Tom Wilson
April 10, 2013
Photos By: SEMA
Mustang took home the coveted SEMA Award for Hottest Car of the Show.
Mustang took home the coveted SEMA Award for Hottest Car of the Show.

Like the large all-Ford races or car shows, the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association's massive trade show—simply called SEMA by all involved—is one of the great fixtures on the automotive calendar. So, along with the end of the racing season and shorter days, come fall it's time to hit Las Vegas and prowl SEMA's seemingly endless aisles in search of what's new for the coming year. After 30 years of attending (Only 18 for me!—Ed.) it's something we do nearly instinctively.

This year SEMA had an in-between flavor for Ford enthusiasts. The economy is getting better but product development has suffered in the preceding lean years, meaning that while there were still interesting new items, there wasn't the usual overflow of new products on display. Plus, the S197 Mustang has been fairly well developed for bolt-on parts already, and the 2015 Mustang looms.

Typically parts-makers play catch up in such years, releasing new widgets to fill in their product lines. For the Ford enthusiast that means we spotted the occasional Cleveland, FE, and 460 engine parts, along with something we thought we might have seen the last of—a new pushrod 5.0 cylinder head.

Another sign of the times was the near-total lack of Fox Mustangs. This is hardly the apocalypse; the SEMA show is all about what's new, so 20-year-old cars can expect stepchild treatment until they age back to cool status again. In any event, there was apparently only one Fox on the property, along with a dearth of SN-95's. Naturally, great herds of S197 and the usual ceremonial squadron of first-generation Mustangs were in evidence.

We didn't need a sign to tell us the Scion FR-S was the latest darling. That such a compact rear-drive sportster was in such demand foreshadows the inevitable downsizing and reduced weight of the next generation Mustang now taking shape in Dearborn.

Addco

Known for its line of sway bars, Addco (www.addco.net) brought its new Series 3 High Performance Anti-Sway Bar Hardware Kit to the show. However, what caught our eye was the Gotta Have It Green '13 Mustang with the Hellion Power Systems (www.hellionpowersystems.com) Eliminator Twin-Turbo system. The car rocks an iPad in the dash and 630 horses at the tire. That's our kinda ride.

Aeromotive

While it doesn't apply to most modern Mustangs, Aeromotive's (www.aeromotiveinc.com) new Phantom system, which easily converts old-school fuel tanks to in-tank fuel pumps, is pretty darn slick. Far closer to home, its new Stealth system for '10-'13 Mustangs is ready to fuel huge power in modern Mustangs. If you're into making huge steam, you'll want to opt for the Eliminator variant.

Air Lift

Offering a complete suspension system for '05-'13 Mustangs with on-the-fly adjustment, Air Lift's (www.airliftcompany.com) new kit includes front struts, rear shocks, and an Air Lift AutoPilot V2 air management system. All told it offers 30-way damping adjustment, and the ability to sling it low at the show and raise it up for the drive home. Moreover, says the system is track-tested, so it's a triple-threat, according to Air Lift.

Airflow Research

For high-powered pushrod small-blocks, Airflow Research (www.airflowresearch.com) offers a new pair of race aluminum heads in its Renegade series. The 205cc SBF Renegade 20-degree Race Heads are available with 58 and 72cc chambers and flows 315 cfm at 0.600-inch lift. Meanwhile, its big brother, the 220cc SBF Renegade, steps up the flow at 0.600-inch to 321 cfm.

American Powertrain

Hydraulic clutch conversion kits for Fox Mustangs were popular at SEMA. American Powertrain (www.americanpowertrain.com) displayed this new $589 assembly suitable for use with T5, T45, T56, TKO, 3650, and Magnum transmissions. It uses a Wilwood master cylinder with a remotely mounted, white-plastic reservoir, which isn't shown here in favor of the optional billet-aluminum reservoir, which is handsome but heavy. Interestingly, American Powertrain was also showing a simple electrically assisted power-steering system for older cars—think classic Mustangs.

Auto Meter

The wow factor in the Auto Meter (www.autometer.com) booth was the company's new LCD Competition Dash, which offers CAN bus and analog inputs to feed a brilliant, customizable display. Nearer and dearer to your Editor-In-Carbon's heart are the new GT series gauges with carbon faces and crystal-clear LED lighting. Drool.

