Trevor is a real gearhead who loves everything from classic American muscle cars to high-performance exotics. When he's not reading about cars or taking photos at a car show, he's probably out cruising around. He is currently working on restoring a 1980 Chevrolet Monza hatchback.
LVCC West Hall under construction in 2019. Photo by: Trevor Freeman
Here at Generation High Output, we don’t just write about cars – we are car enthusiasts. We like bringing you news and information about what’s happening in the automotive world. We like seeing cars up close and in person.
Because of the pandemic, the Specialty Equipment Market Association decided to make SEMA a virtual event for 2020. We completely understand why, but it definitely did not provide the same experience as walking the convention center, talking to builders, meeting people, and discovering amazing new booths and vendors.
Joyfully, the SEMA Show will be back to an in-person event for 2021! The automotive aftermarket expo returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center November 2-5, 2021. But wait, there’s more!
The Las Vegas Convention Center has completed its latest expansion, and the new West Hall adds an incredible 1.2 million square feet of floor space. And SEMA will be using all of it! That’s right, the 2021 SEMA Show will be the largest event yet!
A sky bridge connects the new West Hall to the North Hall, crossing over Paradise Road. This expansion will host the Trucks, SUVs, and Off Road exhibitors, Powersports and Utility Vehicle exhibitors, and Restyling and Car Care Accessories exhibitors. This means changes to the layout of the South Hall exhibitors. The South Hall Lower Level will feature wheel and tire exhibitors as usual, but the South Hall Upper Level will feature booths and exhibits related to Collision Repair, Tools, and Equipment.
There will be a lot to see at the 2021 SEMA Show, and we plan to be there to bring you the most updated information on trends in the auto industry, the aftermarket, and some cool custom cars as well! For more information, visit www.semashow.com NOTE: The SEMA Show is a trade-only event and not open to the general public.
January is a sacred time of year for classic and sports car enthusiasts in Arizona. It’s a time when multiple collector car auctions converge on the desert for a week of excitement and events known as Arizona Car Week. But with the current restrictions in place regarding public health and safety, things are going to be very different for 2021. Here’s a quick update on what you need to know.
Three auction houses including RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co., and Bonhams will hold collector car auctions in January. Two of them are hybrid events (live stream plus limited in-person attendance) and one is online-only. There are no auction events open to the general public in January.
The two larger collector car auctions, Barrett-Jackson and Russo and Steele, have been moved back to March 2021. Barrett is planning on an in-person event, though general admission ticket holders will not be allowed to enter the Auction Arena. Russo and Steele will only be open to registered bidders, and not to spectators or the general public.
Please see below for detailed information about each auction event.
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2021 Rescheduled for March
The largest event during Arizona Car Week is Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale collector car auction. This event usually draws more than 300,000 attendees from across the country. Originally scheduled for January 16-23, the auction house announced on December 10, 2020 that their Scottsdale event would be rescheduled for March 20-27, 2021. Another important change is that only registered bidders will be allowed access to the Auction Arena. Only single-day tickets and VIP packages are available; I did not see any weekly passes for sale at the time of publication.
Preview Dates: Mar 20-23, 2021 (ticket required)
Auction Dates: Mar 24-27, 2021 Location: Westworld of Scottsdale Address: 16601 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Catalog: 146+ vehicles for sale Admission: $25-$70 advance online (varies by day) Website:barrett-jackson.com
Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2021 Rescheduled for March
Russo and Steele will be hosting an exclusive private auction event at their headquarters in the Scottsdale Airpark. This invitation-only event is not open to the public. It will be a one-day event on March 27th instead of a multi-day event as in the past.
Preview Dates: Private Event, registered bidders only
Auction Dates: Mar 27, 2021, 5:00 PM Location: Russo and Steele Scottsdale Office Address: 7722 E Gray Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Catalog: Not Available Admission: Exclusive Private Event – By Invitation Only. Not open to the public. Website:russoandsteele.com
RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale 2021
RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale 2021 collector car auction will primarily be a live-stream event, with limited in-person attendance. Attendance is limited to registered bidders only, and is not open to the public.
Preview Dates: Jan 18-21, 2021 by appointment only
Auction Dates: January 22, 2021 at 1:00 PM Location: OTTO Car Club, Scottsdale Address: 15550 N 78th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Catalog: 80 vehicles Admission: Open to registered bidders only. Not open to the public. Website:rmsothebys.com
Gooding & Company Scottsdale 2021
Gooding & Co.’s Scottsdale 2021 auction will be an online-only event via the company’s Geared Online platform. There will be no in-person event for Scottsdale 2021.
