The Las Vegas convention center,...
The Las Vegas convention center, while not filled to capacity, still had many exciting new manufacturers and products for us to drool over. Check out the '69 Mustang on display-more on that later.
There's no doubt that the economy has seen better days. With double-digit unemployment in many areas of the country, gas prices going up and down like the proverbial see-saw, and many wondering where their 401K has gone too, it's sometimes hard to be upbeat about a hobby-any hobby really. Hobbies cost money, that's the stark white truth, and be it a case of paint for those that play paintball, a box of ammo for the shooting range, or a tank of gas to hit the local cruise night, whatever their hobbies are, you can bet that people across the U.S. are doing them less frequently or are looking for ways to enjoy them more efficiently.
The same holds true for us gearheads. I used to not think twice about running up to Sears and buying that special tool I probably would use just that one time. Now I try to borrow said tool, or at the worst, rent it. I've heard of several others that have backed off of their project car plans, extending their project timeline to spread out the costs. This may sound depressing, but I feel spreading the cost out and taking longer is better than the alternative-selling your dream project and it never seeing the light of day through your hands.
So yes, things are tough right now for a lot of people, but when we hit the 2009 SEMA show recently, we were surprised to see a thriving industry based off of our growing car hobby. Was the show "down" a bit? Sure it was. We noticed a few spots where booths had been prior and fewer show cars outside the Las Vegas convention center halls, but overall the show aisles were packed with people-buyers, shop owners, car builders, and more. Everyone we talked to said their business was improving ever so slightly from earlier in 2009.
We're optimistic that we'll be seeing more growth in 2010, and that simply means more people in our hobby, more parts being created, and more of us building and finishing those dream cars we've always wanted. So hang in there. Relief is coming, and in the meantime, check out these great new parts we eyeballed at the SEMA show that could be used in your project plans.
Check out plenty more great parts and cars from the SEMA show on our website!
Double A-Arm Front...
Double A-Arm Front Suspension
A product of its late-model Mustang racing suspension, Agent47 [www.agentfortyseven.com; (760) 496-3809] had this uber-trick double A-arm coilover setup on display in its booth. Known for its late-model racing and styling upgrades, Agent47 is embarking on a classic Mustang product line for track duty or high-performance street applications, including production of rolling chassis based off of the '69 Dynacorn Mustang reproduction body shell.
'65-'66 Mustang Wiring Harness
American Autowire [www.americanautowire.com; (800) 482-WIRE] has been in the replacement wiring business for over 25 years. They entered the Ford market last year with its Classic Update wiring harness line for '67-'68 Mustangs and this year they added to its Ford product line with another Classic Update harness for '65-'66 Mustangs. Featuring upgraded wiring, ATO blade fuses, extra circuits for modern upgrades, and most importantly, molded connectors for major wiring connections like the headlight switch and ignition switch, the Classic Update line is a great way to rewire your classic Mustang. AAW also released a great classic looking Highway 15 Nostalgia wiring harness with "braid and lacquer" wire (shown here), perfect for period custom builds of the '50s.
Shelby Grabber Valve Covers
When it comes to topping off that fresh small-block, valve covers are like engine jewelry-earrings if you will. Just like the perfect pair of earrings enhances a woman's face, the right valve covers make an engine. We spotted these Grabber Blue Shelby covers from Ansen Enterprises [www.ansenusa.com; (310) 534-1837] and had to stop to take a better look. Ansen has been building valve covers and other engine accessories right here in the U.S. for the last 40 years (Ford Racing uses them too). You can find these covers at www.shelbyengines.com and other Shelby valve cover styles on Ansen's website.