The SEMA Show, 2015
David G. Fox
I'm not quite sure how it meshes with specialty equipment marketing, but Ford put on a bit of a show of their own within SEMA 2015 with their new GT. An important halo car for Ford, its design is evocative of the original GT40s and the GT from ten years ago. So, the design lets you know the car is a Ford, but it is also modern and new.
Ford promises to return next year to Le Mans with race cars based on their new GT supercar. Le Mans in 2016 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Ford's 1-2-3 finish in 1966. A race version of the new Ford GT had center stage in the company's display area. A standard version was presented more like a work of art.
Given current budgeting considerations, the new race cars will run in GT class, rather than the much more expensive to prepare for prototype class. Mourn the lack of a V8 if you will, but the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 race motor develops horsepower beyond that of the seven liter V8 of 1966. Can the construction and race teams behind these new cars be as successful, class for class, as the teams behind the original GT40s – Kar Kraft, Holman & Moody, and, of course, Shelby American? Just remember, it took three tries in the 60s.
Marketing – presentation to vendors of products (and/or services) by manufacturers and developers – is the raison d'etre of the SEMA show. An important component of that is getting the word out on new stuff. Following are images of new products that caught my eye at SEMA 2015. Generally, only brief descriptions are provided. Presumably, if you found this site, you can find the websites of the makers of these products from the information given. Hopefully, any such site is as up to date as the company's current product list.
There is still interest in and development of material for the venerable small block Ford engine. DSS Racing introduced a modernized aluminum block with six-bolt mains, etc., listed at $6500. Ford itself has all new Z2 heads for the 302/351 Windsor motor. The heads provide advanced intake port design and sell for $1475. Eagle Specialty Equipment displayed the rotating assembly below. With a 0.040 overbore, this stroker kit takes a 351 to 427 cubic inches. It contains forged 4340 steel H-beam rods and crankshaft, plus forged pistons, rings, and bearings for $1675.
Chevy always provides a variety of engines to see at SEMA. In the New Product area this year was this LT4 – the supercharged 376-inch motor that comes in the C7-Z06 – "the most powerful engine ever offered in a regular production Chevrolet."
FiTech had three levels of fuel injection systems on display. The first shown below is a throttle body setup said to support up to 600 horsepower. The second shown features sequential port injection designed for engines with up to 1050 horsepower. They also presented a street level throttle body system aimed at engines yielding up to 400hp (not shown here).
The downdraft-Weber-appearing EFI system from Speedmaster features eight 52mm throttle bodies, one for each cylinder of a Chevy V8. The system includes throttle bodies and the manifold for $1200; it is said to be "compatible with any speed density controller."
New for flathead Fords (1932 to 1948), and also from Speedmaster, is this polished set including a manifold and a pair of reproduction Stromberg 97 carburetors.
Heidts Hot Rod and Muscle Car Parts introduced a high performance bolt in IRS for 1982-1992 Camaros and Firebirds. Said to dramatically improve cornering and driveability, it includes a 31-spline positraction differential and Wilwood disk brakes.
Hotchkis Sport Suspension showed this complete kit for early Mustangs; it certainly looks substantial. They also have a new, all-inclusive suspension kit for your 1966 (and similar) Galaxie intended to provide "a complete handling solution."
The folks at Detroit Speed aren't content to just dramatically update the suspension under your Camaro or Mustang. They also want to make the headlight doors of your C3 Corvette work dependably with this bolt in electric kit ($1875).
Hotwire Auto presented a self-contained system with "all the wiring connections [needed] to make the 2011 and up Ford 5.0L Coyote engine and 6R80 transmission operate properly" in other vehicles.
