The automotive world started to get a whole lot smaller starting in 1967. That year, what’s now the Specialty Equipment Market Association—SEMA for short—hosted its first trade show.
But in the half century that followed, what began as a meet-and-greet under the grandstands of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles has turned into one of the largest trade shows in the world. No matter where you go, there’s someone who provides to or benefits from the automotive industry. And for four days each fall, they all convene in Las Vegas.
Given such a focused audience of potential industry consumers, vendors go to great lengths to introduce new parts at the show. The organization pays four of us to take photos of those parts. And when we see something bitchin cross our paths, we take notes.
The following images represent those notes—a mere one percent of the new parts introduced at this year’s event. Thank your lucky stars you don’t have to weed through that list! It’s one of the many services we offer. You’re welcome.
LS3 Intake Manifold
It’s hard to top the LS3 manifold. But it’s not impossible. Manifold masters Edelbrock designed the Pro-Flo XT LS3 piece with 6.25-inch-long tapered runners, a large plenum, and a 90mm throttle bore opening that can be ported to 105mm. The result is a broad torque range for use from 1,500-7,000 rpm. Part number 7142 uses the stock LS3 MAP sensor. Call 310.781.2222 or visit edelbrock.com.
Wireless Wideband Controller
Performance Electronics makes a wideband controller that turns your Bluetooth-enabled smart device into an air/fuel meter. It uses Bosch LSU 4.9 sensors, requires no calibration, and can display as many as four sensors at a time. The controller also has a 0-5V analog output to feed piggyback or standalone ECUs and data loggers, and also communicates with CAN-enabled devices for inputs and outputs. Call 513.777.5233 or visit pe-ltd.com.
Thermal Acoustic Insulation
It may not look like much, but insulation isn’t about being seen as much as being heard … specifically not being heard. Design Engineering Inc. created D-Mat insulation to slip above headliners, into doors, and under package trays among other places you can think. Light, pliable, and less than half an inch thick, part number 50412 damps high-frequency road noise. It can withstand temperatures as hot as 325 F and will reduce temperatures by 65 percent. D-Mat insulation meets flammability ratings, resists mildew and bacteria, and comes in 60-inch-wide rolls. Call 440.930.7940 or visit designengineering.com.
LS Engine Electric Water Pump Kit
If a belt-driven water pump won’t work in your current setup, consider the Davies, Craig electric water pump. The company designed part number DC-8650 to work with an adapter kit that eliminates the mechanical pump altogether. It works seamlessly with the company’s controller kit. Davies, Craig maintains this is the lowest-profile and lightest electric pump for LS engines. Call 909.476.6068 or visit daviescraig.com.
Aftermarket EFI Gauge Modules
Does your aftermarket injection ECU keep you from running the new breed of plug-and-play gauges like Dakota Digital’s VHX? Well not anymore. Dakota Digital has designed modules that connect its gauge kits directly to AEM, Holley, FAST, or MSD controllers. These expansion modules pull data from the existing engine sensors by way of the ECU, saving the hassle and clutter of multiple sending units. Dakota Digital supplies model-specific harnesses, making this a true plug-and-play installation. Call 800.852.3228 or visit dakotadigital.com.
Camaro Daytona-Edition Gauge Face
Have an ordinary 2016-’17 Camaro but really want the ZL1 1LE? Well, US Speedo can get you there, at least as far as the gauges go. It tooled up to produce a Daytona Edition gauge face for the 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet Camaro. Kit CAM160 fits the LT, 2LT, LS, and Base models with the 160-mph speedometer. US Speedo prints the faces by an OEM-style process, ensuring modern-car quality. Call 810.244.0909 or visit usspeedo.com.
Carbon-Fiber LS Rocker Cover
In the pursuit of weight loss, everything is fair game. And now that includes rocker covers. Performance Design now makes its LS-series rocker covers out of featherweight carbon fiber and equips them with titanium fasteners. Part number 70570.01.00 uses positive locators for its OEM-style gasket/sealing design and includes polymer injection-molded seals. Call 248.507.4885 or visit performancedesign.com.
Camaro ZL1 1LE Upgrade System
It’s hard to believe the ZL1 1LE could be any better, but even Chevrolet says it can. It offers a Spec Handling Component Suspension Upgrade System (PN 84352119). It includes ride links, front handling links, rear upper and lower trailing links, rear knuckles, ball joints, and a complete set of stiffer bushings. The trade-off: Chevrolet deems it track-use only. Call 888.940.2438 or visit chevrolet.com/performance.
Coated LS and LT Pistons
Piston coatings can influence an engine’s performance in several ways. Recently, JE Pistons introduced Perfect Skirt, a proprietary solid-film piston coating. The company offers it on another new development: Gen IV LS and LT pistons. The solid-film lubricant on part number 338676 lets forged pistons run OEM-tight piston-to-wall clearances. Call 714.898.9763 or visit jepistons.com.
