SEMA Show 2017 Highlights
Offroad News

SEMA Show 2017 Highlights

by Ben Bower, Bower Motorsports Media

40 some years ago was my first SEMA experience. I was just slowing down from offroad racing but still had the need for speed and needed something to share with a developing family. Racing had shown that innovation, fabrication, and attention to detail, allowed finishing and winning. SEMA showed that it could also be done with style.

What used to take two half days of talking and walking is now a full week of searching and discussing new tech, products and ideas.

“Whats Cool” is always the theme at SEMA. And there is “Cool” for everyone while still experiencing the different interests within the larger community. Everyone seems to be looking for ideas that relate to their interest or market. That means focusing beyond the paint and onto the individual parts.

These little, and other bits of information carry us on for the whole year. Many discussions on web sites and social media are backed up by what can be learned during the week. But the shape, finish and paint always captures the imagination.  Here are just a few things that caught our eye:

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Not necessarily new to automotive, but Constant Velocity joints (CV’s) used in off road has not been common. Shaft speeds and angles have been increasing of late with higher speeds and higher rev’ing drivetrains. The after market is starting to respond with new flanges and adapters. These will be common soon. But probably not carbon fiber shafts as easily compromised with any ding.
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Lots of technology to adapt here for off road. Frame tube triangulation and placement of “nodes.” Shock and spring suspension design for now popular 4×4 Independent Suspensions. Possible use of carbon fiber for weight savings, but thinking where it would not work.
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This is a new thought on independent suspension design. It shares the same thinking as old TTB suspensions with long axle shafts. The center differential has off set “portals” to allow that to happen. This allows for 24” of IFS suspension in a stock JK or TJ Jeep. Some very innovative thinking. The rear suspension was also similar but not greeted with the same enthusiasm. It is much easier to obtain 24” of articulation when you don’t have to steer the wheels. This would simplify the exhibitors kit and price point .(REGO)
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Looking at others work is inspirational in design, application, and fabrication. Here we see steel fabrication augmented with billet aluminum. Indy style shock placement replacing long vertical frame twisting shocks. But also outer upright geometry that puts brakes in harms way off road. Not a criticism, but a reminder.
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The Weismann brothers are always up to something new. They are always challenged at the highest levels of driveline design. F1, SCCA, Bonneville, Offshore Boats, OEM, etc. They have been on the leading, winning, edge for years. The new challenges in 4×4 racing have taken many of the top teams to Weismann for new creative designs to solve issues not common with traditional or OEM solutions. All of their work is in-house. Designed and machined usually from billet. Some race series depend on their products. But, not uncommon, are designs and winning combinations that are almost immediately banned as too progressive for some racing series’. Their best home is where there are no rules. Or with that guy who wants to beat his buddies. When you see their logo. Pay attention.
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The faster off road goes. The more we need to pay attention to Aero, but still keep the flavor of off road styling. This is not your fathers hay hauler.
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Here is the old’er meeting the new with style and function. Not a one-off. Kits are available. Jeep prides itself on providing the aftermarket and customer an easel so they can easily paint any “ picture” they want. Ladies probably influence more than 50% of the off-road budgets. Household projects like this make it all happen easier…guys.
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Cool would be to see this in the dunes. Or at least with some dirt rash under the fenders. Wishing back to when Pikes Peak was “loose.” We are seeing more of the old cars and trucks fitted to newer design 4×4 frames and drive trains. Someday we might see this fit and finish on the trails.
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What modifications does it take to get big tires on a rig. Let alone under it. There are always people pushing the envelope. Pioneers can get shot with arrows so it is always instructional to see how these really work. Pretty well actually, but maybe not in old town alleys or narrow ledge trails.

 

Cruise through more pictures to stimulate your interests. There is likely a long story of dedication behind each one. We relate to these all year long. SEMA 2018. Looking for confirmation, new ideas and opportunities. “Cool?” “Why?” “How?” Make it happen.     MORE PICTURES

 

Ben Bower is a consultant to media writers and TV personalities and is active on multiple media outlets.  He is a Offroad Race Team consultant along with a Bower Motorsports Media and Ladies Offroad Network business member.

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