Bonhams will be offering a Live Stream with limited attendance auction event at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale. The event is open to registered bidders only, and previews are available by appointment only.
Preview Dates: Jan 19-21, 2021 by appointment only
Auction Dates: Jan 21, 2021 Location: The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Address: 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85254 Catalog: 37+ vehicles Admission: Open to registered bidders only. Website:bonhams.com
The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the “World Series” for custom car enthusiasts. Builders from all over the world bring their custom vehicles to the annual show, hoping to scoop up awards or recognition for pushing the custom automobile industry forward a little bit.
Within the custom car world are many different segments: street cars, drag cars, pro-touring/restomods, Exotics, original restorations, stanced/flush, VIP, Rustomods, hot rods/Kustoms, vintage racers, street trucks, lowriders, Overlanders, Jeeps and 4x4s, and many other classes of vehicles.
But every once in a while, a vehicle comes along that defies classification. At the 2019 SEMA Show, there was a car that I couldn’t quite make sense of.
Builders Herve Castagno and Alexandre Danton from France presented this 1969 Lamborghini Espada CHD Edition. Now you might be asking: who in their right mind would chop up and rat rod a Lamborghini Espada? I was wondering the same thing.
A sign in front of the car offered the following information:
Built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Espada
The most expensive rat rod (insured for $750,000)
The first ever Fabio Lamborghini inspired rat rod
Custom built with real, numbers-matching Lamborghini body and chassis
Custom G67 RUMI wheels by Govad Forged Wheels in Toronto, Canada
Original V12 engine
8.2 feet wide
Built by Danton Arts Kustoms in France
These two guys have taken Lamborghini’s original 2+2 four-seater and reimagined and remixed it for a new generation. As I walked around the car, I couldn’t help but wonder: who is this car for?
I can understand how Lamborghini purists would not like the car, as it goes in a very different direction from the car’s original intent as a luxury grand tourer. A car with no side windows, no engine cover and a very sparse interior seems too radical a change for a car that is supposed to be comfortable, fast, and elegant. It’s utterly impractical for anything other than short drives to car shows.
And what about the traditional rad rod enthusiast crowd? What would they make of this chopped and stretched Italian sports car? Rat rods are all about creativity – making a gas tank out of an old beer keg, or repurposing a vintage pump handle as a door latch. Using old pistons to make side mirrors – cool stuff like that. While this car has some rat rod elements – an extreme chopped roof and a wide stance, it is too polished, too perfect, too different from the “DIY aesthetic” that is at the center of rat rodding.
I am not sure that this car would fit in with the Vintage Lambo crowd or with the rat rod crowd. It’s kind of in between two very different segments of the car universe. I had the same mixed feelings about the 2009 Ford Mustang which received a Lamborghini Gallardo V10 engine swap, which I saw at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction. I covered that car in my post Weird and Wonderful Custom Cars.
Don’t get me wrong – I think the Espada rat rod looks cool and it definitely showcases some expert level fabrication skills. But would I want to own the car? The answer is: no.
Not long after the SEMA Show, the car was offered for auction at Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida in January, 2020. While a high bid of $100,000 was received, this was far short of the estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. As far as I know, the car did not sell.
What do you think of the rat rod Lambo? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
After spending two whole days wandering the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2019 SEMA Show, I was exhausted. My feet were tired and I had seen so many amazing cars that I was becoming numb to them.
Seeking to get a breath of fresh air, I ventured outside the convention center and found myself in the Bronze Lot behind the South Hall. It was here that I came across a pair of incredible custom cars belonging to Bradley and Ashley Gray and their custom car business, BLOWN MAFIA.
The sight of a 1965 Ford Mustang and a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, side by side, both painted in matching shades of Porsche Guards Red, was an interesting sight to see. But even more impressive was that both of these cars feature crazy built engines producing big power.
The ’65 Mustang features a 427 cubic inch LSX engine with not one, not two, but THREE superchargers! It is quite an incredible setup, and one that drew a lot of attention from onlookers and passers-by.
