2021 Battle of the Builders
A Survey of This Year’s Aspirants
Compiled by SEMA News Editors
Since the inception of the SEMA Show’s annual Battle of The Builders (BOTB) event in 2014, the nationwide competition series that culminates at the Show each November has become one of Show Week’s most anticipated events. While the cancellation of last year’s Show forced the competition to be held remotely, BOTB is back for 2021 with myriad offerings from the many builders and fabricators who’ve spent untold thousands of shop-hours in the past year to transform their automotive dreams into reality.
As of press time, some of the vehicles were only renderings, while others were completed builds and others still were in various states of progress. SEMA Show booth assignments for many of the vehicles were also pending at the time of publication, so confirmed appearances are noted in the text. Due to space constraints, we’re unable to publish every single entry received, but thanks to all for your support and dedication to the craft.
Neil Tjin, Laguna Niguel, California
’19 Ford Mustang Mach-E
The first of what eventually promises to be many Ford Performance EVs to enter BOTB, this Mach-E features numerous custom touches, starting with the Porsche Signal Yellow Orange paint and the custom front splitter, side skirts, rear valance and color-matched flares. The car rides on a one-off, fully adjustable Air Lift suspension and turns custom Rotiform rims and Falken tires that are braked by a custom Baer disc kit. Also on board are an e-bike and a boogie board mounted on a Yakima rack system, and custom LED lights provide illumination. Inside, the Ford sports a custom all-white interior with Recaro seats and a Kicker audio system, and custom solar panels can be found on the rear window and roof.
Mike Tilley, Runnels, Iowa
’70 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Built for speed, this ’70 Mustang sports a supercharged ’14 Shelby 5.8L GT500 engine that pumps out 800 hp. Backing it is a Tremec six-speed transmission, and a Mustang II front suspension incorporates rack-and-pinion steering. In the back, a Currie 9-in. rearend and a custom four-link coil-over suspension are integrated within a tubular subframe; Wilwood disc brakes bring the steed to a stop. Custom-molded ground effects adorn the exterior, as do a hand-built hood and deck lid, a custom front spoiler, tucked bumpers, flush door handles, shaved drip rails and painted graphics. A custom leather interior hosts modern amenities such as air conditioning and a digital instrument panel, and a custom center console and billet button array provide both enhanced functionality and aesthetics.
John Wargo, Flanagan, Illinois
’67 Chevrolet Nova
Booth: Sony Car Audio, #12229
Scarcely a stock body panel can be found on this Chevy, starting with the channeled body and shaved trim and rails and continuing on to the Tesla door handles, the flip-forward hood, a laser-cut grille and tucked bumpers. Then there’s the carbon-
fiber wing and ground effects, custom multicolor paint, relocated headlights, flushed LED markers, and the custom rear diffuser and smoothed firewall and engine-bay panels. Under the hood is an LSX engine that’s backed by a Tremec T56 transmission and a narrowed GM 12-bolt rearend. The suspension is courtesy of Air Lift, and Wilwood discs brakes provide stopping power. Inside, the all-custom interior sports a 5,000-watt Sony audio system and a 9-in. touchscreen.
Omar Cabrera, Dinuba, California
’95 Nissan 240SX S14
Booth: Mackin Industries, #22913 and #22813
A former Banzai and Super Street cover ride, this right-hand-drive conversion features a swapped-in Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine outfitted with a Tomei Titanium exhaust, a Mishimoto radiator and a Wiring Specialties pro harness. Backing the motor is a 370Z transmission, and an Air Lift suspension with extended adjustable control arms helps locate a set of Volk Racing TE37 wheels that are halted by a set of CTS-V brakes. Exterior mods include a Uras Type-GT body kit, a JDM grille, Origin front and rear fenders and panels, custom LED headlights and Lamborghini paint. Inside, the Nissan sports a complement of Bride Euroster seats along with a Cusco rollcage and seat harnesses. Tanabe gauges monitor underhood
Paul Garcia, Fairfield, California
’99 Nissan Skyline R34 GTR V Spec
According to its builder, this Midnight Purple ’99 V Spec is one of 282 ever made and is U.S.-legal under the NHTSA Show or Display exemption. A period-correct example of early-’00s JDM styling, the Nissan runs an upgraded 2.8L HKS motor with a single HKS turbo and a host of Nismo parts (including some that are not even produced anymore) to push out a total of 754 hp. Bringing all that power under control is a Midori Seibi big-brake setup that, the builder claimed, is “the first and only BBK of this kind that has been sent out of Japan for the build.” Inside, a full host of interior upgrades spans the Mines product catalog, and a set of limited-production Bride Venus seats are bolted in place of the stockers.
Cole Marten, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
’91 Nissan R32 GTR
Booth: Oracle Lighting, #20547
Said to be sporting the world’s first all-wheel-drive 2JZ engine conversion, this Nissan runs a unique custom left-hand-drive steering setup nestled in a custom dash. Beside it is a custom center console atop a custom trans tunnel that accommodates a touchscreen laptop and a race display “so I can tune on the fly,” Marten said. The turbocharged powerplant, assembled from a bare block, is built to produce up to 1,000 hp. The custom-tubed front end has been shaved to give the engine a floating look, with no visible wiring or rubber hoses. In the rear, custom-molded bodywork and tubing allow a 6-in. increase in vehicle width. The car rolls on builder-fabricated three-piece rims, and the undercarriage and all related components have been powdercoated.
Josh Sanders, Enumclaw, Washington
’59 Chevrolet Corvette
The goal of this project, its builder said, was to retain the look and feel of a ’59 Corvette exterior, with only mild changes to the vehicle stance and trim details, but to go full custom under the hood, along with the frame, underbody and interior. Resting between the framerails of an Art Morrison IRS chassis lies an LS7 engine that’s backed by a T-56 Magnum transmission. “The engine bay was a blank slate for me to design and build inner fenders and an intake cover that has its design pulled from the exterior and is easily serviceable,” Sanders said. Other custom-built components include a stainless exhaust, metal-shaped aluminum panels, custom-machined hardware, a custom nose replacement, foldup taillights, and custom wheel tubs, paint, wiring, plumbing and panel fitment.
Andy Siradakis, Ada Township, Michigan
’19 Chevrolet Corvette
This all-new C8 widebody build hosts 29 carbon-fiber components, including the forged composite complete fender replacements, the rear spoiler and the carbon aero hood and accent pieces that are inspired by the Ferrari 488 Pista. The car rolls on a custom air ride/coil-over suspension system and boasts a straight-pipe mid-bumper titanium exhaust. The Corvette is also equipped with what’s said to be the world’s largest C8 brake set, which incorporates custom-built 435mm front rotors and billet eight-piston calipers as well as 395mm rear rotors with billet six-piston calipers. A custom interior and engine bay package are among the C8’s many other notable features.
Phil Rohr, Warrenton, Oregon
’63 Chevrolet Chevy II
As with many new restomods, this altered-wheelbase Chevy II was built to convey an old-school feel but with modern-day tech. The front and rear axles have been moved forward 12 in., while the engine has been moved back 12 in. The car runs an all-aluminum EFI 540ci big-block topped with a Blower Shop 8-71 blower, and the engine powers a G-Force five-speed. The radiator tanks were built of billet aluminum, and the front fenders were stretched 12 in. towards the rear “to give it that F/X look.” Every bracket on the car is custom built and features identical styling and scalloping. The front chassis crossmember has the same hole pattern as the rear bumper and rearend housing. Among other builder-fabricated custom parts are 48-in. ladder bars and the rear axle housing.
Matt Garcia, Las Vegas, Nevada
’21 Lexus GS 460
Booth: Mackin Industries #22913 and #22813
A “full-out overland build while keeping the traditional Lexus luxury” is how its builder describes this Lexus, and its list of parts suggests a capable and trail-ready rig. Underhood components have been left mostly untouched for now (though they can be accessed via a one-off carbon-fiber hood), but the suspension has been fortified with an IVD track bar, a stabilizer bar and rear springs along with Dirt King upper control arms and King 3.0 shocks to locate and damp a set of 35-in. Yokohama Geolandar Mud-Terrains wrapped around Rays Volk Racing TE37XT rims. RSG plating and rock sliders provide added protection on the trail, a Nash Fabco rear ladder enables access to the JW Off-Road custom roof rack, and Baja Design lighting bathes the trail in amber light.