BBK Performance

Tunable Varitune mufflers and a new caster/camber plate and bumpsteer kit were the highlights at BBK (www.bbkperformance.com). The round-top camber plate is designed to fit all S197 cars—a first, since the '11-and-later design is different. BBK candidly says the new plate is functionally the same as the industry-standard plates, but features a unique satin-finish top. The mufflers feature a screw-in cone device to vary the amount of exhaust forced through the baffling; BBK says they range from stock noise levels to rather loud and the tone changes with adjustment. One practical use is asynchronous adjustment to banish the dreaded drone on pushrod 5.0 engines.

Blue Print Engines

Although 20 years in the rebuild and crate engine business, Blue Print Engines (www.blueprintengines.com) of Kearney, Nebraska, was new to us. Also spanking new was Blue Print's 190cc small-block Ford cylinder head. The aluminum casting features 60cc chambers, stock port locations and a 2.02x1.60-inch stainless-steel valve package. Designed for individual sale as well as on Blue Print's 331, 347, and 408 crate engines, the new head wears 65cc exhaust ports, supports up to 0.575-inch of valve lift, and comes assembled at $679 per head. The head in the photo is the first prototype, delivered to the Blue Print booth in the middle of the show and carrying part number H9008. No CARB exemption is planned and the EGR passages are not drilled, but there are two exhaust manifold patterns drilled and tapped.

Brembo

For those that want more braking horsepower than the factory Brembos offer, said company is there for you with its new Club Racing Brake Kits for the latest Mustangs. The kits feature a new durable cast caliper, stainless-steel lines, and a choice of 332mm- or 355mm-diameter rotors. That's about 13- or 14-inch rotors for we Americans. These kits are available through Race Technologies (www.racetechnologies.com).

Canton

Last year Canton (www.cantonracingproducts.com) released a front-sump swap pan for 5.0 Coyote engines in classic Mustangs along with a shallow rear-sump version for kit cars. This year it followed up with this 8-quart road-race pan for the new 5.0 in its parent chassis. Retailing at $374.40, the fully baffled deep-sump unit has a street version with slightly less baffling, also with 8-quart capacity. Look for part number 15-734 for the race version.

Carbon Revolution

While it doesn't appear to have a Mustang fitment at the moment, Carbon Revolution (www.carbonrev.com) showed off a lust-inducing one-piece, carbon-fiber wheel at the big show. That and their over-$3,300 price per wheel might be barriers to entry, but they sure would look sweet on PVT.

Classic Design Concepts

Some people aren't fans of the latest GT500's open-grille, but now you can easily add that style to your '13 Mustang, GT, or Boss. Classic Design Concepts (www.classicdesignconcepts.com) makes it easy with its new '13 Mustang Performance Grille.

Comp Cams

Taking home the coveted Best New Product award at the show was Comp's Four-Pattern Camshaft. The company has used this technology—which employs runner-specific lobes to improve performance and stretch rpm range—in NASCAR for years. Now it's available to everyday enthusiasts with small-block Fords. Along those lines, Comp (www.compcams.com) now offers its popular dual valvespring kits for Fords as well.

CTEK Power

If you have multiple vehicles, you need to keep the batteries charged, and CTEK (www.smartercharger.com) has some new options. Its headlining product was a new charger and alternator tester in one, the MUS 4.3 Test & Charge. The company also offered up the MUS 4.3 Polar, delivering charging and battery recovery in colder climes.

Horse Sense: For your editor, it doesn't get much better than a giant trade show packed with new Mustang parts. That is unless there's a rock concert afterward. Such was the case this year, as Halloween fell during SEMA and marked the beginning of Guns N' Roses Appetite For Democracy residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

Design Engineering Inc.

Known for suppressing sound and heat, DEI (www.designengineering.com) offered a new product to isolate specific problem areas from heat with its new Titanium wrap kit with clamps and stand-offs.

D.S.S. Racing

D.S.S. Racing (www.dssracing.com) has always offered premium products for maximum performance, and now it is offering a quality choice for everyday rebuilds in the form of its E-series piston. These pistons are made in the USA and are said to be price-competitive with off-shore options.

