2016 SEMA Show Battle of the Builders and Feature Vehicle Preview

SEMA News—November 2016


By Clint Simone and Carr Winn

2016 SEMA Show Battle of the Builders and Feature Vehicle Preview

The 2016 SEMA Show is home to some of the most unique and highly customized automotive builds in the world. This year, the SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition includes automotive builders of all ages and experience levels, culminating in a truly spectacular contest.

Builders began to submit entries in August to the official SEMA Ignited website (www.SEMAIgnited.com). Determination of final status on each entry was contingent on each vehicle landing a spot as a display, feature or booth vehicle at the Show. For the third consecutive year, the Velocity network will be airing an hour-long television special showcasing the final builders and the presentation of top honors during the SEMA Ignited event.

In addition to the BOTB competitors, selected custom booth vehicles have also been included in this special section. Attendees can review all of these vehicles, and hundreds of others, up close and in person as they walk the Show.


Mike and Jim Ring, ’48 Cadillac Fastback
Booth: Flowmaster, 22351

Based in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Ringbrothers made it into the top three in the initial BOTB in 2014 and made it to the top 10 in last year’s competition.

This year, the brothers have taken on a new project: a 1948 Cadillac. The car has an ATS-V twin-turbo 464hp V6 and an eight-speed automatic. All engine controls were maintained with the conversion. The interior gauge cluster will have components from the ATS-V.

The engine bay will consist of the same OEM look as the ATS-V. The Rings explained that the goal of the 1948 Cadillac restomod “would be exactly how GM would build that car today.”

1970 Datsun 240z

Craig Simonian, ’70 Datsun 240Z
Booth: Simtec Motorsports, 16614

New to the world of building show cars, Craig Simonian has spent the majority of his career as a successful tuner, prepping cars for track use. After participating in last year’s Battle of the Builders, Simonian is at the Show to reveal his Simtec Motorsports Datsun 240Z.

The modifications to the Z are extensive and include full engine modifications, the transmission, the fuel system and the rear subframe assembly replacing the original suspension layout.

Interior mods include custom aluminum work, an adjusted seat position and a Simtec Motorsports rollbar.

36 Ford Roadster

Troy Ladd, ’36 Ford Roadster
Booth: Stewart Warner Gauges, 22317

Taking cues from an old Ford Motor Co. legend, the story behind Troy Ladd’s ’36 roadster is something special. As the legend goes, Ford employees in the ’30s wanted to put the V12 powertrain from a Lincoln Zephyr into a roadster but never had the opportunity.

Ladd is picking up where their thinking left off and has made that powertrain swap a reality. This build includes the classic sophistication of a roadster with the technical advancements and excitement of the Zephyr.

32 Ford Roadster

Dar Fortney, ’32 Ford Roadster
Booth: Spectra Chrome, 23083

Dar Fortney has been building cars for the SEMA Show for more than 10 years. His work has earned him spots in a variety of publications and varies from rat rods to Monster Trucks. For 2016, Fortney is bringing his ’32 Ford roadster with a 502ci Chevy aluminum-headed big-block.

The chassis includes custom tubular cross members, and the wheelbase is stretched 9 in. to accommodate the extra power. The interior of the roadster is full of custom chrome work to complete the vintage ’30’s look.

16 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG

Alban Morina, ’16 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG
Feature Vehicle

From an early age, Alban Morina dreamt up incredible customized creations and was able to build a few for his own use in his later years. Now the time has finally come for him to build his first SEMA Show car.

The foundation is a ’16 C450 AMG that was built for Ferrada Wheels, located in a feature vehicle spot. At the heart of this build is a wide-body kit from Autosports Dubai and Ferrada’s custom wheels. The AMG is also being lowered with custom suspension to accommodate the extra width and wheel size. An engine tune and various upgrades are expected in addition to interior refinishes, although many of the powertrain and interior details are still in the works as of press time.

17 Ford F-350 Platinum

Travis Haecker, ’17 Ford F-350 Platinum
Booth: Iron Cross Automotive, 35075

After building multiple cars for previous SEMA Shows, Haecker is looking forward to bringing Iron Cross Automotive’s ’17 F-350 Platinum to the BOTB.

The truck features a substantial 12-in. Stryker lift kit, Iron Cross bumpers, Magnaflow exhaust, Amani wheels and many other premier specialty-equipment parts.

The Platinum will also feature an eye-catching bespoke paint job that honors fallen police officers.

69 Ford Mustang

Goolsby Customs, ’69 Ford Mustang
Booth: Mothers Polishes Waxes & Cleaners, 22957

The ’69 Mustang from Goolsby Customs was a winner of the Mothers Shine Award at the 2015 SEMA Show. This year, the car is being entered into BOTB and will be displayed in the Mothers booth.

The Mustang is a custom-bodied beauty with bespoke side skirts, front and rear valances and late-model Ford styling. Glasurit paint and brushed clear stripes round out the Mustang’s shine-worthy look. Inside, one-off gauges by Classic Instruments, Vintage Air climate control and Goolsby touches make every inch of the Mustang special.

34 Ford Pickup

Tony Arme, ’34 Ford Pickup
Booth: Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, 10631

Tony Arme—one of this year’s SEMA News “35 Under 35” recipients—is competing for the second time in BOTB. For 2016, he is running in the young guns category with a ’34 custom Ford pickup.

