By SEMA Editors
This year’s best presented, truly off-road-capable truck, Jeep or SUV on display at the Show was the Daystar Products ’41 Dodge Powerwagon “Bootlegger,” as deemed by a panel of off-road industry experts in a ceremony held at the Pro Comp/Transamerican Auto Parts SEMA Show booth.
Transamerican Auto Parts (TAP) named Daystar Products’ ’41 Dodge Powerwagon, called “Bootlegger,” the winner in its second annual Life is Better Off-Road SEMA Show vehicle-build competition. Selected by a panel of off-road industry experts, the award recognizes a truly off-road-capable truck, Jeep or SUV on display at the SEMA Show.
Hosted by Motocross, Supercross and off-road racing champion Ricky Johnson, the event featured a panel of judges that included some of the most distinguished names in off-road vehicle engineering and development, fabrication, journalism and motorsports. They included short-course off-road racing Pro Lite and Pro 2 Division champion Brian Deegan, DIY fabricator and racer Bill Caswell, celebrated Trophy Truck developer and builder Rick Geiser, content director for the Truck Trend Network Sean P. Holman, and editor and publisher for 4 Wheel Parts’ Off-Road Adventures (ORA) magazine Craig Perronne.
Mark Turner of Daystar Products wanted to employ a bootlegger theme throughout the build and chose copper because it was the prime metal commonly used to make bootlegger stills. The engine sports a copper radiator hose and copper air intake, while the firewall was changed to copper then covered with dynamite.
The powerwagon’s supercharged power, racing transmission, custom driveshafts and longer leaf springs made it stand out as supremely off-road capable in a field of entries ranging from Rubicons to Titan XDs. Completed in 50 days, the Bootlegger was driven to Tennessee for Whiskey & Wheeling with Xtreme Off-Road Adventure, then shipped to Alaska for wheeling, where it was driven on a glacier.
The Bootlegger’s build list includes:
- Edelbrock LS3 6.2L supercharged engine
- Daystar Products engine and transmission mounts
- G2 Axle & Gear gears
- Optima batteries
- Skyjacker leaf springs
- Interco Super Swamper tires
Entries were submitted up until just days before the 2016 SEMA Show began, and 10 semi-finalists were selected based on criteria such as off-road reliability and capability, quality of craftsmanship, real-world functionality and overall vehicle presentation. From this field, one truck/SUV and one Jeep were chosen as finalists.
The 10 Semi-Finalists were:
- Daystar Products Dodge Powerwagon Bootlegger
- Fab Fours Chevrolet Colorado Kymera
- Westin Snyper 2-Door JK
- Hellwig Titan XD
- PIAA JK Unlimited
- High Country Complete Customs
- Addictive Desert Designs Springfield Armory Ford F-150
- Addictive Desert Designs Titan XD
- BruiserConversions JK
- Truck Guru Chevrolet Colorado Long Travel
The Bootlegger will receive a professional photoshoot and a cover feature and multi-page vehicle spotlight in ORA magazine. Additionally, the Daystar Products vehicle will be recognized across the spectrum of Transamerican social media and digital channels, including a promotional email campaign, an invitation to be displayed in feature locations at TAP-sponsored events, trade shows, Truck & Jeep Fests, along with the benefits of extensive partner media coverage of the award. The semi-finalists will also be included in the full media campaign and receive ribbons in recognition of their accomplishment.