Market Snapshot


SEMA research shows that the street-rod and custom market grew retail sales 66% in the past decade (1997–2006), just beating out the thriving restoration marketplace's 65% retail performance in the same period. The street-rod market encompasses highly-modified vehicles used for street travel and show based on body types originally manufactured prior to 1949, according to Jim Spoonhower, SEMA vice president of market research.

Customs, meanwhile, are modified vehicles that are at least 25 years old and of a model year after 1948, or manufactured to resemble a vehicle of that era.

The restoration market, which focuses more on returning/repairing vehicles back to original condition with minimal modifications, grew incrementally less than the street-rod and custom market during the past decade, but posted greater retail sales last year—$1.42 billion compared to $1.01 billion for the street-rod and custom market.

"The restoration market has benefited from the fact that consumers are looking at these vehicles as investments, an idea perpetuated by higher prices fetched by fully restored to stock vehicles at auctions, such as Barrett-Jackson," explains Jim Spoonhower, SEMA vice president of market research. "This, coupled with nostalgia-motivated consumers bringing these cars and trucks to their original condition, has brought the restoration market to where it is at today."

For more insight into the restoration, street-rod and custom, and hot-rod market, read the Market Update published by SEMA's Research & Information Center in the June 2007 issue of SEMA News. Visit for more valuable member-exclusive market research reports.