Hot rodding has always been about passion. 

It all goes back to the earliest days of the industry when passionate young men met on the dry lake beds to see who could make their car go the fastest. Just talk to any of the icons of hot rodding and you will hear the same story. They were driven to find ways to make their cars go faster, they were hugely competitive and they enjoyed being in the company of other hot rodders. The relationships were so strong that they thought nothing of helping each other out. Push a fellow competitor’s car, loan another hot rodder tools, give another guy parts—it was all part of what the hobby was about.

Here we are, 70 years later, and hot rodding may be more sophisticated, but at its foundation, it’s still basically the same. Granted, speed isn’t quite the strong factor it was, but as you look at hot rods today, they invariably have the right equipment to go fast, even if they never do.

People gather here and there across the country to show off their cars, see what others have done with theirs and build relationships. These are people who will invest thousands of hours and tons of money to make their favorite car look just so.

The people involved are still passionate about their cars, so much so that in 2007 they spent $1.06 billion on products for them. It's a passion that has caused retail sales to increase more than 66% in the last 10 years.

And what are these hot rodders buying? A survey conducted by SEMA involving thousands of enthusiasts asked that very question. The table below shows what hot rodders said.

So as you stop and look around at the world of hot rods, remember it’s all about cars, passion and relationships. For more industry insight and research, please visit

Source: SEMA Research & Information Center