As Ford prepares to deliver its decision on whether to continue in Australian motorsport, the Blue Oval had a conspicuously large presence at the recent annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas.
Ford took centre stage at SEMA with a show of might and power in competition and performance examples of Mustangs and trucks.
Accompanying the grand indoor display was a huge outdoor “pad” where Ford offered up rides in a drifting Mustang and an F150 truck in front of major Ford Motorsport marques and viewing areas.
A large entourage of Australians were present at the show, including Ford Racing parts importer Rob Herrod, who is working with Dick Johnson Racing on performance products for cars including the new Mustang.
“SEMA is something that I have wanted to do for a while,” Murphy told Speedcafe.com in Las Vegas.
“I went with a group of repair shop guys who are working on a car of mine to look at all the research and development and get some ideas.
“You cannot imagine the size of this place until you actually come here.
“There is 150,000 here over the week or so and amazingly, I think I bumped into every Aussie or Kiwi who has come over here.”
SEMA consists of more than 6,500 companies worldwide, bringing together aftermarket manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers, media, car dealers, specialty equipment distributors, installers, retailers and restoration specialists.
The industry is now valued at around $30 billion according to SEMA estimates and includes performance and racing components, cosmetic and functional accessories, wheels and tyres, mobile electronics, safety products, restoration parts, handling equipment, drivetrain parts and more.
This year's show, which is always accessible to industry members, was attended by more than 2300 exhibitors, taking up more than one million square feet (92,300m2) of space inside and outside of the Las Vegas Convention Centre.