The truck—which is named “Khaos”—is a blend of hot rod and sports-car performance. Powering Khaos is a 627hp Chevy LS engine paired to a 4185E transmission. The truck also includes numerous bodywork adjustments and refinements, including a custom bed and cab. According to Arme, the true art of Khaos is in the detail work.

71 Camaro

Tim Palazzolo, ’71 Camaro
Booth: Thermo-Tec, 23313

Tim Palazzolo, a returning builder from 2015, will enter his ’71 Camaro for the Thermo-Tec booth. The Camaro features intensive modification work to both interior and exterior, done in such a way that is subtle, not striking.

PPG custom blue paint covers the exterior, complementing the 19-in. HRE wheels. Inside, a custom rollbar, a Racepak dash and Recaro seats add to the mild yet professional touches.

16 Hyundai Tucson

Sean Tessman, ’16 Hyundai Tucson
Booth: Covercraft, 23531

Learning from past builds is one of the most effective ways to improve current projects. Sean Tessman, a veteran automotive builder, has successfully built several SEMA project cars over his career. For 2016, he brings a highly custom approach to a modern vehicle.

The ’16 Hyundai Tucson features a 650hp Honeywell/Garrett engine, Stop Tech brakes, T.I.S. wheels, MagnaFlow exhaust and other performance-oriented parts. Check out the Tucson, which will be featured at the Covercraft booth.

49 Studebaker Champion

Gary Warner, ’49 Studebaker Champion
Booth: AM Hot Rod Glass, 23591

AM Hot Rod Glass is joining forces with Gary Warner to build a ’49 Studebaker Champion for the 2016 BOTB. The Champion is unique in that it features a body from a ’49 and the nose from a ’50, with both ends welded together.

Also included in the reworked body is a set of suicide doors that match the sloping curvature of the car’s side. The interior of the Champion will also be one of a kind, wrapped in leather and alligator skin. AM Hot Rod Glass will be custom-making the rear window for the car.

16 Ford F-150

Hank Robinson, ’16 Ford F-150
Booth: American Force Wheel Inc., 45131

“Freedom Blues,” a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, is a ’16 F-150 built by Hank Robinson, a U.S. military veteran of 10 years. Robinson completed tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo before returning to the States to work as an engraver.

The truck will be engraved with a body-length mural tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces, complemented by a custom blue paint theme. American Force wheels and a lifted suspension make Freedom Blues an all-around stunner, ready for BOTB.

15 Nissan GT-R

Ernie Manansala, ’15 Nissan GT-R
Booth: Spyder Automotive, 21529

A former “35 Under 35” SEMA News recipient, Ernie Manansala has been an active member of the automotive specialty-equipment industry for years. Now working on a new GT-R build for the 2016 SEMA Show, Manansala is looking forward to translating his previous experiences into a truly stunning end result.

The ’15 Nissan GT-R will be exhibited in the Spyder Automotive booth and features extensive modifications. Carbon-fiber pieces include a ducktail rear spoiler and a complete front hood. Various Takata pieces, including the seats, brackets and belts, complete the lightweight, racing-inspired interior.

68 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

Jason Duhon, ’68 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
Booth: Chemspec/Metalux, 10675

Duhon’s ’68 Cadillac Coupe DeVille represents an artful rendition of an American classic, combining classic style with modern touches, such as the Lexani R Four wheels.

The patterned roof work was done by the Count’s Kustoms shop, while the powertrain is 472ci Cadillac. Letting the power be heard is a straight-pipe setup with 18-in. glasspacks. The interior of the Cadillac also received a complete overhaul, being modified from the original factory green to a new red scheme.

Jeff Cleer Chevrolet Silverado

Jeff Cleer, Chevrolet Silverado
Booth: The Wheel Group, 43049

Jeff Cleer is an avid car and truck enthusiast who has been lucky enough to build for companies all across the board. For 2016, Jeff’s “TikiMax” creation is a new Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Duramax that is anything but ordinary. The powertrain is largely unchanged, with the major additions being an HSP intake and a PPEI tune.

The stars of are a 12-in. Cognito Motorsports lift, Fox shocks and Cognito upper control arms. The exterior of the truck is adorned with bodywork modifications that include BodyGuard bumpers and Bushwacker fender flares. Even the interior has been gone through, with custom leather seating, a Memphis audio system and hydro-dipped interior trim.

16 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Sam Piazza, ’16 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Booth: Extreme Dimensions, 12365

“I will be bringing my ‘A’ game this year,” said Piazza of his ’16 Camaro SS. To assist in making the Camaro a true head-turner, Piazza is including a number of unique features—many of which are carbon fiber—to really make the SS a standout.

The majority of the car’s exterior has additional carbon-fiber pieces. including side skirts, a rear diffuser, a Stingray hood and a rear wing. Borla exhaust and a custom turbo kit round out the performance additions. Inside, a rollbar, a custom audio system and interior carbon-fiber trim further the SS’s bespoke look.

Toyota Tundra

Jesus Aguiniga, ’15 Toyota Tundra
Booth: DUB Magazine, 62114

The 2016 BOTB will be a special one for Jesus Aguiniga, as he is entering his personal vehicle into the competition. It’s a ’10 Toyota Tundra converted into a ’15 body style.

