Cover Story

Success looks different for everyone—and that is certainly true for this year’s SEMA Hall of Fame inductees. Donnie Eatherly, Ed Pink and Chris Thomson have distinct backgrounds, aptitudes and professional paths, but they have each built a flourishing career doing something that makes them happy.



  • ADASWhile identifying multiple growth opportunities for the specialty-equipment industry, the recently released “SEMA Advanced Vehicle Technology Opportunities Report” (see p. 90) predicts specific growth potential in the area of lateral-collision avoidance systems. To better understand this advanced driver assistance (ADAS) technology, SEMA News turned to SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak.

  • ADASAlthough the U.S. aftermarket for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and connected vehicle technologies (CVT) is still in its infancy, SEMA research indicates it can be expected to grow into a $1.5 billion industry within the next five years. With so much at stake in these rapidly emerging technologies, SEMA has made identifying ADAS/CVT opportunities for association members a key priority.

Business Technology

  • SDCLast year at the SEMA Show, I led a presentation with a few of my colleagues held during our SEMA Data Co-op Education Day. During my portion, I presented that data will continue to be at the heart of every organization. Data drives business decisions, operational improvements and sales. As a group, we tried to drive home the fact that high-quality product data is a critical component in successfully marketing to consumers. It is the ultimate competitive differentiator.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    SEMA is an industry collective representing all facets of the specialty aftermarket, and we are fortunate that our industry is also part of a rich American automotive culture. In this issue of SEMA News, we honor individuals who have made a distinct contribution to our industry through invention, innovative practices or conspicuously outstanding service. Their stories will be added to the trove of life stories we admire in the SEMA Hall of Fame. But the Hall of Fame is just one way in which the association seeks to gather and preserve our industry’s unique slice of automotive history and heritage. SEMA is working on other fronts as well.

From The Hill

  • Mike SpagnolaU.S. Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) knows a thing or two about cars and the importance of manufacturing. When given the opportunity, she’ll proudly mention that she enjoys driving a ’66 Ford Mustang that her husband Louis restored. With that in mind, it was only a matter of time before she made her way to the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California.

Government Affairs

  • EPAIf you manufacture emissions-related aftermarket parts for highway vehicles, those parts will likely need to be tested to confirm that vehicles still meet applicable clean-air standards after the parts have been installed. Here is what you need to know:

  • MarylandMaryland—Off-Highway Vehicles: Governor Larry Hogan signed into law a bill to establish an off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail fund to maintain and construct OHV trails on land that is owned or leased by the Department of Natural Resources. There was no specific fund related to OHV trails previously.

  • Prop 65Proposition 65 is a California law that gives consumers and their attorneys the ability to sue businesses that do not include warning labels on products containing chemicals associated with cancer and birth defects. If you are already familiar with the labeling requirements of Prop. 65, you know that it can be difficult to comply with the law and that compliance can be costly. It’s about to become worse. Products manufactured after August 30, 2018, will be subjected to updated regulations with more onerous labeling requirements. This article outlines what you need to know about the new requirements.

  • PoliticsPresidential elections get all the attention. Frankly, that’s understandable. Between the primaries and the general election, the race for president boils down to a years-long national popularity contest featuring some of the biggest personalities on the planet. Eventually, two candidates emerge and partake in an all-out sprint to the finish. They flood the airwaves, dominate the news and even send their proxies to your front door, all to win your affection and, they hope, your vote. However, that’s only half the story. Midterm elections take place in even years when there are no candidates vying to be the next leader of the free world. While those races don’t receive nearly the same amount of attention, they are just as important.

  • Washington RallyMore than 110 representatives from SEMA gathered in the nation’s capital to participate in SEMA’s 2018 Washington Rally. Industry leaders stormed the halls of Congress to remind lawmakers of the cultural and economic importance of motorsports and the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

  • RPM ActSome forms of competition are won quickly by an all-out sprint. Others require endurance to cross the finish line first. It’s certainly no surprise to the automotive community that the nation’s legislative turf continues to be more akin to a rock-crawling competition than a quarter-mile drag race. Issues important to the automotive specialty-equipment marketplace continue to jockey for position at the federal and state levels throughout the United States.

