Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) has been going strong since its inception in 2008. HROT is a timed competition where teams of five high-school students go head to head to disassemble and reassemble a small-block Chevy 350. The program is simultaneously educating and empowering students while they compete. The idea is to give students access and experience with the automotive industry by way of a team-building challenge.
Hot Rod Alley at the SEMA Show includes a mix of street rod, custom car and street-performance products and services pertaining to everything from classic ’30s vehicles to ‘70s musclecars and beyond. This diverse category showed growth for the third consecutive year at the SEMA Show. For 2016, the number of companies exhibiting in the hot rod segment grew 2% and occupied 4% more square footage on the Show floor than in the prior year.
It’s All About Performance
From the very first SEMA Show in 1967, hot rodding has remained a highly influential niche within the specialty-equipment marketplace. That heritage was again on display at the recent SEMA Show’s Hot Rod Alley, where attendees were able to examine first hand the amazing parts and craftsmanship that go into custom-built rods. These are vehicles that can trace their lineage from post-WWII dry-lake racing, through the street scenes of the ’50s and the ’70s musclecar era, to the restomod movement of today.
A Classic Segment, Still Growing Strong
Who isn’t thrilled by the look and performance roar of a classic hot rod? Virtually synonymous with the earliest days of the automotive specialty-equipment industry, hot rodding never seems to grow old. In fact, the market segment has remained incredibly resilient, even in the face of the recently bumpy economy.
Performance Is Premium
Hot rods are at the heart of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. From the dry-lakes racers that flourished after World War II to the modern musclecars rolling out today’s factories, improved performance has always been at a premium. The New Products Showcase at the 2013 SEMA Show featured dozens of innovative introductions as well as featured products from performance companies throughout the industry.
Ford Motor Co. and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) teamed up to present the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women. Under the direction of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) and built entirely by SBN members, the project is designed to shine the light on women working in the automotive aftermarket and encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry. The vehicle will be auctioned with proceeds going towards the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund to help foster our next generation of industry leaders.
The hot-rod market—the granddaddy of the automotive specialty-equipment industry—has seen some significant changes over the last few years based on both demographic and economic factors. The desire for modern amenities and advanced technology has increased with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. Styles and equipment have evolved to match those desires. From air suspension to classic gauges fitted with modern movements, and from keyless ignition to drive-by-wire throttle controls, the hot-rod world is keeping pace with developments in the rest of the automotive universe.
There may be nothing more American than a hot rod! As the rest of the world continues to adopt elements of our unique cultural identity, there are few things left that are truly American. Classic hot rods and musclecars are 100% American made. Unfortunately, these vehicles have long struggled to find their place in the law. Too often, a lack of knowledge and experience on the part of legislators has led to bad laws that negatively impact our industry and the hobby. However, the staff and membership of SEMA and the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) can have a direct impact on safeguarding the tradition of hot rodding in America.
When word got out that SEMA News was looking to identify future industry trends, our friends at Popular Hot Rodding
presented us with the opportunity to feature their "What's Next?"
hot-rod builder story. The forecast on the future of hot rodding
originally ran in the September issue of Popular Hot Rodding and will
no doubt be of interest to SEMA News readers. Special thanks to the
folks at Popular Hot Rodding for allowing us to reprint the article in its entirety.
The December issue of SEMA News is dedicated to business technology, future hot-rodding trends and business opportunities in China.