Market Snapshot


Owners of classic cars, musclecars and hot rods form a significant part of the specialty-equipment industry's core. Their involvement has helped establish the lifestyles, cultures and beliefs of the industry, and they remain dedicated to the hobby even in light of current economic conditions.

SEMA research has captured data from those in the hobby who own and modify pre-1975 vehicles. From August to October, nearly 800 people from this group were polled about their hobby and their intentions to purchase specialty-equipment parts and services. The amount of purchases planned has not decreased significantly from historic values.


The median amount fell between $2,500 and $5,000 for the coming 12-month period. On average, these amounts do fluctuate with economic conditions, but for enthusiasts who fall in this category, the variations are not as extreme.

In comparison, the median amount planned for the general enthusiast is at the lower end of this spectrum, which is $2,500. Owners of classic cars and trucks are typically older, more established and have higher annual incomes. These characteristics often allow them more discretionary income.

Much like the atmosphere during the 2008 SEMA Show, a sour economic situation does not necessarily translate to a weakened specialty-equipment industry. Enthusiasts continue to make plans for modifications. Of the top 20 products and services they plan to make in near future, the most common were paint jobs (27.1%), exhaust (23.5%) and brake (21%) upgrades, ignition parts (20.9%) and wheel (19.4%) and tire (20.3%) upgrades.

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