Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 24, 2010

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!

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