Randy Borcherding, Cypress, Texas
’67 Pontiac Firebird
This multi-time BOTB finalist aims to bring this ’67 Firebird convertible, nicknamed “Topless Dancer,” to the SEMA hop this year. (“My first drive of the car, many years ago, it was ‘topless’ and ‘danced’ all over the road,” Borcherding admitted.) The Firebird rides on a coil-over chassis sporting a four-link rear suspension, IFS and one-off rims, and a retro-style LS3 and 4L65E combo provide motive power. The custom interior comes by way of Stitch by Stitch Designs, and the custom paint was applied by Painthouse, with artwork rendered by Eric Brockmeyer. “In a world full of Camaros, it was fun to build something a little different to honor a company that dates back to the beginning of motorized vehicles and that sadly no longer exists,” Borcherding concluded.
Austin Phipps, Hermiston, Oregon
’66 Chevrolet Nova
A Top 12 finalist at SEMA360, this builder returns with a Nova sporting all sorts of custom handmade bodywork, starting with the engine bay panels and the firewall. Residing within that space is a Whipple-supercharged LS3 that’s equipped with a set of Ultimate headers and a Black Widow exhaust. Backing the engine is a Tremec T56 six-speed, and the combination powers a set of Nexen tires mounted on Rushforth wheels located by an AccuAir suspension and halted by a four-wheel disc conversion. Inside, a ’59 Impala dash is but one highlight of a complete one-off interior treatment from TMI.
Peter Filippo, Cotati, California
’20 BMW M2
Built to race, this M2 sports a plethora of performance components. A Hellcat SRT 6.2L engine leads the way under the hood, and it’s backed by a sequential six-speed gearbox that’s actuated by a Tilton three-disk racing clutch and a lightweight flywheel. The BMW rides on a four-way-adjustable coil-over race suspension sourced from Motion Control Suspension, and a set of Hoosier racing slicks provides the proper hookup at the dragstrip. A full rollcage protects the M2’s occupants, and the racing seats, steering wheel and safely harnesses come from Sparco. Lexan windows, a Tilton pedal box and an ATL fuel cell are among the many additions to this race-ready rig.
Josh Newton, Alden, Florida
’33 REO Flying Cloud
Yes, that’s a big motor powering that rod—specifically, a 6.0L twin-turbo LS that’s built to produce an estimated 900 hp. Behind it is a 4L80E transmission, and the powertrain resides inside a custom tube chassis that incorporates a Mustang II front suspension and a custom four-link rear setup. The bodywork was channeled 9 in. over the frame, and its patina was clearcoated to give the car a “dipped-in-gloss” appearance. The chassis and suspension components were also clearcoated, this time over bare metal, and a set of 32x14 racing slicks in the rear should ensure adequate traction for the quarter-mile. Inside, the REO features hand-built stainless flooring and seats, with copper rivets used throughout.
Ron McDonald, Cocoa, Florida
’67 Ford Mustang
“Yes, it’s an EV monster,” this Ford’s builder noted. In this case, it’s an 800-plus-lb.-ft. ReVolt Systems all-billet electric motor that’s moving the Mustang. Underneath, the car rolls on a full mandrel chassis and a custom billet suspension featuring JRI hydraulic coil-over shocks. The suspension locates and damps custom billet 20x8.5 front and 24x15 rear wheels. The bodywork has been shortened for enhanced aesthetics in numerous areas. Its roof was rolled down and its glass flushed, with “tons” of modified and one-off body panels (more than 100 in all). Inside, an all-custom carbon-fiber interior was 3-D-designed and CNC-cut, with the seats wrapped in red leather.
Ruben Dinis, Tampa, Florida
’91 Toyota MR2
This MR2 is one of a kind, its builder reminded us, starting with the custom, builder-sculpted body kit that was fabricated out of expanding foam. Molds for the bodywork were also custom fabricated, as were the one-off bumpers, the quarter panels and the fenders. Up front, the headlights were converted from conventional flip lights to Gen 7 Celica components. Under the hood, the custom-turbocharged engine puts out an estimated 800 hp, and numerous interior pieces such as the dash and full rollcage were similarly built from scratch.
Tyler Comley, Paulden, Arizona
’64 Dodge D200 Crew Cab
You want lifted? You want lowered? This Dodge has got you covered either way with an Air-Ride suspension onboard that’s capable of 15 in. of lift, with a 6-in. ride height and a body slammed to the ground when the transmission is in Park. Under the hood is a venerable 12-valve Cummins 6BT diesel. It’s backed by a six-speed Allison transmission, and the powertrain resides within a full custom chassis. A Watts/four-link rearend supplements the air springs, and custom Alcoa wheels are situated at each end. The narrowed dually rear end is equipped for fifth-wheel towing, with plans for a raised bed floor that will incorporate storage compartments underneath it.
Nick Angell, Overland Park, Kansas
’71 Chevrolet C10
A member of the builder’s family since Angell was 14 years old, this C10 is an exemplar of home-garage building, with all bodywork, fabrication, wiring and most other work being home-fabbed. The chassis and suspension were builder-designed and -tested using CAD software, then built out at home. The truck is powered by a turbocharged LS2 backed by a Tremec T56 transmission, and the combination produces an estimated 700 hp. The truck rolls on 18x11 Forgeline GA3R wheels and 315/30R18 tires. Other performance-minded parts include a Holley ECU, a custom rollcage and an aluminum fuel cell. But this truck is a driver as well as a racer. In the builder’s own words, “The truck drives to, competes in, and then is driven home from road-racing events several times a year. For the last two years, I have driven it in Optima’s USCA series and have earned an invite to the invitational after the 2021 SEMA Show.”
Jason Ludwin, Fort Johnson, Kentucky
’36 Ford Sedan
Booth: The Wheel Group/Wheel-1, #45037
An example of old iron with modern sensibilities, this BOTB entrant is, in its builders words, “my vision of an early Ford overland-style SUV.” The build started as a ’36 Ford slant-back sedan using the factory frame that was boxed and fitted with a three-link front and a four-link rear suspension, with air shocks assisting at all four corners. Power comes courtesy of a 5.3 LS engine with FiTech fuel injection. It is backed by a TH350 transmission and an NP231 transfer case, which transfers power to Dana 30 front and Ford 8.8-in. rear axles. A custom interior, 110V power (with solar backup) and a rooftop tent help to make up an overlander built to take on any adventure.
Marcus Gibber, Kellyville, Oklahoma
’70 Chevrolet C10
Is it a square body? A Hardbody? Both? Actually, this ’70 Chevy utilizes a ’91 Nissan Hardbody chassis and drivetrain and sports a full air-ride suspension that locates and damps a set of 20x12 tires. A slew of one-off custom bodywork abounds, starting with the custom “unibodied” bed and a ’92 Chevy OBS front bumper that’s stretched, widened and melded into the front fenders. The top has been lowered 3 in., with additional body-side lines applied after the chop. The hood cowl has been shaved to accommodate the factory windshield, and the window track was widened to fit the factory door glass. Custom taillights, a custom engine bay kit and one-off paint mixes are only a few of the additional attributes of this rolling labor of love.
Bob Folkestad, Des Moines, Iowa
’88 Ford Mustang
This Fox-body Ford is being built, its owner said, to make it “a one-of-a-kind Pro Touring monster.” Built with performance in mind, the Gen 3 “Foxzilla” will feature a ProCharger 7.3L Godzilla engine that’s currently in development by Indy Power Products and Creative Werks of Des Moines. The engine will be mated to a T56 Magnum transmission, and the bodywork will be painted in House of Kolors Oriental Blue. Built to “not only perform but to look good both sitting still and on the track,” it will feature interior components such as custom upholstery and custom electronics from Creative Werks. Exterior mods will include but are not limited to a custom widebody, Forgeline wheels and Wilwood brakes.
Zach Sackman, Fairfax, Iowa
’67 Chevrolet C10
A 31/2 year project, this Chevy sports all-custom fabrication work courtesy of its builder. Among the many mods are a complete back half with a ladder bar suspension as well as a custom carbon-fiber bed floor and custom bedside mounts. Inside is a builder-fabbed, 8.50-certified rollcage and a custom center console. The Racepak dash was smoothed and its gauge cluster upgraded. Under the hood, the truck runs a ProCharger-topped all-aluminum small-block with custom stainless exhaust that’s said to have generated 1,300 hp on a hub dyno.