McNeil racing will be supplying the fiberglass for the body conversion and additional exterior components. Line-X full body spray and ADD bumpers will be part of the build, and the interior of the Tundra will include custom-painted trim pieces and an MB Quart sound system with a Pioneer head unit.

Jeff Page Corvette Convertible

Jeff Page, ’72 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Booth: Amsoil Inc., 24659

The ’72 Amsoil Corvette will not be Jeff Page’s first entry for the SEMA Show. In fact, Page was the builder of the ’71 Stringray featured in the CTEK booth at the 2015 Show. For BOTB this year, Page is taking things to the next level with a custom-bodied Corvette roadster, complete with more than 100 unique body modifications.

The engine is an LS7 with an LS9 supercharger that is set to provide 860 total hp. Other performance parts include Brembo six-piston carbon ceramic brakes, a T56 six-speed transmission and an active rear spoiler. The Corvette also has a touchscreen that is capable of controlling nearly every function of the vehicle, including various performance features.

John Wargo 16 Chevrolet Camaro

John Wargo, ’16 Chevrolet Camaro
Booth: ProCharger, 20379

John Wargo is the owner of The Custom Shop out of Flanagan, Illinois, where he creates all sorts of automotive masterpieces. Wargo shared that his shop has built 49 cars for the SEMA Show over the last 15 years. His ’16 Camaro—one of three Wargo entries into the competition—is a through-and-through custom creation, designed to be a fun convertible driver.

The powerplant is an LT1 complete with a ProCharger supercharger and a GM eight-speed transmission. The exterior is painted in white, with blue and silver graphics adorning the body. A custom hood and a lowered suspension add to the Camaro’s sporting prowess. Inside, the Camaro now features a Sony TV/DVD system.

Jeremy Rice 67 Chevrolet C10 Pickup

Jeremy Rice, ’67 Chevrolet C10 Pickup
Booth: All American Billet, 73011

An entrant into the 2015 BOTB, Jeremy Rice is excited to take another shot at the competition with his ’67 Chevrolet C10 pickup. The C10 features a 5.3L LS engine with added horsepower. All American Billet will be providing a new serpentine pulley setup for the engine, and the truck will be running Royal Purple fluids.

The engine utilizes a Comp Cams camshaft, a 4L60E transmission and dual Optima batteries. Inside, the truck features a new split bench seat as well as reworked door panels and dash pad. The dash also incorporates dual 7-in. monitors from Pioneer.

Jason Flis 62 Chevrolet Corvette

Jason Flis, ’62 Chevrolet Corvette
Booth: CarCapsule USA, 20767

The ’62 Corvette “Illusions” has garnered recognition from multiple venues, including the Detroit Autorama and the Chicago Autorama. Jason Flis, the builder of the Corvette, said that more than 10,000 hours of hard work went into this car.

That extensive time produced a completely refinished body with more than 30 modifications, including Jeep Liberty headlights and Chevrolet HHR taillights. The interior is graced with Dakota Digital gauges, power windows, Vintage Air air conditioning and other custom finishes.

Joe Horisk 61 Chevrolet Sport Wagon

Joe Horisk, ’61 Chevrolet Sport Wagon
Booth: BASF Corp, 20367

Horisk’s ’61 Sport Wagon is the result of many hours of hard and dedicated work from three different shops, all part of the Wagon’s conception in one form or another. The car features a reworked body, complete with a 3-in. chop and a 2-in. windshield re-angling.

Custom work includes the billet grille and the headlight assembly, the front fenders and a hood extension in addition to custom glass all around to complete the exterior look. A classic approach was taken to refinishing the interior, with GM styling and look being kept at the top of the priority list.

John D’Agostino 58 Packard Sportster

John D’Agostino, ’58 Packard Sportster
Booth: Sonax, 12161

John D’Agostino’s ’58 Packard concept sportster—better known as “Rita”—is gathering global attention for its unique attributes and style. The car’s name can be traced back to Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth. A build seven years in the making, Rita features a completely fabricated body, ’55 Oldsmobile taillights, a chrome billet grille, suicide doors, ’56 Packard headlights and a stunning lavender pearl paint job.

The interior of the specialty Packard is coordinated white/lavender and includes interior lamb wool from New Zealand. The finishing touch on this classic ride is a set of Coker white-wall tires.

Lonnie McCurry 17 Ford F-350 Super Duty

Lonnie McCurry, ’17 Ford F-350 Super Duty
Booth: Ford Motor Co., 22200

SkyJacker Suspensions presents its ’17 Ford F-350 Super Duty, built to be shown in the Ford Motor Co. booth. The Super Duty is a tribute to law-enforcement officers everywhere, and the exterior of the truck reflects exactly that. Standing tall with an 8.5-in. Skyjacker lift system, the towering vehicle makes a commanding presence with a Whelen light bar, Bushwacker fender flares, MagnaFlow exhaust and a full, police-themed color wrap.

Nitto Trail Grappler tires and Fab Fours bumpers complete the exterior package. Skyjacker stuck with the police-tribute theme on the interior and added a police console, a gun rack, WeatherTech floor mats and Katzkin leather seat covers with custom embroidery.

