The SEMA Show, 2018

David G. Fox

Looking dapper during his presentation to the press at the 2018 SEMA Show is Wade Kawasaki, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Coker Group, parent organization of Coker Tire.

First, Wade introduced two new bias-look Coker radials. The American Classic 475/500R19 is specifically targeted for 1930-31 Model A Fords, but fits a variety of other cars from the period. The 440/450R21 American Classic fits 1926-29 Fords and 1926-28 Chevrolets, plus others. Both DOT and ECE approved, these are considered tube-type tires, largely due to the wheels on which they will be mounted. Black sidewall versions should be available in April 2019, with wide-white sidewall versions soon to follow. Prices will start at $206 each. Visit Coker at

The other item on Mr. Kawasaki's agenda was the announcement of Coker Group's new partnership with Munchner Oldtimer Reifen (MOR) GmbH. MOR is a German tire distributer with 35 years of experience supplying vintage and classic vehicle tires (plus accessories) in Europe. "MOR's acquisition by Coker enables further access to the growing European market of vintage tire customers." And, quoting Valentin Schaal, founder and continuing managing partner of MOR: "My vision was to reach classic car lovers all over the world, and Coker Group will allow me to spread this vision to a global level beyond the borders of Europe. I am looking forward to a great partnership."

The career of Coker President and COO Wade Kawasaki is an interesting study of the heights to which one can be taken, given a serious passion for automobiles in general and hot rods in particular. A Take Five With segment in the January 2019 issue of Hot Rod Magazine provides insight into his drive. Since Corky Coker retired in 2014, Wade has been responsible for the Coker Group and has steered it through expansion into new product lines. But that passion started when he was a ten-year old working in his father's Los Angeles Shell station. His career progressed through a job as a parts-counter guy, starting his own small auto-related business, and involvement with SEMA, including helping with the development of SEMA's Young Executives Network. In addition to his duties with the Coker Group, Mr. Kawasaki currently occupies the elected position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEMA.


New Products

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 selected new products from SEMA 2018. 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. I have observed over the years, especially with "new" products on display, that sometimes they are not in full production yet when presented at SEMA. And, sometimes a company's website will lag actual production. If a product referenced in anyone's SEMA Show coverage does not appear on the company's website, call the company to find out about the production schedule and other information.

The most powerful engine ever to appear in a production Chevrolet, the 755hp, 715lb-ft LT5 found in the 2019 Corvette also carries its own part number (19417105) as a crate motor. Performance is achieved with a 376 cubic inch, six-bolt aluminum Gen V small block, forged steel crank, forged aluminum pistons, and a 10:1 compression ratio. Titanium valves measure 2.130 inches intake and 1.590 inches exhaust, with the latter sodium-filled. And, it's supercharged.

ZZ6 is Chevrolet Performance's first fuel-injected ZZ small-block. Considered a turnkey package, part number 19368150 develops 420hp with 350 cubic inches. The fast-burn heads are aluminum, and the iron block uses four-bolt mains to support a forged steel crank.

Dart Machinery's new Race Series LS cylinder head is "the ultimate choice for maximum competition." A "radical departure from traditional LS heads," they are "designed with raised oval ports, canted valves, and highly efficient wedge style combustion chambers." The price listed was $1,200.

Speedmaster brought new heads for 389/455 Pontiacs. These aluminum heads are said to support anywhere from 400 to 1200 horsepower, and they are available either bare or complete. The price given was $900.

Speedmaster also showed these aluminum heads for the Ford Boss 429. Rated for performance in the 400-700hp range, they were labeled "hydraulic roller complete aluminum cylinder heads." The price shown was $2,000.

Again from Speedmaster comes this aluminum engine block in Ford 351 Windsor configuration. The 4.125-inch bore block features heavy cylinder walls, decks, and webs, plus billet steel four-bolt main caps. The part is designed for use with power-adders and in heavy competition.

Holley now has a version of its Sniper EFI in the spread-bore, Quadrajet configuration. The throttle-body system, shown with a "classic gold" finish, requires no intake manifold swap or additional adapter plates. The price shown was $1,388.95.

This is an example of Edelbrock's "Pro-Flo 4 Sequential-Port EFI" system, said to be the "most advanced electronic fuel-injection system on the market." The price shown for this example was $1,795.95.

RAB Performance Parts offers this billet aluminum serpentine belt kit for 6.2 liter LS motors, complete with alternator, pumps, tensioner, etc., etc., and it can be had with a variety of different finishes on the 6061T6 material. The price shown was $2,200.

PML Inc., offers aluminum valve covers for 368-500 inch, later model Cadillacs. They incorporate raised script in the "old style" as used on 1949 Cads. The price shown was $360.

Two photos show the new rear torque-arm suspension system for 1967 to 1969 Camaros developed by Speedway Motors. The original F-body leaf-spring system is replaced with a coil-over, track bar setup that lowers the car two inches. The system bolts to factory locations.