Cog Belt Supercharger with Serpentine Accessory Drive
Serpentine belts are awesome … to a point. Beyond that (big boost), they slip. Cog belts eliminate slip but also usually eliminate or at least limit the serpentine system. Now ProCharger makes an ultra-high-output kit for Chevrolet engines that uses a serpentine for accessories and a cog belt for an F-series supercharger. The company recommends part number 1CX210-SC for applications that make 1,000-1,600 hp. Call 913.338.2886 or visit procharger.com.
Billet LS Blower Intake Manifold
There’s something to be said about blower manifolds for LS-series engines: they’re not that common. This year, Speedmaster introduced a CNC-machined billet-aluminum manifold that marries a GM-type 6- or 8-71 supercharger to an LS3 engine. Part number PCE149 comes set up for injectors but you could block the injector ports to run a carburetor. Which we’re sure you have your reasons to run. Call 909.605.1123 or visit speedmaster79.com.
1967-’81 Camaro Adjustable Rear Shock
Shock adjustability is nearly a requisite in today’s tuning-fickle market. Aldan American recently applied its time-honored billet adjustable damper to the first- and second-gen F-body cars. Part number 100101 directly replaces the OEM rear shocks and complements the Aldan front coilover kit. Call 310.834.7478 or visit aldanamerican.com.
Camaro ZL1 Limited-Slip Differential
The ability to transfer power equally to all drive wheels under demanding acceleration partly dictates performance. Speedmaster designed a six-pinion, torque-worm limited-slip gear carrier. The three-piece design uses studs rather than bolts and features a multi-diaphragm spring center mechanism, which adjusts to conditions. Part number PCE204.1038 can reportedly withstand 1,200 horsepower. Call 909.605.1123 or visit speedmaster79.com.
LS Swap Cast-Iron Manifolds
Stock manifolds don’t always swap with the engine. And call us weird and all, but not all of us want to run tubular headers. So CFR Performance designed an iron manifold that hugs the engine tighter than a fat kid hugs a cupcake. CFR makes part number HZ-9988 with D ports and two-bolt 2 1/2-inch flanges and includes all hardware and gaskets and offers them in a ceramic coating or in chrome. Call 909.947.7888 or visit cfrperformance.com.
LS Fulcrum Rocker Upgrade
The LS rocker design is fantastic … for its intended purpose in mid-level performance applications. Beyond that, trunnion rockers make a lot more sense. And now, PRW Industries makes fulcrum rockers for the LS-series engines. Part number 1213462 includes replacement fulcrums, drawn-cup bearings, circlips, and fasteners. Call 951.436.7900 or visit prw-usa.com.
Smart-Device Data Logger
At critical modern performance levels, precise data is indispensable for maximum power and component safety. Dash Logic’s RaceBoss turns your mobile device into a video data collection track recorder. RaceBoss gives iOS and Android devices the ability to monitor hundreds of combinations of parameters like horsepower, torque, boost, vehicle speed, steering-wheel angle, and more. And it delivers it in fully customizable, real-time data overlays. Call 801.709.6300 or visit dashlogic.com.
Wireless Wiring Harness
Most people usually don’t get excited about wiring. It remains one of the most intimidating parts of a build. But Advanced Accessory Concepts has us on the edge of our seats. It found a way to eliminate wires from a harness … most of them anyway. Its Trigger-series Six Shooter mounts close to the devices it controls to minimize wire length. It also communicates with its switches by radio frequency, eliminating many wires altogether. The tuning app lets users define each circuit’s function (constant on, dim, and flash). Call 951.339.1469 or visit triggercontroller.com.
Carbon-Weight Alloy Wheel
Make no mistake: Carbon fiber makes everything lighter, including wheels. It also makes everything costlier, especially wheels. But Litespeed Racing found a way to make its RS5D one of the lightest wheels on the market—darn near as light as its carbon-fiber wheels. One secret? Ultra-strong alloys like 6066-T6 aluminum, which pencils out about 30 percent stronger than the 6061-T6 that most manufacturers use. Call 310.995.2127 or visit litespeedracing.com.
Air Springs for Coilovers
Have Penske coilovers or just shocks but want to try air springs? The company designed an air-spring cartridge that fits any Penske shock and registers on standard 2.5-inch spring hardware. Unlike a fixed-rate coil, part number AS-AIR_SPRING can produce limitless spring curves to better suit any suspension design or vehicle application. Call 610.375.6180 or call penskeshocks.com.
Self-Jumpstarting Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium-ion technology revolutionized the battery by size, weight, and power. Antigravity Batteries just revolutionized the lithium-ion battery by designing one with its own jump-start feature. At the press of a button, a secondary internal battery inside part number AG-YTX12 supplies enough current to start a vehicle, even when the primary circuit has been fully depleted. Simply reset and drive off. Call 310.527.2330 or visit antigravitybatteries.com.
DOT-Approved Street/Strip Radials
A few years back, Mickey Thompson gave the ET Street S/S an R2 compound for maximum traction, a tread design for minimum hydroplaning, and a lightweight radial carcass for maximum acceleration and ultimate lateral stability. This year it introduced four more sizes for its 15- to 20-inch diameter range. Call 800.222.9092 or visit mickeythompsontires.com.
Photos by Chris Shelton