Kevin Keep 65 Ford Mustang Fastback GT

Kevin Keep, ’65 Ford Mustang Fastback GT
Booth: Optima Batteries, 20323

Rebuilding Generations is a nonprofit youth organization through which industry professionals work alongside today’s youth to build vehicles for the SEMA Show. This year, the organization is working on a ’65 Mustang Fastback GT for BOTB. The car that will bring together old and young in more ways than one. The build incorporates a classic car with modern technology, a sort of metaphor for “Rebuilding Generations’” mission. The Mustang itself boasts a 5.0L V8 Coyote engine, a Tremec six-speed transmission, a Centerforce clutch, MagnaFlow exhaust and many other performance additions.

The exterior of the car includes a Ringbrothers body kit with hood, door handles and rear spoiler as well as a Maier Racing lower front clip. Moving inside, the Mustang uses a TMI custom interior, a Pioneer stereo and Dakota Digital gauges, among other modifications.

Justin Moreno 11 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Justin Moreno, ’11 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Booth: Jet Hot, 20059

The Moreno Motorsports ’11 Chevrolet Camaro SS G5.R represents a family affair and the first car built by the shop for the SEMA Show. The Moreno family—a father and three sons—began work on the car four and a half years ago. The entire vehicle has been re-engineered and designed for BOTB. To start, the exterior was lightened significantly by replacing every removable panel with a carbon-fiber piece. In total, the car shed around 500 lbs. from its original weight. The LS3 engine was stroked to 418ci and has a custom cooling system along with a dry-sump oil system.

The interior of the SS has been dramatically lightened as well; both the air conditioning and radio have been deleted, and the car features a full array of interior replacement parts and furnishings, including floor mats and the center console.

Justin Carillo 60 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

Justin Carillo, ’60 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
Booth: Ron Francis Wiring, 23597

This ’60 Cadillac DeVille convertible is the creation of car builder Justin Carillo and will be displayed in the Ron Francis Wiring booth. Carillo spared no modification when designing and building the Cadillac. The DeVille benefits from a 6.0 LS engine swap, a COMP Cams camshaft and a 4L60E transmission. Bodywork has enhanced nearly every major panel of the car.

The front end has been modified with a narrowed front hood and now includes widened fenders. The all-steel body has also been modified to lay flat on the ground. Interior modifications include a custom four-seat bucket setup, a fabricated ’60 Chevrolet Impala dash and Dakota Digital gauges.

Mark Giambalvo 68 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup

Mark Giambalvo, ’68 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup
Booth: Amsoil, 24659

Mark Giambalvo believes that the highest level of fit and finish sets his Amsoil Chevrolet C-10 pickup apart from the rest. An industry veteran, Giambalvo opened his first shop at the age of 19 and has been working on project builds ever since. His work has been featured in multiple outlets, including the “Car Crazy” and “My Classic Car” TV shows.

Now preparing for the 2016 BOTB, Giambalvo is taking a highly customized approach with the C-10. The bodywork has been refinished, removing all of the original factory seams. The truck sits on a Roadster Shop chassis and uses a supercharged LS3 engine paired to a T56 transmission. PPG custom paint and a full leather interior round out the C-10 as a total standout.

Mark Turner 58 Jeep FC170

Mark Turner, ’58 Jeep FC170
Booth: Daystar Products, 21351

In the words of Mark Turner, CEO of Daystar Products International, “This vehicle was built to be driven.” To date, Turner’s BOTB ’58 Jeep has been on many trips, including one down to the southernmost point in the United States—Key West, Florida.

The Jeep is built to embrace both hot rodding and off-roading and uses specific parts that can handle both responsibilities. Under the hood lives a late-model 5.7L Hemi engine, which supplies power to a transfer case and transmission suitable for on- and off-road use. The Jeep also features 17-in. Vintique wheels wrapped in Interco tires. Inside, modern amenities such as air conditioning, leather seating and cruise control help define the Jeep as a dual-purpose specialist.

Manny Iwabuchi 00 Honda Civic EK9 Type R

Manny Iwabuchi, ’00 Honda Civic EK9 Type R
Booth: PTP Turbo Blankets, 20648

PTP Turbo Blankets and car builder Manny Iwabuchi present their ’00 Honda Civic Type R, which will be on display in the PTP booth at the SEMA Show. The right-hand-drive Honda is loaded with custom modifications, beginning with the powertrain.

The engine is a completely custom K24/K20 with a turbo package, billet cams and a V-tech delete kit. A single-stage nitrous kit and a custom intercooler have also been added, along with several other features. Other racing components include Mickey Thompson drag radial tires, a 10-point rollcage and various aero pieces affixed to the exterior.

Ethan Smith 65 Lincoln Continental

Ethan Smith, ’65 Lincoln Continental
Booth: Asanti Wheels, 61010

Ethan and Jeremy Smith have been entranced by cars their entire lives. During their teenage years, the brothers embraced the world of automotive modification and customization. This passion led them to open their first shop: Southern Octane Garage. For BOTB, the shop enters its ’65 Lincoln Continental—what the brothers call a simple, driver-quality build. The Lincoln is a complete restomod, fitted with a Navigator 5.4L engine with a COMP Cams Thumpr camshaft.

The chassis is tubular and was fabricated in-house, including the subframe and controls arms. The Continental rides on 22-in. Asanti forged wheels and features Ford Kona Blue paint. The restomod theme continues inside with a ’06 Lincoln Navigator dashboard, gauge cluster and center console. To top it off, the interior is finished in custom leather and suede.