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Eagle Specialty Products

With a full-line of Windsor and Clevor engine parts, Eagle Specialty Products (www.eaglerod.com) went a little farther afield to develop this 408ci reciprocating assembly for 351 Cleveland V-8s. A hot seller in Australia, the heart of the kit is a 4340 steel crankshaft in your choice of 3.850- or 4.00-inch strokes. Large radii and the common 2.100-inch rod-journal diameter make it an easy upgrade to the high- winding canted-valve Clevelands. Stout H-beam rods and coated pistons are included in the $2062.50 retail price. Eagle is also offering FE stroker kits allowing 434 inches from the garden-variety 390, should you be a deep-skirt kinda guy.

Edelbrock

We've known of Edelbrock's (www.edelbrock.com) slick E-Force supercharger from the get-go, and now you can get it attached to a complete engine. Based on Ford Racing's Aluminator long-block, the Supercharged Ford 5.0 crate engine features a boost-friendly 9.5:1 compression ratio and puts down over 700 hp to the flywheel right out of the box. It is available with or without electronics.

Energy Suspension

Coming after the latest Mustangs in a big way was Energy Suspension (www.energysuspension.com) with its complete bushing kit for the '11-'13 Mustangs. The company also offers a rear shifter bushing, which is a simple, affordable solution for surer shifting in '05-and-up Mustangs.

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FAST

Carb-inspired fuel-injection systems for fans of early hot rods are all the rage these days, and FAST's (www.fuelairspark.com) new EZ EFI 2.0 takes these systems to a really high-tech level. Not only is this system self-learning, but it offers custom tuning via an included touchscreen interface.

Flaming River

No new product graced the Flaming River booth, but the official word was that the respected steering specialist was developing a manual steering rack for S197 Mustangs. The new rack should be available in mid-2013 and priced similarly to Flaming River's other Ford offerings.

Ford Racing

Obviously the big buzz of the SEMA show was the introduction of the twin-turbo Cobra Jet concept. However, the TT CJ was just a tease. Some of the real Ford Racing Performance Parts (www.fordracingparts.com) gear you could buy was a new higher performance crate engine based on all the NA Cobra Jet goodness, along with a streetable version of the NA CJ manifold. This rugged new manifold should be a significant upgrade from even the vaunted Boss 302 intake.

GoPro

For those who love to document their automotive exploits, GoPro (www.gopro.com) showed off its new lineup of Hero3 cameras offering 1,080P recording and 5, 11, or 12 megapixel still depending on the version you select. There's also plenty of cool accessories, like LCD backs, WiFi remotes, and an app that allows remote viewing and control of the camera.

Holley Performance Parts

As we said, throttle-body EFI systems are the rage, and Holley put forth its own four-barrel option, the Holley 950-cfm Terminator EFI System. Designed to support 200-600 hp, the Terminator system is self-tuning, and allows for customization of fuel and ignition parameters for improved performance or economy.

Hurst Shifters

Let's face it, the stock automatic shifter in the latest Mustangs doesn't exactly scream performance. Hurst (www.hurst-shifters.com) is here to fix that with its Automatic Comp Plate and HardDrive Comp Stick Kit for '10-and-up Mustangs.

JRI Shocks

Bringing Formula 1 technology to us, JRi Shocks brought its (www.jrishocks.com) new dampers for the Mustang. The company offers fixed dampers as well as single-, double-, triple-, and quadruple-adjustable units. The company partnered with Mustang-handling heroes Maximum Motorsports to help with the mounting assemblies; according to Maximum, these dampers not only perform better, but also ride more comfortably than competitive dampers.

Lakewood

When you hear the name Lakewood (www.lakewoodindustries.com) you might think of bellhousings and traction bars, but the company is here to completely revamp your '05-and-up Mustang's suspension with its Evolution series of suspension upgrades. Available in Street, Performance, and Competition packages, the EVO stiffens the chassis and adds more precise handling. The Street packages add better control arms and sway bars; the Performance package adds a Watt's link and coilovers; and the Competition package gives you everything, including a torque arm.

Livernois Motorsports

If you're installing bigger cams in your Coyote, you'll need to reign in those TiVCT phasers, so Livernois Motorsports (www.livernoismotorsports.com) showed off some new limiters to do just that.

McLeod Industries

We know that once you start beating on a '13 Shelby GT500, the clutch is going to be the first casualty. McLeod (www.mcleodracing.com) now offers a Twin-Disc RXT clutch to handle huge power in these cars. Better yet, its modular design is said to offer an easy installation. Just remove the stock clutch and flywheel assembly and bolt in the complete RXT assembly.

