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


SEMA 2014: Radial Engine Swapped Chevy Truck

radial-engine-pickup-sema-2014-frontThe idea of putting an airplane engine into a car is certainly not new. The guys from Blastolene have done it, and there was an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson recreated the Battle of Britain with two larger-than-life airplane-powered vehicles (a 27-liter Spitfire-engined Bentley and “Brutus,” 46-liter BMW aircraft-engined custom build).

However, this enterprising hot rodder has put a completely new spin on the idea of an aircraft-engine swap into an automobile. What we have here is a 1967 Chevrolet C10 pickup with a radial engine which looks completely wild!
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SEMA 2014: Ringbrothers 1966 Chevelle ‘Recoil’

ringbrothers-1966-chevelle-recoil-frontOne of my favorite custom car builders are the Ringbrothers (Mike and Jim). I’ve featured their work on this site in the past, including the Mustang Mach1 “Dragon” and the Blizzard Mustang. Taking a break from their usual Fords, they recently wrapped up the build of this 1966 Chevelle nicknamed “Recoil.”

Even among a convention center full of custom cars, this one really stands out. For one thing, the car has no carpet at all. In fact there’s almost nothing soft abou the interior, save for the “seats.” The seats look like a cross between a fighter jet and some kind of bizarre 18th century medical device. Whereas most car guys would bolt in a nice set of Recaros or Corbeaus, these guys completely custom fabricated their own seats – which I think are one of the most interesting parts of the car. It’s the Ringbrothers’ attention to details that really puts them in a league of their own. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevy Nova

1967-chevy-nova-meguiars-frontMeguiar’s is like the hotshot director of Hollywood in that they only invite A-list cars to their parties. This year was no exception, with Steve Tornari’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova taking center stage at the Meguiar’s booth.

This ’67 Nova was the GoodGuys Custom Street Machine of the Year for 2014, a Top 5 Finalist in the Barrett-Jackson Cup, and a Great 8 Finalist in the 2014 Detroit Autorama. Those are some extremely prestigious honors for a car!
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SEMA 2014: 1965 Mercury Comet R Racer

1965-mercury-comet-r-craftsman-frontThis car began its life as a 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente – the souped up version of the Ford Falcon. That was before the guys at Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle transformed this sizzling car into a Trans Am-inspired street machine!

The “Craftsman Comet” made its debut at SEMA 2014 at the Craftsman Tools/Stewart Warner booth. It features a Roush 427R motor with a Hillborn EFI stack and a Holley computer. This period-correct setup would have been on a high-performance race car of the day. The engine is coupled to a Hurst Driveline Tremec T-56 six-speed transmission with a Moser engineering rear end. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1950 Chevrolet ‘Vanilla Shake’

1950-chevrolet-vanilla-shake-frontWith so many builders in the hot rod world focusing on making rat rods and other rusty-patina-weathered creations, it is refreshing to see a true hot rod. This 1950 Chevrolet coupe belongs to Jerry Logan and was designed and built by Donn Lowe.

This is a hot rod that uses parts from a variety of other cars to enhance its visual appeal. Rather than all-out speed, this car is built for aesthetics with a ton of custom body work and fabrication that really showcases the skill of the builder. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: 1967 Volvo Amazon ‘Swedish Ops’

1967-volvo-amazon-profileThe Ultimate Street Car Invitational is an annual shootout put together by Optima Batteries, where drivers can put their street-legal cars to the test. It’s no surprise that many of the contestants are performance cars such as Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes. These cars are widely supported with many aftermarket and performance parts available. In this way, Robert Jackson’s 1967 Volvo Amazon truly stands out from the crowd!

With a car like this, there is next to no aftermarket support in terms of performance. If you want to change suspension parts or build up the motor, you will find yourself making a lot of custom brackets and adapters, drilling and modifying parts to fit, and other issues that most people would rather not deal with. Continue reading

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