SEMA 2015: 1940 Mercury Sport Coupe by Rob Ida Concepts

1940-mercury-coupe-frontThere are car builders, and then there are master artisans who work in the medium of steel. The guys at Rob Ida Concepts in Morganville, New Jersey definitely fall into the second group.

At SEMA 2015, they unveiled their latest creation: a wildly customized 1940 Mercury Business Coupe. This car and its skirted front and rear wheels are designed to give it a flowing, Art Deco-inspired look that is very streamlined and modern. The car’s roofline, wheel skirts, and just about every other panel is made from hand-formed steel. This is not merely another chop top ‘Merc, this one is all custom! Continue reading

SEMA 2014: Dan Duffy’s 1956 Chevrolet 210 Post

1956-chevrolet-210-post-frontThe tri-five Chevrolets of 1955, 1956, and 1957 are some of the most loved cars by collectors and hot rodders. The Belair is the most famous, but it’s closely related to the 210, which is what we see here.

This completely customized Chevrolet 210 belongs to Dan Duffy of Marietta, GA. Dan’s friend Tom Manner did the body work, but completing the car required help from other experts. The paint was done by Thunder Valley Customs in White, Georgia and the interior was restored by M&M Hot Rods in Holly Pond, Alabama.

Like many hot rodders, Dan has opted to do a resto-mod with an old body and brand-new everything else. The tired old frame has been replaced by a cutting-edge Art Morrison chassis with an AME front suspension and a four-link in the rear. With antiroll bars, Strange adjustable coilovers, and Baer disc brakes, this car drives and stops like a much newer vehicle. Continue reading

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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The Roadster Shop’s 1964 Chevelle ‘MaliciouSS’

roadster-shop-1964-chevelle-maliciouss-rearPeople love the look of old cars, but one thing they don’t love is the handling. While muscle cars like the Chevelle were big on power, their handling and braking are vastly outperformed by today’s modern cars. Upgrading these components can do a lot to improve the driveability and safety of a classic car.

There is a distinction between bolting on some parts from a catalog and making them yourself. With this 1964 Chevelle, they chose the latter.

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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