Mickey Thompson

We know Mickey Thompsons (www.mickeythompsontires.com) hook on the strip, and we've heard great things about the new ET Street Radial Pro it displayed at the show, but the big push is its new ultra-high-performance road radial, the Street Comp.

Milodon

Somehow we missed snapping a pic of Milodon's (www.milodon.com) new fabricated valve covers for small-blocks. Tired of flimsy units with wavy rails, Milodon gave its new covers 0.400-inch-thick rails to distribute any amount of tie-down torque. The bolt recesses are big enough for a socket and all hardware, too. In the photo is Milodon's new line of adjustable timing pointers for accurately setting up the timing marks on any Windsor or Cleveland V-8.

Moroso

To match its line of coolant tanks, underhood covers, and oil separators, Moroso (www.moroso.com) added a sheetmetal cover for the '05-and-up Mustang battery.

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Nitto Tire

Nitto Tire (www.nittotire.com) showed off its line of tires using a really familiar model— Steeda's '13 Boss 302 Laguna Seca. This Steeda (www.steeda.com) ride is a worthy performer to wear those NT-05s.

ProCharger

While most new products at this year's show were iterative improvements, a select few made a leap in their category. Such was the case with ProCharger's (www.procharger.com) new i-1 supercharger. This supercharger offers a programmable boost curve via a touchscreen interface. A variable-ratio transmission design featuring a rugged dry hybrid drive allows tailoring boost for maximum performance or fuel economy. This technology will allow boost to hit strong down low and continue to the top of the tach.

QA1

If you want an easy way to add coilovers to the rear of your Mustang, QA1's (www.qa1.net) Rear Pro Coil Kit might be for you. It offers a straight- forward way to install double-adjustable coilovers on your '79-'04 Mustang.

Ratchet Tech

We stumbled on a really cool tool in SEMA's North Hall—the Ratchet Tech (www.ratchetech.com) Open-End 30-Degree Ratcheting Wrench with Flex-head. If you've ever wrestled with a hard-to-reach fastener, you've felt the pain that this tool will relieve.

Ridetech

Offering a new adjustable monotube strut for modern Mustangs was Ridetech (www.ridetech.com). These dampers are available with fixed, single-adjustable, and double-adjustable valving. They include Hypercoil springs and are also available with the Shock Wave air suspension option.

Ring Brothers

Car customizers the Ring brothers (www.ringbrothers.com) showed off their new product—custom-formable radiator hoses. However, it was the duo's Switchback SEMA project car that really caught our eyes. The pair is best known for revamping classic Mustangs, but their take on the latest Mustang was striking. The gray paint scheme reminded us of the Dove Gray found on early-'90s Foxes, and the car rocked a unique carbon-fiber body kit, a carbon-fiber hood, aluminum side vents, and Ring Brothers Edition HRE wheels with Nitto tires.

Ron Francis Wiring

If you want to make a move to modular power, it helps to have a wiring harness to ease the process. Ron Francis Wiring (www.ronfrancis.com) rolled out a new plug-and-play '05-'09 Mustang GT Three-Valve 4.6 wiring harness. The harness comes with all the factory-style connectors, so it will plug right in. It will also support a return or returnless fuel system, but either way, you'll need to tune the processor.

Roush Performance

Knowing a little color helps attract attention in the crowded SEMA show-scene, Roush Performance (www.roushperformance.com) had Sherwin-Williams Automotive Paints spray their SEMA concept car in eye-grabbng Sin City Silver and Luminescent Lime. Ford Racing supplied an Aluminator engine in all its forged internals glory, which Roush puffed-up to 700 hp and 585 lb-ft of torque using a Roush Phase-3 supercharger. While the car is a concept, the Roushcharged Aluminator is an exciting upgrade option for '14 Roush Mustangs. To put it in perspective, Roush says this is the most powerful Mustang it's produced (for the road).

SCT Performance

Showing off the latest version of it's plug-in, handheld tuner technology was SCT. The new LiveWire TS features touchscreen flash tuning with a direct connection to your OBD-II port, and adds trick features like gauge outputs and even a backup camera input.

