THE ANNUAL SEMA Show is the biggest and wildest showcase of automotive art and engineering on the planet. It brings together vehicles of all descriptions and disciplines including nut and bolt restorations, wild customs, hot rods, street machines, 4x4s, off-roaders and trucks. Builders from around the world bring their latest creations to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas to put them on the big stage.
But the SEMA Show is not your average car show. It’s a trade show, so there’s business to be conducted and thousands of products and services from a global pool of manufacturers and suppliers who are all on display looking for buyers.
To get more exposure for your product among so much competition, exhibitors are invited to enter their products in the New Products Showcase. 4X4 Australia attends the show as a judge for the Global Media Awards program, which includes 30 judges from media around the world. Some 3000 products to suit all types of vehicles make it in to the showcase and the GMA judges are asked to select 10 products that would do well in our market.
Here is 4x4 Australia’s selection for the 2019 show.
Cooper Tires Evolution M/T
Many Australians love their Cooper tyres for four-wheel driving and touring, so any new product from the American brand is exciting. The Evolution M/T is a new muddy from the team at Cooper, and it will sit in the range between the existing STT Pro and the ST Maxx 4x4 products.
Employing ‘Earth Diggers’ to give the user more traction and ‘Mud Slingers’ to keep the tread clear, this tyre is made to get you through the rough stuff. It’s tough, too, using Cooper’s cut- and chip-resistant rubber compound and heavy-duty sidewalls to protect against punctures. The Cooper Evolution M/T is available through your local Cooper Tires dealer.
Icon Vehicle Dynamics Ford Ranger coil-overs
The Ford Ranger is a new vehicle to the US market and the aftermarket brands are jumping on board to get products for it. One such brand is the manufacturer of quality suspension systems, Icon Vehicle Dynamics.
Icon’s 2.5-inch remote reservoir coil-overs for the 2019 Ranger feature the brand’s height-adjustable coil-over design with a 10-way adjustment for dampening control to improve ride and handling. Unfortunately for us, these are for the US-made Ford Ranger and will not fit directly into our models yet, but Icon is working on more products for the Aussie market.
More info www.iconvehicledynamics.com.
MSA 4x4 Towing Mirrors
We love seeing Australian 4x4 brands represented on the world stage at SEMA, and this was the first time MSA 4x4 Accessories had its kit here. On display were the new MSA 4x4 Towing Mirrors, a product we have had a bit of experience with and have grown to love.
The MSA mirrors are unlike other towing mirrors in that they’re not strapped onto your factory mirrors, nor do they look like elephant ears flapping on each side of your fourby like truck mirrors. The majority of 4x4s used by Aussies are smaller than US pick-up trucks and the big mirrors look out of place on them.
The MSA rectangular mirrors can be turned upright or on their side to improve rearward visibility and can extend outwards for an even better view. Cleverly, when you turn the mirrors upright or on their side the adjustment functions of electric mirrors work as normal. Likewise, any wing mirror blinkers or lights are also integrated into the MSA units.
More info www.msa4x4.com.au
Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley
Spun alloy discs in lieu of traditional snatch block pullies for vehicle recoveries have become a big thing over the last couple of years as they are simpler with no moving parts and are lighter and easier to carry, making them well-suited to use with synthetic ropes.
One problem that has come up when using these products is the possibility of the winch rope slipping out of the pulley groove if ever any slack gets into the rig. This shouldn’t happen in most 4x4 recovery situations where there should always be tension on the rope, but in some conditions such as competition or rock crawling, where a user might drive the vehicle on the winch, it is possible.
Leading American manufacturer of 4x4 recovery products, Factor 55, has come up with a solution to this potential problem with its latest recovery pulley. The Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley incorporates little rubber ‘fingers’ in the pulley groove that hold the rope in position as it becomes slack.
More info www.factor55.com
The Bracketeer Fire Extinguisher Bracket
Usually when you are fitting a fire extinguisher to your vehicle you will need to fabricate a custom bracket to mount it safely and securely. The Bracketeer is an adjustable bracket that can be fitted between your seat rails, either by using the clamping mounts or through the holes direct to the seat mounting bolts. It’s simple and safe with no need to drill holes or modify the vehicle in any way.
