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

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 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

SEMA 2014: JF Kustoms 1964 Buick Riviera

jf-kustoms-1964-riviera-sideIn every discipline there is a high award or honor that is bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves from the crowd. Music has the Grammy award, acting has the Oscar award, and physics has the Nobel Prize.

In the world of hot rodding, the Ridler Award is among the most prestigious honors a car builder can receive. It is a moment of great pride and triumph for the shop who beats out all of the other shops and captures the award. In 2014, the Ridler Award went to JF Kustoms for this 1964 Buick Riviera nicknamed “Rivision.”

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1967 Ford Fairlane ‘Black Ops’ by Steve Strope

1967-fairlane-steve-strope-rearSteve Strope of Pure Vision Design was in the spotlight a few years ago with the Martini Mustang. He was back at SEMA 2014 with a real head turner, and quite possibly my favorite car of the whole show! This 1967 Ford Fairlane is called “Black Ops” and it was on display at the Dynamat/Dynamic Control booth in the Central Hall.

The name Black Ops warrants an explanation, seeing as the car is not painted black, but rather, a very pretty blue and gold. The concept for this car was to build an “experimental” racer as it might have been built back in the late 1960s. It is not based on any particular car that actually existed, but sought to recreate a “factory test mule” using period-correct parts and technologies. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: Dodge Challenger ‘Rapture’

pfaff-designs-dodge-challenger-rapture-frontOne of the first cars I ran into at SEMA 2014 was this customized 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack called “Rapture” at the AMSOIL booth.

This eye-catching car was a collaboration between Pfaff Designs and Downforce Motorsports, and was built by RM Motorsports in Wixom, Michigan. It features a number of custom touches that really set it off from a regular Challenger.

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