Chase Coffman, Mansfield, Ohio
’67 Chevrolet Corvette
In its builder’s words, this ’67 Corvette is “a ground-up build.” The vehicle was stripped to bare metal and has had every panel retouched to remove any imperfections. Custom 1.5-in.-wider quarters have been fitted to the car so that its 12-in.-wide wheels would fit under the bodywork, and the firewall, door jambs and underside of the car were smoothed to give the car a modern look. The car rides on a Coffman Performance chassis that’s been outfitted with a C6 Corvette suspension. Power comes from a GM LS 570 sporting custom-machined valve covers, and it’s backed by a Tremec five-speed. Looking inside the black and blue metallic sheetmetal, the all-custom interior features a widened dash, touchscreen controls, LED accent lighting throughout, custom-fabricated seats, and leather and suede touch surfaces.
Jeremy Rice, Peoria, Arizona
’50 Chevrolet 3100
This truck sits on a brand-new, first-ever GSI MFab chassis equipped with air suspension. An AccuAir Elevel system controls suspension operation, and it’s supplied by Viair compressors that are plumbed into an EndoVT air tank. Powering the 3100 is a Chevy Performance 525hp LS3 that’s backed by a 6L80E transmission. Power flows to a Currie-built rear axle equipped with Baer brakes to stop 20-in. US Mags wheels. The exterior of the truck received multiple styling touches “to modernize the truck without taking away its classic looks,” its builder explained. The Sherwin Williams paint was applied by Ikandy Paintworks after countless hours of bodywork. The interior sports the same classic but custom aesthetic—including bucket seats, carbon-fiber dash pieces and a modern-day audio system—that’s the handiwork of Elevated Design of Tucson.
Lonnie Gilbertson, Milwaukie, Oregon
’65 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa
Nicknamed “RareVair,” this Corvair was inspired by the Yenko Stinger from the ’60s, which campaigned in SCCA events in the United States and in circuits all over Europe. The RareVair, like the Stinger, was designed and built as a dual-purpose street and racecar but with today’s technology and craftsmanship. An LS3 sourced from an ’09 Corvette is mated amidships to a Porsche 930 transaxle via custom crossmembers, bracing and mounts. The exhaust tubing was custom-fabricated, and the powertrain is said to be good for 550 hp. The car rolls on a custom coil-over suspension from Fat Man Fabrications, and the bodywork has been treated to a lustrous coating of Chevrolet “Pull Me Over” Red.
Keith Kyker, Telford, Tennessee
’69 Ford F100
“This is a concept vehicle of what we think a ’69 fullsize Bronco would have looked like,” the builder explained, and with a longbed F100 combined with an Econoline van roof, the DNA is definitely there. The truck rides on a Chris Alston chassis, which hosts a 429 Ford V8 that’s backed by a C6 transmission. Power flows to a 9-in, rear outfitted with 3.70 gearing, which in turn drives a set of Billet Specialties wheels. Tons of custom sheetmetal work and a full custom interior are among this truck’s many notable features.
Sam Lauchner, Pinedale, Wyoming
’11 Ram MegaCab
Booth: XKGlow Inc., #57205
“This truck will definitely make a statement,” its builder exclaimed, and we have no doubt, considering the builder-fabricated 20-in. custom coil/link suspension that clears 44-in. Interco Boggers mounted on a set of 28x16 Insane Forged wheels. Bright pink powdercoated accenting from Prismatic Powders is complemented by a Cerakoted frame as well as by the black leather/purple suede interior with pink and purple stitching throughout. XK Glow LED lighting can be found at various points, as can the custom-painted Iron Cross front bumper, a roof rack from Hobbs Off-Road, and builder-fabbed dual quad exhaust stacks.
Christopher Varner, Manahawkin, New Jersey
’51 Ford F100
This eye-catching Ford was treated to a full frame-off build incorporating an all-new custom chassis and PPG Hot Rod Black paint with additional powdercoating for assorted underbody components. A Stage 2 6.0L Powerstroke diesel takes the place of the original flathead, and the fully triangulated four-link suspension with King 3.0 shocks is designed to provide up to 14 in. of travel for the ’12 F-350 front and rear axles. PSC hydraulic steering eases the turning of the 42-in. Fury tires mounted on 28x16 forged TIS wheels, and a Wilwood big brake kit does the same for stopping chores. “Every part is made in-house with the exception of the sheetmetal body,” the builder noted.
Brad De Berti, Mooresville, North Carolina
’65 Chevrolet C10
A SEMA360 Top 12 finalist, this builder returns for 2021 with the “C10 Slayer.” In his own words, “I decided to create a truck that literally has never been created. Starting with only the doors and roof from a ’65 C10, we built a full chassis to create a race truck that was like a rat rod mixed with Mad Max but with six wheels and with the motor sticking as high as the roof and the floor of the truck sitting on the ground.” There’s no lack of power here—more than 1,000 hp courtesy of a Chevrolet Performance LSX that’s topped with a 10-71 Whipple supercharger, which in turn is topped with a secondary eight-stack fuel injection system that sits as tall as the roofline. Handling that power are custom-machined Ford 9-in. axles that are located and damped by a coil-over suspension equipped with Mittler Brothers hydraulic shocks. A set of 14-in.-wide Govad forged wheels and Michelin tires put the power to the ground.
Richard Gutierrez, Hayward, California
’72 Datsun 240Z
A Top 12 BOTB finalist in 2019, this entrant “wanted to go older and share more of the racing history of Datsun” with this build modeled after an IMSA GTU racer. Performance starts under the hood with an L-series 2.8 engine that rests in a shaved engine bay and which has been punched out to displace 3.1L. It’s topped with a Mikuni 50 carb and equipped with a set of Nismo headers. Power flows via a custom driveshaft to an R200 rear end that’s outfitted with Wilwood discs and shod with R888 Toyo tires wrapped around custom M1 wheels. Arizona ZCar provided the all-new suspension, and the bodywork incorporates a full IMSA GTU kit, including the doors, hood and trunk. Lexan windows, a full rollcage and custom Riko gold paint are among the other highlights of this race-inspired ride.
Robert Gross, Grovetown, Georgia
’12 GMC Sierra 2500
This ’12 HD runs a Duramax diesel backed by an Allison six-speed. Elevation is proved by an 8- and 10-in. CST suspension lift with dual-reservoir shocks up front and hoop mounts and reservoir shocks in the rear (all Fox 2.0 units). Flight Fabrications traction bars help locate axles that are fitted with 24x12 TIS wheels with 37x13.50 Toyo MTs. Outside, the truck sports Fusion front and rear bumpers, Hornblasters K5 train horns, and custom headlights, taillights, the third brake light and LED cab lights. An immaculate leather interior is in the works, with more upgrades to come before the end of the year. “Possibly new wheels by SEMA, too, if my truck is selected,” its builder said.
Bryan Escamilla, Live Oak, Texas
’67 Ford Mustang
As the builder describes it, this project started with “the shell of a ’67 Mustang.” Under the hood went a 302/AOD powertrain combo that was swapped in from an ’82 Grand Marquis. The engine was overhauled with a 351 Lunati cam, SVO aluminum heads and roller rockers. An 8.8-in. rearend is equipped with disc brakes, and the frontend was likewise converted to discs. A builder-customized Hydroboost steering setup utilizes a ’95 Mustang master cylinder and a ’96 F-350 power steering pump. Bodywork includes molded fiberglass side scoops, a custom cowl hood with pop rivets, rubberized undercoating, and a coating of SEM Smoke Grey paint.
William Gushue, Allentown, Pennsylvania
’99 Jeep Wrangler
Named “Reaper,” this TJ turned rock crawler rolls on a custom-made AtoZ Fabrication chassis featuring 1.75-in. DOM tubing with an Artec back-half kit. Gearing and traction are the name of the game on rocks, and an Atlas II 5.0:1 transfer case and a pair of kingpin Dynatrac Pro Rock axles with a set of 4.88s and ARB Air Lockers provide plenty of both. Reel Drivetrain custom chromoly axle shafts run 1550 U-joints for added strength, and articulation comes from a custom aluminum three-link front and four-link rear equipped with Fox Racing 2.5 air shocks. Forty-in. Maxxis Trepador stickies mounted on a set of Ultra 103 Xt beadlocked rims keep the Jeep rolling in the rocks.
