SEMA Summay 2011
On November 1-4 RideTech will be at SEMA for the 14th year in a row! For 2011 our 20×20 display will feature our new Tru Turn steering system and our new impact forged monotube coilover and Shockwave products. The Tru Turn steering system fits the early Camaro OEM subframe and allows the fitment of a 10″ wide wheel, optimizes camber gain, and eliminates bumpsteer… all with bolt-on components! We will also have information on upcoming Tru Turn applications. ShockWaves and Coilovers have been done before…but now they are being built with our new impact forged monotube shocks! Available in fixed valve, rebound adjustable and triple adjustable, this new generation of performing art offers massive improvements in ride quality, handling, and durability over previous offerings. Find out how to make your street rod ride like your Lexus and you Camaro handle like your Corvette. Booth # 23097 in Hotrod Alley.
RideTech President Bret Voelkel will be writing a daily update from SEMA to attempt to bring the experience to you. Don’t look for any more shameless self promotion here… this blog will be from a hotrodders perspective… just like you were there! Look for this update on our Facebook page and this blog.
The Forth Update from SEMA
The Ridetech team is back from SEMA and the OUSCI event, here is the final report from the 2011 event:
“Beginning in 2008, Optima batteries has put on the Ultimate Street Car Invitational. They pick around 60 of the fastest and most interesting cars in the world to participate in an event at Spring Mountain Roadcourse in Pahrump, NV. the day after SEMA. We have been sponsoring the autocross segment of this event since it’s inception (the only remaining original sponsor, I believe). The logistics of dealing with SEMA AND the Optima event in the same week are very stressful, to say the least. The event is filmed for a TV show on Speed Channel. That means several interviews throughout the week and at the event. Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to do this TV stuff several times, so at this point they can just pull my string and something will come out!
The first part of the Optima event is a road rally. This means that 60 VERY serious and nervous hotrods get to cruise down the Las Vegas strip…in 4:00 Friday afternoon traffic! I have found that the cab drivers in Vegas don’t have near the enchantment with a bunch of balky hotrods as we do. This year the road rally was “enhanced” by snow. Yep, that is not a misprint…it rained in Vegas, and snowed about 6″ in the mountain pass between Las Vegas and Pahrump. We were advised to take an alternate route, but by the time we got around to actually heading that way, the road was cleared and away we went…the 48 Hour Camaro, JF Launier’s 57 Chevy, and Gerry Kernan’s 62 Nova, all following each other for 60 miles through the slush!
Since it snowed, obviously it was cold… 37 degrees when we woke up in Pahrump the next morning. I’m thinking the cold track and cold tires should make for some interesting off track excursions.
I couldn’t get a lot of pictures at the event because frankly, I had my own car to worry about. We’ve always had a top ten car here. The 48 Hour Camaro is the fastest thing I’ve had here…it was a full 5 seconds faster on the road course than the Chevelle we took last year. But everyone else stepped up even more. Last year we ended up tied for 9th overall. This year…[even though we were much faster]…22nd! The really gratifying thing was that we had 13 customers competing at this event with the RideTech shocks and Tigercage components! Mary Pozzi was our best finishing customer in 5th place overall …4th in the Speed stop, 2nd in the autocross, and 12th on the road course. I’ll have complete results posted in a couple of days.
Until then…thanks for putting up with my daily ramblings. I’ll try not to irritate you again until sometime in January. We’re taking a 67 Chevelle to the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, so I’ll probably be doing some updates from there. Have fun!”
The Third Update from SEMA
My updates are getting later and later because I’m getting tireder and tireder. (is tireder really a word?) this one is so late that I’ve run Wednesday and Thursday together!
There is no place to sit at SEMA. Even most of the eating places at the convention center use tall tables without stools to keep the people moving. Unless you want to use the toilet you’ll be on your feet for 12-18 hours per day. By now I can see hundreds of people sitting on the floor leaning against the wall. It looks like a snowed in airport!
We filmed 8 customer testimonial videos on Wednesday. I had been wanting to do this for several years, but never could get it put together. This year was the perfect storm and we got Alan Johnson, Jimi day, Troy Trepanier, and several other customers on camera pontificating on the virtues of RideTech products. Along those lines, I have been truly stunned by the number of customers who have gone out of their way this year to request RideTech decals for this show. And not just the normal sized contingency style decals…they want the giant 22″ tall logo graphics. Bless their hearts!
On Thursday they announced the final 10 participants in the Optima race on Saturday. I didn’t catch all their names but they’ll be on the optima website. I did see that among the last ten cars was a 98 Tahoe and an early 70′s Volvo. That should be interesting!