Snow Performance

The push at Snow Performance is on F-150 EcoBoost trucks, where its water/methanol injection systems add power and economy—about 1 mpg, depending on how you use it. The real beauty here is the EcoBoost engine senses intake air temperature, so there's no tuning necessary when adding the Snow water injection system. Snow is also big on diesel truck applications, including over-the-road fleet installations, so we're expecting big things from them in 2013.

Stainless Steel Brakes

Drag racers will appreciate SSBC's (www.ssbrakes.com) '99-'04 Comp Kit brake package. It combines SSBC's own lightweight four-piece caliper with an affordable one-piece, 11-inch rotor for straightline cars wanting to reduce weight but still stop before the sand trap. Pricing was not announced but will likely be right at $1,000 for both front brakes.

TCI

TCI (www.tciauto.com) has long offered positive manual shifting for '05-'09 Mustangs via its StreetFighter Ratchet Shifter for automatics. Now that same fun can be had by '10-'13 Mustang drivers with this new direct-fit Rachet Shifter.

TMI Products

When it comes to Mustang upholstery, TMI Products (www.tmiproducts.com) is a favorite of ours. The company really goes out of its way to develop creative new options such as this '05-'07 non-airbag seat upholstery kit. It features suede inserts for an upmarket look at between $700 and $800 retail. The adjustable headrests are another $250 to $300. There were other new seat kits available, including Terminator conversions for Fox seats, plus TMI will customize any application if desired.

Trick Flow

Presenting a tour de force of new gear, Trick Flow (www.trickflow.com) offered parts for modulars and pushrod engines. The company's slick FMOD Distributor and Two-Valve Valve Cover Package for Trick Flow heads really caught our attention, but it was not to be out done by the new Twisted Wedge 11R heads or the PowerPort Cleveland 195 heads with CNC-ported runners.

TruFiber

You editor's weakness is a high-tech composite weave, and TruFiber's (www.trufiber.com) TruCarbon (www.trucarbon.net) subsidiary really knows how to attract a booth visit—by slathering the latest Mustang in carbon-fiber. It offers so many carbon bits for Mustangs, we couldn't possibly list them all, but this new carbon-fiber console trim joined a host of new interior tidbits including sillplate covers, door-lock trim, and much more.

Vortech Superchargers

If a YSi just isn't enough for you, Vortech (www.vortechsuperchargers.com) showed off its new V-21 XB110 supercharger in Vegas. This big booster delivers up to 25 psi at 65,000 impeller rpm, and it flows enough to support 1,900 hp.

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Weld Racing

While the company's big push in the coming year will be its large-diameter street wheels, we couldn't help but snap a shot of Weld Racing's (www.weldracing.com) pure-drag-racing Delta 1 wheel. It's a work of functional art.

Whiteline USA

Hailing from Australia, where Ford and GM performance are hot stuff, Whiteline USA has joined the Mustang suspension fray with a line of sway bars, control arms, locating links, and chassis braces. In other words, everything except springs and shocks, which it expects customers will choose on a custom basis anyway. At SEMA, we checked out the offerings, which center strongly around the S197 late-models. In particular, Whiteline considers its $999 Watt's link a key handling offering, as it calms the Mustang's live rear axle better than a less-expensive Panhard bar (which it also offers).

Wilwood

The newest item in the Wilwood (www.wilwood.com) booth was a copper finish developed for its extensive line of calipers. It's just barely visible in the glare of our flash unit, but it gives another option for those looking to coordinate the colors on their street cars.

Wiseco

Those pushing the envelope with Coyotes and forced induction need a better piston, and Wiseco (www.wiseco.com) is ready to help your quest for more power with its Ford Coyote Boss 5.0 Piston. It features an ArmorGlide skirt coating, 11:1 compression, and nitrided rings. Wiseco also has a stroker crank for the modern 5.0.

ZEX

To keep better tabs on your nitrous situation, Zex (www.zex.com) has come up with this ingenious Nitrous Level Gauge. Zex claims it is really accurate, so you'll know when it's time to refill before you run out of giggle gas.

Top 5.0 Parts
1.0 ProCharger i-1
2.0 Comp Cams Four-Pattern Camshaft
3.0 Auto Meter LCD Competition Dash
4.0 Ford Racing NA Coyote Intake Manifold
5.0 American Powertrain Fox Hydraulic Clutch Conversion 5.0