For 14 years, the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show has served as a meeting ground for some of the biggest builders, restorers and manufacturers in the hot rod, street rod, muscle car and classic restoration markets.
Once again, it’s time to roll into Indianapolis, and we’re excited to bring you a show packed with new product introductions, exciting activities and educational offerings!
This year’s show will be unlike any other as it will take place in a brand-new location, Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts and Super Bowl XLVI-the trade show will take place right on the Colts’ home field!
The trade show floor will also feature more exhibitors than ever before, including over 25 companies that will be exhibiting for the first time.
In addition to a new location, the 2012 HRR Trade Show has many new features to offer its attendees and exhibitors, including new business seminars, more display cars than ever before and all-new events.
We’ve also revamped some of the show’s existing events to help attendees get the most out of the time they spend in Indy.
On, Wednesday, March 21, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) has once again chosen to host its Long Range Planning Meeting in conjunction with the HRR Trade Show. ARMO, a SEMA council, is inviting all restoration and hot rod industry professionals to attend the meeting, which will take place at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Meeting Room 7 from 3-5 p.m.
During the Long Range Planning Meeting, the council will update the industry on the state of its current initiatives and brainstorm new ideas for the coming year.
The new initiatives that are proposed during the meeting are then presented to SEMA to see which ones will receive funding.
For the first time, ARMO will be hosting a Networking Mixer immediately following the meeting. The mixer will give attendees and exhibitors a chance to kick off the week and get to know each other before the trade show starts. Both events are free and open to all industry professionals. ARMO membership is not required to attend either event.
Thursday, March 22, is the annual Education & Training Day, presented by SEMA’s Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA). The day will offer show attendees access to free manufacturer workshops scheduled throughout the day.
After the Education & Training Day ends for the day, all builders and restorers are invited to attend Ace’s Builder Bash, a brand-new networking event added this year. HRR columnist and upholstery shop owner Ace Eckleberry will act as host of the event, which will take place at Claddagh Irish Pub in downtown Indianapolis. Builders will have a chance to network and discuss the day’s events. The pub will be supplying appetizers and all Education & Training Day attendees will receive a $5 gift card to the pub in their show bags.
Friday, March 23, will start with a bang as the Grand Opening Breakfast kicks off the first official trade show day.
In addition to a hearty breakfast, attendees will watch as the industry’s “Camfather,” Ed Iskenderian, is presented with the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. Since its inception in 2002, this award has served to honor the pioneers and icons of the hot rodding industry, including such notable names as Wally Parks, Caroll Shelby and Jack Roush. Once again, Barry Meguiar will serve as master of ceremonies of the presentation and will sit down with Iskenderian as he regales the audience with stories about his career.
“I wouldn’t miss the breakfast,” said eight-time show attendee Mark Schoonover, owner of Classic Alternatives in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “The first hot rod I built in the 1960s had an Isky full-race 30-30 cam, chosen for its great performance and sound. I applaud the selection of Ed Iskenderian and will be at the breakfast to do just that.”
The Grand Opening Breakfast will also honor other award winners, including the seven companies that will take home this year’s Innovation Awards.
An independent team of shop owners and restorers will review the products in the New Product Showcase on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning the winners will be revealed.
In addition to the Innovation Awards, the Golden Builder Award will also be presented during the Grand Opening Breakfast. Introduced at last year’s HRR Trade Show, the Golden Builder Award is presented to the builder of one of the cars that will be on display on the trade show floor. The winner will be chosen from the over 50 hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and classic trucks by a team of judges on Thursday night.
“This year, we not only have the largest car count of featured vehicles, but also the best crop of vehicles we have ever lined up,” said Eric Saltrick of Steele Rubber Products, the featured vehicle sponsor.
“There will be several national-award-winning cars, along with a large number of debut vehicles on display. “We’ve worked very hard to include cars from every era and style, from hot rods to muscle cars,” he said. “The cars on display range in year from 1915-1977, with 50 top-quality vehicles in between.”
Chris Gray of The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, will be attending the show for the first time and will be bringing the shop’s 1967 ‘Innovator Nova.’
“[We are] looking forward to seeing the variety of vendors and vehicles at the show,” he said.
“Everyone here is proud of what we achieved with the Innovator Nova. It is definitely a car that offers something new and unique within the industry and we are delighted to showcase it whenever possible.”
“We are really looking forward to the attendees being able to see the amount of detail in the car,” he added. “It has been featured in print many times but it’s really difficult to capture that level of detail until you are looking at the car first-hand.”
Once the Golden Builder award has been presented and the Grand Opening Breakfast ends, attendees will head to the stadium field to see the display cars in person, as well as meet with exhibitors from across the United States and Canada.
The trade show floor will be filled with exciting happenings, including a pinstriper’s corner and demonstrations taking place right on the show floor.
At 2 p.m., editors of Hotrod & Restoration magazine will host the annual Restoration Roundtable, in which attendees and exhibitors meet to discuss industry issues such as pricing, marketing and social media. This open forum provides attendees a chance to talk about what issues builders are having at their shops, and allows shops to discuss solutions to these problems. The hour-and-a-half-long discussion will take place in Meeting Room 7 of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Once the trade show floor closes at 5 p.m., attendees and exhibitors are invited to Lucas Oil Plaza where the annual Industry Reception will take place. The party, which will be themed “American Made,” will feature music, all-American diner favorites and games like foosball and pool.
The second trade show day on Saturday, March 24, will kick off at 8 a.m. with four business seminars presented by ARMO.
This year, the number of Saturday business seminars has doubled, and will now include opportunities to learn how to improve your business.
At 8 a.m., Harry Weimann, an HRR contributor and director of education of Wyotech Blairsville, will moderate a panel of business owners which will feature Dennis Overholser of Painless Performance, John McLeod of Classic Instruments, Scott Whitaker of Dynamat, Vic Pompino of Ecklers and Lenny Schaefer of Chop-Shop Customs. The panelists will discuss various issues that affect small businesses in today’s current market.
Also taking place at 8 a.m. on Saturday is the “Marketing Your Small Business 101” panel discussion, in which industry experts Tyler Tanaka of CIE Studios and Saltrick of Steele Rubber, will discuss ways that small business owners can promote their businesses online at little or no cost. The seminar will be moderated by ARMO Chairman Laura Bergen of American Collectors Insurance Inc.
At 9:15 a.m., the same panel will meet again for a more in-depth discussion of small business marketing strategies.
Dick Dixon of California State University, San Bernardino, will also present an hour-long seminar at 9:15 a.m. “Sales Ethics-A Relationship Strategy” will help small business owners learn how to turn their companies into a more ethical enterprise.
The trade show floor will open at 10 a.m., giving buyers and sellers the opportunity to meet up and do business.
At 2:30 p.m., Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions will present the Interior Fabrication Workshop. The two-hour long presentation will go over how to work with various materials including Plexiglas, vinyl and OEM fabric, as well as demonstrate techniques using real-world examples.
This year’s trade show agenda has something for everyone.
“[This show allows me] to reconnect with the industry at large-the exhibitors, attendees, education sessions and the new products on display,” said Schoonover of Classic Alternatives. “The show is always well-organized and worth my time.”