In addition to all the normal business stuff I have to do, I’ve been hanging out at the optima corral outside where most of the optima participants are parked. Seems like everyone has either a brand new car, or has made radical changes in their setup recently with little testing time. That should make for some good tv on Saturday. In addition, it’s supposed to be cold and windy on raceday. New setups, cold track, windblown sand, cold tires…oh yeah, I want to see this!
Friday is going to be crazy…2 more meetings, get the car packed up and ready for the road rally to pahrump, move luggage around, take people to the airport, and try to remember if I’ve actually got everything ready to go on the 48 Hour Camaro for the optima race on Saturday. I’m looking forward to the 4 hour nap on the plane ride home on Sunday!
The next update will likely be written on the plane ride home on Sunday, I’ll have plenty to report on the optima race by then.
Until then, wish me luck on Saturday, and check out some more images below!
The Second Update from SEMA
Bret Voelkel is reporting from SEMA all week long. This is the second report placed on Tuesday, the first day of the SEMA show:
“The crowd at SEMA this year is huge! I’m told buyer registration is up by 20%. I believe it judging by the difficulty in getting through the aisles. I spent most of the day bouncing back and forth between the 48 Hour Camaro, our display booth, and the Optima corral outside where most of the participants for the Optima event were parked. As part of the Optima event on Saturday, I had to do an interview for the upcoming tv show. Of course they always want to know how I think we will place. I always try to be realistic. We’ve always had a top ten car at that event. The 48 Hour Camaro is our fastest entry yet, but every one else has gotten faster as well. I think we’ll end up somewhere between 7th and 10th. We’ll see!
I also had to move the Camaro over to the Hilton for the ARMO banquet. It was as big a hit there as it’s been everywhere else.
I got to see Albert Melchior’s new 70 trans am today for the first time. Great car… It was built by Scott Mock and will be driven on Saturday by Scott’s son Kevin Miller. He said he had it out last weekend for testing and was completely impressed with his new triple adjustable coil overs. Thanks Albert!
Tomorrow we are shooting 8 customer testimonial videos with the guys from Bangshift. We’ll be talking to Jimi Day, Troy Trepanier, Alan Johnson, Albert Melchior, Goldberg, Curt Ukasic, and several others at the show. Look for those videos to start showing up on our website in the next 30 days or so.
I’ve been stunned by the number of customers who have come by the booth to request our “wheel trophy” signs and decals for their cars. Very gratifying…love happy customers…they always buy more stuff!
The big thing here this year seems to be new Camaros and old Mustangs…must be 200 of each! Glad our Gen 5 Camaro system will be done shortly. The other big thing seems to be the absence of booth babes. I guess the first thing that gets cut when things get tight.
Anyway…here are some more pictures from Tuesday. Until tomorrow…”
- Bret Voelkel
The First Update from SEMA
“I’m not going to say much this week about new products or specific companies…that will all be well covered by the paid media. Nope, I’m going to bore everyone with a hotrodders view of the largest automotive happening in the world.
I’ve been going to SEMA show since 1987… This is my 25th SEMA! The changes have been many but it is certainly the biggest toystore in the world. 3,000,000 square feet of foot grinding display area to cover in only 4 days! I’m not sure which I like best, the cars or all the new products that we can use on building our cars.
For me, Monday is set up day. We get to set up our display and hook up with the 73 RideTech customers who have cars and trucks here with our products on them. You’ll see some of them this week. I also get to place the 48 Hour Camaro at SEMA this year. Getting your car parked is fairly orderly…much unlike getting it un parked on Friday evening!
One of the traditions of SEMA is celebrating Halloween in Vegas. I can only describe it by saying Vegas goes from ridiculous to just unbelievable! Most years we do the Hard Rock Cafe. This year we ventured downtown to a place called Hogs and Heifers, and then over to the general street party on Fremont Street. Kickass party!
There must be well over 1000 display cars here this year. The lots outside the buildings look like a Wal Mart parking lot at Christmas! I don’t understand why they think it’s cool to pack as many cars as possible in any given area…you can’t see anything. Luckily, they placed the 48 Hour Camaro in a great spot near the street so we can move it into the ARMO banquet on Tuesday evening. This will also allow me an easy exit on Friday to get to the Optima race when the show is over. Otherwise I could have been stuck there for hours waiting to get out.
Well, it’s time to make the donuts, as they say. I’ve got a tv interview at 12:30 for the optima race, and were moving the car into the ARMO banquet at 2:00. Until then, enjoy some pictures from setup day at SEMA!”