Jonathan Michael, Decatur, Louisiana
’94 Jeep Wrangler
A three-year project, this unassuming Jeep is all custom from the frame down. The old leaf spring suspension was ditched in favor of a three-link front and rear setup with coil-overs and hydraulic bump stops on all four corners. The YJ’s axles were swapped out for a stout Dana 50 front and a Sterling 10.50-in. rear from a ’02 F-250 Super Duty, and both are equipped with aftermarket lockers, gears and shafts. The bumpers and skidplates are builder-fabricated, as is the hydro-assist steering. “This beast does get used for its intended purpose, so it might be dirty, but I still have hundreds of hours under and around it,” Michael said. “It hasn’t been to a shop other than mine for anything.”
Craig Piggott, Davenport, Iowa
’71 Chevrolet Chevelle
Sitting atop a Roadster Shop chassis, this ’71 Chevelle runs a big-block Chevy V8 that’s outfitted with Precision twin turbos. The rolling stock is comprised of Falken Azenis RT660 tires mounted on American Racing VF544 two-piece rims with 6061 forged aluminum centers. The matte red paint and charcoal accents are from Akzo-Nobel, and the one-off billet grille with turbo inlets, one-off front splitter and custom rear wing are the handiwork of River City Rods. Within the charcoal and black interior are a Sparc Industries billet steering wheel, a cluster of Dakota Digital gauges and a complete Kicker audio system.
Dayton Jacobson, Burnsville, Minnesota
’00 Chevrolet S10
One thousand horsepower are said to reside under the hood of this S10, thanks to the built aluminum turbocharged 5.3L resting in the engine bay. An equally built 4L80E transmission sends power to a narrowed Ford 9-in. rearend that’s equipped with a Strange Engineering third member, 3.50 gears and a Detroit Locker. It’s all kept in place by a four-link suspension with Watts linkage, and the car rides on an Accuair air suspension with RideTech ShockWave shocks. The three-piece powdercoated custom wheels were designed to builder spec, and fitment of the 335/30R19 tires necessitated back-halving the rear frame. The bodywork is 100% carbon fiber, with custom touches, such as Cadillac taillights and a CTS-V hood vent.
Josh Croll, Slatington, Pennsylvania
’02 Acura RSX Type S
Another SEMA360 Top 12 finalist, this ride’s builder offers this completely owner-built Acura that was meticulously restored from a bare shell. “Every square inch was touched from the undercarriage to the roof,” he said. A right-hand-drive conversion, this RSX hosts a slew of custom bodywork, including a Japan-version roof swap, molded widebody quarter panels, widened steel fenders, and a shaved engine bay. Period-correct parts have been incorporated into the build, and the custom reworked engine produces an estimate 515 hp on ethanol. Nut-and-bolt engine detailing included refinishing the block, head, trans casings and Cerakoted hot parts, with color-matched accents found on the radiator tanks, intercooler pipes and valve cover. Inside, integrated electric power steering enhances driver comfort, and the tucked air conditioning and heater make for a clutter-free interior.
Josh Young, McGregor, Texas
’68 Chevrolet Camaro
Camouflage is usually meant to blend into the surrounding terrain, but this camo’d Camaro won’t be inconspicuous for long once it fires up its 395 Dart Gen 1 small-block that’s armed with a Blower Shop 192 supercharger sitting atop a custom dual air intake. For added boost, Stealth meth injection is hidden within the air intake plenum and is fed by a custom stainless tank hidden under the radiator closeout. The Chevy rides on an A-arm front and four-link mini-tub rear suspension that’s been powdercoated, and the Nitto NT01 tires wrapped around Rushforth rims are stopped by a Wilwood big-brake kit.
Jordan Canela, Corona, New York
’15 Subaru STI
This Subaru build incorporates an STI widebody kit that features a carbon-fiber hood diffuser and splitters with custom headlights and taillights, and it’s coated in a custom World Rally Blue paint scheme. Suspension is courtesy of Air Lift, with a fully custom trunk setup to house the 3P air tank and plumbing. Numerous performance parts can be found under the hood, including a Perrin oil cooler and intercooler, Aeromotive 2,000cc injectors, a Perrin downpipe and headers, and a Tomei exhaust. A Project MU six-pot front and four-pot rear big brake kit slow down a set of Rays TE37 Mark-II wheels. Inside, a custom Alpine sound system provides music, Bride Euroster seats enhance comfort, and a set of Stack gauges monitor oil pressure, oil temp and boost.
Chris Stafford, Tylertown, Mississippi
’90 Chevrolet C1500
Booth: Precision Replacement Parts, #24477
Judging by the photo, this slammed Chevy is Vegas-bound come rain or shine, and when it arrives, it’ll roll down the Strip on a custom-painted and powdercoated chassis sporting a QA1 coil-over suspension. The built 454 big-block under the hood is FiTech-injected, and power is transmitted through a Tremec six-speed transmission. Inside, the truck is awash in a custom red leather interior. A host of Dakota Digital gauges monitors underhood activities, and a Restomod Air HVAC system will provide cool comfort on those hot Vegas nights.
Dylan Wallace, Harrisburg, Arkansas
’21 Ford Bronco
When Ford unveiled the new Bronco, it was only a matter of time before the aftermarket responded with new products and enterprising builders embarked on new projects. That’s sure the case with the Ford here, which sits atop a 6-in. BDS coil-over suspension system that’s powdercoated to match the truck’s teal accents. A set of 26x14 American Force wheels armed with True Spikes lug nuts and 36x15.50 Versa tires keeps the Bronco rolling. Inside, a DS18 sound system pumps up the volume, and leather seating with diamond teal stitching enhances comfort and aesthetics.
Hunter Zimmerman, Denver, Pennsylvania
’68 Ford F-250 King Ranch
Yes, we know that the King Ranch package wasn’t available for F-trucks back in the ’60s, so we’ll let the builder explain: “It’s a ’68 ‘mega cab’ F-250 body that I sat on top of a ’14 6.7L King Ranch. So from the outside, it looks like a ’68 with a stretched cab, but on the inside, I have the luxuries of heated and cooled seats along with full ’14 interior and full air ride that I’m capable of crushing cans on my tires. I built it myself with the help of a couple of local friends on weekends and late nights.”
Jonathan Goolsby, Hueytown, Alabama
’71 Dodge A-108
Riding atop a custom-designed and -fabricated Roadster Shop chassis, this example of Old Iron is powered by a new 6.4L Hemi backed by an automatic transmission. The van rolls on a Penske coil-over suspension. Combined with a set of Wilwood six-piston brakes, it provides modern-day road manners to a classic old van. Much custom machining went into the bodywork. The bumpers have been tucked and smoothed, and the factory body seams have been removed to give the body sides a smooth and unbroken look. The rear door glass and all side glass pieces have been modified to pop out. A custom-designed interior is resplendent in Moore and Giles leather, and the custom-mixed two-tone BASF paint was applied by the experts at Goolsby Customs.
Francisco Larrosa, Stamford, Connecticut
’02 BMW 330
This Laguna Seca Blue BMW’s ground-hugging stance comes courtesy of a Pandem widebody kit that’s been molded onto the car. A carbon-fiber front lip and rear diffuser have been incorporated into the build, as have an OE M3 hood, bumpers and side skirts. Custom aluminum side skirt extensions fit the widebody, and a custom aluminum rear splitter further enhances aerodynamics. The engine was given a Stage 3 tune, and the aspiration and exhaust are provided by a cold-air intake, a custom 3-in. straight pipe and a set of stainless headers. The car sits on an Air Lift suspension and rolls on a set of ERA SR01 wheels. Inside the cab are an NRG steering wheel, a ZHP shift knob and Bride Low Max bucket seats, among other upgrades.
Ian Alvarez, Fullerton, California
’83 Toyota Corolla
It may look fairly unassuming on the outside, but this garage-built Corolla DLX has a few custom tricks up its sleeve. For starters, there’s a swapped-in 4AGE 16V long-block under the hood that’s been stroked to displace 1.8L and mated to a T50 five-speed transmission. “My goal was to keep the engine-management system old-school,” builder Alvarez explained, so he opted for Weber dual carburetors and an AE86 GT Apex ignition system. It’s currently sitting on a KYB suspension that incorporates Tanabe coilovers, which in turn locate a set of Konig Rewind wheels. The sheetmetal also sports a coating of BMW Phoenix Yellow paint, setting it apart from others of its type.
