SEMA News - February 2010
By Annie Kang
SEMA-Member Companies Help Customize Truck for Children’s Charities
The idea of customizing and auctioning a new vehicle for charity was something that had been tossed around for several years by SEMA’s Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (TORA) council’s Select Committee. But it wasn’t until SEMA Cares Committee Chairman Joel Ayres devoted himself to the concept that it became a reality.
“Leer presented the idea to Ford Motor Company as a project truck to benefit the SEMA Cares Committee,” said Ayres, national marketing director of Leer, a division of Truck Accessories Group Inc.
Ford donated the new 2009 Ford F-150, and Street Scene Equipment came on board to customize the vehicle.
SEMA Cares Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
“Joel came to us and asked us to design and assemble the truck,” said Mike Spagnola, president of Street Scene Equipment. “We did all the building of the truck, adding Street Scene products as well as products donated from other companies. It is a great-looking truck, and it couldn’t have been built without everyone’s cooperation. Ford was also very happy with it because it was a clean build. It wasn’t overdone or over-accessorized.”
Spagnola, along with Pat Stewart from Leer, approached his industry peers and asked them to donate parts to the cause.
“There wasn’t a single company that turned us down,” Spagnola said. “They felt that it was for a great cause, and they realized that it was a very high-profile vehicle. The truck was displayed at the SEMA Show two years in a row and was featured on the Street Scene and Leer websites.”
The Ford F-150 made its first appearance at the 2008 SEMA Show.
“Any time you do a build like that, it’s a rush to get it done,” said Spagnola. “We received the truck about six weeks before the 2008 Show. At that time, there weren’t a lot of parts available for the vehicle, so we had to work quickly to get products and to install them. The paint was barely dry when we left for the 2008 SEMA Show, but we got a great response.”
The vehicle was showcased the following year at the 2009 SEMA Show and the inaugural SEMA Cares 2009 Show ’N Shine car show, which was held in Pasadena, California. It was also featured on the cover of Trucking Times and in Truckin’ and Restyling. Proceeds from the auction benefitted SEMA Cares charities ChildHelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp.
“Both charities were very appreciative and ecstatic,” said Spagnola, “not only in terms of the financial contribution, but for the exposure the vehicle has brought to them.”
The SEMA Cares Committee, established by the SEMA Board of Directors in 2007, aims to bring the voice and resources of the SEMA community together to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
“I just think it is wonderful that our association, even in tough times, has chosen to reach out to others,” said Spagnola. “I think it has brought goodwill not just to SEMA and the aftermarket companies that participated, but to our industry in general.”