Neil Tjin 17 Honda Ridgeline

Neil Tjin, ’17 Honda Ridgeline
Booth: American Honda, 24887

With a new design for 2017, the Honda Ridgeline will be making its SEMA Show debut this year. Neil Tjin, longtime OEM custom builder, designed and created a special edition Ridgeline for the Honda booth.

The exterior of the Ridgeline will feature a custom Axalta paint job, a front bumper with a winch, side steps and a rear valance, Zroadz light bars and Light Wurkz LED headlights. The truck is also lifted significantly and the Honda badges are done in traditional Japanese red. The customization continues inside, including an Alea CT interior and Scosche chargers, mounts and full audio system.

Lukas Granicy 55 Ford F-100

Lukas Granicy, ’55 Ford F-100
Booth: QuietRide Solutions, 23998

NeedfulThingz LLC, the custom hot-rod shop owned and operated by Lukas Granicy, presents a ’55 Ford F-100 named “The Coyote.” The Ford is a crossroads of extensive modification work met with wild creativity. The name was drawn from the “Looney Tunes” character Wile E. Coyote, and the pickup includes a painted exterior to match that theme.

Continuing with the Coyote theme, the F-100’s power is supplied by a modified 5.0L Ford Coyote engine that produces 750 hp. MagnaFlow exhaust, an Inland Empire driveline and an AEM engine-management system add to the powerful package. The exterior work includes a TCI front Mustang II clip, Wilwood brakes and a custom powdercoated frame. Customization continues through the interior with leather upholstery and a hand-crafted mahogany center console and door inserts. Dakota Digital gauges and billet dash accents cap off the truck as a cartoon-crazy stunner.

Randy Weaver 70 Plymouth Barracuda

Randy Weaver, ’70 Plymouth Barracuda
Booth: Axalta Coating Systems, 22391

Weaver Customs of Sandy, Utah, is excited to announce its latest and perhaps greatest build for the SEMA Show: “Torc.” The ’70 all-steel-body ’Cuda is one of the most sought-after musclecars out there, and this example is about as customized as it gets.

The highlights of the ’Cuda are extensive: a 6.7L Cummins diesel engine, a 48RE manual transmission, Flowmaster exhaust and Wilwood brakes. The body treatment includes a chopped roof and leaned-back windshield. The ’Cuda also features a full Hydes leather interior.

Steve Legens 63 Ford Galaxie

Steve Legens, ’63 Ford Galaxie
Booth: Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, 22975

Steve Legens is the proud owner of Legens Hot Rod Shop, located in Martin, Tennessee. Since he purchased his first car—a ’54 Chevy for $125—at age 13, he has been in the custom-car business. For the 2016 SEMA Show, Legens built a ’63½ Ford Galaxie in the Goodguys booth.

Powered by a Ford Coyote 5.0 engine, this Galaxie has Dakota Digital gauges, Baer brakes and plenty of Legens Hot Rod Shop parts, including a custom hood scoop, front bumpers with air dam, custom side trim and much more.

John Wargo 77 Pontiac Trans Am

John Wargo, ’77 Pontiac Trans Am
Booth: Valspar, 10851

A project car built by the team at The Custom Shop, the ’77 Pontiac Trans Am “Ruby Fire” is a budget-friendly, high-performance creation.

The shop chose some specific components to make the Trans Am such a performance machine, including MagnaFlow exhaust, Hedman headers, Ride Tech suspension and TSW wheels, just to name a few.

The Ruby Fire interior has also been remastered with black and tan leather, painted trim pieces and a Sony audio/video system.

Heather Swindoll Andrew Lowe 16 Ram 2500 Longhorn

Heather Swindoll/Andrew Lowe, ’16 Ram 2500 Longhorn
Booth: McGaughy’s Suspension, 21615

Heather Swindoll, the lead builder of this super-lifted truck for McGaughy’s Suspension, says that this build revolves around one basic question: What if a girl built a SEMA truck? That “what if” question was answered with Swindoll’s entry into BOTB—a ’16 Ram 2500 Longhorn. The truck, which will reside in the McGaughy’s Suspension booth at the SEMA Show, features a tuned 6.7L Cummins engine and custom driveshafts.

The frame of the truck has been left stock but now rests on a dramatic 10-in. McGaughy’s suspension lift, gold powdercoating and Fox shocks. Inside, the Ram has an Edge touchscreen as well as a custom speaker box housing with Kicker audio components and subs.

Big Mike 92 Honda Prelude

Big Mike, ’92 Honda Prelude
Booth: Torco Oils & Fuels, 24843

Big Mike grew up as an avid automotive enthusiast, specifically in the import/tuner culture. Drawing from this, he has built many cars over the years, including several that fit into the import category. For 2016, his project is a ’92 Honda Prelude, built for the Torco Oils booth. The super-customized Prelude includes an array of interior and exterior modifications, making it a unique interpretation on an import classic.

The Prelude is powered by a 2.0L Honda Accord engine that is boosted by a Honeywell GTX28 turbo with a V-band turbine housing, a TurbosmartUSA wastegate, an AEM fuel rail and other custom pieces. Beyond the powertrain, exterior modifications include a vented hood, custom side skirts, carbon-fiber mirrors and more. Lastly, the interior of the Prelude received a once-over as well, sporting Sparco front seats, an Aim Sports electronic dash, a Rywire engine harness and other advanced modifications.

