The SEMA Show, 2014
David G. Fox
So, what was the big thing at the 2014 SEMA Show? Certainly the 2015 Mustang had a large presence, with multiple modified cars highlighted in the Ford display and scattered throughout the event. But then there was the GM Futureliner, recently brought out of Dave Kindig's shop in Salt Lake City; it is big.
Acknowledged by some as the most original of the Parade of Progress vehicles when it changed hands just a few years back, Kindig-It Design has certainly done a fine job of making Number Three look proud. Photos of the Futureliner under restoration show that, even though it may have been the best one left, seventy odd years had taken their toll. Attention to detail is the hallmark of any high-end hot rod shop, and the detail here is pretty amazing, from the straight and smooth body panels and reconstructed fluting around the base to the recent cutaway of a new old stock jet engine presented in the bay and the vintage linoleum on the bay floor. Not only big, it's bold and beautiful, too.
A couple of things struck me viewing the new products displayed. One is the proliferation of model-specific wiring harnesses. The one below is from American Autowire, and fits 1987-1989 Fox-bodied Mustangs. They also showed a new harness for 1969 Camaros. American Autowire boasts having OEM wiring harnesses for GM cars ranging from model year 1947 to 1982.
Painless Wiring also showed a new harness for the 1969 Camaro, plus this twenty-six-circuit item for the 1969 Malibu. Check the websites of the wiring system suppliers, as coverage seems to be advancing rapidly.
The other thing that I find striking in terms of new products is the proliferation of complete bodies. The machine that is Dynacorn keeps moving forward. They now produce Mustang bodies 1965 to 1970. We've seen the early Bronco in recent years. Among their latest sets of stampings are the 1966-1967 Chevy Nova coupe and the 1970 Chevelle coupe and convertible. As stated in years past, Dynacorn only expects a small fraction of their business in this area to come from selling complete bodies; the main source of revenue will be selling sheet metal components, like fenders, quarter panels, floor pans, etc. The company also has moved into muscle-car era wheel production, with old style but increased diameter and alloy construction.
Classic Instruments displayed a new unit for 1940 Fords. It comes complete, including the bright surround.
Also new from Classic Instruments is this complete replacement gauge set that fits all the slots in the main panel of a C2 Corvette.
How about a cross-laced, side-draft EFI system from Speedmaster to give your transplanted LS3 the vintage-racer look? Their poster suggests the individual throttle body systems have "all the flash of classic Weber induction, but provide higher state(s) of tune and engine performance versatility." Systems are said to offer crisp performance and capability to support up to 1000hp.
Holley has a new vintage-racer-look EFI setup for Ford's Coyote motor.
Need all the comforts of a modern car in your vintage ride? EPAS Performance has this electric power steering system for general applications priced at $1350.
GM displayed several performance crate engines. If you're looking for one-stop shopping, how about the "LS3 E-ROD 6-Speed Manual Crate Powertrain System" at $15,512.19? It has everything from the EFI on top of the 6.2 liter engine, on down to the drive-by- wire throttle pedal.
Among the small parts for the new Mustang was this bolt-on hood lift kit from TRUFIBER.
Ford showed upgraded parts for the new Mustang's independent rear suspension assembly.
Hotchkis Sport Suspension has new upper control arms for early Mustangs, 1965-1966 and 1967-1970. "Tubular upper control arms with 4130 cross shafts enhance handling and control."
Ride Tech brought out new suspension stuff to help the handling of C2 and C3 Corvettes.
Automobile Manufacturer Displays
The OEM's always have a presence at SEMA, and I'll have to admit I pay more attention to Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, almost to the exclusion of the others. Performance parts tend to be included in these displays, along with parts applications, commissioned "customs," and the occasional new model.
One thing noticeable this year was the absence of vintage iron in the Mopar display. It seems to me that in the past there was always a vintage presence there – perhaps a Charger or two, plus a Challenger. Unless I missed something, that was not the case this year. Perhaps props to the past have gone the way of the Pentastar. They did bring out a killer Viper though, plus a new Hellcat.
Ford always seems to have the largest number of old cars in their area. Both old Boss Mustangs were represented this year, along with others, plus they brought along an F1 pickup to go with the several modified 2015 F series trucks that were there.
Here's one of the commissioned 2015 Mustang modifications.
Okay, everyone take a page from the GM display book. If you want the cars in your presentation to be easily photographed, bring plenty of light, shine the lights at an angle, not straight down, and put the cars on a neutral, light colored carpet.
BMW? Yes, BMW. Nice vintage coupe. They seem to be interested in promoting lifestyle (been to a dealer lately?), right down to the blue Puma Motorsports shoes.
When we were in the talent identification business, one of the subpopulations we worked with was scientists and engineers. Among the many indicators of job-related value we looked at was the number of patents an individual had registered. Mind you, that was just one indicator. Having one's name attached to something new went to creativity, just one component of the value of an employee to his or her field of endeavor. I was reminded of that old research when I noticed the number of cars on view at the show with a Foose tag displayed. Chip Foose continues to create in a manner both prolific and exquisite in taste that may just be unprecedented in our area of endeavor. I don't know if Chip's designs are patented, per se, but the name on a tag at a place like the SEMA Show says much the same thing. Below are shots from the Ford display and elsewhere at the exhibition.
More Feature Cars – the Muscle Era
Chrysler may not have shown any vintage stuff, but vintage Mopars were at SEMA. Nice Challenger at the Crager fiftieth anniversary display.
I may be late to the party, but I want a Mercury Cyclone. My preference is for a 1964, but this 1965 whets the appetite.
I bugged the folks at Detroit Speed each of the last two years, and now it seems they have finally had some experience with putting one of their early Mustang Aluma-Frame front suspensions under a Comet, sources said. It wasn't as easy as putting one under a Mustang, but they managed to do it. Apparently Comet front frame boxes differ from the Mustang's; incorporating reproduction Mustang frame boxes helped their installation.
Another soft spot. David Lane has prepared this for himself. At first blush his 1963 Galaxie fastback appears to be a fine restoration. And it is. But for those of us who love these early Galaxies, it is more, in a very good way. Only a minimum of trim has been removed; fanatics among us can tell which. It's lowered a bit, and has a few other tweaks underneath, like later Ford disk brakes. The 427 FE motor is a modern build, with that neat Holman & Moody intake and fuel injection. The kicker, of course, is the Fastlane fit and finish. Details? Every bit of the old "brightwork," whether based on steel, stainless steel, anodized aluminum, or pot metal, has been newly dipped in chrome. David said there is more chrome on this car than any hot rod he has ever done. Just stunning.
Cammers just keep showing up.
Hot Rods & a Custom
Here is more eye candy scattered about the show, starting with this year's AMBR car, an AMBR contender from last year, and the Kugel family race roadster.
Next up are the Brizio shop's take on the United Pacific 1932 five- window coupe, Billy Gibbon's new lakes-look coupe, and that custom mentioned in the heading.
Work, Work, Work
Call it what you will, the young women who greet, present products, or sign calendars are a charming part of the SEMA Show. And, while they certainly appear to enjoy what they do, I'm guessing it also feels like work to them. Enjoy.
All smiles for someone else.
Okay, she looks really sweet, but that logo on the skirt is for Hellcat.
Someone changed to more sensible shoes.
Whom could this be?
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More Feature Cars – the Muscle Era
Hot Rods & a Custom
Work, Work, Work
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