  • ReplicaHighly anticipated consumer sales of replica cars have been on hold since 2016 as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) procrastinates over a regulation to implement the 2015 replica car law. Enacted three years ago, the law allows low-volume car manufacturers to each produce and sell up to 325 turnkey replica vehicles in the United States and a total of 5,000 worldwide under a simplified regulatory system. Consumers will be able to purchase turnkey cars that resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago, including ’30s-era hot rods and ’60s-era Cobras. However, manufacturers and consumers alike are forced to wait until NHTSA produces regulations implementing the law.

Industry News

  • Builders displaying cars or trucks at the 2018 SEMA Show can bring added exposure to their vehicles and the products that make their builds unique by entering the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition online at

  • ’20 Chevrolet Silverado HD: The next-generation 2500/3500 HD is said to utilize a mixed aluminum/steel body.

    ’20 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: It’s thought that the production version will have a supercharged 5.2L flat-plane crank engine (although it sounds like a cross-plane crank in the video) mated to a DCT transmission.

    ’20 Mid-Engine Corvette: The mid-engine Corvette will undergo a landmark change in philosophy, as Corvettes have always been front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports cars. 

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Hellwig Suspension Products, Nexen Tire America, AirPro Diagnostics and Power Automedia.


  • German“The threat for the aftermarket will remain until VDAT achieves a broader, industry-wide legal judgment, banning all monopolistic action such as that taken by Porsche,” said Harald Schmidtke, VDAT’s managing director. “Without such a ruling, other vehicle manufacturers could well follow suit and thus greatly harm our industry.”

New Products

  • Auto Custom Carpet

    The practice of preserving and restoring cars is a steadfast automotive tradition. Restoration products revitalize a vehicle’s presence through cosmetic and practical enhancements while still maintaining its original essence. The restoration category is well represented at the SEMA Show, with 6% more category exhibitors in place for the 2018 Show than last year. The following pages include the restoration products from the 2017 New Products Showcase, along with market perspectives from industry experts.

  • Adenna

    The tools and equipment category represents the many products used by the automotive aftermarket each day to accomplish any number of goals. Tools and equipment are the unsung heroes of any garage or manufacturer. And just as the products themselves evolve, so does the need for exhibitor space at the SEMA Show.

People And Places

  • Success looks different for everyone—and that is certainly true for this year’s SEMA Hall of Fame inductees. Donnie Eatherly, Ed Pink and Chris Thomson have distinct backgrounds, aptitudes and professional paths, but they have each built a flourishing career doing something that makes them happy.


  • Russ DeaneAsk industry veterans about longtime SEMA general counsel Russ Deane and you’d best prepare for scores of fascinating stories. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a more eventful career than Deane’s, whose work has helped transform not only the automotive world but also literally millions of lives across the globe.
  • Donnie EatherlyThe results of the 2018 SEMA Board of Directors election are in, with Donnie Eatherly from P&E Distributors Inc., Dan Kahn from Kahn Media Inc., Brian Lounsberry from Motovicity Distribution, Dr. Jamie Meyer from General Motors, and Steve Whipple from Edelbrock LLC elected to serve. Kahn is a current SEMA Board member who was re-elected to the group; Eatherly has served as a past Board member; and Lounsberry, Meyer and Whipple will join as new SEMA Board members.

Required Reading

  • The SEMA Global Media Awards program brings international exposure to SEMA Show exhibitors who participate in the New Products Showcase. As part of the program, international journalists are invited to select products that they feel would have a large appeal in their home countries, and the chosen companies are recognized with Global Media Awards. The publications below helped paint a picture of the 2017 program by covering some of the companies that won awards at last year’s SEMA Show.

SEMA Heritage

  • MongoosePetersen Publishing Company photographer Eric Rickman was in the pits at Riverside International Raceway in June 1966 to catch this shot of Lou Baney, owner of the Brand Motors Special Top Fueler, buckling in Tom “Mongoose” McEwen before a pass at the Hot Rod Championships.