Jesse Gonzalez 36 Rolls Royce


Jesse Gonzalez, ’36 Rolls Royce
Booth: Arc Audio, 12027

According to Jesse Gonzalez, this ’36 Rolls Royce is making the remarkable transition from luxury coach to rat rod. Gonzalez explained that the roof has already been cut down 13.5 in., and he sent the SEMA News team a healthy list of modifications.

The “Rolls Rod” features an open chauffeur compartment with a modified windshield and has an aluminum chassis, a big-block Chevy engine, Iron Ace custom seats and an aircraft dash. Additional members of the build team include Sam Hard from Hard Up Garage in England and Michael Lightbourn from The El Paso Connection.

53 Willys-Overland

Michael Sampson, ’53 Willys-Overland
Booth: Ramsey Winch, 37147

After World War II, Willys-Overland entered the civilian market, producing a new “Jeep” to satisfy customers looking for a rugged vehicle for farming, ranching and hunting. Carl Lofthouse and the team at Accurate Automotive are bringing the rich history of the Willys to the 2016 SEMA Show. Lighthouse is working on a ’53 Willys pickup truck that features a ’16 GM 6.2L LS3 engine, Novak JK headers and a Sidewinder transmission shifter.

The rig will also sport a ’16 Jeep Wrangler four-door JK frame, King adjustable shocks, Steersmart Yeti HD steering and Currie anti-rock swaybars. The inside will feature top-shelf amenities, including Corbeau racing seats and an Insane Audio stereo/navigation/DVD system as well as power windows and custom head and door liners.

Bruce Harvey 70 Dodge Charger

Bruce Harvey, ’70 Dodge Charger
Booth: Toyo Tire Treadpass Outdoor Area

Pro Comp Custom Inc., led by builder Bruce Harvey, will be bringing a bit of NASCAR power to the 2016 BOTB with its latest creation: a ’70 Dodge Charger powered by an R5 NASCAR engine from Eatmon Race Engines. The mill includes a custom intake manifold with Borla LS3 throttle bodies, Holley EFI headers and Borla exhaust.

Exterior changes and modifications include a 3-in. chopped roofline, a handmade cowl, hood scoop and door vents and a custom front splitter and lower valence. It’s finished off by R-M BASF custom paint, and the interior of the Charger is just as customized, with a handmade dash, center console and rear seat delete, Tilton pedals and upholstery by Kirik.

Blake Stoner 49 Chevrolet 3100

Blake Stoner, ’49 Chevrolet 3100
Booth: Precision Replacement Parts, 24189

Blake Stoner of Stoner’s Speed Shop has been building custom rides for years, specifically focusing on trucks. This build for the Precision Replacement Parts booth is a ’49 Chevrolet 3100.

The finished product is a far cry from the starting condition of the truck, which was found covered in corn seed, mice and loads of dust in an Iowa barn. The end result is a fully custom truck, complete with an LS engine, air-ride suspension from Air Lift Performance, and original OE-color paint. Stoner’s truck includes a custom interior as well, completed by Boss Customs.

Paul Baker 16 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali

Paul Baker, ’16 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali
Booth: Fusion Bumpers, 62087

This ’16 GMC Sierra Denali is Paul Baker’s first SEMA Show truck build. Baker explained that this truck is a compilation of several of his past builds and is still every-day drivable. His approach was to include parts that make a statement but are not over the top.

The powertrain, exterior and interior are all custom. The powertrain includes a 6.6L Allison Duramax engine with an S&B cold-air intake and MagnaFlow exhaust, and the driveline features PPE differential covers and transmission pan. The Denali is lifted 9 in. and uses Fox shocks, Hellwig sway bars and American Force wheels wrapped in Toyo tires. The work continues inside with custom leather from Alea, an Audiovox DVD system and a 10-in. Kicker sub.

Andrew Faris 29 Plymouth Sedan

Andrew Faris, ’29 Plymouth Sedan
Booth: House of Kolor, 23513

Andrew Faris’ BOTB entry, a ’29 Plymouth sedan, is a blend of old-school hot rod and modern industrial design. Nicknamed “Plymouth Rock,” the car features a classic look that includes key components such as a 5.9L Cummins engine totaling 1,200 hp. One-off wheels, a custom chassis with an integrated rollbar, a widened body, MagnaFlow exhaust and an Eaton differential add to the classic rod’s heritage and prowess.

The industrial classic theme is also extended inside the sedan as well, with bomber seats, a custom dash fitted with unique wooden inserts and gauges from Classic instruments.

Rodger Lee 62 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubbletop


Rodger Lee, ’62 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubbletop
Booth: Meguiar’s Inc., 23643

One of two entries from Rodger Lee for the 2016 BOTB, his ’62 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubbletop was “built to be a modern European take on a very timeless-styled car.”

Signature touches continue the European flare, including the twin-turbo LS engine with a 4L80 transmission, the custom-built chassis with C6 Corvette front and four-link rear suspension and the custom LED headlights and taillights. Additional notable pieces include the fully custom interior, the custom paint and the fitted bumpers.


Rodger Lee, ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air
Booth: Flowmaster, 22351

The second of two entries from Rodger Lee for the 2016 BOTB is a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air presented by Lee and the team at Ironworks Speed & Kustom. The car has a Whipple supercharger on a built LS9 engine that includes custom carbon-fiber pieces.

Many of the styling cues on the ’57 are not traditional, according to Lee. A few of those additions include HRE wheels, a chopped front clip and various exterior carbon-fiber bits. The Bel Air is a modern European take on an American classic.

