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.
For many people, owning a vehicle is not just a way to get from Point A to Point B – a vehicle is a blank canvas upon which to creatively express yourself. Within the world of custom cars, communities have developed around certain platforms and models. From the ’32 Ford and the ’49 Mercury to modern day platforms like the Subaru WRX and Mazda Miata, custom cars are woven into the fabric of our culture.
One platform that is huge among customizers is the family of GMC and Chevrolet full-size trucks built between 1967 and 1972. With a wide variety of both original and aftermarket parts available, these C/K pickups are an excellent starting point for a custom build.
While walking the show floor at SEMA 2015, I passed by the Doug Thorley Headers booth and saw this 1969 K/10 pickup which belongs to Brad & Sara.
I couldn’t find a lot of details on the truck, but I did notice a newer generation LS engine swapped under the hood along with a color-matched intake manifold and valve covers. The whole thing looked very clean in the engine bay with the smoothed firewall. The truck was equipped with Doug Thorley headers, a Painless wiring harness, and an IDIDIT steering column with Dakota Digital gauges.
This K/10 was laying frame thanks to Airlift Performance parts and Viair compressors. At normal ride height, it handles well thanks to its Specialty Suspension components and QA1 shocks. I’ve got no idea about which wheel and tire combo they went with. It was painted a beautiful metallic blue paint job with House of Kolor paints and a light shade of wood in the bed.
Because of the popularity of these trucks, you will find that no two are alike! Every owner has customized theirs in a unique way. I like what Brad and Sara did with this one – nice job on the cool custom truck!
When it comes to the Tri-Five Chevys of 1955, 56, and 57, most owners fall into one of two groups. You have the cars which are restored to their full original condition, and you have the cars which have been set up for drag racing with a big block, roll cage, rear wheel tubs, and drag slicks. So it was quite unusual to see Ron ad Debbie Pfisterer’s 1955 Nomad at SEMA 2015, because it wasn’t like either of those.
In fact, the car seems to be set up more as a cruiser / pro-touring vehicle, which I’ve not seen done to one of these cars before. The first thing that caught my eye was not the bright orange color, but the directional wheels from a C4 Corvette. Continue reading →
Have you ever dreamed of having the comfort of a full-size van with the cargo capacity of a short-bed truck? Have we got the vehicle for you! Meet the Chevrolet AstroLanche.
This amazing vehicle began life as a run-of-the-mill 2003 Chevrolet Astro Van. At some point, it was converted to have a shortened pickup bed, similar to the Hummer H3T.
The bed uses the Astro van’s “Dutch doors” as a tailgate, while the rear hatch has been moved forward to just behind the second row of seats. Below the rear glass, there appears to be nothing separating the bed from the passenger area – which is great for hauling lumber or perhaps a full-size ladder.
For all the custom work that has gone into this truck-van hybrid, I think my favorite thing about it has to be the name “AstroLanche.”
Common logic would tell you to avoid 30 inch wheels unless you are about to set down the Oregon Trail.. or possibly drive a yellow truck equipped with a ladder to the drivers seat and Caterpillar written on its side. Well, this is not common logic, this is pure form over function.. Possibly at its finest. Continue reading →
It was late afternoon on the last day of the SEMA 2014 show. My feet were tired and I was looking forward to heading back to the hotel. I had spent all day looking at hundreds of custom cars and I was sure that after seeing all of these amazing rides, there was little else that could impress me that day. Well, I was wrong.
Outside of the Central Hall I took a walk past the Magnaflow Exhaust booth and spotted this gorgeous blue 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle. The combination of blue with nickel-plated chrome really grabbed my attention and I spent a few moments admiring the car. This Chevelle belongs to Steve Edling and was built by Pin Did It in Corona, CA. Continue reading →