SEMA 2019: 1968 Lamborghini Espada CHD Rat Rod

The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the “World Series” for custom car enthusiasts. Builders from all over the world bring their custom vehicles to the annual show, hoping to scoop up awards or recognition for pushing the custom automobile industry forward a little bit.

Within the custom car world are many different segments: street cars, drag cars, pro-touring/restomods, Exotics, original restorations, stanced/flush, VIP, Rustomods, hot rods/Kustoms, vintage racers, street trucks, lowriders, Overlanders, Jeeps and 4x4s, and many other classes of vehicles.

But every once in a while, a vehicle comes along that defies classification. At the 2019 SEMA Show, there was a car that I couldn’t quite make sense of.

Builders Herve Castagno and Alexandre Danton from France presented this 1969 Lamborghini Espada CHD Edition. Now you might be asking: who in their right mind would chop up and rat rod a Lamborghini Espada? I was wondering the same thing.

A sign in front of the car offered the following information:

  • Built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Espada
  • The most expensive rat rod (insured for $750,000)
  • The first ever Fabio Lamborghini inspired rat rod
  • Custom built with real, numbers-matching Lamborghini body and chassis
  • Custom G67 RUMI wheels by Govad Forged Wheels in Toronto, Canada
  • Original V12 engine
  • 8.2 feet wide
  • Built by Danton Arts Kustoms in France

These two guys have taken Lamborghini’s original 2+2 four-seater and reimagined and remixed it for a new generation. As I walked around the car, I couldn’t help but wonder: who is this car for?

I can understand how Lamborghini purists would not like the car, as it goes in a very different direction from the car’s original intent as a luxury grand tourer. A car with no side windows, no engine cover and a very sparse interior seems too radical a change for a car that is supposed to be comfortable, fast, and elegant. It’s utterly impractical for anything other than short drives to car shows.

And what about the traditional rad rod enthusiast crowd? What would they make of this chopped and stretched Italian sports car? Rat rods are all about creativity – making a gas tank out of an old beer keg, or repurposing a vintage pump handle as a door latch. Using old pistons to make side mirrors – cool stuff like that. While this car has some rat rod elements – an extreme chopped roof and a wide stance, it is too polished, too perfect, too different from the “DIY aesthetic” that is at the center of rat rodding.


I am not sure that this car would fit in with the Vintage Lambo crowd or with the rat rod crowd. It’s kind of in between two very different segments of the car universe. I had the same mixed feelings about the 2009 Ford Mustang which received a Lamborghini Gallardo V10 engine swap, which I saw at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction. I covered that car in my post Weird and Wonderful Custom Cars.

Don’t get me wrong – I think the Espada rat rod looks cool and it definitely showcases some expert level fabrication skills. But would I want to own the car? The answer is: no.


Not long after the SEMA Show, the car was offered for auction at Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida in January, 2020. While a high bid of $100,000 was received, this was far short of the estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. As far as I know, the car did not sell.

What do you think of the rat rod Lambo? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

For more information, please visit:
www.chd-edition.com
https://www.facebook.com/CHDedition/

Hot Rods of Barrett-Jackson 2015

Just take one look at the Barrett-Jackson catalog and you’ll notice that there are plenty of Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Camaros, Corvettes, Chevelles, and Impalas in lovingly restored condition. That’s great if you like mass-produced cars, but does little to tickle the fancy of hot rodders.

If you are of the “built not bought” mindset, you will appreciate the ingenuity of cobbling together a car from whatever parts can be sourced or scavenged. With that in mind, I present 3 awesome hot rods that I saw at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2015.

1932 Ford Custom Roadster “Dicey Duce” – Lot #376.1
Sold for $25,300

bja-2015-dicey-duceThe Dicey Duce is exactly what you want in a period-correct hot rod! This 1932 Ford is powered by a Grancor Flathead V8 engine coupled to a Granatelli 3-speed manual gearbox. It has a Grancor intake manifold, MSD ignition, and an electric cooling fan. A few other upgrades make this nice to drive such as a rear coilover suspension, steel braided brake lines, and a dual exit exhaust system with muffler bypass outlets.

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Chevrolet Twin Turbo V8 Hot Rod

I ran across this Chevrolet hot rod at a church car show in Glendale. While I like the twin turbo V8 engine and the wide rear tires, there are a lot of details about the truck that leave me scratching my head. Take the sword sticking out of the driver’s side fender for example: what’s that all about?

From the back, we can see the huge aluminum wing which I think looks too new on such an old truck body. Why is it installed backwards? Is it an aesthetic thing, or does the owner really not realize that it’s backwards? The “Jesus Saves” taillights obviously reflect the owner’s personality, and while they are definitely an original idea, it’s not one that I am a fan of.

The utter simplicity of the twin turbo installation here is pretty cool. However, the flex pipe exhaust and various dice pieces accenting the engine bay make this thing look more shoddy than “DIY cool.” Don’t get me wrong, I really want to like this truck! However, the owner has gone overboard with personal touches that I feel don’t really blend together.

Still, I bet it goes like hell when he puts the pedal down!