Josh Deavers, Powder Springs, Georgia
’32 Ford Tudor
A Goodguys Street Rod of the Year Top Five finalist for 2021, this award-winning sedan hosts a slew of mods and upgrades. The bodywork has been chopped 2 in., the rear window lowered 1 in., and ’34 Ford hood latches were installed. The car rides on a stretched chassis sourced from Pete and Jake’s, and between the framerails resides a 350 engine that’s outfitted with a Weiand intake and Rochester 2G carbs. Power flows through a Tremec TKO transmission to a Winters quick-change rearend, and a set of Wilwood disc brakes slow it down as necessary. Inside, a leather interior is complemented by a host of custom Classic Instruments gauges, and outside, the Ford is covered in PPG Washington Blue and Moselle Maroon applied by Customs and Color.
Tyler Cates, Murrieta, California
’20 Ford Ranger
Booth: Prosport Gauges Inc., #22535
Modeled after desert-racing chase trucks, this Ranger rolls on an Eibach Pro Truck suspension system and a set of Pro Comp A/T Sport tires wrapped around KMC Grenade rims, with dual bed-mounted spares that utilize a chase rack from SDHQ. A Mishimoto intake has been added under the hood, as has a Turbosmart blow-off-valve, and a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust expels spent gases. Rigid Industries lighting is used throughout the build, and a 15-lb. Powertank provides a ready source of air. A host of Prosport gauges have been installed inside, and a Rugged Radios M1 and a six-switch sPOD system aid in communication and navigation.
Chelsie Lesnoski, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
’93 Mazda RX-7 FD
Booth: Oracle Lighting #20547
When its builder proclaims it to be the “world’s first mid-engine Audi 2.7 twin-turbo Mazda FD RX7,” you know a lot of custom work went into this project. The bodywork received a 6-in. custom metal widebody treatment and incorporates custom front fender and hood vents and custom rear louvers and diffuser. Custom two-tone paint with satin and gloss finish adorns the exterior. The rear subframe and firewall were fabricated to accommodate the relocated engine, and the fuel cell was likewise moved to the front of the car. Among other custom components on this RX are the shift linkage, exhaust, dash, interior and axles. “Every nut, bolt, weld and paint was done by my own hands,” Lesnoski stated.
Michael Ma, Rosemead, California
’15 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Booth: Matrix Films, #52079
Covered in Matrix Films’ Premium Shield paint-protection film, this Genesis rolls on an Air Lift suspension system with 3P digital management. Inside are electronic components from Whistler Group—a dash cam to aid with visibility and a radar detector to monitor the highway. A Sony car audio system provides plenty of sweet sounds, Amsoil fluids are employed underhood, and
Mother’s car-care products keep the Genesis looking sharp.
Logan Davis, Omaha, Nebraska
’11 Ram 2500
The builder’s daily driver, this 3/4-ton relies on 6.7L Cummins power and a G56 six-speed manual transmission to turn the 375/40R24 Atturo Trail Blade Bosses wrapped around 24x14 Arkon Crown-series Victory wheels that are cleared by an 8-in. Zone suspension lift. A custom 5-in. exhaust includes a 7-in. tip from HK Metal Worx. A one-off front bumper from Wicked Bumpers was painted to match the two-tone paint scheme, and a Powerbass XL-1250 sound bar has been recessed into it. The truck sports 24 rock lights and custom AlphaRex headlights and taillights. The interior hosts a variety of custom touches, including leather-wrapped grab handles and an 800-piece Starlight headliner.
Dalton Kayser, Schenectady, New York
’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
A Jeep built for serious trail work, this Grand Cherokee rolls on a pair of Ford Super Duty axles with a 40-in. Pro Comp tire at each axle end. Articulation is handled by a three-link front suspension with custom arms and a double-triangulated rear four-link, again with custom suspension arms. Gear reduction is handled by dual NP231 transfer cases, and custom-cut fenders allow for freer suspension travel. Custom headlights utilize LED pods and lightbars. A 4.0L I6 resides under the hood for now, but future plans include a 5.9 Magnum motor as well as some additional traction aids.
Joseph Zamora-Fish, Pomona, California
’96 Nissan 240X
Beneath this Nissan’s custom-painted exterior, there’s an estimated 550 hp lurking in the form of a Vortech-supercharged LS1 with “titanium everything,” its builder explained. The T56 transmission is engaged via a McLeod Racing clutch, and power is transferred to a set of Rays LMGT4 tires that are stopped by CST-V Brembo brakes. A full PBM rear suspension locates the rear, the front end utilizes Megan racing control arms and GKTech knuckles, and Fortune Auto custom coils damp the ride. Inside, Status Racing custom seats rest beneath a Starlight headliner, and a custom AutoPower rollcage keeps occupants safe on the street or at the strip.
Justin Kroeck, Valley Springs, California
’14 Jeep Wrangler
Booth: Stinger Off-Road, #60119
Built to crawl, this Jeep sports a full custom suspension comprised of a three-link front and four-link rear that utilize 16-in. ORI air struts. The system locates a shaved 14-bolt rear axle with 40-spline shafts and a Dana 60 front with kingpin knuckles and 35-spline shafts. Also along for the ride are a complement of KC HiLites, steering upgrades from PSC, a Genright rollcage and armor, a Powertank, PRP seats, a Dometic fridge and a Warn winch. The Jeep’s custom paint scheme is accented by ProLine Wraps. According to the builder, the owner of this rig “wheels it hard—almost every weekend.”
Guillermo Amado, Castaic, California
’74 Ford Bronco
A sharp-looking restomod, this new replica Bronco body sits atop a BSI early-Bronco frame that houses a 5.0L Coyote V8, which breathes through a Magnaflow ceramic-coated exhaust. The 6R80 automatic transmission is mated to an Atlas II transfer case that helps generate 87:1 crawl gearing. The torque gets sent to a pair of Currie 44 axles, the forward of which is a high-pinion unit. Flex is handled by a triangulated four-link suspension that incorporates 12-in.-travel King coilover shocks, and Wilwood brakes keep speeds down when needed. Nardo Gray paint adorns the body and undercarriage, and the interior has been given a full leather treatment. A six-point rollcage is onboard for safety, and Restomod Air keeps the Ford’s occupants comfortable.
Ian Johnson, Spring Hill, Tennessee
’53 Willy Wagon
In its builder’s words, this Jeep may have hot-rod style, but it’s a serious hardcore off-roader underneath. Below the sheetmetal resides a JK Wrangler chassis that’s equipped with a custom suspension system, which provides flex for a pair of Spidertrax Ultra 4-style axles. Under the hood, a Cummins R2.8 diesel engine provides low-end grunt, and an Atlas transfer case handles gear reduction. The Jeep body received a 4-in. chop, with Pearl White and custom Root Beer Metalflake paint applied to the modern Jeep front end and custom bodywork.
Autumn Schwalbe, Ypsilanti, Michigan
’89 Ford Mustang
One of only 250 built in ’89, this mini-tubbed Smoke Gray Mustang is built to race. The Gen 3 Coyote V8 under the hood is topped by a brand-new 3.0L Whipple supercharger and is equipped with a custom exhaust from The Workz Speed Shop. It’s backed by a TH400 transmission, and power is sent to double-beadlocked Weld Racing wheels and a set of Mickey Thompson tires. An all-new Haltech computer controls engine operation, and a 7.50-certified Funny Car rollcage is on board along with a raft of standard safety equipment. “SEMA is an absolute dream,” builder Schwalbe exclaimed. “I would be honored to represent all women in the Young Guns class.”
Samantha Frazier, San Jose, California
’73 Datsun 240Z
This old Datsun has quite a few tricks lurking beneath its sheetmetal, starting with a ’06 LS2 eight-stack-injected GTO engine backed by a ’00 Camaro six-speed transmission. The combination likely produces more than the 150 hp the old six-cylinder was good for, and the power is transferred to a rear differential with CV shafts taken from a ’92 Infiniti Q45. All of the drivetrain components are metal finished and two-stage painted, and all of the emblem holes and side marker lights in the body have been welded up. The stock fuel tank was swapped out for an ’89 Camaro unit with the door positioned behind the license plate. The car has modified SubtleZ fender flares, which allow for the placement of 275/40-17 tires. The rich burgundy interior incorporates saddle leather with Alcantara and black leather accents.
