Tag Archives: SEMA2008

Sports Cars and Super Cars from SEMA 2008

Now that SEMA is officially over, our AutoAnything crew has returned home to the nest.  But they didn’t come back empty handed.  Our photography buffs were able to get some great shots at SEMA this year.  This first post includes photos of both super cars and sports cars alike, from the Subaru STi to the Ferrari California, from an old school Pontiac GTO to the new school Audi R8.  There’s more photos on the way, so stay tuned!

Even Now, Truck Accessories Are Tops – SEMA 2008

Extang Tonneau Cover on 2009 F150 Platinum Edition - SEMA 2008

Think trucks and truck accessories are dead? The 2008 SEMA Show proved quite the opposite. Two new full-size trucks, the 2009 Dodge Ram and the 2009 Ford F-150, are driving hundreds of new parts to the aftermarket arena.

Sure, accessories for green vehicles like the Smart Fortwo and Prius were given plenty of press ahead of the show. But there was little depth behind all of the high talk, as 2009 Ford F-150 accessories and 2009 Dodge Ram accessories outpaced parts for fuel misers by a cavernous margin.

Clearly, SEMA’s sharpest parts producers still want and need to be in the truck business. The big economic and environmental guns at their collective temples demand that a few highly publicized bones be thrown in trendy directions. Still, virtually no manufacturer suggests that green car accessories can replace the green lost when truck sales are sagging.

That’s probably why SEMA 2008 pushed a massive lot of 2009 F-150 accessories, but did so with little fanfare. Performance exhaust systems, suspension lift kits, lowering kits, style bits like billet grilles and body kits, and the usual utility suspects like tonneau covers and side steps all made their debut.

The wave continued on the Mopar side. 2009 Dodge Ram accessories sharpened the horns of the latest 1500 from Auburn Hills. Lifts, slams, truck bed accessories and bold bull bars premiered at SEMA 2008, allaying some fears that this Ram is more Caravan than Power Wagon.

Ford itself bolstered the 2009 F-150’s excitement with eye-attracting show concepts like the much-anticipated Raptor concept and a loaded jobsite dreamboat courtesy of DeWalt. While Chrysler’s Mopar booth focused on Challenger muscle, 2009 Dodge Rams roamed throughout the show floor as the showcase truck for dozens of brands.

The hot story of SEMA 2008 may be about trying to make traditional accessories and performance parts for non-traditional vehicles. Behind this public face, though, truck accessories are alive and well – especially if you’re sizing up a great deal on a 2009 Ford F-150 or Dodge Ram. Expect no shortage of add-ons for the latest editions of these mainstay half-tons.

Image caption: Extang’s latest tonneau cover on a showy 2009 F-150 Platinum Edition.

Mind Your Jugular, Toyota: The Ford Raptor’s Got Claws – SEMA 2008

Ford F150 Raptor - Side View - SEMA 2008

Apparently, the design crew over at Ford’s Dearborn think tank remembers the spectacle that was the Jurassic McPark Summer of ’93. For 2 solid months, no one could venture out into public without being pounced on by prehistoric marketing, from reptilian underwear to dino-themed Scottish burgers so big that even Jeff Goldblum couldn’t, uh uh, wrap his, uh uh uh, enormous mouth around.

15 years later, Ford is reviving the memory of the film’s window-fogging villains by re-badging an F150 and dressing it up for intense off-roading. As I was circling around this impressive truck, complete with faux dust to simulate a weekend romp at Glamis, it became glaringly obvious that the Raptor is a real contender to swipe some of PreRunner market share

And it’s about time. Detroit’s oldest dinosaur has yet to put up a contender who can fight against the popularity of Nisson’s 4X4. The underwhelming yet similarly sized (Tremor, Edge or otherwise) has never proved to generate the same kind of cult following in mud-bogging circles as the Tacoma. However, the Ford Raptor may just kick start the company’s image in the minds of desert rats. This model at SEMA was decked out with deluxe upgrades, and I could see the reps from different suspension and tubular steel companies smacking their lips envisioning the accessories they could pump out for this killer

And, for the shameless self-promotion segment of this story, you can count on AutoAnything to be fully stocked with all the sharp gear that comes out for Ford’s latest best.

