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 2015: 1969 Chevrolet K10 Pickup

1969-k10-pickup-rearFor 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!

SEMA 2015: 1970 Cuda by The 401k Club

1971-cuda-401k-club-frontMuch has been written about the growing popularity of classic cars as investments. As demand among collectors and baby boomers continues to increase, the values of classic cars are being pushed ever higher at auction events nationwide.

While having a cushion of money in their portfolio is comforting to many retirees, some people look to enjoy the things they dreamed of in their younger days. For many people, a 1960’s muscle car is the physical manifestation of that dream. That’s how The 401k Club got started. From their website:

In 2006 a group of car club buddies decided to lease a warehouse for a place to work on their own vintage cars and Hot Rods. With Dana at the helm The 401K Club was born. Fast forward nine years and what started as merely a place for passionate car enthusiasts to tinker on their own projects, has transformed into a globally recognized Custom Hot Rod Shop with one of the best teams in the business.

At the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I saw this 1970 Plymouth Cuda that was built by The 401k Club of Huntington Beach, CA. You have to laugh at the tongue-in-cheek humor of their name!

The car features a Gen3 HEMI V8 swap and a wild vinyl-wrapped body that was done live at the show! The multi-color wrap shines like paint and really pushes the limit of what today’s high-tech vinyl wraps can do.

Unfortunately, I could not find many specifics about the car and there was no sign at the booth to reveal any further details about the build. I will let the pictures do the talking as you check out this resto-modded gem for yourself!

SEMA 2015: 1961 Ford Sunliner by Hollywood Hot Rods

1961-sunliner-frontOne of my favorite cars at SEMA 2014 was Steve Strope’s gorgeous 1967 Ford Fairlane. The blue and gold color combination was simply stunning. I had a very similar reaction at SEMA 2015 when I came across this 1961 Ford Sunliner at the Custom Auto Sound booth. What can I say: I think I have a thing for Sixties Fords in blue!

The Sunliner was Ford’s convertible cruiser. Based on the Galaxie chassis, it was classified as a full-size car in 1961 and was an intermediate-size car for 1962-64. This Sunliner features twin “afterburner style” round taillamps that are very space age. With its massive 119-inch wheelbase and powerful V8 engine, this car was a real head-turner. Continue reading

SEMA 2015: 1970 Nova – Rides by Kam

1970-nova-rides-kam-frontThe SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the world’s largest trade show for the automotive aftermarket industry. While the majority of vendors, exhibitors, and attendees are based in the United States, the enthusiasm for muscle cars and big horsepower is a truly global phenomenon.

Last year, we featured the KSV9000 Mustang from Australia. This year, I saw another Aussie builder, Rides by Kam. Based out of Varsity Lakes in Queensland, the guys at Rides by Kam have created this incredible 1970 Nova.

This car makes some serious power! This build begins with a 572 big block Chevy engine with Brodix aluminum heads. Then, throw on a pair of Procharger F2 cog-driven superchargers and you’ve got a beast of an engine that’s pushing out an incredible 1,200 horsepower.

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SEMA 2015: 1963 Corvette Racer by Mickey Thompson

1963-corvette-racer-frontYou can pretty much bet that the guys from Hot Rod magazine are going to have an awesome car on display at their SEMA booth. Last year, it was the stunning 1968 Charger “Sliced” from The Roadster Shop. This year, Hot Rod magazine went old school with this 1963 Corvette Racer by Mickey Thompson.

Today, 1963 Corvettes are among the most collectible, due to the one-year only split rear window. Before the collector market caught fire in the early 2000s, these cars were not worth nearly what they are today. It looks like this car may have been built back in the 1960s.

The coolest feature about the car is its extremely rare Smokey Yunick-built “Mystery Motor.” Back in the day, these guys took a W-series engine and modified it to become a 427-cid motor, which would eventually give rise to the Big Block engine. This motor is an early prototype, much like the original Apple computer in a wooden case.

I liked several other details of the car, from the racing steering wheel to the angled gauges. The interior is a no-frills environment with a roll cage and fire extinguisher, along with a stripped-down dashboard lacking a radio or A/C controls. This is a purpose-built racer, and it was made to be driven! I am eager to see what the guys at Hot Rod magazine will have on display for 2016!

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: 1956 Belvedere “Rare Air” by Steve Cook Creations

1956-belvedere-rare-air-rearThe custom car scene at SEMA is largely dominated by pro-touring Fords and Chevys. When you do see a Mopar around, odds are it is a classic Challenger or Charger. You just don’t see a lot of Belvederes around these days, which made this one all the more interesting.

This 1956 Belvedere convertible is nicknamed “Rare Air” and was built by Steve Cook Creations in Oklahoma City. The car is owned by Gil Losi, who is no stranger to custom cars. We featured his 1961 Impala “Under PreSSure” from the 2013 SEMA show on this site before. Continue reading