By Della Domingo
Actor Sung Kang is partnering with Shell, featuring Pennzoil, and SEMA to help a team of aspiring young automotive technicians from Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California, transform a ’72 Ford Maverick to debut at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
“If I were a car, I would be the Maverick,” said Kang, who first drove the Maverick in the movie “Fast Five” in Brazil. “The Maverick has always been underappreciated, overlooked and undervalued…‘The Underdog.’ But those who love her are loyal forever. This, and the chance to make a difference for these students, is something I can stand behind.”
The vehicle represents what Kang describes as the “ultimate Underdog.” The build will be recorded and shared in an online video series filled with raw, behind-the-scenes footage, intimate conversations and real-time progress every step of the way, made possible by SEMA and Shell, featuring Pennzoil.
“Kang’s Project Underdog is, at its heart, designed to promote youth outreach and inspire the next generation to become future enthusiasts and pursue automotive careers,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA vice president of OEM and product development programs. “Our SEMA programs are simply the right fit for this team project that will prove the underdog can win big and benefit our community.”
Kang will oversee the project while students work hand-in-hand with industry veterans to restore and completely rebuild the vehicle. The completed vehicle will then be auctioned off to raise money for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support to students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.
Kang, who played Han in The Fast and the Furious movie series, captivated fans throughout the world last year when he documented and shared a similar vehicle build—the FuguZ 240Z—through social media videos.
Taking place at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California, the build will be shown on YouTube (in collaboration with GarageMonkey on their channel) and on Facebook (through Kang’s account). Viewers will see the project’s progression, the students’ development and perhaps struggles and mishaps along the way.
Award-winning builder Steve Strope will lead Project Underdog and serve as a mentor to the three Alhambra High School students who have been specially selected from the Southern California area for the project.
The final build, which is supported by Shell, featuring Pennzoil, and Ford Motor Company, Samsung, NITTO, GReddy, Rocket Bunny and Facebook, will debut at the 2016 trade-only SEMA Show, November 1–4 in Las Vegas.
“Project Underdog puts the spotlight on fostering automotive education for today’s youth, one of the many core values that Shell, featuring Pennzoil, shares with Sung Kang and SEMA,” said Don Moser, Shell Lubricants marketing director. “These students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hone their passion for cars and take on the task of rebuilding one of the greatest underdogs in automotive history—the Ford Maverick. We can hardly wait for the big reveal at the 2016 SEMA Show!”
To keep up to date on Project Underdog, visit Sung Kang’s Facebook page.
View the Project Underdog promotional video.