Robert Matranga of Matranga Hot Rod Fabricators took the top prize in the eighth-annual SEMA Battle of the Builders competition on the final day of the 2021 SEMA Show, Friday, November 5. The SEMA Battle of the Builders competition is widely known as one of the elite platforms for builders to showcase their work and compete for the coveted top honor.
Robert Matranga took the top prize in the eighth-annual SEMA Battle of the Builders competition with his ’55 Chevy named ”Brute Force.”
The ’55 Chevy aptly named “Brute Force” beat out more than 240 in the internationally recognized competition that unfolded during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Every part of Brute Force has been scratch-built or heavily modified to reward viewers with a seemingly infinite number of details. Brute Force gets its name from the Mike LeFever-built 540ci Merlin engine that is topped with Arias Hemi cylinder heads and force-fed by a pair of Garrett turbochargers through a custom-built Hogan intake. The 1,400hp powerplant is detuned to a drivable 800 hp.
In addition to Matranga, the three finalists who round out the top four for 2021 included: Eddie Pettus with his ’61 Austin Healey Sprite (Sport Compact), Bryan Thompson with his ’34 Ford Pickup (Truck/Off-Road), and Young Gun Dayton Jacobson with his ’00 Chevrolet S10. Each builder brought their best builds to this year’s competition and were recognized with trophies in their respective classes.
Brute Force gets its name from the Mike LeFever-built 540ci Merlin engine that is topped with Arias hemi cylinder heads and force-fed by a pair of Garrett turbochargers through a custom-built Hogan intake. The 1,400-hp powerplant is detuned to a drivable 800 hp.
The four finalists of this years’ competition will be highlighted along with other featured builders in a new TV special “2021 SEMA: Battle of the Builders,” scheduled to premiere on the History Channel January 23, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. (EST).
The 2021 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition included submissions from seasoned builders as well as new customizers representing up-and-coming stars who demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks and SUVs. The Young Guns (builders 27 years and younger) category continues to evolve and expand, providing the next generation of builders with an opportunity to get their vehicles into the Battle of the Builders competition.
Industry experts narrowed down the field of 240-plus entries to the Top 40 in the remaining categories, before selecting the Top 12 builds overall, which included two women for the first time. The 12 finalists then took over judging duties and named Robert Matranga the overall winner.