SEMA News - November 2010
By Drew Hardin
The whole world went a little lunar crazy in the second half of 1969, and for good reason: NASA’s Apollo program sent astronauts to the moon—twice.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy predicted that we would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, and in July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made that promise a reality. Just a few months later, in November, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean would also leave boot prints on the moon’s gray, powdery surface.
So it’s no wonder that the 1970 SEMA Show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center in January, had NASA’s accomplishments as an underlying theme. Conrad was scheduled to appear at the Show to receive SEMA’s first honorary membership, but he was bed-ridden with the flu. So SEMA President Roy Richter, with an assist from Ray Brock, phoned Conrad during the SEMA banquet and read him the words engraved on the plaque in his honor (inset photo).
Of course, no one was better suited to take advantage of the lunar frenzy than Dean Moon, whose SEMA Show booth was appropriately decorated for the occasion.
According to the March 1970 issue of Hot Rod Industry News, the 1970 SEMA Show was the “greatest of all time,” with 7,110 registrants and 1,500 VIP guests perusing the wares in 481 booths.
“Quality and strength of products seemed to be more in emphasis than in the past with each manufacturer trying to make as perfect (and safe) a product as humanly possible,” said the magazine.
NASA, too, was aiming for results “as perfect (and safe) as humanly possible”—a challenge brought sharply into focus three months after the SEMA Show. That’s when the Apollo 13 mission went awry, and the world, once again, turned its attention to the moon.
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