Funny thing about SEMA-it's one of the greatest automotive events on the planet, but you're not invited. For those not familiar with SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), it's simply the largest aftermarket trade show in the world. Like most trade shows and conventions, you've got to be part of the "business community" to attend. Not to worry. The show ran from November 4 to 7, and Sport Truck was there. We'll bring you extensive show coverage in our March '09 issue.

Some SEMA facts: Over 2,000 manufacturers, vehicle modifiers, and parts makers plied their products to over 100,000 visitors at the annual fall gathering that consumes the entire Las Vegas Convention Center (nearly 2 million square feet). The 2008 show was full of introductions, including the '09 Ford F-150, Dodge Ram 1500, and Hummer H3T. The imports also had a presence, but the domestics ruled Vegas this year. Until the March issue, here's a sampling of what was at the show:

Chrysler&Dodge
Right now, Dodge is smoking. In the past couple of months, it introduced the new Challenger (which is already on sale, while the Camaro isn't) and the all-new Ram 1500.

Among the many customized Challengers and Rams that were spread across SEMA's three halls, we especially liked this Ram R/T at the Chrysler exhibit.

The starting point is a stock '09 Dodge Ram Sport with two-wheel drive painted Chrysler's classic code "B5" blue. According to Chrysler sources, the concept truck development team wanted this Ram to be "customer reproducible" using nothing more than a new Ram, a Mopar Accessories catalog, and a credit card. If you were to create the above yourself, individual charges on your plastic statement would include: a Mopar dual snorkel aluminum hood, cold-air intake, dual exhaust, and carbon-fiber accent stripes. Fuel gets to the tank after passing through a Challenger-inspired fuel filler.

General Motors
GM paid big bucks to get its '10 Camaro to be "The Official Car of SEMA 2008." We'll let other mags cover the return of GM's yet-to-go-on-sale pony car while we focus on trucks you can buy. Within GM's exhibit was a factory-customized Pontiac G8 Sport Truck and Hummer H3T.

While these trucks were standard SEMA hot, the Wildgator Silverado broke new ground. Stadium racer Bobby Brown plans on driving this Sierra to the events in which he competes. It's fully street-legal while being fully race-prepped. The 4-inch lift by CST keeps the suspension's stock geometry and steering. Boa-Tec Industries produces the fiberglass hood that covers a modified 6.0-liter. The trucks racing seats are crafted by Mastercraft.

10 Mostly Worthless Facts
1. Connecting rod bolts are the highest loaded fasteners in an entire engine.

2. The apex of a corner is the point where you go from coming into it, to where you are coming out of the corner. This is usually the spot where you begin accelerating out of the corner.

3. A radiator hydrometer tests the specific gravity of coolant/antifreeze. Weak concentrations allow freeze-up on cold days and also lower the boiling point. Excessive concentrations adversely impact the expansion rate of the coolant/water mix.

4. Your truck's rim offset determines the overall track width and frame clearance to your wheels.

5. A stroker crankshaft increases the travel of the pistons as they move from bottom dead center to top dead center of an engine cylinder.

6. Installing solid or mechanical roller lifters into your engine will require periodic adjustments of the lash between the valves and rocker arms.

7. Early GM truck engines featured a sediment bowl on the fuel pump or carburetor fuel line. The sediment screen trapped debris much like a modern fuel filter.

8. In 1929, Ford sold almost 78,000 Model A trucks.

9. Dry-paper air filter elements do a great job of filtering out debris but can clog quickly in dusty environments. That means you guys in Arizona and Texas.

10. Ford's first all-new vehicle built after World War II was the '48 F-series pickup.

Rip Leo
With much sadness, Long Motor Corporation announces the passing of its founder and owner Leo William Long on August 19, 2008. Mr. Long has left a large footprint in the automotive industry.

Mr. Long was orphaned at a very young age and sent to Kansas City to live with his maternal aunt and uncle. Learning early in life that he would need to work hard for what he wanted, he had an excellent work ethic. Mr. Long joined the Boy Scouts and earned his God and Country and Eagle Scout award. After graduating from high school, serving six years in the United States Marine Corps, and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kansas, Mr. Long began his career as an engineer and then went on to become the Chief Engineer.

Always involved with cars as a hobby, he began selling car parts in 1975. In 1979, the business went under and he lost everything. He started over in 1981, founding Long Motor Corporation, dba Victoria British Ltd., LMC Truck, and Black Dragon Automotive. Mr. Long repaid all of his debts from his first business endeavor and went on to build the successful "machine." Mr. Long understood the importance of making the customer happy, creating catalogs to make it easy for car and truck enthusiasts to see what they need, having quality parts in stock, getting the orders shipped out quickly and accurately.

From nothing, Mr. Long built Victoria British Ltd., a direct marketing company offering parts for Austin Healey, MG, Triumph, and Sunbeam. Importing parts directly from England, he continually offered more parts for more models. Victoria British Ltd. became a British Motor Heritage Approved distributor in 1987.

In the spirit of "Keep 'em on the Road," Mr. Long added parts for Datsun Z cars in 1985. Shortly after, parts and accessories for the Mazda RX7 were added. This added thousands of part numbers to the catalogs and inventory. This is when Victoria British Ltd. moved to the present facility at 14600 W. 107th Street in Lenexa.