I'm not sure if these are brand new, as they were shown in QA1's booth. First is their complete front coil-over conversion system for 1967-1972 Ford F100's. Described as all new and engineered from scratch, "you can bolt in the handling and performance you've always wanted" along with larger wheels and tires. Supplying everything from spindle to spindle, including cross members and the steering rack, the unit is "Proudly made in Lakeville, Minnesota."

Using that sophisticated front suspension probably means your F100 needs help out back. QA1 is there with a bolt-in rear coil-over conversion system, also. A torque-arm system, the overall design adds "unprecedented adjustability to your pickup."

Shown in the Detroit Speed booth, and described as new for 2018, is their complete, track-tested front suspension system for 1993 to 2002 Camaros and Firebirds.

From the folks at United Pacific Industries, who brought you the steel 1932 Ford five-window coupe and pickup, come a pair of new '32 Ford passenger-car style grille inserts. Made with 304 stainless steel, the item shown has no crank hole, but the original style is also available. Die stamped and polished, like the Ford part they do have the separate outer surround trim. The price given was $299.95 for the crank version.

Dynacorn keeps stamping out new skins. Below is an early (1967-68) Cougar rear quarter panel. The Cougar quarters, along with a roof panel, are expected to be available January 2019.

Another helpful product from Detroit Speed is their Selecta-Speed windshield wiper system for 1969-1970 Mustangs. Complete with wiring, etc., the seven-speed system uses a motor cover that mounts to the factory bracket under the cowl. A new pitman arm connects directly to existing wiper linkage. Priced at $575.


Automobile Manufacturer Displays

The OEMs bring out new-car projects with various levels of customization, restored vintage cars, hot rods, customs, performance parts displays, etc. Here is some of what caught my eye.


Central Office Production Order (COPO) the mechanism Chevrolet dealers used to create cars with high-performance engines and other options that technically did not exist in the official order books for the model. A theme in the Chevy display this year was COPO Camaros.

Said to be one of the most authentic and finest restored ZL-1 COPO Camaros, this Lemans blue example, from the Acadia Collection in Illinois, features a correct date-coded ZL-1 427, the original M21 four-speed, and the original 12-bolt posi. Sixty-nine aluminum block ZL-1 racecars were built in 1969 under the Central Office Production Order system code 9560. The "purpose-built Camaro drag-racing specialty car was born to compete in NHRA Stock Eliminator."

For the 2019 model year, Chevrolet will build 69 COPO Camaro Fiftieth Anniversary Edition cars. Potential buyers can register at for a chance to be selected to purchase. Engine choices include a naturally aspirated 427ci LSX, a 350ci supercharged LSX, and an LT-based 302ci engine with direct-injection. The car shown below has the 427, plus a Turbo 400 trans, and numerous other drag racing accoutrements.

A partnership between Chevrolet, NHRA drag-racing team Hancock and Lane, and Patrick McCue, together with GM's commitment to STEM education, led to the development of the 2019 Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro Concept. McCue "helped create the world record holder Shock and Awe electric drag race car as part of his Seattle-area Bothell High School auto shop program." Powering the eCOPO Camaro is a "dual motor stack," producing 750hp from an 800 volt battery pack.

Not a COPO Camaro, the red car is considered a Drag Race Car Concept. Based on a Camaro SS with the 6.2liter, 455hp V8, ten-speed automatic, limited-slip differential, and Brembo brakes, it is outfitted with a variety of performance-enhancing parts from Chevrolet Performance.

Vintage 1967 C/10 short-bed pickup features one of the ZZ6 EFI crate engines from Chevrolet Performance. The 420hp ZZ6 is backed 4L65-E automatic transmission.

Chevy always brings a sea of engines available as crate motors from the Chevrolet Performance division. Shown below is their E-Rod LT1 6.2liter engine, part number 12682080. At 455hp, 465lb-ft, this motor was introduced in the C7 Corvette and the gen-six Camaro SS. Similar to the LSX family, the LT1 does have unique characteristics in the block, heads, oiling system, etc. Plus, it uses direct injection. The crate version includes wet-sump oiling and a controller designed for retrofit.


Ford chose to emphasize the new Ranger pickup, F150s, SUVs, and the great outdoors in their booth at the 2018 SEMA show. Below are two customized versions of the Ranger, along with an F150 ready to haul bikes to mountain climbing.

The latest Ford GT, still gorgeous by the way, may well be seeing its glory days in racing in the rear-view mirror, given the rapid advancement in technology for the track. The race versions of the GTs are still being campaigned, but street versions, in various color schemes, were seen here.

The new GT500 reveal was still in the future, so, currently mid-cycle, there was not big Mustang news for the show. Shown below are three of the customized current-model Mustangs displayed by Ford.

Ford can always be counted on for some tasty vintage cars in their booth. The true blue 1960 Galaxie Starliner appealed to me for its restraint. The exterior appears largely unchanged from when new, except for wheels, tires, fit, finish, and stance. Of course, it was a beautiful design to begin with. While some interior appointments are thoroughly modern, a lot of what is in there could be only a few years newer than the car itself.

