Every year, hot rodders and custom car shops from around the world bring their automotive creations to Las Vegas to participate in the SEMA Show – the largest automotive trade show on the planet.
Many of these builders focus on creating pro-touring cars – that is, a classic 1960s muscle car updated with a modern powerplant, independent rear suspension, and disc brakes to name a few. These and other modifications vastly improve the safety and handling of these old rides and in many cases, exceed their original levels of performance.
One custom car that caught my eye at SEMA 2015 was this beautifully restored and upgraded 1963 Pontiac Acadian, which was the Canadian version of the Chevy II / Nova. This car was built by JF Kustoms in Osoyoos, British Columbia – the same shop that built the “Rivision” Riviera that captured a Ridler Award in 2014. Continue reading →
At most classic car shows, you can count on there being a good amount of Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes. Because of their sporty styling and powerful engines, these cars were immensely popular when new and remain popular today.
The Ford Thunderbird was different, as it was designed to be a personal luxury car. When you do see one at a car show, it is usually restored to showroom new condition. For whatever reason, Thunderbirds are not commonly modified to custom cars or drag racers.
This 1970 Thunderbird custom was a standout at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. I came across this car and stopped in for a closer look. Nicknamed “Thunderstruck,” the car was built by Eddie’s Rods and Customs in Pueblo West, Colorado. Continue reading →
The SEMA Show is the world’s largest automotive trade show, and it has vehicles and parts to appeal to every type of car enthusiast. Spend a day roaming around the various halls of the Las Vegas Convention center and you will find everything from import performance parts to off-road accessories to autocross and drag racing vendors. One thing that is a bit under-represented at SEMA is Kustom car culture.
The “DIY” mindset of the Kustom car world praises finding and scavenging parts from junkyards, other cars, and above all, custom fabrication. This type of hot rodding is not about ordering crate engines or reproduction parts from a catalog, but about putting in the sweat equity to create something truly original – a car that satisfies the artistic vision of the builder. In a sense, it’s the opposite of these big name companies selling cookie-cutter speed parts to the masses. However, you can still find a few true Kustoms at SEMA if you look hard enough.
Hot Rodding may have begun in southern California, but the guys at Big Oak Garage in Hokes Bluff, Alabama have certainly perfected the craft. They have given the “Big Oak” treatment to this 1965 Dodge Dart, which I saw on display at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The car’s bright green and chrome look caught my attention right away! The color is actually a stock Mopar color called “Green With Envy,” which I thought was very cool. You don’t see too many of these cars around, especially at a show like SEMA which is dominated by pro-touring Camaro and Mustang builds. The Dart stands out, and in a good way. Continue reading →
Do you remember Goolsby Customs from Bessemer, Alabama? A while back, we covered their 1969 Camaro Convertible build from SEMA 2013. They were back at SEMA 2015 with an all-new creation: a 1969 Ford Mustang. The car belongs to Tim and Cici Spencer, and we couldn’t wait to check it out!
Cadillac has always been the top tier automotive brand in the General Motors family. They have the biggest cars, the most powerful engines, and the largest price tags. Their symbolism as a product of quality, prestige, and luxury is known throughout the world. This makes them a popular target for hot rodders, low riders, and other customizers.
This particular Cadillac is a 1949 Convertible and was built by Chris Ryan of Ryan’s Rod & Kustom in Ninety Six, South Carolina. I saw it on display at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Continue reading →
Gone are the days when building a hot rod meant swapping in a junkyard motor and some bolt-ons to any old jalopy. The collector car market is now dominated by elite restoration shops that completely deconstruct and reassemble the classics of yesterday as modern hot rods. These cars are adorned with precision machined parts, exotic materials like titanium and carbon fiber, and one-off fabricated parts. In many cases, these frame-off resto-mods may take one to three years to build and cost upwards of $150,000 or more!
Hot rodding has become an over-the-top, “mine’s-bigger-than-yours” competition of insane proportions. The latest example of this comes from SpeedKore Performance in Grafton, Wisconsin. Their 1970 Dodge Charger “Tantrum” is one of the wildest custom car builds I have ever seen.
In 1970, the only people working with carbon fiber would have been the aviation industry and NASA. This space-age material is incredibly lightweight and strong. At the time this car rolled off the production line, it would have been unthinkable to have such materials in a passenger car. But that’s exactly what Speedkore have done: carbon fiber hood, front fenders, and bumpers.