- Bret Voelkel
Ridetech equipped vehicles at SEMA
|1999 Silverado||Andy Coo||Truckin mag / Feature||Complete modified Airbar|
|1948 Chev truck||Iron Works||HRIA banq / Feature||Coil-overs|
|1967 Charger||Johnson’s Hot Rods||HRIA banq / Feature||Coil-overs|
|1998 2dr Tahoe||Kurt Grimes||Bear booth / Feature||TA coil overs|
|2011 Dodge 1/2 ton||Stacey David||Dodge booth||Complete Dodge kit|
|1964 Caddy||Jeff Sharell||Main Hall||Complete Caddilac kit|
|1957 Chevy||JF Customs||Optima||Coil Overs|
|1968 Charger||Martin Sokulski||Optima||Shocks|
|1955 Chev Convert||GG Giveaway||GG / Feature||Coil Overs|
|Jeep Wrangler||VS Technology||Booth #36175||Custom Airride with E3|
|2011 F150||Galpin Ford||Ford Booth||Complete F150 kit|
|2011 F350||Auto Illusions||Feature||Kelderman / levelPro|
|1969 Camaro||Mitch Henderson Designs||Feature||Shockwaves / levelpro|
|1968 FireBird||Be Cool / A Team Racing||Be Cool||Coil Over kit|
|1964 Chevelle||Kalima Golden||Feature||AirRide Package|
|1964 GTO||Raybestos||OPG booth||TA coil overs|
|1962 Nova||RPM||Optima||Coil Overs|
|1999 Silverado||Nitrous Express||NE booth / Feature||Complete AirBar / E3|
|69/11 Camaro||Custom Shop||Holley / Feature||Custom Airride with E3|
|1956 F100||Hill’s Hot Rods||Feature||Shockwave w/ E3|
|2009 Shelby GT500||Robert Romo||Feature||Full Mustang Airride Kit|
|1964 Caddy||Kindig-It-Designs||23479 or Feature?||Full Caddilac kit|
|1937 Wild Rod||Eddie’s Rod and Custom||22657 Painless / Feature|
|1967 Chev C10||ATC truck Covers||SEMA MAG|
|1958 El Camino||Royal purple||SEMA MAG / 23613||Full 58-64 kit|
|1932 Ford-5 window||Johnsons Hot Rods||HRIA banq / Feature||Rear Coilovers|
|UPS Delivery hotrod||UPS||11827||Suspension by Ridetech|
|1963 Corvette||Mark Rife||Optima|
|1969 Camaro||Gregg Blundell||ARMO booth||TA coil overs|
|Imperial Speedster||Murry Pfaff||PPG booth|
Post SEMA Event
Optima Ultimate Streetcar Invitational
The Optima Ultimate Streetcar Invitational Held is always held the week after SEMA in Pahrump, NV. This race event incorporates several elements… road rally, autocross, road course, brake-stop challenge, and overall car design. RideTech has participated in the Ultimate Street Car Invitational since its inception in 2008 and will field 2 entries for this year.
The first entry is the 48 Hour Camaro driven by RideTech owner Bret Voelkel. This is a project that was constructed in only 48 Hours in May 2011 and features a Lingenfelter LS3 engine, an American Powertrain T56 Magnum transmission, Baer brakes, Forgeline wheels, and of course, a complete RideTech coilover suspension system.
“I love the opportunity to run against the finest street cars in the world! Since 2008 we’ve always had a top 10 car here. Last year we tied for 9th… this year we have a much faster car, but so does everyone else. I’m looking forward to seeing how the 48 Hour Camaro stacks up!” – Bret Voelkel
The 2nd RideTech entry is a 63 Corvette driven by its owner Mark Rife from Carolina Beach, NC.
“I am very honored that RideTech has selected me to run under their banner this year at the Optima event. I can’t wait to see what the Corvette can do against these great cars from all over the world!” – Mark Rife
Mark Rife’s Corvette is running an LS 7 engine, 5 speed transmission and a full set of RideTech’s new Triple Adjustable coilovers. The 48 Hour Camaro and Mark Rife’s Corvette will also be on display at the SEMA show that is held Nov. 2-5 in Las Vegas.
RideTech has 9 additional customers [so far] who are competing in the 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. In addition to Bret Voelkel and Mark Rife, be sure to look for these RideTech customers:
Mary Pozzi – 1972 Camaro
Randy Johnson – 1969 AMX (car owned by Jimi Day)
James Shipka – 1968 Camaro
Albert Melchior – 1970 Trans Am
Terry Neuville – 1967 Camaro
Curt Ukasik – 1962 Nova
Wanda Goldberg – 1970 Trans Am
JF Launier – 1957 Chevy
Martin Sokulski – 1968 Charger