Tom Longo 66 Mercury Cyclone GT

Tom Longo, ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT
Booth: Derale Performance, 22335

Tom Longo, president and CEO of Derale Performance, represents the company’s third generation of family ownership. Now celebrating its 60th anniversary, the team at Derale decided to mark the occasion in a big way—building a one-of–a-kind ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT for the company’s booth at the SEMA Show. The booth vehicle, also serving as Longo’s entry in the 2016 BOTB, is a multi-year, all-encompassing build that required the entire company’s handiwork. Longo said that the idea behind the Cyclone was to “build a car that had all of the styling of a ’60s stock car but with modern touches throughout.”

The Mercury uses a 427ci engine with a Scat rotating assembly, Mahle pistons, a Comp Cams camshaft and other performance features. The body of the Cyclone is steel, with modified front and rear fenders and a fiberglass hood. It rides on Bassett wheels wrapped in Hoosier slicks. Inside, a custom rollcage, a new dash, aluminum work and Bear racing seats complete the stock-car atmosphere.

Tyler Stratton 66 Ford Fairlane 500XL

Tyler Stratton, ’66 Ford Fairlane 500XL
Booth: The Enthusiast Network (TEN), 22743

Tyler Stratton, alongside Hot Rods by Dean, presents his entry for the 2016 BOTB: a ’66 Ford Fairlane. The car is a promotional effort behind the 2016 TEN Road Tour and commands attention for several reasons, chief of which is the 5.0L Ford Coyote engine swap.

In addition to the improved powerplant, the Fairlane includes a custom air hood, chrome plating and paintwork. The interior is completely custom and was provided by Hot Rod Interiors By Glenn. It includes a Vintage Air A/C system, an Autosound stereo system and ProCar seats.

Archie Concon 00 Mitsubishi Mirage

Archie Concon, ’00 Mitsubishi Mirage
Booth: Zeitronix, 24523

When it left the factory in 2000, the original Mitsubishi Mirage made 91 hp, sent exclusively to the front wheels. Through the work of an extensive, transformational build, Archie Concon and his Las Vegas team have converted their Mirage to a two-door, 800hp, all-wheel-drive racer. Concon says that this is the only Mirage of this generation in the world to be modified to such an extent.

The specifics include a Manley Performance 2.1 EVO VIII race engine, ACL race bearings, Kiggly valve springs, Precision Billet dual BB turbo and many more powertrain modifications. Chassis mods include wide-ranging pieces from JDM EVO, such as the control arms, the front and rear bushings, the differential mount and the transmission brace. The Mirage uses Wilwood brakes and BF Goodrich slick tires as well. Finishing off the build, the interior highlights include Zeitronix electronics and Takata racing pieces.

Gary and Monika Wescott 99 Ford F-550 Super Duty XL

Gary and Monika Wescott, ’99 Ford F-550 Super Duty XL
Feature Vehicle

A purpose-built worldwide adventure vehicle, Gary and Monika Wescott’s “Turtle V” is the core of their business—and their lifestyle. Turtle V is used as the main vehicle for the couple’s international travels and is built with durability in mind. Powertrain components include Magnaflow exhaust, Odyssey batteries, an Amsoil bypass oil filtration system and more. The chassis upgrades include Hellwig air suspension and sway bars, Rancho shocks and a Detroit Truetrac limited-slip differential.

Turtle V’s exterior continues the custom approach with auxiliary fuel tanks, Bushwacker flares, Yakima bike racks and several other camper modifications. The truck’s interior is also expedition-ready, with Recaro seats, fire extinguishers, a Garmin GPS, a Cobra radio and a Painless Performance auxiliary fuse box.

Kyle Tucker 41 Willys Coupe

Kyle Tucker, ’41 Willys Coupe
Booth: Baer Inc., 23719

A couple recently brought their ’41 Willys coupe to the Detroit Speed Shop for a ground-up rebuild. The car spent most of its life as a drag racer and was even rumored to have been driven by Kenny Bernstein early in his career. The rebuild includes a 7.0L LS7 V8 engine, Holley valve covers, a Detroit Speed 9-in, rearend and Baer brakes.

The body is full metal, with flush-mounted AM Hot Rod glass, widened metal fenders and lowered rockers. The interior includes an eight-point custom rollcage, custom upholstery, gauges from Classic Instruments and Recaro seats.

Gary Hagar, 76 Ford Bronco


Gary Hagar, ’76 Ford Bronco
Booth: Hemmings Motor News, 23675

As a child, Gary Hagar was constantly involved with Ford Broncos, but one sticks out in his mind above the others: a ’77 model that he worked on at the age of seven. Looking to carry on his childhood memories, Hagar picked up a ’76 Bronco a few years ago and began the build process.

His goal for the build was to keep a semi-stock appearance but to utilize modern chassis and powertrain components—most notably a 5.0L Ford V8 engine with a Vortech supercharger and an AOD transmission, Ford headers and MagnaFlow exhaust. Bright key-lime paint and Ringbrothers door handles add special touches to the package.

Cam Miller 69 Chevrolet Camaro

Cam Miller, ’69 Chevrolet Camaro
Booth: Mothers Polishes Waxes & Cleaners, 61008

“Under Pressure,” the ’69 HS Customs Camaro, is a multi-year project that first started with the owner of the vehicle attempting to restore the car himself. After trying to piece the car together, the owner reached out to the shop, which eventually took the reins and developed a SEMA Show-worthy finished project.

