Trends in Restoration

SEMA Member News—March/April 2016

Trends in Restoration

  Bobby Alloway
Veteran builder Bobby Alloway unveiled a ’69 Corvette in the ARMO booth at the 2015 SEMA Show. The car featured a restored body with fully updated running gear, representing the restomod trend in the restoration market.

The automotive specialty-equipment industry is ever growing and changing. Modern technology, quality assurance and innovative products have advanced the industry to new heights. The Automotive Restoration Market Organization’s (ARMO) motto is, “Preserving the future by restoring the past.” Being that the goal of restoration professionals is to restore classic vehicles, what types of new trends do they see in the marketplace today? SEMA Member News caught up with a couple of ARMO’s select committee members to get their thoughts.

SEMA Member News: What types of new trends do you see in the marketplace?

Ben Tucker of Muscle Car Industries: We have seen several new toolings of higher-quality parts hitting the market, with better reproductions that fit and function better. The material used also has seemed to be getting better, with heavy-gauge steel for sheetmetal products.

Dennis Roberts of Distinctive Industries: A trend that is heating up is the “barn find” and the “survivor cars.”

SMN: What new technology have you seen within the past five years that specifically aids in the restoration process?

BT: Scanning, 3D printers and software have greatly increased the speed to market of many new products. The cost of conventional prototypes can be cut in half with the use of a 3D printer for prototypes.

DR: While we have been the beneficiaries of technology for the production of products for some time, I think the biggest influence has been in the marketing and selling of products online. To be successful, your product listings have to be found, be loaded with information to answer all questions, and have good images.

SMN: Why do you feel that it is important for us to restore classic cars?

BT: When you own a classic car, you are its protector, preserving a piece of American history. A great reason to restore a classic car is to bring something back to life that is so far gone that other people think you’re crazy. The restoration industry is very alive and full of services, parts and information that can make a seemingly impossible job possible.

DR: The short answer could be that classic cars are reminders of days gone by, when your car was who you were. Of course, there is always the historical and expression-of-art aspects of this hobby.

SMN: How has SEMA aided the restoration market?

BT: SEMA is a stockpile of information on almost every aspect of the restoration industry. SEMA helps fight laws that adversely affect the industry, keeping the restoration hobby very much alive. SEMA’s councils are run by volunteers who are directly related to the industry, which gives them great insights.

DR: SEMA has long supported market initiatives by the ARMO select committee, from consumer awareness to business education. SEMA and ARMO have developed licensing programs, crafted legislation and a myriad of other projects to protect and preserve our industry.

ARMO Hot Product Showcase

The Hot Product Showcase will take place April 21–23, once again at the Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet, Corral & Auction in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This event is an opportunity for ARMO members to display one or more products in front of one of the largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the world.

This invaluable event is included with ARMO membership annual dues. Companies may submit multiple products to showcase; the 2016 event is expected to have nearly 100 new products from about 40 to 50 different manufacturers. This will be the first year that ARMO will hold judging and present awards. The council feels that the awards will provide an added value to the event and expand member companies’ marketing messages.

The Hot Products Showcase tent is located in a prime spot across from the event stage on the Spring Carlisle grounds, ensuring that virtually all of the nearly 100,000 quality attendees pass through at some point during the event. This publicity is available to ARMO members for only the cost of shipping the product entries to the Carlisle Fairgrounds.

If you have not yet registered your product, visit to get started. Registrations will be accepted until April 15.

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