Murray Pfaff, Royal Oak, Michigan
’12 Chevrolet Tahoe
Booth: Amsoil Inc., #24613
Despite its rather demure appearance, this Chevy is chock-full of aftermarket performance and dress-up parts, starting with the Belltech suspension equipped with Bilstein and Hellwig components. Under the hood, K&N handles filtration, JMS provides tuning, Magnuson lends a big power boost, and MRT Performance expels spent gases. The truck rolls on a set of Detroit Steel wheels, and Lund and Husky components enhance exterior functionality. Inside, Kicker Audio pumps up the volume, and Katzkin seats keep the driver and passengers comfortable. The Tahoe got a vehicle wrap courtesy of Axiom Graphics, and Kleinn air horns keep people informed of its whereabouts.
Len Boschman, McGregor, Manitoba, Canada
’61 Ford Econoline
Booth: Reflex Truck Liners, #34017
An International RATical Rod Build Off/Drive Off competitor, this ’61 Econoline (once owned by NASA and stationed in the Northwest Territories) is being transformed into a “Mystery Machine.” The van sports a custom frame with an EZ Air Ride suspension and hosts a mid-engine 6.0L Power Stroke diesel. A 5R110 automatic transmission and Yukon-geared Dana 80 rearend turn dual 50-series Toyo Tires on a set of American Racing wheels. Incorporated into the build are performance parts from BD Diesel, gauges from Stewart Warner, windows from Specialty Power Windows, a Reflex truck liner, soundproofing from Quiet Ride Solutions and refinishing products from Axalta and 3M.
Greg Bauchat, North Las Vegas, Nevada
’20 Hyundai Veloster
There’s a host of carbon-fiber performance parts on this Hyundai, starting with the N Performance wing, the VIS AMS hood, and the vented fenders, radiator shroud, steering wheel, engine and fuse-box covers, all from SCGW. Under the hood, the engine was treated to a SXTH Element Stage 3 dyno tune and a carbon-fiber intake, enhanced by the additions of a KDM stuffed turbo, an Airtec oil cooler, an ARK Performance mid pipe and an AFE Performance downpipe. The car rides on a custom UAS suspension that utilizes dual Viair 444 air compressors. The brakes by R1 Concepts slow a set of WedsSport SAR-25R wheels.
Hunter Schenk, Mt. Vernon, Indiana
’71 Chevrolet Chevelle
A frame-off restoration, this sharp-looking Chevy retains its original low-mileage (13,000) engine, though it’s been modified to produce an estimated 500 hp. It’s backed by a 700-R4 transmission and a Moser-fortified GM 12-bolt rear. The QA1 suspension controls a set of Ridler wheels, and Wilwood discs provide braking. The exterior boasts a set of Kindig flush door handles and hood hinges from Eddie Motorsports. Inside, the Chevy sports a complete TMI interior package, including power front seats, molded door panels, a console, a dash pad, the rear seat, Essex carpet and a one-piece headliner. Dakota Digital gauges monitor underhood functions, and a JL/Harmon audio system provides entertainment.
Sergio Gallardo, Moreno Valley, California
’17 Lexus IS 200t
Booth: XIX Wheels, #48041
Billed as the first matte military green Lexus IS and the first Ascura Garage widebody kit seen on the West Coast, this ground-hugging Lexus features a full wrap with yellow accents, designed and applied by the builder. The 2.0L engine received a TTI Motorsport tune and has been fortified with the addition of an AFE downpipe and a cat-back exhaust. The Lexus rides on a controller- and app-actuated Air Lift 3P suspension, and its builder plans on having a set of XIX X63 wheels on display at the SEMA Show.
Christian Van Schyndel, Syracuse, Utah
’46 Jeep CJ2A
This unique race-rig Jeep’s builder explained it this way: “I started out with a ’10 Chevy Camaro SS and stripped it down to only the drivetrain. I fabricated a frame and a front and rear suspension and then grafted a ’46 Jeep Willys body to fit. The body was narrowed and lengthened, and I raced the car at LS Fest West in Las Vegas. It does the quarter mile in 10 seconds. It’s currently torn down for a complete paint job. The engine has been cleaned up, and I’ve installed a Texas Speed cam. My wife and I did all the work ourselves.”
Allen Verschave, Oceanside, California
’66 Chevrolet Nova
“The car was completely built in my shop, minus upholstery,” its builder noted. The Chevy runs a Hilborn-injected big-block, with some trick underhood mods. A faux mechanical cam-driven fuel pump operates as a fuel regulator for the injection system, and coolant is passed through the engine in such a way as to be hidden. In the back, a rear-mounted radiator was fabricated to resemble a fuel tank. The suspension features all handmade componentry, and the undercarriage is fully finished in chrome and polished stainless. Summing up, “It’s a style tribute to the AFX cars from Southern California in the mid ’60s with a modern twist for drivability.”
Craig Guerra, Porter, Texas
’20 Ford F-350
The list of mods to this massive Ford is long indeed, starting with the 10-in. Wicked Manufacturing suspension lift that incorporates a Goliath four-link front and traction-bar rear conversion. The lift creates room in the wheelwells for 39x14.50R26 Versatyre MXTs mounted on 26x14 Amani Forged Arlo rims with dually rears, and True Spike lug nuts lend a touch of style. An A.R.E. camper shell and roof rack enhance functionality, and Fusion front and rear bumpers and an Overkill Fab front grille provide protection. Lighting from Morimoto and Recon improve visibility, and AMP Research side steps make ingress and egress easier. A Gen-Y hitch helps with towing needs, and a JL Audio system plays the tunes inside.
Kaylee Crayton, Parker, Arizona
’13 Scion FS
Booth: PASMAG’s Tuning 365 + Tuner Battlegrounds, #22827
“Nebula” is “nothing like you’ve seen before—a show car and a race car,” builder Kaylee Crayton stated. A four-year project, this FS is powered by a built 2.5L D-4S Boxer engine that’s strengthened by internals from King, Manley and CP-Carrillo, then topped with a supercharger and aided by a 100hp Nitrous Express NO kit. The car rides on an Air Lift 3P suspension, rolls on 245/40R18 Nitto Gen Cen tires mounted on 18-in. Gram Lights WGI 567DR rims, and is halted by an RR Racing big-brake kit. Outside, Metro Wrap Galaxy vinyl gives the Scion a unique appearance, and Status seats and a custom “starry night” headliner enhance aesthetics and comfort inside.
Todd Budde, LaVernia, Texas
’74 Mazda Rotary Pickup
An EV conversion from a SEMA360 Top 12 finalist, this widebody Mazda utilizes a Tesla Model 3 battery pack to power a pair of Tesla drive units configured for all-wheel drive. The truck rides on a custom aluminum/chromoly chassis and Corvette C7 suspension with a custom pushrod coil-over shock setup. A Wilwood big-brake kit keeps speeds down, and electric power steering and brake assist make navigation easier. The one-off carbon-fiber/steel widebody kit includes an RX3 front-end conversion and a custom carbon-fiber aero kit. Fully integrated AEM EV electronics are found inside the race-inspired interior.
James Miller, Lancaster, New York
’81 Pontiac Trans Am
Booth: AkzoNobel, #20060 and #81110
This eye-catching Trans Am is an example of new technology lurking in old sheetmetal. Gone underhood is the old 455 in favor of a Magnuson TVS-2650 supercharged LSX 376 B15 that’s backed by a T56 Super-Magnum six-speed. Power flows to a Currie Turn 9-fabricated 9-in. equipped with Strange 4.11 gears. The car utilizes RideTech TruTurn steering and a RideTech Quadralink suspension system with Shockwave airbags. The custom Boze Forged Snowflakes wheels and Toyo R888R 275/35/19 front and 325/30/20 rear tires are controlled by a Wilwood big-brake kit. A custom subframe drops the engine 4 in. to accommodate a custom cowl hood, and the bodywork is adorned with AkzoNobel Sweet and Sour paint courtesy of Modern Classics by Kindig.
