SEMA – which stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association – is one of the biggest automotive shows in the USA, occupying 1 million-plus square feet and all four halls in Las Vegas’ convention enter each year. Around 135,000 car and truck nuts show up annually to witness the latest and upcoming trends in vehicle modifications and innovations.
This year, there was one presentation evoking a fan frenzy more similar to the presence of a rock star than a vehicle, a challenging accomplishment at an event filled with ultra-exclusive rides.
Ten years after the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) led an award-winning all-female Ford Mustang Build, a new team of SBN women volunteers assembled to modify a Ford Bronco four-door Wildtrak provided by Ford’s Bronco brand. It was unveiled on 2nd November to thunderous, long-standing cheers.
“This is an incredible day,” said Kathyn Reinhardt, member of the SEMA Board of Directors, chairwoman of SEMA Cares, and 2015 SEMA Person of the Year. “All these women from around the United States had the chance to get hands-on experience modifying this vehicle from the ground up.”
150 women from diverging backgrounds found themselves starting from scratch, face-to-face with the nuts and bolts of auto building and using 150,000 women-hours over a 6-week period to get ready for their SEMA close-up.
The Bronco features an vast list of modifications including a beefed-up powertrain and suspension as well as hardier wheels and tyres. The interior received modifications to its electrical and lighting systems, and its exhaust and intakes have been upgraded.
Work began in July 2022 at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California and completed at the SEMA Garage in Detroit.
“Some of them didn’t know what they were doing,” said Reinhardt. “Some of them never so much as changed a tyre. And guess what? Now all of those women know how to do all of those things. They have a newfound confidence. They were totally supported to achieve in the automotive aftermarket in a field wholly dominated by men. Every year we have more and more women getting interested and learning to build their own beauty.”
Ford donated the Bronco to the project. “It’s a popular vehicle and it was really hard to find one, so props to Ford,” said Reinhardt. “But all these women now have opportunities that they didn’t have before.”