American Autowire displayed a 22-circuit, "severe duty" universal wiring system featuring a sealed fuse box, a sealed and resettable primary circuit breaker, waterproof connectors, etc. The second photo shows the availabiility, alone, of their severe duty weatherproof relay panel; it's the same relay panel used in the complete system just described. The last American Autowire photo shows their new, regular duty update system for modified 1967 to 1975 Mopar A body (Barracuda, Valiant, Dart, etc.) cars. It should cover everything in a stocker, plus modern, upgraded accessories.
Automobile Manufacturer Displays
Chevy presented a variety of "customized" cars based on current offerings. The carryover C7 Corvette was shown in street yellow and black racing livery.
The new for 2016 Camaros looked good. I especially liked the juxtaposition of a late car along with an early second-generation car, each painted medium metallic blue with white stripes. Both the gen-two Camaro and the Nova pictured are modified with drivetrains from the modern GM parts bin. Speaking of such, the SP383 Deluxe is described as "our latest twist on the big-torque 383 stroker."
The dark blue Mustang and the engine pictured after it represent Ford's current material for drag racing folks. The white with silver and orange Mustang was one among numerous "customized" cars that cut across most of Ford's car, SUV, and truck models.
Always proud to display cars that stem from their hot rod roots, this time Ford brought "Dry Lakes," a 1933 three-window coupe constructed by Halabura Hotrods. It's intended to be a tribute to Ford and the flathead engine that dominated numerous forms of racing for twenty-three years. Dry Lakes was built with parts and/or help from a variety of well-known shops. Very nice.
Old Shelby stuff, like this GT350R, still excites.
Fiat Chrysler appears to have pretty much abandoned display of vintage stuff at SEMA. They do continue to show parts and crate engines, though. And, the Challenger below is one of their modern 426/automatic Drag Pak race cars. Below the Challenger is a partially cut away contemporary 5.7 liter Hemi V8. I always enjoy looking at the cutaways.
New for 2016 is the US F4 series for entry-level open-wheel racing. The series is sanctioned by SCCA and certified by FIA. The engine in the modern Honda race chassis is based on the Civic Type R four, and is detuned to neet FIA mandated specs (e.g., approximately 160hp). For parity, engines and their controllers are sealed.
The motorcycle is Honda's street version of their World Championship winning, V4 powered, RC213V MotoGP bike. RC213V-S bikes are hand-built in Kumamoto by a selected and specially trained team. They produce one a day.
The blue coupe is the new Acura NSX. The hybrid's three electric motors and twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 yield up to 573hp and 550 lb. ft. of torque.
Mazda brought a couple of 2016 MX-5 based concept cars to SEMA. Below is the Spyder, a "modern interpretation of the classic vintage roadster."
Feature Cars – the Muscle Era
Do I love a modern, beefed up 1964 Comet? Of course I do.
Hot Rods and Old Fords
Okay, I'll try to give a brief synopsis of the placard accompanying the slick red race car pictured below.
For the 1965 Can Am season, Shelby wanted a new car powered by a 427-inch version of the small block Ford. This was to replace the 289 powered, mid-engine, Cooper-chassis, King Cobras of 1964. He commissioned Alejandro De Tomaso for chassis and engine design and development. The goal was to obtain six cars. Peter Brock designed the body and was to oversee construction of the cars in Modena. Engine development fell well behind, failing to deliver numbers competitive with big block Chevys. Shelby backed out of the deal, leaving De Tomaso with this prototype (P70) and five partially completed chassis. Used as an engineering example in the 1965 Turin auto show, P70 was stored in De Tomaso's Modena warehouse until the company went into receivership in 2008. It has since been restored. Supposedly, De Tomaso's chassis design was taken to the Mangusta, with high hopes of defeating Cobras in competition. Note that Wikipedia tells a somewhat different story about P70, including that Shelby primarily pulled out to concentrate on the struggling GT40 program.
Speaking of Peter Brock, the number 85 car below exemplifies the Datsun 510 race cars of Brock Racing Enterprises from the early 1970s.
Does a previous-generation Ford GT need this look?
Same job, different day. And, someone is distracted.
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