TMCP #525: SEMA Show 2022 Special #3: Ron Francis Wiring Pro-Touring Update with Larry Callahan, Rick Love-New Gen 5 Vintage Air, Acme HP Lab with Solid Axle LX Conversion, Dave Smith Factory Five Racing PreRunner Chassis for Ford F150
Our Third show and Thanksgiving edition of SEMA 2022 coverage is now live! Our full team was onsite for the show and grabbed a litany of fun interviews that we know you’ll love. Some interviews were scheduled in advance, but many were new and fun discoveries found on the fly. This show has old friends and new ones which is exactly what you want from your SEMA entertainment. From a live Pro-Touring update in the Ron Francis booth, to our yearly interview with Rick Love of Vintage Air, SEMA is a great place to catch up with people and find out about new products in the industry. Enjoy!
Scott Bowers Ron Francis Wiring / Larry Callahan Pro-Touring.com: By the greatest of luck I caught up with both Larry Callahan for a Pro-Touring Update and Scott Bowers of Ron Francis Wiring. It was great to catch both of them IN the booth at the same time. Ron Francis Wiring has been a proud supporter of the segment for over a decade! This year marks the return to SEMA after a year off and Scott said that the last couple years were a struggle to keep parts on the shelf due to supplier limitations. They did create some new products including a fuel injection wiring kit for the 2.3L Turbo Eco Boost in the Mustang. This engine is 300 horsepower packed in a tiny lightweight package. They also have new relay kits and fuel injection kits also that you can check out at RonFrancis.com.
For the Pro-Touring.com segment Larry and Scott answered my question about vehicle options for a beginner or younger person to get into auto-crossing inexpensively and cheaply. They both gave a resounding answer of “Miata”. While this does not check the classic muscle box, it does provide an inexpensive platform that can be very competitive while learning about handling and momentum. Scott asked Larry how his car projects are coming and once again Larry dropped the bombshell that he is (yet again) thinking about changing drivetrains in the ’55 Bel-Air. This time he is thinking about electric power for the Classic shoe box. There are some great kits on the market to install electric power in anything that provide tons of torque and are easy to drive. Scott said that Ron Francis Wiring does not have plans yet for providing a complete install kit but they defiantly will support the EV market as it grows.
Rick Love, Vintage Air: I always look forward to catching up with certain people at SEMA and Rick Love is at the top of that list. I spoke to Rick in the Vintage Air booth about what he brought to the show this year, and the innovation this year was both massive and subtle. For years their Gen IV Sure Fit kits have been the industry standard, and this year they released the Gen V! The most noticeable difference is the move to injected plastic housings from thermoformed ones. While Thermoforming is great if done right, injected plastic opens the design up to more possibilities and added features. He also talked about a new way to make the blend doors by molding the seal right to the edge of the door. Rick said this will make for a smoother edge, a better sealing surface and a longer life span to these parts.
Vintage Air also has an ever expanding selection of “Front runners’ component kits for all of the front drive accessories on most popular engine combinations. They neatly package the A/C compressor, alternator, and even holds the water pump. Rick doubled down on this saying that Vintage Air makes it’s own water pump systems for these to make for a high quality offering at a great price. You can check it out at VintageAir.com.
Conrad Mohr, Acme Hi Performance Labs: I met Conrad Mohr in the ACME Hi Performance Labs booth in the SEMA Launchpad area. The Launchpad is comprised of the most elite (Top 10) Finalists of the 2022 competition of new companies with new products who are under 40 years old. Acme High Performance Labs made the cut and brought what was (to us) a show stopper.
They developed their own bolt in housing/cradle/suspension system to deliver a 4-link solid rear axle replacement for the IRS setup in 2005-2023 Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300’s! The end product utilized the original IRS components (rear gear, axles, etc.) and bolts directly into the car with NO CUTTING!
The change is dramatic, and substantial. It can handle an increase horsepower capabilities from around 1000hp up to 1500hp reduces/removes wheel hop during heavy acceleration. They worked together with Kevin Wesley at Westley Performance for his Pikes Peak Hill Climb Charger and were able to convert the independent rear suspension into a solid axle bolt in kit. This works well with drag racing applications and some road racing situations. Conrad also spoke about some of the other projects they have worked on including first Gen Bronco front inner fenders and firewall along with some aero space projects. Check them out at www.acmehpl.com or on Instagram.com/acmehpl.
Dave Smith, Factory Five Racing: Dave Smith, owner of Factory Five Racing was very lucky to be at the event. He recently had a water-sports accident that immobilized him for the summer but he showed up a SEMA freshly healed and is very excited about the new products they have at the show. Factory Five is well known for their years of developing high performance Cobra replicas, but this year they brought their first “off road” offering to market. In addition, it’s not a “kit car” offering at all, but a completely new off-road high suspension travel chassis replacement for aluminum bodied 2015 to 2020 Ford F150 pickups! The end result is the ability for a customer to create their own “Raptor Like” vehicle from their standard F-150. The cab, drivetrain, and wiring of the truck are all fully reutilized. Their testing has been in process for some time and they believe that within the next year they’ll be ready to put them up for sale!
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We’re proud to say that the Pro-Touring Update segment is sponsored by: the fantastic muscle car and hot rod wiring supply company, Ron Francis Wiring We are very appreciative that they are our show sponsor! Thanks, Ron Francis!