Jeremiah Proffitt, Orchard City, Colorado
’76 Toyota Land Cruiser
Booth: Vintage Air Inc., #22581
According to its builder, 2,400 hours went into this project, and it would appear that the hard work paid off. A custom four-link front and three-link rear suspension incorporates Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks to position a pair of 60-series axles armed with ARB Air Lockers and 4.88 gears. Even more gearing is provided by a split Toyota transfer case with a 4:1 reduction, and they turn a set of 37-in. Maxxis RAZR MT tires. Custom exterior work includes the fully integrated rollcage, bumpers and OE-style soft top, and the “crazy popular” Lunar Rock paint color was developed in-house.
Willie Davis, Grand Junction, Colorado
’71 Ford F100
Booth: Air Lift Co., #23633 and #61171
Scarcely a body panel remains stock on this Ford. The front end is narrowed 2 in., and the custom front and rear bumpers are narrowed and tucked. All body seams are fully welded, the front end is a one-piece construction, and the custom bed features a hinged floor. For good measure, there’s a Whipple-supercharged Coyote V8 under the hood, a Currie 9-in. rearend, and an Air Lift 3H suspension that incorporates a Heidts Mustang IFS and a four-link rear. Intro Vista wheels and Pirelli P-Zero tires comprise the rolling stock, and Wilwood discs provide braking at all four corners.
Tony Arme, Phoenix, Arizona
’57 Chevy 210
Tri-Five Chevys may not be as common on the show circuit as they were 20 years ago, but they still make a great canvas for builders to express their creativity. This clean-looking example sports a Duramax LMM diesel conversion that’s said to be good for 650 hp and 1,150 lb.-ft. of torque. Backing it is a ZF6 manual transmission, and they both reside within a Roadster Shop chassis. Schott wheels and Toyo tires keep it moving, and Wilwood discs slow it down. The chassis and drivetrain have been Cerakoted, and the custom interior was 3-D printed.
David Fortuna, North Branch, Minnesota
’78 Ford Mustang II
“Hands down, the best-looking Mustang II ever,” its builder exclaimed, and it’s certainly one of the most modified we’ve seen. Start with the custom frame, which was constructed of 15/8-in. DOM 1020 steel tubing and which allowed the wheelbase to be stretched 12 in. A Coyote V8 is equipped with Borla stack injection and stainless exhaust, which in turn powers a six-speed transaxle. The independent front and rear suspension were sourced from a ’08 Z06 Corvette. All told, the vehicle weighs in at less than 3,000 lbs., even with the longer wheelbase.
Mark Giambalvo, Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
’30 Ford Model A
Booth: HRIA/ARMO, #23295
A SEMA360 class winner last year, the Ford’s builder assures a “Ridler quality level” from his latest work. The body has been chopped 4 in., the doors flush-fit, and the rear wheelwells, hood and hood sides all have been hand-fabricated with custom beadwork. The body was channeled 1 in. over the the custom Roadster Shop chassis, which enables a stretched wheelbase. A one-off cantilevered suspension damps a set of custom Dayton Wire wheels. Under the hood, a ’56 Cadillac V8 with Tri-Power injection provides motive power. A completely custom interior is courtesy of Bux Customs, and PPG Rebel Green and Pearl Chrome plating by Advanced Plating adorn the exterior.
Jeremy Miranda, Boynton Beach, Florida
’67 Chevrolet Camaro
There’s a lot going on with this smooth-looking Camaro that may not meet the eye. Start with the GM LS3 under the hood that’s topped by a TVS2300 Magnacharger and backed by a T56 Magnum transmission, both nestling within a Roadster Shop SPEC Chassis. ADV1 wheels, and Baer brakes work in tandem, and the bodywork sports many custom touches: Ringbrothers carbon-fiber hood, carbon-fiber rear spoiler, custom-fabbed engine bay, hand-fabricated grille and modified bumpers, and PPG paint applied by the skilled hands at Relic Restomods. Inside, a custom dash houses AutoMeter gauges, and Vintage Air provides climate control.
Michael Rolleri, Boca Raton, Florida
’85 Chevrolet C10
“We are building the first-ever dual Tesla-powered all-wheel-drive C10,” the Chevy’s builder explains. Plans are for a custom carbon-fiber widebody kit with a rear wing, diffuser and front spoiler. Custom one-off wheels, headlights and taillights are in the works, as is a “race-inspired” interior with a full rollcage. “This truck will be fully electric and will function like a Tesla, including a large monitor which will operate all the functions of the truck.”
Chad Farischon, Arcadia, Oklahoma
’69 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS
“Mercury Rising” is this Camaro’s moniker, and it’s likely due to the Mercury Racing 7.0L engine underhood that’s good for an estimated 750 hp. A Tremec T56 Magnum transmission sends power to a Strange-prepped 9-in. rear with an HD center section and 4.11 gears, which in turn engages the custom-painted 18x12 front and 19x12 rear Forgeline AL305 rims. The car rides on a Detroit Speed chassis and sports a Quadralink suspension with JRI shocks and a set of Wilwood 14.25-in. brakes. Outside, the valences, bumpers and spoiler have been customized, and the Standox Jupiter Red paint is complemented with bronze and carbon accents.
Tim Kennemore, Corsicana, Texas
’95 Accura Integra GSR
A right-hand drive conversion, this Acura boasts a slew of performance modifications, starting under the hood with the high-compression B20b JDM motor that’s enhanced by a Skunk2 Stage 1 cam, intake and 70mm throttle body; MPC Motorsport hardware dresses the tucked and shaved engine bay, and a Meagan Racing header and APEXI N1 exhaust expel spent gases. Toyo Extensa 205/40R17 tires are wrapped around a set of 17x8 WORK Carving Head wheels, and both ride on an Air Lift V2 suspension that’s fortified by a slew of MPC components. The exterior is awash in carbon-fiber body work including the side skirts, grille, hood and rear valences. Inside are an NRG wheel and shift knob, and a set of Braum racing seats and five-point harnesses.
Will Posey, Hokes Bluff, Alabama
’66 Cadillac Calais
This rig’s builder promises “the ultimate drivable hot rod Caddy” for BOTB. It’s powered by a “slicked-up” supercharged LT4 engine with one-off valve covers that’s backed by a 10L90-E 10-speed transmission. The exterior features numerous custom touches, one of the most noticeable being the one-piece front and rear bumpers and a “top hat” on the hood to accommodate the supercharger. The paint, a non-metallic Kandy application, “has a depth that is insane.” The Calais rolls on a RideTech air suspension system that incorporates tubular front and rear control arms, and custom wheels sport custom center caps. “We wanted it to feel close to what Cadillac did back in ’66, but extremely detailed,” the builder explains.
Preston Folkestad, Des Moines, Iowa
’84 Chevrolet C10
“The entire theme of the truck was to build a C10 that could not only look fast but perform against Corvettes and Camaros in USCA events,” the Chevy’s builder explains, noting that it’s won a points championship in the GTT Class. In this case, the winning powerplant is a 630hp aluminum-block 427 LS with Frankenstein heads and intake, custom exhaust, and Holley EFI. The truck still rides on its original frame, which has been boxed and heavily modified to incorporate a coilover IFS setup in front and a custom four-link in the rear. Bodywork modifications are numerous, including a custom removable front bumper with brake ducting, as well as a lightened hood, fenders and bed. The grille has been converted to a Blazer-style unit, and the bed floor and cover are custom carbon-fiber pieces as well.
Brandon Melvin, West Orange, New Jersey
’20 RAM 2500
This built, 600+ hp 3/4-ton sports a host of functional and dress-up mods. The 4-in. suspension system incorporates an upgraded four-link rear and a (soon-to-come) coilover/four-link front from Flight Fabrications. The suspension clears room for 325/45R25 Nitto Terra Grapplers and 24x14 brushed American Force wheels. The custom lighting includes the first set of Alpharex Luxx LED headlights ever made, and BAMF LEDs underneath utilize 24 pure-white rock lights to aid in nighttime navigation. The interior hosts a first-ever-design sub box from MTI, and a Starlight headliner enhances aesthetics.
Arthur Ross, Canton, Michigan
’94 Chevrolet Camaro
An eight-year project, this ’94 sports the front clip off a ’98 Camaro as well as builder-outfitted brakes and spindles. The car runs a 383 LT1 engine utilizing a hand-built wiring harness to integrate a newer-style GM computer with coil-on-plug ignition; a Holley Terminator X and P1 Procharger with custom-built charge pipes and intercooler are other new underhood upgrades. Power flows to a 31-spline Ford 8.8-in. axle donated by a late-’90s Mustang that’s stuffed with 4.10 gears. Inside the Camaro is a 7.5-in. digital dash residing in a builder-designed and 3-D-printed dash bezel.
