By Fredy Ramirez
SEMA is gearing up for the 2019 Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition, set to take place during the SEMA Show, and the list of competitors keeps growing longer as November approaches. SEMA eNews will highlight several vehicles each week leading up to the Show. This week’s featured builds include: Rod Nielsen’s ’56 Ford COE 800, Luke Merrill’s ’40 Chevrolet two-door sedan and Steve Keefer’s ’68 Chevrolet Camaro.
Rod Nielsen, ’56 Ford COE 800
Rod Nielsen, the reigning BOTB Sports Compact champion, returns to test a new category with his Ford COE 800. The truck is powered by a Cummins twin-turbo engine and backed by a six-speed transmission. The modifications on the body are plentiful and include a hand-built sleeper. The suspension includes a modified bagged chassis.
Luke Merrill, ’40 Chevrolet Two-Door Sedan
Former Top 12 Young Gun Luke Merrill is building this vehicle for his mom. It laid dormant in the family garage since 1990, and then he decided to bring it back to life. The build’s profile features a widebody front and rear. The engine is a 5.7L V8 with FiTech injection. The interior features a one-off dash with Autometer instrumentation.
Steve Keefer, ’68 Chevrolet Camaro
A Top 40 contestant last year, Steve Keefer returns in hopes of cracking the Top 12 at the 2019 Show. He returns with the finished version of the ’68 widebody Camaro that he debuted at last year’s Show. He has since made subtle modifications to the body, which features many one-off parts. The interior also includes one-off designs. The chassis and suspension come courtesy of Chassis Works.