Under Pressure is powered by a GM Performance LSX 427 engine with a Comp Cams camshaft, a hot- and cold-side turbo system, a Holley XFI engine-management system and a 4L80E transmission. The Camaro sits on custom HS Customs EVOD wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires and uses Wilwood brakes. Aesthetic touches include a full metal and aluminum interior with Dakota Digital gauges, leather upholstery and a Kicker audio system.

Mike Staveski 68 Dodge Dart

Mike Staveski, ’68 Dodge Dart
Booth: Trick Flow Specialties, 23025

Mike Staveski and the team at LexiJ/RMR Dreamcars present their entry into BOTB—a ’68 Dodge Dart restomod. Power comes from a 493 stroker Scat engine with Trick Flow heads and intake, a Vortech supercharger and a QuickFuel carburetor. To handle the power, the team also included a 4L80 transmission.

The exterior of the car is covered in custom paint and includes carbon-fiber bumpers, wrinkle-finished trim and one-off wheels. To round off the Dart’s many modifications, the interior includes a custom dash with Dakota Digital gauges, a Legendary interior and a Vintage Air A/C system.

Dominic Le 74 Datsun 260Z


Dominic Le, ’74 Datsun 260Z
Booth: Toyo Tires Treadpass

“For the 2016 SEMA Show, we want to show the world that Japanese classic cars can play with the best of them,” said Dominic Le of his 1974 Datsun 260Z. Le built the car in its entirety in his garage in Santa Ana, California.

The Datsun uses a Toyota Supra engine with a custom APEX Performance turbo system, LS coils and a R154 transmission.

To enhance the car’s style, the exterior was customized with Marugen Shoukai Japan fenders, front lip and rear spoiler. PPG custom paint and gold chrome accents match the all-black interior with a custom half cage and dash.

Tim White 50 Cadillac Two-Door Coupe

Tim White, ’50 Cadillac Two-Door Coupe
Booth: Wet Sounds, 11639

The Wet Sounds BOTB entry is a ’50 Cadillac two-door coupe with a 1,000hp twin-turbo Cummins diesel engine. As builder Tim White explained, “Wet Sounds is known for over-the-top builds, and the ‘D Lac’ will show just how far we can go with a one-of-a-kind tow vehicle.”

In addition to the engine, other major highlights include a stretched all-steel body, polished copper coated in Cerakote, and Sherwin Williams satin-black paint with Prismatic powdercoated accent parts. The interior features a Wet Sounds audio system, bucket seats, Dakota Digital gauges and components, a Vintage Air A/C system, a Painless wiring harness and more.

Greg Higgs 15 Chevrolet Colorado

Greg Higgs, ’15 Chevrolet Colorado
Booth: Fab Fours Inc., 33181

“I have a temporary obsession with vehicular disproportion—particularly low, wide and big-tired,” said Greg Higgs of Fab Fours Inc. That obsession spawned his entry into the 2016 BOTB, dubbed “Kymera.” The truck is hardly recognizable as a Colorado now, with a V12 Cummins engine, a high-power injection pump, Miller Racing plumbing and dual power steering pumps. Kymera is chopped, widened and lifted to a stance far different from its original state.

Fox Racing shocks, custom-machined wheels and wheel inserts, matte-grey metallic paint, copper powdercoating accent work, HID projector headlights and off-road-only taillights complete the menacing exterior. The interior is also customized with a Vice Unlimited rollcage, a Dakota Digital competition instrument panel, a custom center console and Katzkin leather seats.

Finish Line Speed Shop 75 Chevrolet C-10

Finish Line Speed Shop, ’75 Chevrolet C-10
Booth: Covercraft, 23531

Finish Line Speed Shop set out to build the ultimate tribute for good friend Mark Cain, who passed away last year due to his battle with ALS. The build is not only a tribute to Cain but will also eventually be donated to the ALS Association, with all proceeds going to fight the disease. The vehicle is a ’75 Chevrolet C-10 pickup with an LS engine, Hedman headers, Black Widow mufflers and a 4L65E automatic transmission.

Chassis modifications include Accu Air E-level air ride with Viair compressors, QA1 adjustable shocks and Toyo tires. House of Kolor blood-orange and ice-pear-white paint coat the C-10, and billet badges and custom “Strike Out ALS” ribbon graphics add additional flare. To complete the package, the team at Finish Line added interior touches such as Dakota Digital gauges and a Kicker audio system.

Sam Lee 08 Mitsubishi Evo X


Sam Lee, ’08 Mitsubishi Evo X
Booth: Enkei Wheels, 47029

Sam Lee and the team at Blood Type Racing are building a 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X for one very purposeful reason: to pay respect to the car (Evo production ended this year) that turned so many into fans of the brand. This edition, chockfull of modifications, is a testament to what is possible with such a unique, multifaceted car.

The Evo has an AMS intake and intercooler, a Cobb turbo inlet, a Grimspeed EBCS and a Coltspeed engine cover. Underneath, Airlift performance air struts and a Coltspeed front strut bar keep the Evo planted when on the move. The car’s exterior and interior are also filled with upgrades, including carbon-fiber pieces, a body kit, Enkei wheels and a five-point interior rollcage.

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