By Juan Torres
Henry Song won Young Guns at AutoCon New York with his BMW 135i and will now compete in the prestigious SEMA Battle of the Builders contest at the 2017 SEMA Show.
By winning the Young Guns category at AutoCon New York in June with his ’09 BMW 135i, 26-year-old Henry Song will be able to do something he had always wanted to do—attend the SEMA Show.
For his victory, Song was awarded a spot in one of the industry’s most prestigious vehicle build competitions—the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders—held at the exclusive 2017 SEMA Show, October 31–November 3. He will now go head-to-head against hundreds of vehicles from top builders in the world at the trade-only event in Las Vegas.
“Attending the SEMA Show is a bucket-list item, but showcasing my car at SEMA is something I never imagined doing,” said Song. “I’m excited, nervous and stressed—in a good way.”
Battle of the Builders participants get a chance to participate in the SEMA Cruise during SEMA Ignited and possibly be featured in the Battle of the Builders TV special, which makes it possible for consumers to connect with manufacturers and see the great new products and trends that debut at the SEMA Show.
In an effort to support young builders and recognize them as the future of the industry, SEMA created the Young Guns regional program this year and partnered with car shows to highlight builders 27 years old or younger, six of whom will be sent to the 2017 SEMA Show.
“We partnered with AutoCon, Bonnier and Goodguys, due to the excellence of their shows and to recognize and encourage participation of young builders from around the country,” said SEMA Vice President of Marketing, PR and Communications Ira Gabriel. “The youth are essential to our industry. There are many amazing and talented younger vehicle builders who can look to the SEMA Show and Battle of the Builders and get excited about our industry.”
“I think it’s a great move because SEMA has a very big influence on the automotive industry and culture,” said Song. “People have always known that the car culture in the West is on a different scale in terms of population, competition and innovation. I think it’s great that some of the West Coast car culture has trickled out to the East Coast with car shows slowly expanding out to the region.”
Song’s BMW 135i, which features Avery Supreme Gloss Dark Grey vinyl wrapping and APEX PS-7 wheels, is actually a converted 135i that he’s had since November 2015.
“I started my 135i project sometime around April 2016 and finished everything up by October 2016,” said Song. “I couldn’t justify the price of buying a 135i—they hardly depreciate—so I decided to build one myself.”
SEMA Show builders interested in gaining national exposure by showcasing their cars and parts through the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition have until Friday, September 1, to register at www.sema.org/botb. Only feature or booth vehicles that have been accepted by SEMA for display at the 2017 SEMA Show and are not currently under an embargo at the time of entry will be considered for the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders.