Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
March 8, 2016
Photos By: Julia Manzo

The Specialty Equipment Market Association, SEMA for short, is the trade association for the thousands of automotive aftermarket manufacturers, vendors, buyers, and basically anyone heavily involved in the automotive aftermarket. You’ve know doubt heard of SEMA from the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where everybody congregates to go over new products, put buyers and sellers together, and allow us automotive journalists to drool over all the bitchin’ new parts that are about to hit the market. SEMA offers many benefits to its members, but one of the neatest from our perspective is the SEMA Garage.

Julia Manzo photographing Jeff Flora’s Candy Apple Red1965 Mustang fastback.

Located at SEMA’s headquarters in Diamond Bar, California (about a half hour east of downtown Los Angeles), the SEMA Garage is a goldmine for companies looking to develop parts, test them, and even help get emissions exemptions through the governmental red tape. In SEMA’s own words, “Each year, SEMA members introduce thousands of cutting-edge tools and accessories designed to add enjoyment to vehicle ownership. While some have universal fitments, many have model-specific applications that require significantly more research and development. The SEMA Garage gives SEMA members businesses access to the special high-tech tools and equipment they need to get their products—whether a $10 set of replacement wiper blades or a $10,000 engine modification—off the drawing board and into customers’ hands. It is the only known facility of its kind in the United States. Covering 15,000 square-feet and filled with nearly $2 million of equipment, the SEMA Garage includes all the tools specialty product developers could hope for and then some, including two vehicle lifts, a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for 3D scanning, a 3D printer for fast prototyping, digital race car scales for the most precise vehicle weight measurements, a dynamometer for power output measurements and more.”

Al Arriola’s Sonic Blue ’69 SportsRoof.
Carlos Moran’s Caspian Blue ’64 ½ convertible.

It is obviously a pretty trick facility and is open to SEMA members, and the garage also has a fully equipped photo and video studio, which we were reminded of recently when California Mustang used the photo studio at the SEMA Garage to photograph four of the company’s customer cars for its new catalog. As Cal Mustang’s David Becerra explained, “This years marks our 40th anniversary so we wanted a real nice cover car. We might pick one or all four Mustangs this year for our cover.” Photographer Julia Manzo did the work behind the camera.

If you own a shop or parts company and have been on the fence about joining, here’s another reason to do it. If you want to know more about SEMA, go to www.SEMA.org, and for information on the Garage, check out www.SEMAGarage.com.

Ken Kraut’s Tropical Turquoise ’65 convertible.