Auto Industry News: SEMA Reveals, Crew Cab Dream Build, Tariff Trouble, & Z Car Love

This week’s Auto Industry News gets back into the lives of the doers. Poised to rock the automotive world once again are star-studded SEMA reveals intended to blow you away. And in the spirit of impressive builds, a regular Joe from Indiana creates an extraordinary Dodge Crew Cab with a swapped Cummins. Additionally, the reliable Z Car gets the annual love it deserves in Atlanta, and automakers pipe up about tariffs hurting U.S. industry. All that and more in this week’s Auto Industry News.

Fame, Muscle, & Brains to Round Out SEMA Reveals

With some special edition Ford F-150s and Rangers that you just have to see to believe, the automaker is stepping up its game to match the energy of SEMA 2018. With seven different concept models ranging from off-roaders to low riders, Ford aims to put on a show. But competitor Chevrolet has been teasing its SEMA reveals as well, and they are DYNAMIC. The Silverado will bring out two different iterations of the RST (Street & Off-Road) among a few other conceptual rides.

And like years past, the star power will be in full supply with super enthusiasts like Jay Leno and the Discovery Channel’s Diesel Brothers all making appearances. Most importantly, some of the brains of the collective operations will be there representing teams who competed in the Launch Pad program presented by YEN. The best young innovators will set up shop at SEMA to prove to the experts (and the market) that the future has only just begun.

1970 Dodge Crew Cab Build 

Here’s a machine straight out of a giant’s dream. Brian Wellman of southern Indiana completely reimagined his monstrous Cherry R4 Red ‘70 Dodge Crew Cab truck—with a twist. In fact, he stripped it and essentially started from scratch for the sake of its new engine.

This 1970 Dodge build is a testament to why we love this industry.

The work involved some custom reframing in order to fit a Cummins under the hood, giving this beast performance value to match its mean mug. In addition to a brand new transmission, Wellman also gave it a reworked F-250 steering box, so the truck probably handles even better than it did first off the line. Additionally, he installed Rancho dual shocks for maximum control when going off the grid and for maximum hauling performance. From the pistol grip shifters to the custom paint job, this was surely a labor of love. It’s builds like these that remind us why we burn the midnight oil.

International Z Car Convention (ZCON)

The Z Car is a quiet automotive icon. So much so, that it’s hard to believe it’s been 49 years since the original—the Datsun 240Z—made its debut. But at the International Z Car Convention in Atlanta, it is a history well remembered and celebrated.

Lovers of the Nissan, Datsun, and Infiniti brands were out in full force over the weekend, over 1200 participants strong. Folks had the hoods lifted and the beers flowing to show off what the Z Car has meant to an entire enthusiast community over almost five decades. Not only that, Nissan representatives showcased four heritage edition cars typically not seen by the public to reward their rabid devotion. Here’s to another half a century!

Auto Suppliers Seek Reprieve on Metal Tariffs

According to automakers, domestic metal supplies are not as sustainable as the Trump administration believes. So in response to that need, they’re reportedly lobbying for a grace period from the current 25 percent tariffs until enough U.S. capacity is built up.

It appears this boils down to more than a mere political spat, as some of the industry’s biggest names have voiced their frustrations. Apparently Ford Motor Co. reported taking a $1 billion profit hit because of the metals tariffs. And second-quarter commodity costs are up $300 million from a year earlier, according to GM. Ultimately, automakers want to work with the administration and provide more American steel, but they need time to stop the bleeding.

Around the Circuit

Hailie Deegan (whose team will also have a build at SEMA 2018) has earned the title of Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s K&N West Series. The moment is historic, as Deegan is the first woman at any level of NASCAR to be named ROTY. And when you look at the numbers, she was the only choice. In addition to her first NASCAR victory this season, Deegan had five Top 5 finishes and twelve Top 10s. No longer living in the shadow of her dad, Brian, Hailie has proven she is a bona fide star and the future of the sport.

The NASCAR Playoff chase somehow only gets hotter. Joey Logano took home a controversial win at Martinsville in the Round of 8 after bumping Martin Truex Jr in the final laps following a caution. Their respective crew chiefs, Todd Gordon and Cole Pearn, exchanged heated words post-race and conceded afterwards that tensions are high at this point in the post-season. With the victory, however, Logano sealed the deal as far as moving on, but Truex Jr will need to fight and he knows there is a lot of racing left. Next week the field enters November by way of Texas Motor Speedway.

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