SEMA 2015: 1963 Pontiac Acadian ‘Andiamo’ by JF Kustoms

1963-pontiac-acadian-andiamo-rearEvery year, hot rodders and custom car shops from around the world bring their automotive creations to Las Vegas to participate in the SEMA Show – the largest automotive trade show on the planet.

Many of these builders focus on creating pro-touring cars – that is, a classic 1960s muscle car updated with a modern powerplant, independent rear suspension, and disc brakes to name a few. These and other modifications vastly improve the safety and handling of these old rides and in many cases, exceed their original levels of performance.

One custom car that caught my eye at SEMA 2015 was this beautifully restored and upgraded 1963 Pontiac Acadian, which was the Canadian version of the Chevy II / Nova. This car was built by JF Kustoms in Osoyoos, British Columbia – the same shop that built the “Rivision” Riviera that captured a Ridler Award in 2014. Continue reading

SEMA 2015: 1965 Dodge Dart SL by Big Oak Garage

1965-dart-sl-profileHot Rodding may have begun in southern California, but the guys at Big Oak Garage in Hokes Bluff, Alabama have certainly perfected the craft. They have given the “Big Oak” treatment to this 1965 Dodge Dart, which I saw on display at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

The car’s bright green and chrome look caught my attention right away! The color is actually a stock Mopar color called “Green With Envy,” which I thought was very cool. You don’t see too many of these cars around, especially at a show like SEMA which is dominated by pro-touring Camaro and Mustang builds. The Dart stands out, and in a good way. Continue reading

SEMA 2015: 1969 Ford Mustang by Goolsby Customs

1969-mustang-goolsby-customs-profileDo you remember Goolsby Customs from Bessemer, Alabama? A while back, we covered their 1969 Camaro Convertible build from SEMA 2013. They were back at SEMA 2015 with an all-new creation: a 1969 Ford Mustang. The car belongs to Tim and Cici Spencer, and we couldn’t wait to check it out!

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SEMA 2015: 1970 Dodge Charger Tantrum by Speedkore

1970-charger-tantrum-profileGone are the days when building a hot rod meant swapping in a junkyard motor and some bolt-ons to any old jalopy. The collector car market is now dominated by elite restoration shops that completely deconstruct and reassemble the classics of yesterday as modern hot rods. These cars are adorned with precision machined parts, exotic materials like titanium and carbon fiber, and one-off fabricated parts. In many cases, these frame-off resto-mods may take one to three years to build and cost upwards of $150,000 or more!

Hot rodding has become an over-the-top, “mine’s-bigger-than-yours” competition of insane proportions. The latest example of this comes from SpeedKore Performance in Grafton, Wisconsin. Their 1970 Dodge Charger “Tantrum” is one of the wildest custom car builds I have ever seen.

In 1970, the only people working with carbon fiber would have been the aviation industry and NASA. This space-age material is incredibly lightweight and strong. At the time this car rolled off the production line, it would have been unthinkable to have such materials in a passenger car. But that’s exactly what Speedkore have done: carbon fiber hood, front fenders, and bumpers.

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SEMA 2015: 1969 Camaro ‘Jackass v2.0’ by Mark Stielow

1969-camaro-detroit-speed-frontYou can’t walk around SEMA for more than a few minutes without passing by several different first-gen Camaros. Many people try to put a “modern twist” on this muscle car classic by adding LED headlamps or other accents that look out of place. It was nice to see a ’69 Camaro that looks like a Camaro.

This car belongs to Mark Stielow, who has nicknamed it “Jackass v2.0.” Right off the bat, there is a supercharged LS9 engine from the Corvette ZR1 under the hood! This supercharged crate motor pumps out 683 horsepower and 604 ft-lbs of torque from its 6.2 liters. Continue reading

SEMA 2015: 1971 ‘Cuda ‘Medusa’ by All Speed Customs

1971-cuda-asc-profileThe business of building custom cars is highly subjective to the tastes of each car’s owner. In some cases, people try to restore a car to its original condition. With resto-mods, people build cars that look old but offer modern reliability and performance. In the case of this 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, it’s kind of a strange cocktail of old-and-new parts combined.

This car is the work of All Speed Customs in Muskegon, MI. I saw it on display at the Meguiar’s booth at SEMA 2015.

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SEMA 2015: 1972 Camaro by Mirandas Custom Cars

1972-camaro-mirandas-frontThe SEMA Show in Las Vegas features hundreds of custom cars built by hot rod shops from all over the country. I was wandering around at the 2015 show looking at cars, when I stumbled across a 1972 Camaro built by a shop in my own city of Phoenix!

The company is Miranda’s Custom Cars, and they have been around since 1989. Their pro-touring Camaro was on display at the HiFonics booth outside of the show.

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SEMA 2015: 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner by HPI Customs

1969-roadrunner-hpi-customs-rearHPI Customs is a full service hot rod shop in Beausejour, Manitoba, a small town on the outskirts of Winnipeg. We’ve featured their work on the site before, with a full write-up on their 1966 Chrysler Imperial that had a supercharged V10 from a Dodge Viper under the hood!

The guys from HPI were back at SEMA 2015 with another new project, also a Mopar. This time, they had a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner with a Gen3 6.1L HEMI crate engine under the hood. But just to push the envelope even further, it also has a rear-mounted twin-turbo setup from STS!

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