SEMA Show 2001


Text and Photo by John Lee


Here are some photos of the 2001 SEMA Show. This was the first SEMA show for Ho and me, so it was lots of fun to attend and see some of the products on display there.


Paris Hotel

Ho and I arrived in Las Vegas at about 2:00 a.m. Aaaahhhh, Vegas!

Of course we didn't sleep when we got there. We hit the casinos instead. I'm not much of a gambler, so I played the cheapo slots while Ho played roulette. I actually got in trouble with the pit boss for snapping that pic of Ho cheating at roulette. As Wesley Snipes said in Passenger 57, "Always bet on black!"

While we stayed up late, Ho and I were up at the crack of dawn and ready for the show. The valet at Paris was nice enough to let us park out front, so we didn't waste time retrieving Ho's Disco from the huge parking lot at Paris. Time to hit SEMA!



Here are some pics of the ARB Air Locker at the ARB booth. You can see how the ARB locker operates. The toothed gear slides toward the ring gear to lock the ARB into a spool. In the left photo, the unit is unlocked. The unit is locked in the right photo.



Jeep had several vehicles on hand, and not just show vehicles. There were several examples of the new Jeep Liberty.


Land Rover

Land Rover was at SEMA as part of Ford's larger display. Aston Martin, Volvo, and Jaguar were also present as part of Ford's premium vehicle display.

It was funny running into Quinn Dusenberry at the Land Rover exhibit. Ho told me, "If we hang out at the Land Rover display, I'll bet you we see a bunch of Roverheads." Ho was right.

Ford's main attraction was the Kalahari Disco II built by Safari Gard. For added sexiness, Land Rover put the Kalahari vehicle on wheel stands to show off the articulation.

Quinn and his buddies inspect the suspension on the Kalahari vehicle. These guys are avid offroaders and gear-heads, so they were eager to see what kind of suspension mods Safari Gard had done.

Here are some views of the Kalahari's front suspension. Note that the forward cross-member that comes fitted to all Disco II's has been removed to make clearance for the front driveshaft. This is definitely not a good thing to do.

Rear suspension consists of reservoir shocks from Fox Racing Shox and taller rear coils.

The Kalahari is fitted with HID lights from Hella. These three lights cost more than all of the lights on my vehicle.

Here are some photos of the Callaway Freelander on display. Presumably, this Freelander is a pocket rocket. The Ford representative would neither confirm nor deny that Land Rover will sell a Callaway Freelander.



Sway-A-Way was on hand to display some of its many models of coilover racing shocks. The bypass shock second from the right looks pretty mean.

Here is a photo of a Sway-A-Way shock on the rear of a SCORE International racing truck. Really impressive stuff.


Optima Batteries

Optima Batteries' booth had some interesting cutaways of its Spiralcell Technology and other Optima Batteries.



The main attraction of Tractech's display was this rockcrawling buggy built by Currie Enterprises. This vehicle is based on the Jeep, but has been narrowed considerably.

Star of Tractech's differential show was the new Electrac. The Electrac is a lockable Truetrac. Contrary to previous rumors, the Electrac is a spool when engaged. In the left photo, the unit is unlocked and operates like a standard Truetrac. When the user presses a button, the locking mechanism slides toward the ring gear to lock the unit into a spool. The locking mechanism is driven by a worm gear contained within the black plastic box on the exterior of the axle. Hardly bulletproof but at least you have a Truetrac if the unit should fail in the field.

Here the Tractech representative demonstrates the Electrac in action to Ho. The display contains a transfer case that is always cranking. With the Electrac unlocked, it is possible to hold one of the front wheels momentarily while the other is turning. With the Electrac engaged, both front wheels turn at the exact same speed.

Tractech's booth contained numerous demonstration models of its traditional locker products. These are photos of the Detroit Locker, Tractech's most famous and popular product. Turn both wheels in the same direction and the unit is fully locked. Turn one wheel one way and the other wheel the other way, and the toothed clutch plates separate and permit the unit to differentiate.

"Aaaaaah, so THAT's how a Detroit Locker works!"

Here is a photo of the famous Truetrac Limited Slip Differential. Unlike most limited slips, the Truetrac operates via gears rather than clutch packs. Thus, the Truetrac requires no special lubricants or friction modifiers and the Truetrac takes a very long time to wear out.

Here is a photo of the Detroit E-Z Locker. This unit is designed for customers who wish to save money by retaining their differential's carrier. The E-Z Locker is thus considerably cheaper than a Detroit Locker, but weaker due to retention of the open carrier.

Here is Tractech's Gearless Locker. Unlike other locker designs, the Gearless Locker uses steel clutch plates. When both wheels are driven together, the clutch plates compress together in such as fashion as to make them solid and give spool-like performance. When differentiation is required, the clutch plates separate. Operation of the Gearless Locker is said to be very smooth and transparent. Unfortunately, the Gearless Locker is not currently available for Land Rover applications.



WeatherTech had a Kalahari Freelander on hand for display purposes. It seems WeatherTech is the OE provider of Freelander floor mats.

Ho admires the lights atop the Freelander.

Here is a close-up of the lights Ho was admiring. Also visible is the waterproof packaging atop the Freelander's roof rack.