1965 Ford Mustang
Builder & Owner: Ashley Gray
Power Plant: 427 LSX Triple Supercharged with Arias Hemi Heads
Drivetrain: 2 Speed Powerglide
Rear End: 9″ Ford
Paint: Porsche Guards Red
Interior: Allanti Light Sand
Right next to the Mustang was this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. The car features a 468 cubic inch Big Block Chevy engine which is both blown and Procharged for crazy power. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Builder & Owner: Bradley Gray
Power Plant: 468 Big Block Chevy Blown & Procharged
Drivetrain: TH350 Transmission
Rear End: 12 bolt
Paint: Porsche Guards Red
Interior: Allanti Light Sand
This pair of “His and Hers” muscle cars sets a new standard for #relationshipgoals. I am glad they brought their cars out to SEMA, and that I got a chance to see them.
Iso was an Italian automobile manufacturer that dates back to 1939. They began as an appliance manufacturer, and in 1948 began building motorcycles. In 1953 the company unveiled its first car: the Isetta, famously known as the “bubble car.” They licensed the design to several manufacturers including BMW, who went on to mass produce the car to worldwide fame.
In the early 1960s, Iso entered the sports car market with their first model, the Rivolta. They would later produce the Grifo, Fidia, and Lele models. All of these were low volume production cars, with just a few hundred examples built of each model.
Approximate Production Numbers:
Iso Rivolta: 797 units
Iso Grifo: 413 units
Iso Fidia: 192 units
Iso Lele: 285 units
Iso automobiles combined beautiful Italian design with powerful American engines from Chevrolet and Ford. They were expensive and luxurious models for the rich and famous. The Fidia S4 sedan briefly held the title of World’s Fastest Sedan in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, the market for gas guzzling luxury automobiles evaporated after the 1973 oil crisis, and the company ceased operations permanently in 1974.
I have something of a soft spot for these niche Italian cars, which are much less known than brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Fiat. Regular readers of this site may have even seen my previous posts about the Iso Lele and Iso Fidia S4 in the past. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the Griot’s Garage booth at the 2019 SEMA Show and saw this gorgeous Iso Rivolta IR 300 coupe. It was a rare sight at an event that is dominated by American muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.
This particular car belongs to Richard Griot, who founded Griot’s Garage in his home garage in 1988. Griot’s Garage has grown to become a powerhouse brand that offers wash, polish, wax, and other automotive detailing products. This 1967 Iso Rivolta has received a full restoration by J&L Fabricating of Puyallup, WA.
Back in 1967, the Rivolta coupe was offered with two engine choices: a Chevrolet small block V8 making either 300 or 340 horsepower. This car has been upgraded with a GM Connect and Cruise LS7 7.0L V8 engine, which produces 505 horsepower. It is coupled to a Tremec T-56 Magnum 6-speed manual gearbox.
The car has been given a full resto-mod treatment, which means that it does more than just go fast in a straight line. It can also handle corners like a modern car, thanks to an Art Morrison suspension and rear subframe with Camaro rear end. Brakes have also been upgraded to Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes.
The car rides on a set of EVOD Industries 17-inch custom wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires, which measure 235/50-17 up front and 285/40-17 in the rear. Other upgrades include a Borla custom exhaust, a gorgeous interior, and a PPG Black paint job done by Jon Beyers Customs.
While it may have looked unfamiliar to the Chevy and Ford guys, this car is essentially an American muscle car in an Italian suit. I really enjoyed seeing this car at the SEMA Show and applaud the owner for building something different than yet another Camaro or Corvette.
1967 Iso Rivolta IR 300 Coupe Specs:
Builder: J&L Fabricating, Puyallup, WA
Owner: Richard Griot
Paint: Jon Beyers Customs – PPG Black
Body and Assembly: J&L Fabricating
Engine and Transmission: GM Connect & Cruise LS7 V8 Engine, Tremec T56 Magnum 6-speed Manual
Suspension: Art Morrison suspension and rear subframe with Camaro rear end
Brakes: Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes
Wheels: EVOD Industries 17-inch custom wheels
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero tires, 235/50-17 front, 285/40-17 rear
Exhaust: Borla exhaust
What comes to mind when you think of Volvo? Probably words like safe, practical, boring. None of those are words that would describe Sean Fogli’s 1983 Volvo 242 coupe. The resto-modded car was featured in the Optima Ultimate Street Car area at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. I stopped in for a closer look at this amazing build.