Garret Kitchen, Columbus, Ohio
’33 Ford Speedstar
From Garret’s Speed Shop, this “War Plane”-themed hot rod incorporates modern styling and power with aeronautical nuances. A restyled ’33 Speedstar fiberglass body sports a modified hood and doors, along with a throwback rumble seat in the back, and is adorned with PPG Gloss Olive Drab paint. A GM Performance LS 376 sends some 525 hp to a 4L80E transmission, and a full Cerakote OD Green exhaust with side-mounted cutouts expels spent gases. Four-wheel independent coilover suspension comes courtesy of Heidts, and inside, a Pro Auto Interiors Bomber Seat extends the “war plane” theme. Numerous custom parts on this rider are CNC-machined and 3-D printed, and the unique hand-fabricated engine cover is, in its builder’s words, “a true work of art.”
Dominic Olson, Colorado Springs, Colorado
’37 Ford Coupe
A frame-off resto, this ’37 project commenced when its builder was 15. Fast forward two years, and the result is the car you see here. Under the hood is a 350 Chevy V8 that’s mated to a TH350 transmission that’s been metal-finished with all castings primed and painted. Power flows to a Ford 8.8-in rearend, while a Mustang II IFS frontend provides a supple ride. The frame was painted and polished, and the firewall and engine bay have been detailed and painted. Many custom touches can be found on the Ford, including the battery box, fender cutouts, throttle linkage and air cleaner “All the work was done 80% by myself and 20% by my grandpa,” the builder admits.
Bob Matranga, Irvine, California
Booth: Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. #21249
A 2020 Goodguys Most Beautiful award winner, “Brute Force” features a host of custom-fabricated parts and components courtesy of Matranga Hot Rods and Brown Auto Design. Resting inside a fully independent Art Morrison chassis, a “detuned” 540ci twin-turbocharged Merlin V8 topped with Arias heads sends an estimated 800 hp to a built 4L80E transmission. Custom EVOD-machined 18x7 front and 20x10 wheels are located by a one-off QA1 coilover suspension and stopped by Wilwood brakes. Inside, futuristic touches abound, such as a CAN Bus wiring setup that controls every system via integrated iPad and a one-off steering wheel that utilizes shift paddles. Chrysler Sebring seats are equipped with integrated seat belts, and over a dozen custom-dyed leather hides were used to outfit the seats, inner door panels, center console and custom trunk.
Shawn Dunn, Shawnee, Oklahoma
’73 Volkswagen Beetle
Sporting ’66 sheetmetal, this VW rides on an air-ride suspension with custom trailing arms. The narrowed front beam and narrowed rear suspension arms and axles enable proper fitment of custom-made “artillery-style” wheels. Four-wheel disc brakes bring the Bug to a stop, and a turbocharged EFI engine provides power. Outside, the ride sports shaved door hinges and modified drip rails, a sliding ragtop with custom matching materials and LED lighting throughout. Inside, an Italian leather interior, custom trim molding and a “high-rez” sound system provide creature comforts.
Eddie Pettus, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
’63 Chevrolet Corvette
The list of modifications promised in time for BOTB is long and comprehensive, starting with a full custom wide-body conversion. Under the hood, a 1,000hp LS3 engine will provide motive power, and a hydraulic lift suspension (sporting a rear IRS conversion) and Bilstein coil-overs locate a set of custom HRE wheels. Modern-day traction control and ABS will be along for the ride, and a set of carbon ceramic Brembo brakes will lend a hand as needed. Thousands of man-hours spent on customization of random parts and body components will include custom work to the floor pans, wheelwells, firewall and engine bay. A custom carbon-fiber splitter, rear diffuser, flush-mount glass and a full interior treatment from Avant Garde Design are among the many enhancements to this handsome ’Vette.
Jobe Jimenez, Riverside, California
’60 Cadillac Series 62
“Per the rendering, this vehicle is aptly named ‘Jekyll and Hyde,’” the builder explained. “The theme for this build was to create something that had a classic Cadillac appearance at first glance, but upon further investigation, you will quickly see and feel what this build is all about. While the exterior shows off Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde is hidden underneath.” The coupe sits atop a Sniper Grey Cerakoted Roadster Shop chassis that cradles an 800hp LS engine, and the Caddy incorporates an Air Ride suspension. The color scheme utilizes a custom-mixed PPG silver base coat with House of Kolor brandy-wine accents for the roof, engine bay, interior and drivetrain.
Chris Chapman, Oregon City, Oregon
’47 Ford COE Truck
“A lot of time and energy has gone into this,” the truck’s builder claimed. “We would love to show off the finished product to the SEMA world.” A true combination of form and function, the coach-built box houses a full pizza kitchen, and many fully custom aluminum parts have been fabricated to give this truck a ’40s aesthetic. An AccuAir suspension utilizes Energy Suspension polyurethane components, and performance parts from Edelbrock, FAST, March Performance, SPAL and Viair can be found under the hood. American Auto Wire provided electrical upgrades, ididit enhanced the steering and handling, and Classic Instruments, Lokar and Vintage Air components reside inside the cab.
Chris Carlson, Mulvane, Kansas
’21 Ford F-450 Super Duty
A truck built for work as well as for show, this Super Duty sports a 4-in. Stryker Off Road suspension, which provides clearance for a set of 43-in. Goodyear tires wrapped around 20x14 one-off Stazwork wheels. The exterior boasts a slew of modifications designed to enhance form and function alike. The front sheetmetal was cut apart and reworked to accommodate the fabricated Defco Truck fiberglass fenders. More Defco customization touches can be found in the dually rear quarter panels and hood. Road Armor bumpers improve protection, a Royalty Core grille and billet emblems provide some sizzle, and Rigid Radiance Lighting improves visibility.
Kamaka Pocock, Bakersfield, California
’67 Chevrolet C10
“We really tried to just refine what is already a good-looking truck,” the Chevy’s builder explained. It’s certainly got plenty of power onboard, thanks to a Magnuson supercharged 376 LSX engine that’s backed by a TCI six-speed. A custom chassis from Porterbuilt Fabrication utilizes an AccuAir e-Level suspension, which locates a set of 20-in. Forgeline DE3C wheels with polished lips and satin bronze fasciae. Custom bodywork abounds, including the engine bay and the hand-hammered bed floor and inner bedsides. The rear of the bedsides was lowered about 2 in. to align with the bottom of the custom-tucked bumper, and the front bumper was also shaved and cut. Up front, the builder-designed billet grille work was custom-machined by EVOD, as were the headlight bezels, exhaust tips and hood hinges.
Bryan Thompson, Boise, Idaho
’34 Ford Pickup
A sleek-looking throwback, “Serious Black” sports an original Ford steel cab that’s been chopped 5 in., stretched 6 in. in the doors, and channeled over a slivered ’34 Ford frame. A custom bed features bead rolls to match the tire size and body lines from the cab, and the frame was stepped up in the rear in order to accommodate Alden coil-overs and a Ford 9-in. rearend. The bed-mounted ’30s Ford luggage crate now serves as a fuel tank. Powering the ride is a ’49 Flathead 8BA with three 97 Stromberg carbs and a Ford C4 transmission. Coker tires comprise the rolling stock, and additional components from Bob Drake, SO-CAL Speed Shop, Speedway Motors and Classic Instruments further customize the ride.
Robert Hester, Jonesboro, Arkansas
’67 Chevrolet Corvette
Booth: Flat Out Autos, #23477
From Flat Out Autos comes this custom ’67 Corvette restomod, which combines classic styling with modern performance and convenience features. Sitting on a Coffman chassis, the ’Vette hosts an LS engine that uses an LS Classics Tri-Power intake system for a classic look, the builder noted. The Chevy rolls on a set of Curtis Speed 19-in. fully polished Knock Off wheels and redline tires, which complement the car’s white/red color scheme. Inside the cab, Easley’s Custom Interior provided handcrafted seats, door panels and a center console that incorporates a wireless phone charging station on the dash. Outside, the bumpers have been refit tight to the body for an even sleeker appearance.