Here is a side view of both the Freelander and the WeatherTech storage packs. Like almost all Land Rover Special Vehicles, this Freelander is equipped with the Hella RTC8921AA worklamps. The spare tire is interesting. The Weathertech representative told me these tires were custom made for the Freelander. I doubt that, but it's certainly possible. I could not find any manufacturer's markings on the tires as they had been been polished out.

This Kalahari Freelander was equipped with diamondplating on the sills. Not the protection afforded by rock sliders, but certainly better than nothing.

This photo is not very revealing, but I had a good opportunity to examine this Freelander up close and the interior is pretty nice. I wouldn't mind at all having this truck as my daily driver.

Here is a close-up of the Freelander's brush guard/skid plate. This is made by Safety Devices and is the same brush guard fitted to the 1998 Camel Trophy vehicles. Clearance under the skid plate was very small.

What appear to be Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws at first glance are not. These tow jaws differ in several ways. The head of the pin has only one flange while the Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws have two and a D-ring to hold the chain tether. The tip of the pin is also flattened while Dixon-Bate tow jaws are round. This tow jaw also has cable tethers instead of the chain tethers common to Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws. Finally, the cotter pin used to retain the pin is of a completely different design to R-clip used on Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws.



Here are some photos of the Powertrax Lock-Rite locker. This locker is very similar to the E-Z Locker from Tractech. In the left photo, the Lock-Rite is locked. In the right photo, the Lock-Rite is unlocked.



The WARN booth contained some interesting cutaway models of its winches. The winch on the left is a HS9500i and the winch on the right is an M15000. When I questioned the WARN representative about whether WARN intended to market a worm-driven winch, he replied that WARN did not require a worm-driven winch because it's current winches could handle any winching application. He further added that a worm-driven winch is highly inefficient and that WARN winches required a brake inside their drums because planetary gears are so efficient. Whatever.



Bilstein's booth had lots of sexy racing shocks on display for Ho and me to drool over.

A very interesting display at the Bilstein booth contained a transparent shock that could be pressurized and depressurized, all while the the shock was mechanically compressed and decompressed. In the left photo, the shock is pressurized with gas. While the piston is cycling and oil is surging through the shock's valves, there is no cavitation/aeration of shock's oil. In the right photo, the oil is highly aerated by the loss of pressure inside the shock. In fact, the oil aerates on the first stroke of the piston. Equally remarkable is that the aeration disappears immediately when the shock is again pressurized with air. In case you think Bilstein is pulling a fast one on you, Bilstein also has a hand-held unit with which you can demonstrate to yourself the difference between a gas-charged shock and a hydraulic shock. The difference is remarkable.



Superwinch had several winches on hand at SEMA. Here is a photo of the Superwinch Husky 10, my favorite winch.



JAC's booth had a Disco II with a unique roof rack. I am still not sure if this rack is a JAC unit, or if the newest Disco II's will come with this rack. I thought this rack was a JAC unit unit until I saw the Kalahari Disco II at the Land Rover exhibit, which has similar bars on its roof.



A company called Rosen also had a Disco II on display. I'm not quite sure what function this Disco II performs for Rosen. I thought Rosen manufactured the DVD display pictured above, but Land Rover's promotional literature shows this same display as being an option on the newest Disco II's. Perhaps Rosen is the OE supplier for this unit? I have no idea.



Michelin had several vehicles on display, but this is the one that caught my eye. I believe this is last year's Benetton Formula 1 race car. This car was gutted, but some details were still visible. Almost every metal piece on this car has that dark, titanium-like color to it. Quite possibly everything is titanium on this car.


Tuffy Products

Tuffy Products had its demonstrator TJ on hand to show off all of the Tuffy security products. This TJ had it all.



Here are some photos of one of the miniature Monster Trucks from Patriot Racing. This is a toy, but it is a very serious toy. This mini truck had coilover suspension and four-wheel steering. All of the parts on this truck are small, but everything there is the real deal.

Ho poses beside one of the Patriot Racing mini trucks to show how small they are. If you are into this sort of thing and have money to burn, this may be the ideal Christmas present for you.



Here is a pimped out Aztec. What was Pontiac thinking?

SEMA also has the big items in addition to the miniature items. Ho poses in front of the Bigfoot monster truck. This is one big truck.

LandRunner vehicles had a sample on hand. Apparently, LandRunner takes Jeeps and "Hummerizes" them.

Here's Ho at the uh, er, actually, I don't can't remember whose booth this was. I wasn't paying attention.

Here is a photo of the new Mini. The new Mini is considerably larger than the original Mini, probably to give this vehicle a larger appeal to non-enthusiasts.

Here is a pimped-out Suzuki Grand Vitara. This vehicle had a 5" body lift, steel bumpers, and Super Swamper tires. I am not familiar with the Vitara and whether it is as deadly as the Suzuki Samurai on the trails. Until I know more, I know enough not poke fun at Grand Vitaras.

Here is another booth whose sponsor I cannot recall.

If you're into pimp, there is plenty for you at SEMA. These shiny exhausts would fit a pimped out Land Rover perfectly.

Here is a Nissan Xterra, modified by Calmini Manufacturing. I wonder if that spare wheel carrier comes with a periscope? How else would the driver be able to see anything behind him?



SEMA Show 2002
SEMA Show 2003
SEMA Show 2004
SEMA Show 2005