The Intersection of Auto Enthusiasm, Tech and History
John Waraniak is the vice president of Vehicle Technology for SEMA. As in the “Specialty Equipment Market Association.” This is an organization made up of companies that provide what are generally considered to be aftermarket parts and equipment, especially those used by people who are customize and accessorize their vehicles. While you might picture someone who is making a hot rod that’s driven only on Sundays in sunny weather in between bouts of watching Matlock and reading the AARP magazine, that image is not entirely true, as it turns out that about a third of the accessorizers are under 30 and 82% of the vehicles are daily drivers. And 41% of the parts purchased are done so on-line.
And then there is the non-trivial fact that according to SEMA market research, this is a $44.6-billion industry. That is not a typo.
Waraniak is nothing if not enthusiastic about the auto industry. The whole industry. New. Used. Modified. He is all about doing things faster, smarter, better. And while some might think that there is a certain “olde timeyness” to modifying vehicles, it is worth noting that, as he explains on this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” he worked at Hughes Aircraft back in the 80s when General Motors bought the company and was deeply involved in tech transfer from aero to auto, tech transfer that still resonates today.
Admittedly, one of the reasons we have Waraniak on the show is because it first went up a couple days before the 25th anniversary Woodward Dream Cruise, which, according to the organizers, is the world’s biggest cruise, bringing cars of all configurations to the street that is synonymous with serious automotive history.
It is because of things like the Dream Cruise that Dodge has rolled out with the 717-horsepower 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition. They’ll be building 501 of them, the same number of vehicles as the 1969 Dodge Daytona. It is a vehicle that looks back to the past, but which has highly advanced technology.
Which is pretty much what the conversation with Waraniak—along with Henry Payne, auto critic at the Detroit News, Autoline’s John McElroy and me—is all about.
We talk about the history of the industry, Tesla (Payne is an owner of a Model 3), racing (Payne does that, too), 3D printing (McElroy is wearing a pair of shoes with soles that were printed by Carbon 3D equipment), and a whole lot more.
All of which you can see right here.
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