larry and Regis Michrina hand-built their first minibike, a prototype that would lead them to form Michrina Enterprises and build the now iconic Lil Indian minibikes. Given the serious looks on their faces, you’d think these men, clad in leather jackets, helmets, and boots, were vying for the national flat-track motorcycle championship. But, no, they were racing in the second-annual Mini-Bike Jamboree, which took place in the spring of 1961 at the Go Kart Raceway in Azusa, California. The minibike craze was big enough in the early ’60s that Car Craft magazine set aside four pages of its August 1961 issue to cover the Jamboree and its flat-track race, road race and scramble, “which took in much of the unimproved terrain surrounding the Azusa track.”

Azusa was home to Go Kart Manufacturing, one of the pioneering go-kart fabricators in the mid-’50s, and the race track was located at its facility. Minibikes were a natural offshoot of...

THE SAN Is Looking Out for You

SEMA ACTION NETWORKThe SEMA Action Network (SAN) seeks to protect the automotive hobby by bringing together the specialty-equipment industry and the enthusiast community. To achieve this objective, the SAN is involved in many different projects and initiatives. The group participates in events such as the annual Collector Car Appreciation Day and the Hot Rod Power Tour.

In addition, the SAN ensures that its members are aware of relevant legislation on both the state and federal levels through its award-winning Driving Force newsletter. Below are a few recent news articles that highlight SAN activities.

2014 SEMA Russia Business Development Conference

Robert Park (far left), international key account manager for Rigid Industries LED Lighting in Gilbert, Arizona, described his company’s products to a large off-road distributor. “It’s great to see that the aftermarket customizing scene is alive in Russia and that U.S. products are highly sought after,” Park said.  Executives from eight SEMA-member companies traveled with SEMA staff to explore the automotive specialty-equipment market in Russia and determine the potential for products in that country of 142 million. There was some trepidation, given the current political tensions between the U.S. and Russia, but once in Moscow, the group was impressed with what they saw.

“What a country,” said Ed Rossi, vice president of sales for Injen Technology. “It’s full of rich culture, history and majestic sights. Injen Technology ventured to Russia with a bit of skepticism due to the Crimea takeover. We had reservations about how Americans would be treated in light of our contradictory political stances, but the people of Russia were...

The Great California Street Rod Civil War

At the 1973 Street Rod Nationals (or so the story goes), rod builders Andy Brizio and Lil’ John Buttera got into a, shall we say, friendly discussion about which end of the Golden State produced the best street rods. Southern Californian Buttera ribbed Brizio, who was from South San Francisco, about how the Bay Area cars were “average” mechanically but were topped by outstanding paint jobs to make them seem more special. Brizio, in turn, said L.A. turned out trick show cars that couldn’t be driven very far. One thing led to another and (so the story goes) the discussion devolved into a “my new car will be better than your new car” challenge. At the 1973 Street Rod Nationals (or so the story goes), rod builders Andy Brizio and Lil’ John Buttera got into a, shall we say, friendly discussion about which end of the Golden State produced the best street rods. Southern Californian Buttera ribbed Brizio, who was from South San Francisco, about how the Bay Area cars were “average” mechanically but were topped by outstanding paint jobs to make them seem more special. Brizio, in turn, said L.A. turned out trick show cars that couldn’t be driven very far. One thing led to another and (so the story goes) the discussion devolved into a “my new car will be better than your new car” challenge.

Web Suppliers

Industry data standardization has led to an explosion of parts and related information that can now be made available to dealers and aftermarket retail outfits online. Today’s web developers offer manufacturers as well as end users powerful tools to disseminate and access a seemingly infinite number of products in the marketplace by part, vehicle and application. Online Tool-Building for Your Business

In many ways, developing a strong web presence has become a whole lot simpler. In other ways, it can be more confusing than ever.

“With all the technology out there, websites are just easier to build now than they used to be,” said Bill Lundberg, product manager, automotive industry, for ARI (formerly 50 Below). “Local website designers have become abundant. Many designers still focus on the desktop version. Great website presence, however, relies on helping your customers on all types of devices and using the best tools for the job.”

SEMA Garage: What’s In It for You?

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO The compelling image you see on the cover of this issue was a byproduct of a visit by the world-famous SO-CAL Speed Shop crew. They came by to check out the newly completed SEMA Garage and to touch base with one of their celebrity clients—rock guitarist and legendary car collector Billy Gibbons. SO-CAL was among the first of many SEMA-member companies that will use the tools and facilities we have assembled in the SEMA Garage.

The SO-CAL team took advantage of the SEMA Garage FaroArm laser scanner to capture the exact curvature of the ’34 Ford’s sleek body panels to quickly fabricate a new custom trim piece. It’s an example of how the latest scanning and rapid prototyping tools can revolutionize the way our industry develops products.

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