On the following pages, we’ve assembled a listing of the restoration parts that were featured in the New Products Showcase at the 2014 SEMA Show, but “restoration” is now as much about rejuvenating a vehicle using modern underpinnings as it is about numbers-matching purity. In fact, many of the industry leaders quoted in the commentaries included within this buyer’s guide cite “restomod” vehicles as the segment’s most significant. They also note that trucks have become a major force in the restoration category, and the limits of what qualifies for “classic” status are also being stretched.
New Introductions and Featured Parts From the 2013 SEMA Show
The restoration marketplace includes not only matching-number renovations of classic cars and trucks but also original-appearing vehicles that have been updated with modern running gear and comfort features. The restomod projects encompass a large portion of the vehicles that many shops now build, but there is also an abundance of nostalgia and traditional projects that call for period- and OE-correct components. On the following pages, we’ve assembled a listing of the restoration parts that were featured in the New Products Showcase at the 2013 SEMA Show. Also included are comments about restoration market trends by professionals who manufacture, distribute or use many of the products found on these pages.
If you missed the ARMO education seminars at the 2011 Hot Rod & Restoration Show, you can now view them online. Both sessions are available on video through the SEMA Education Institute (SEI), SEMA's online learning center.
Ever wonder how a company gets a restoration product officially licensed by an OEM car maker? ARMO members can now find introductory information from 3 Original Equipment Manufacturers, including preliminary application forms, in one document.
The bedrock of the automotive specialty-equipment industry is the parts that are used to build, restore and modify vehicles of all types. Every segment of the industry counts on parts that are properly designed, engineered and manufactured to operate as promised. Within the restoration segment, however, those standards are complicated by the fact that the vehicles involved are anywhere from two decades to nearly a century old.
The hot-rod market—the granddaddy of the automotive specialty-equipment industry—has seen some significant changes over the last few years based on both demographic and economic factors. The desire for modern amenities and advanced technology has increased with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. Styles and equipment have evolved to match those desires. From air suspension to classic gauges fitted with modern movements, and from keyless ignition to drive-by-wire throttle controls, the hot-rod world is keeping pace with developments in the rest of the automotive universe.
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In traditional hobbyist terms, automotive restoration refers strictly to classic cars rebuilt using classic car parts. And while there remains a significant portion of the market for which that holds true, today’s restorations are just as likely to include an amalgam of modern running gear as well as comfort and safety systems combined with factory-spec knobs, moldings, panels and fabrics. “In today’s market, restoration holds the more broad definition of ‘resurrection,’” said Michael Manning, president of American Autowire, a wiring harness and accessory options manufacturer.
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In 2008, the restoration market held its ground and fended off economic troubles by sticking to its classic formulas. With the overall market shuddering in the wake of myriad disasters, enthusiasts looking to restore their automotive passion and collector cars came through decidedly.
SEMA Member News -- March/April 2009
By Jim Barber