The really red vintage mustang looks like a very fresh interpretation of the original Shelby GT500, with fit and finish that is beyond excellent.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Inspired by the 1966 vehicle, the Jeep Jeepster concept car is based on a modern Wrangler Rubicon. The concept uses numerous available Jeep Performance Parts (JPP), including the hood and graphic, wheels, two-inch lift kit, leather seats, off-road light kits, the winch and associated guards and brackets, etc. The top has been chopped two inches, and the custom windshield was laid back 2.5 degrees from stock.

They say the Wagoneer (built 1963 through 1991) was "the first modern SUV." The Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip, shown below, "retains its heritage and charm" through its original steel body, but "the chassis and drivetrain have been updated." A five-inch extension to the wheelbase required some tweaks to that original shell, as did an increase in tread width. Powered by a 5.7liter V8 and four-speed automatic, much of the interior of the heritage vehicle is swathed in oxblood leather.

The crimson 1965 Plymouth Belvidere II received some mild custom work on the outside, a new interior, and a Mopar 392 Crate HEMI, courtesy of Ekstensive Metal Works in Houston, Texas. The Mopar kit for the 6.4liter, 485hp HEMI includes essentials, like the power distribution center, PCM, engine and chassis wiring harnesses, accelerator pedal, sensors, etc.

Built by Graveyard Carz, the Little Dead Wagon was patterned after the original Little Red Wagon exhibition car from the 1960s. Starting with a solid 1964 Dodge A100 pickup, they modified and reinforced here and there to make it capable of withstanding "the punishment of the 426 HEMI engine." Ray Barton Racing built the killer Hemi, using Mopar's Gen II 426 block and heads, Blower Shop 871 supercharger, Holley 4150 carbs, and Milodon oiling system; the result is 923hp on pump gas. The trans is a "shorty" TorqueFlite 727.

The 392 Crate HEMI Engine EC Kit ($3,095) appears to include all you need to install the 6.4liter HEMI engine assembly ($9,335). As cited above with the red 1965 Belvidere II, this kit includes essentials, like the power distribution center, Powertrain Control Module, engine and chassis wiring harnesses, accelerator pedal, sensors, etc. The front accessory drive is an additional $625, and the starter is $394.

A similar setup is available for the 6.2liter supercharged crate Hemi. Here, the engine assembly costs $19,530, and the installation kit runs $2,195. The install kit likely includes everything needed to make it run, but may not include items necessary (e.g., catalytic converters, EVAP) to make it legal. The front accessory drive is an additional $675.


The Acura NSX supercar glowing in orange.


Feature Cars Four Hot Rods and a Custom


The Fifties, Mostly in Name Only

Trigen Street Rods in La Habra built Richard and Mary Ann Wilk's 1956 Ford F100. House of Kolor's Luna Yellow looks like a modern rendition of what we called chrome yellow in the '60s. The drive train includes a 420HP Ford 460 bolted to a Ford E40D transmission and followed by a locking nine-inch with 3.73 gears.

Tangerine Y-Block Baby. Other than being lowered and the wheels, it's pretty much just (very well) restored inside and out, even has the original steering wheel. But my, oh my, that motor.

I've been a huge fan of Bobby Alloway's builds for a long time now, and given my fondness for Edsels, you know I'm going to love this. The folks at Ford loved it, too, giving this car their 2018 SEMA Show Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design. The car began life as a Ranger model, but it now has all the bright work associated with a Pacer, plus, in the quarter panel coves are Citation trim pieces modified to fit the smaller body. It appears to me the only piece of chrome missing from the car is the standup hood ornament. Under the hood is a Roush/Ford Racing supercharged Coyote motor. There are no push buttons in the steering wheel; the lever from the console shifts a five-speed. Wheel and tire sizing and placement, and the general stance, are pure Alloway.

Barrett-Jackson's January 2019 Scottsdale auction is scheduled to have this 1965 Chevrolet Corvette 396ci/425hp cutaway engine up for bids with no reserve. The engine has been fully restored to original condition as displayed in the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. "A unique piece of General Motors and Corvette history."

"Transitions" is a 1954 Corvette custom also to be offered at Barrett-Jackson's January 2019 auction. Built by Hot Rods and Restorations, it debuted at the 2017 Detroit Autorama where it participated in the Ridler Great Eight. The car features a 5.7liter LS1, 4L60E, and a whole host of other modifications.


The Swinging Sixties, Plus

Two Corvettes and a first generation Firebird from the Lingenfelter display booth.


Exotic Sports


This plaque, dedicated in 2014, celebates the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles arrival at McCarran Field on August 20, 1964. The Fab Four performed two sold-out shows in the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was the only time the band played in Las Vegas.


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New Products

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Feature Cars Four Hot Rods
and a Custom

The Fifties, Mostly in Name Only

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