If you’re like us and you move from car to car on a regular basis, the Bracketeer is easily transferable between vehicles – it’s one product that fits all. You can see why fleet owners and government bodies in the USA are insisting their vehicles are fitted with fire extinguishers using the Bracketeer.
The icing on the cake came when we met the designer and owner of the Bracketeer and he greeted us with a familiar Aussie accent. Simon is an Adelaide ex-pat now living in the USA, where he designed the product.
More info www.thebracketeer.com
Pro Eagle Phoenix air jack
We’re fans of Pro Eagle’s trolley jacks that have big wheels to make them suitable for off-road use and for lifted vehicles, but this is something different from the team there. Designed more for UTVs, side-by-sides and other lightweight vehicles, the Phoenix portable air jack uses compressed CO² for a quick and easy lift.
The gas is carried in separate canisters and runs through a regulator so you can control the speed and amount of vehicle lift, more than 610mm in total.
Pro Eagle jacks and the Phoenix air jack are available through the Australian distributor, Pro Eagle Australia.
More info www.proeagle.com.au
Anyone into hardcore off-roading will know of the Atlas transfer cases from Advance Adapters (AA). They are heavy duty units designed to be tough and dependable, while giving drivers more options for gear ratios and drive selection, such as 2WD low range.
For 2019, AA debuted a kit to put its Atlas cases behind the new eight-speed transmission in Jeep JL Wrangler and JT Gladiator vehicles. The DIY install kit is designed to bolt straight in behind the stock transmission using all OE drive shafts, shifter and support member. Just the kit to get the ultimate transfer case in your new Jeep.
More info www.advanceadapters.com
RSI Smartcap Canopy
Americans call what we would call a ute canopy, a truck cap. Basically a canopy that sits on the factory ute tub. RSI (Rock Solid Industries) makes its canopy or cap (or whatever you want to call it) in South Africa, where the ‘Bakkie’ or ute is just as popular as the 4x4 ute is here. What makes the RSI Smartcap different to the plethora of fibreglass and plastic canopies we are familiar with here, is that it’s made from 409-grade stainless steel for strength and durability.
What really impressed us about the RSI canopy is the range of clever accessories available for it. These are made as swappable units that fit in behind the side windows and include a basic box, a camp kitchen with stove, and tool drawers. These are easily interchangeable to transform your canopy from weekday workhorse to weekend camper.
Then there’s the SmartRack that fits on the canopy, which slides outwards and down to make loading and unloading gear easier. All clever stuff. We didn’t realise it when we were at SEMA Show, but the RSI products are available in Australia.
More info www.rsismartcanopy.com.au
Roadster Shop RS4 Bronco chassis
Okay, we admit this is a product with a very limited market, but it was just so goddamn gorgeous that we fell in love with it. I could fit a set of wheels and tyres to the RS4 chassis and just have it on display in my pool room. The Roadster Shop is best known for its top-tier hot rod and street machine builds, but has got its boots dirty with this chassis to suit the classic Ford Bronco.
Made with adjustable triangulated 4-link suspension, Fox Racing coil-over shocks, Dana 44 and 60 diffs by Currie, and loads of neat anodised alloy machined parts, the RS4 is designed to slip straight under your classic Bronco, be it restored or hot-rodded. It’s ready to fit your choice of drivetrain and 1966 to ’77 first generation Bronco bodies. We spotted the RS4 under a couple of Bronco vehicles out on the show floor and it’s a neat fit.
More info www.roadstershop.com
Road Armor bed rack system
Jeep Gladiators were everywhere at the SEMA Show and there were some pretty trick tray set-ups on them. A product featured on some of the better builds was the TRECK Rack from Road Armor.
The TRECK rack is a bed rack that is designed to fit on a range of factory cargo tubs and give users a platform on which to mount accessories like a rooftop tent, MaxTrax, fuel, cans, lights, shovel, external speakers or a spare wheel. There’s even a bottle opener available to fit. The rack is height-adjustable to three heights and can be swapped between vehicles.
More info www.roadarmor.com
By Matt Raudonikis | Photos: Cristian Brunelli, 03 Dec 2019 Gear