The Hot Hatch Is Back! – SEMA 2008

When it comes to the automotive aftermarket, SEMA has a finger on the pulse of the industry; in fact, SEMA is the pulse of the industry. And, it only takes a few minutes of aisle perusing to see what’s hot and what’s not.

In 2005, full-size pickup trucks—the bigger the better—were the declared kings of SEMA. In ’06, it was Toyota’s FJ Cruiser garnering the top spot. And last year, the 4-door Jeep Wrangler was the industry’s wunderkind. But now, with $100/barrel crude and a struggling global economy, things have changed and the industry is getting smarter.

This year, SEMA’s little darling is the Daimler AG Smart Car. And it makes sense. This thing weighs 700 pounds less than a Mini Cooper, is shorter than most surfboards, gets triple the MPGs of a Silverado and you can park 3 of them in the same spot as one H2.

And, judging by the number of Smart Cars gracing the booths this year, this diminutive little ride is making a big impact. It seems that no matter what folks are driving or why, one things remains the same—the need to customize.

Nearly everyone had something for the Smart Car. The tubular pros at Aries have a complete lineup of stuff, from bumpers and sports bars to rear storage baskets and roll bars. They even make a set of nerf bars with a super-cool muzzle cap that were the best looking accessory at the show

There were several vendors crafting tons of bling, too. Stuff like chrome fuel doors, billet side vents and jazzed-up logos were everywhere. There were even big wheel and tire kits so you could add a little donk action to your Smart Car

And, it’s not just dress-up accessories. The airflow gurus at Volant reported getting several requests per month for a cold air intake kit for the little 3-banger. Even a couple of performance exhaust manufacturers said their R&D guys were busy developing some high-flow tubes for the Smart. Keep your eyes peeled, there’ll soon be a slew of tuner mods to come.

So, a big thanks goes out to Daimler for resurrecting and redefining the hatchback. All you old Scirocco and GTI fans rejoice, and import tuners take heart, the German hot hatch is back and hotter smarter than ever!

The Cheap Trick Dream Police Tactical Vehicle – SEMA 2008

The Cheap Trick Dream Police Tactical Vehicle

Hello there ladies and gentlemen. Are you ready to rock? Are you ready or not? SEMA has been a lot of fun this year, from the show floor to the late night action that is Vegas. But for this diehard rock music fan, the standout was RWC’s Cheap Trick Dream Police Tactical Vehicle.

According to Bjorn Cannon at the RWC booth, the Dream Police Tactical Vehicle was created to commemorate the upcoming 30th anniversary of Cheap Trick’s 1979, platinum selling album Dream Police. RWC had built out true police tactical vehicles in the past, but none that could transport you all the way back to the Budokan.

The folks at RWC nailed this project like a Bun E. Carlos drum fill. From its custom-built tele headstock-shaped side view mirrors and detailed Cheap Trick graphics to the Rick Nielsen signature Hamer guitar holding down the shotgun position in the front seats, the Dream Police Tactical Vehicle keeps perfect time with the concept.

But, they didn’t quit there. The bed of the Dream Police ride has been transformed into the ultimate arena rock experience complete with strobe and laser lights, fog machine and a 32” LCD monitor for playing ROCKBAND 2. What’s more, there are enough tweeters, woofers and subs to rock even the largest venue.

Of course I was at the show on AutoAnything official business, so my interest went beyond the vehicle’s rock ‘n’ roll styling.  They started with a stock Chevy Avalanche and packed it full with all of the aforementioned goodies as well as bevy of fun aftermarket accessories. You’ll find a Corsa exhaust system, a Grant Products steering wheel, KC HiLites, an RBP billet grille, Superlift suspension and so much more on this crazy ride. With all of the performance upgrades, even Robin Zander could escape from the frenzied groupies and rock chicks that chase him around after the show.

SEMA 2008 Update

Attention all SEMA fans, we’ve had a crew at the SEMA show all week.  Stay tuned for some killer articles and exclusive photos!