July '16

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42 THE SHOP JULY 2016 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES now. Adding these upgraded bumpers and front ends can give it a kind of 'Raptor- esque' appeal that customers really like." There is some demand for accessories among the used truck market, "but right now, new trucks are where sales are at," adds Katz, noting that new technology for vehicle avoidance, with sensors installed in both front and rear bumpers, has caused manufacturers to adjust. "Before it was simply weld up some pipe and some steel and you're done. Now because of that, they've had to go back and re-engineer some of these pieces in order to be able to offer It costs a little more to buy, but you save on installation and you don't destroy the factory grille, so if you go to sell that vehicle and the next owner wants that grille, here you go." DEAD SKUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD As much as people use the looks of their vehicle to make some kind of public state- ment about themselves, it's still a toss-up whether some of the front-end upgrades are for appearance or function. It has to do with demographics and the region. "Within Texas, the category has been going strong for several years," says Katz. "The main reason was the ranchers and people who lived in rural areas have always had issues with road kill and deer and things like that, so at that point it was all about protection." He says it created an aesthetic appeal in the process that spilled over to cities like Houston, for example, where it's not so much about protection; they want their truck to have a certain look. Tift has observed a similar slight-but- noticeable shift in market demographics, which started with rural kids from the farm country east of Sarasota. 42 THE SHOP JULY 2016 Front fascias change virtually every time the OEs change a model, so they're changing every year, or two at most. (Photo courtesy Paramount Automotive) UP FRONT UP FRONT PERSONAL PERSONAL UP FRONT UP FRONT PERSONAL PERSONAL & & UP FRONT & UP FRONT & & UP FRONT & UP FRONT Some heavy-duty front end acces- sories will also require upgrades to suspensions, tires and brakes. (Courtesy Sarasota Ford) it with sensor mounts or with sensors." While there may be little interest among car owners to upgrade their grille, Tift says a "grille delete" is a more popular modifica- tion for Mustangs, which improves airflow and allows room for an intercooler. And Burnsworth brings up another trend. "Earlier, people would cut out the factory grille and install an insert, which costs less, but destroys the original grille. A more recent and a more popular approach is to unbolt the factory grille, put it in a box in case the next owner prefers the factory original, and bolt on the replacement grille.

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