Hopperstad Customs


Fatman Fabrications


Santini Paint & Body


No Joke Upholstery


SEMA News—November 2011

Hot-Rod Builders Race for the Children

Finely Crafted Builder’s Cars to Be Auctioned for Charity

By Chad Simon

The custom-designed pinewood cars featured in the Builder’s Challenge, which is part of the annual Pinewood Drag Races sponsored by the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), will be autographed by the builders and displayed at the 2011 SEMA Show’s HRIA booth. The drags were held in conjunction with SEMA’s Leadership Days, July 29, at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California.

After the SEMA Show, 13 custom pinewood cars will be up for auction via eBay, and the proceeds will go to the children’s charities Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.

Participating builders included industry luminaries Art Morrison, Fatman Fabrications, Fesler Concepts, Hollywood Hot Rods, Hopperstad Customs, Johnny’s Auto Trim, Kaucher Kustoms, No Joke Upholstery, Rich Evans Designs, Santini Paint & Body, Spanky’s Hot Rods, Spitzer Concepts and Street Vizions.

The HRIA Builder’s Challenge cars were crafted by an incredible class of hot-rod builders, but in the end Derek White of Street Vizions successfully defended his title, winning the series of races for the second consecutive year. Rich Evans Designs was the runner up.

“All the guys at the shop had a great time building the pinewood derby car for the Builder’s Challenge,” White said.

“When John Menzler from COMP Cams and Eric Saltrick from Steele Rubber Products asked us to compete two years ago, we never thought we would win, but to win two years in a row really surprised us. It’s for a great cause, and we hope to keep doing it. All of the other competitors are great…I guess we’ll have to watch out for Rich Evans next year, since he has been the closest to us so far.”

Each pinewood derby builder was given four months to complete the car, with no design limitations or rules imposed except that the car had to fit the track’s dimensions and no propulsion systems were allowed.

Saltrick, an HRIA member, has been involved in the Pinewood Drag Races since its inception in 2008 and coordinated the hot-rod builder event. The race came to fruition at the 2009 SEMA Show, when Saltrick, fellow HRIA member Menzler and HRIA Chairman Rick Love of Vintage Air decided to walk the Show floor and ask every well-known hot-rod builder to participate.

“They all jumped at the opportunity,” Saltrick said. “We wanted to get the hot-rod community involved, and we have many hot-rod builders lined up to do it again next year. We’ve also got young builders involved to help give them some exposure.”

The 2011 HRIA Builder’s Challenge was a huge hit, according to Love.

“The creativity and craftsmanship on these cars is truly amazing, and the racing this year was closer than ever,” he said. “Plan to come by and see them up close at the SEMA Show. HRIA will again work with eBay to auction these one-of-a-kind creations to benefit the children of Victory Junction Camp and Childhelp. Both of these charities do a tremendous job, and this program is another example of HRIA’s membership really stepping up to support our youth and these worthwhile organizations.” The eBay auction will take place November 1–10. Simply search “HRIA Pinewood” on eBay for your chance to own a custom hot rod from a legendary builder.


Rich Evans Designs


Fesler Concepts


Spitzer Concepts

Kaucher Kustoms


Art Morrison


Johnny’s Auto Trim


Hollywood Hot Rods


Spanky’s Hot Rods


Street Vizions


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