What looks like a dull, early 80s Swedish car is actually a highly capable, tire-smoking, track-ready race car in sheep’s clothing. The car’s original 4-cylinder engine has been swapped for a GenIV 6.0L V8 LS engine mated to a T-56 manual gearbox. The cherry on top is an LSA supercharger from a Cadillac CTS-V, and an LS9 fuel rail and injectors.
Peering in the windows, the roll cage, Racepak display, and Recaro seats with Schruth harnesses are more clues that this is no ordinary car. This Volvo is set up to handle the twists and turns of a road course, which was definitely not in its original design requirements.
The car has a great stance and rides on CCW Wheels with Bridgestone tires. It competed in the 2019 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, an annual track event that is open to street legal cars and trucks. The LSX badge on the rear of the car is one of a few subtle hints that this Volvo is definitely not stock. This is a super cool build and one of the standout cars of the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge. I was privileged to see this car at SEMA 2019, and really enjoy featuring these types of custom cars for our readers. The car participated in the end of show SEMA Cruise on November 8, 2019.
What do you get when you combine a pickup truck bed with a passenger car? There’s no witty punchline here – you get a car-based pickup truck or “Ute” vehicle, though few know the official name of “coupe utility” vehicle. The body style originated in Australia in the 1930s. By the 1950s, it had made its way to America as the Ford Ranchero and soon afterward, the Chevrolet El Camino.
These vehicles were in production for many years and offered a unique experience that many drivers couldn’t find elsewhere: car-like handling and size, but with the cargo carrying ability of a light pickup truck. The Ranchero ended production in 1979, and the El Camino met a similar fate in 1987.
For more than 30 years, no automobile maker has stepped forward to fill the demand for this type of vehicle in the market. As a result, a number of custom “car-based pickup trucks” have begun popping up. We’ve covered a few of them before, such as an E36 BMW Truck, Volkswagen Ute, and an Audi Ute around town.
At the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I happened across one of the cleanest car-based pickup custom builds I have seen to date. This car began life as a 1997 Honda Prelude, and was converted by the owner Song Toh into a small pickup. In a YouTube video covering the build, Song says it took him 15 months and more than 600 hours of time to complete the build. He has also given the car the incredibly clever name of “Prelute” – a combination of “Prelude” and “ute” – the Australian term for this kind of vehicle.
I saw the vehicle on display at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where it had a steady crowd of admirers. The build photos on the Deviant Customs Facebook page show the progress of the car, from adding additional chassis bracing to the glossy orange wrap, doing basically all of the work himself. Congratulations on a super cool, unique, and very clean build.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association is the governing body that organizes the SEMA Show, a trade show and exposition for the automotive aftermarket industry. On August 6th, 2020, the association announced that the 2020 SEMA Show will not take place as planned. Originally scheduled to take place November 3-6, 2020, the annual event has been rescheduled as a virtual event.
First held in 1967, the SEMA Show moved to Las Vegas in 1977 where it has remained for the past 42 years. The massive trade show is one of the largest in the country, drawing more than 165,000 attendees in 2017. 25% of the attendees traveled from outside of the U.S. to attend the week-long event. The economic impact of the show is also significant, even in a city known for large trade shows and industry events. The flights, hotels, meals, and convention services have a total economic impact of $315 million, according to a 2017 article by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The SEMA Show covers all corners of the automotive industry, from performance and aftermarket companies, to wheel and tire manufacturers, off-road, high end stereos and equipment, tooling and equipment, and auto body and restoration shops.
SEMA typically begins weeks ahead of time, with show services staff and exhibitors setting up their booths in the massive convention center, which has more than 3.2 million square feet of exhibit space (and still growing!). The week of the show, Monday is open to members of the press. Tuesday through Friday are open to registered attendees, including buyers, exhibitors, and other attendees. The show ends with the SEMA Cruise – a parade of hundreds of show cars leaving the convention center. A new event called SEMA Ignited gives the public a chance to see some of the custom cars from the show in an evening event, held close to the convention center.
The details of how the show will transition to a virtual format have not yet been disclosed. The New Products Showcase and Education Sessions will likely be webinars or video presentations, and the networking and happy hour events could be held as virtual meetings. But for many attendees, the big feature of SEMA is the cars: more than 2,000 customized cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and other vehicles take over the convention center are a huge draw for companies showcasing their products.
Generation: High Output has covered the SEMA show since 2012, and we look forward to bringing you coverage of the automotive aftermarket industry again this year.