10 Questions for Dayton Jacobson
By Douglas McColloch
Fresh off his win at the 2021 SEMA Show Young Guns competition, Dayton Jacobson is preparing the build of a ‘54 Olds 88 (rendering pictured below) for the 2022 SEMA Show.
“Custom, with a little bit of class.” That’s how builder/fabricator Dayton Jacobson described his building style at last year’s SEMA Show. We might also add “award-winning,” since Jacobson’s 2021 SEMA Show build (an ’00 Chevy S-10) captured top honors at the Battle of the Builders Young Guns competition, which culminated SEMA Show week last November. When not working on custom builds, he takes care of business as the owner of Jacobson’s Welding and Powder Coating in Burnsville, Minnesota.
SEMA News caught up with Jacobson recently and asked him to reflect on his experiences at the Show, how they’ve affected his business, and what he’s working on right now.
SEMA News: What’s on your playlist now? What are you listening to?
Dayton Jacobson: Right now, a lot of Pop Smoke.
SN: What are you driving these days, and why?
DJ: Since I live in Minnesota, I drive a lowered, cammed Escalade in the winter. In the summer, I either drive my CTS-V coupe or the truck I brought to the SEMA Show in 2021.
SN: How has winning the Battle of the Builders Young Guns competition affected your everyday life?
DJ: It has shown many new customers the quality of my work. I also get to talk to many companies about partnering for my SEMA 2022 build. Before now, I’ve never had a sponsor.
SN: What got you started in the business?
DJ: I grew up with my dad, Gordy Jacobson, and my grandpa, Jerry Jacobson, always working on cars, and I got sucked right into it.
SN: What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
DJ: The best advice I got I haven’t used yet, but it was to build a vehicle for a customer to bring to the Show. I just finished the truck for SEMA 2021 that took a lot of my personal funds, and now that I’m building my ’54 Oldsmobile 88 convertible for 2022, it’s very hard to come up with the money to build it and keep working on the car. Balancing between work [in my shop] and working on my car gets difficult.
SN: Describe your memories of your first SEMA Show.
DJ: I had many great memories at SEMA. Talking to Chip Foose and walking around my truck and showing him everything was amazing. Also, every time they announced who made it into the Top 40, the Top 12 and the Top 3, my heart was pumping!
SN: When building a vehicle, how much goes according to plan, and how many times do you need to work up a Plan B?
DJ: When I build a car, nothing goes to plan. Things change every day, and normally it’s because I think of something else that would be really cool with the build.
SN: Where would you like to be 10 years from now?
DJ: I would like my welding and powdercoating business to be in a much larger shop so I can have a bigger oven so I can do full frames.
SN: When you’re not working, where can we find you?
DJ: Riding my motorcycles, driving my car or in the garage.
SN: What’s your next project? Will we see it at the SEMA Show this November?
DJ: I’m building my ’54 Oldsmobile 88 convertible. The car is body dropped, with many customizations to the exterior, a full custom interior out of a Cadillac CTS-V, and a twin-turbo LS engine. This is the last year I get to compete in Young Guns, so I need to go out with a bang!