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 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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1969 Mercury Cougar Convertible ‘Cool Cat’

As a seasoned attendee of SEMA, Barrett-Jackson and other car shows, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at resto-modded muscle cars. I can tell you that Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chevelles, Novas,  GTOs, Chargers, and similar cars are by far the most popular models that people restore. At these events, a car like a first-generation Mercury Cougar would be a real stand-out for the sheer novelty of being something different that you haven’t seen a hundred times before.

This 1969 Mercury Cougar convertible scores points for originality and hits a home run for being an extremely well done build. Nicknamed the “Cool Cat,” it was built by Hot Rod Express out of Blue Springs, Missouri.

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Severed in the Southwest 2013 Video

Once a year, the Severed in the Southwest car show rolls in to Castles N Coasters in Phoenix. The show is a playground of trucks, cars, lowriders, classics, and features a good mix of street and show vehicles. This year, Generation High Output was on location to capture the action at the 2013 show. Check out the video below:

Copper Queen: 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport Custom

When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Thunderbird in 1955, they created a market for a brand new type of vehicle: the personal luxury car. From the very beginning, the Thunderbird was a big hit that broke sales records and earned high praise from customers.

Over at General Motors, VP of Styling Bill Mitchell wasn’t about to let Ford hog the spotlight. He decided that General Motors needed a personal luxury car of their own. Mitchell asked designer Ned Nickles to come up with a rival to Ford’s 2-door, 4-seater Thunderbird. Continue reading

1968 Lincoln Continental Twin Turbo “Evil Twin”

The Lincoln Continental has been around for a long time, but I would say that the fourth-generation (1961-1969) Continentals are the ones that come to mind when most people hear the name. The car’s slab-sided design and suicide rear doors are signature design elements that people instantly recognize as “Continental.”

At the Scottsdale Pavilions car show, I ran across a 1968 Lincoln Continental sedan that’s been customized in a pretty cool way. First, the roof has been completely cut off. There is no top at all! That’s a pretty bold move to make, and I like it.

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1951 Kaiser Manhattan Custom ‘Dragn’

As an automotive journalist, I am constantly on the lookout for cool cars to write about. Most of the time I have to work hard to seek them out, but every once in a while the cars seem to find me. This particular car and I keep running into each other, so I knew it was time to write about it.

I first ran into this heavily customized 1951 Kaiser Manhattan at Cars and Coffee in Scottsdale. I saw it again at SEMA 2012 in Las Vegas. Then it popped up on my YouTube subscriptions for Jay Leno’s Garage and the Eastwood YouTube channel. It was just begging to be written about!

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