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March 2013 Trail's End - Editorial

Best Of Sema 1984 Page 1
Ken Brubaker
| Senior Editor, Four Wheeler
Posted March 1, 2013
Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

Best Of The 1984 SEMA Show

What were you doing in March of 1984?

Editor Cappa says, “I was doing what most 7th graders do. I was busy picking my nose and failing typing class. I always loved monster trucks when I was younger, but I had only just been introduced to 4x4 magazines during silent reading time in Mrs. Barr’s art class. I really wanted a lifted ’78-’79 Ford F-150 stepside 4x4. I was sure that was the coolest truck ever.”

Technical Editor Mansour says, “I was a little over a year old, so I was probably drooling and pooping my pants… a lot.”

Senior Editor Brubaker says, “I was working at a local newspaper, allegedly in vehicle maintenance, but more often found in the photography department pestering the staff photographers in an effort to learn their craft.”

Four Wheeler was highlighting new products from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, much like we’ve done in this issue. Some of the names from back then are familiar today, while others have vanished. For example, the best new off-road product award at the 1984 SEMA Show went to a company that is still a powerhouse in winch manufacturing, Warn. The award was for Warn’s then-new 12,000-pound winch that we said was what you needed “…if your idea of fun is a full-size truck and 12-ft. camper on top of Half Dome…” Another winch company mentioned in the story was called Rule and it trotted out a line of new winches including a 6,000-pound unit that weighed only 72 pounds. Dick Cepek rolled out three new tires; a larger Fun Country, the Off Roader, and an improved Mud Country II. Offenhauser offered the parts to hang the four-barrel carburetor of your choice on your Iron Duke four-cylinder engine. Doug Nash Engineering introduced an auxiliary transmission that replaced the tailhousing on a TH400 or Ford C6 transmission and it offered overdrive, underdrive, or a standard gear ratio. House of Steel, Dirtline, Mercury Tube, and Hobrecht all displayed a wide variety of bumpers.

“. . .the best new off-road product award at the 1984 SEMA Show went to a company that is still a powerhouse in winch manufacturing, Warn.”

Also in the story we highlighted the Cars and Concepts “super woody” kit for the dash of the S-10 or S-15 Chevy as well as a non-functional hood scoop. The company also offered an air dam and side pieces that we wrote “should improve your mileage.” No mention was made of how it affected trail performance. If that didn’t pique reader interest, the Top Off hardtop convertible kit (said to install in only six hours) must’ve left ’em speechless.

And then there was the Happy Hook Up, “…a system that works with your trailer hitch and dash-mounted meter to guide you to the trailer without all those trips to the back of the rig.” We can’t think of a better place than Vegas to roll out a product with that name.

In the end, both you and the Four Wheeler staff have changed dramatically since 1984. The content at the SEMA Show has changed too, but it’s still the place to go to see what’s hot.

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