Check out our coverage from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show!


SEMA 2014: 1960 Cadillac ‘Criminal’

1960-cadillac-criminal-frontIn the 1950s and 1960s, Cadillac was the king of the automotive world with some of the most luxurious and beautiful cars that money could buy. They were often driven by movie stars, businessmen, and of course, politicians and heads of state. To own one was to own a slice of the good life, part of the American Dream.

That dream is a big part of what makes these cars appealing to hot rodders, who get a kick out of modifying these luxury boats-on-wheels into kustom kruisers. One such owner is Jessie Osborne, builder of this 1960 Cadillac “Criminal.”

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SEMA 2014: 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Custom

1955-chevy-nomad-sideNothing says hot rodding like a tri-five Chevy! This beautiful blue ’55 Nomad was on display at SEMA 2014, and it really caught my eye. This car was put together by Salvaggio Auto Design in Port Washington, WI.

This is one big, bold, and blue ride. It features a Chevrolet LS engine from Mercury Racing and a Bowler 4L80E automatic transmission. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

1959-chevrolet-el-camino-frontAlong with the 1965 Fairlane, this was the other car from SEMA 2014 that really tickled my fancy. This impossibly clean 1959 El Camino was a blast from the past and made me think of drive-in movies, soda fountains, and taking your sweetheart up to “make-out point.”

1959 was the first year for the El Camino, and just 22,246 were built in the initial year. It was a unique type of vehicle that combined the comfort and handling of a car with the utility of a compact pickup truck.

This amazing vehicle was given a concours-quality restoration by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in Escondido, CA. Like many hot rods these days, the car wasn’t just restored, it has been resto-modded to be better than when it was new.

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SEMA 2014: Trick Flow 1966 Ford Mustang KSV9000

mustang-ksv9000-sideI spotted this 1966 Ford Mustang at the Trick Flow booth at SEMA 2014. Nicknamed the KSV9000, it was built by Chris Slee of Kiwi Classics and Customs in Franklin, TN.

Chris is a former New Zealander who has relocated to Tennessee to tinker with building custom cars and projects. The KSV9000 blendsĀ  classic muscle car styling with modern performance.

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The Roadster Shop’s 1970 Plymouth Cuda ‘HellFish’

roadster-shop-1970-plymouth-cuda-hellfish-rearYou may be familiar with the expression “like a bat out of hell” to refer to something moving wildly and out of control. In this case, this 1970 Plymouth Cuda moves like a “fish out of hell!”

We spotted this 1970 Plymouth Cuda nicknamed “Hellfish” on display at SEMA 2014, mere steps away from its cousin, the 1968 Charger. Like the Charger, this car was also built by The Roadster Shop, who seem to be up to their ears in vintage Mopars lately.

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The Roadster Shop’s 1968 Dodge Charger ‘Sliced’

roadster-shop-1968-charger-sliced-profileThe Dodge Charger is one of the great legendary muscle cars of the 1960s. Though it looks like a muscle car on the outside, this Charger is actually a high-powered supercar in disguise!

The guys at The Roadster Shop have transformed this American muscle car into a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Under the hood is a V10 engine from a Dodge Viper, breathing through twin turbochargers and pumping out an incredible 1,300 horsepower.

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Hurst Ed 1968 Ford Mustang GT Restomod

hurst-1968-ford-mustang-rearAs with clothing and music, cars are also subject to generational fads in taste. One of the more popular looks right now is cars that are “murdered out.” This look involves a black car with black wheels and tires, dark tinted windows, tinted taillight lenses, and the removal of all trim, badging, and emblems. This gives the car a sinister look that is very en vogue right now.

This 1968 Mustang GT seems to have been built to rebel against the murdered out look! This car has so much white, it looks like it’s been “Angeled out” (a term I made up just now). But for all its heavenly whiteness, this Mustang can still run with the herd.

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The Roadster Shop’s 1970 Camaro ‘Rampage’

roadster-shop-1970-camaro-rampage-rearWhen building a custom car, a number of things have to be considered. Will it need air conditioning? Will the suspension be set up for the street or for the drag strip? Where is the engine’s powerband? A lot of choices have to be made in order to dial a car in for its chosen application.

For most people, the luxury of owning a track-only car is not something they can afford. That means compromises need to be made so that the car can be streetable as well. This 1970 Camaro “Rampage” is a car that makes no compromises – it is a race car built for the track. Continue reading