The 2009 SEMA show is one for the history books.
A bit subdued from previous years, but definitely not lacking in quality, the annual automotive bling-fest that many consider a barometer for gaging our industries health, and more importantly; potential, went well-all things considered.
I spent two days wandering the show (Thursday & Friday) and left feeling that I may have seen 60 percent of it. I was impressed with quite a few things I noticed during my two-day 7.4 mile SEMA trek. Here they are:
Industry mainstays like GM and Toyota ensured that shrinking show footprints were subtle if not completely un-noticeable by most who attended the convention. This year, event organizers moved the new products section to the fast-shrinking 4x4 section located on the upper floor of south hall. The rear section of the 4x4 floor space, again featured the "Making Green Cool" section. It was smaller in every way, but I felt confident that I had accomplished a lot more during the two days than I did in past years cruising the show for the whole week.
GMs booth featured Robby Gordon's Dakar H3 Hummer as well as Rod Hall's awesome Baja Stock Full H3 SUV. Each of these vehicles represent GMs commitment to off-road motorsports.
Chrysler's Mopar booth was as awesome as it always is, featuring the epic 4x4, Lower 40 JK as the crown jewel.
Last year's Baja 1000 champion, Roger Norman, showed off his stunningly beautiful F-150 Mega-Runner prerunner. This machine blurs the lines between a luxury touring sedan and a race-ready Trophy Truck. Wickedly fast, super comfortable and without question, the most beautiful prerunner at the show, Norman's truck reeled-in Baja junkies like moths to a porch light.
Miller Electric came up with another home-run product. This is the modular ArcStation for home shops and hobbiests. I want one!
Designed to solve a whole assortment of fabrication-related problems, this fabrication table sets new standards for those of us who like to build things with our hands.
Of all the things I saw at SEMA 2009, the single most impressive thing was the TAC-V JAMMA V-22, a project compleated by Light Racing for TAC-V LLC. Essentially, this all-terrain modular mobility asset ushers in the next generation of the Military equipment specifically designed to replace the aging AM General-built HMMWV (H1 Hummer). Light Racing's V.P., Bryan Kudela, and his engineering team orchestrated the design and build of this amazing vehicle. The estimated cost to build this one-off prototype was somewhere in the three-million-dollar range. Designed exclusively to fit inside the Military V-22 Osprey aircraft, this vehicle is very different than anything we've ever seen before. The entire chassis is manufactured from high modulus chromoly sheet metal structures that are extremely rigid and weight-optimized for flight. The exterior body panels are mostly hydro formed and virtually all exterior panels can be up-armored quickly for combat scenarios. Because the chassis is modular, it can be adapted to fit an assortment of requirements for many different tasks. For instance, the JAMMA V-22 could serve as an ambulance for one mission, or a radio communications station for another. It's powered by a 3.2L I-6 turbo diesel that puts out 180 HP @ 3,800 RPM and 398 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 RPM. The whole vehicle tips the scales at just 4,000-pounds and is capable of carrying a payload of 3,500-pounds. At only 60-inches wide, this narrow rig performs like a UTV with a long-travel kit installed-a really high-end UTV, that is. Take a look at some of the photos I took of this cool vehicle.
Another very cool car I got to check out at the 2009 SEMA show was the Rally Fighter by Local Motors. If you haven't read my blog about this new vehicle check it out, this is the future of motor vehicles as far as I'm concerned. Here is a link to a video of Local Motors CEO John Rogers showing off his latest car.
Rize Industries demonstrated that tall drop-bracket lift kits and leveling spacers aren't the only thing they are capable of constructing. This crew cab Raptor look-alike suggests that Rize has finally decided to target the go-fast crowd. With 16-inched of travel up front and over 20-inches in the rear, this 450-HP monster had us drooling.