However, the annual SEMA Show is yet another casualty of the current pandemic. Fortunately, organizers the Speciality Equipment Marketing Association have laid on a virtual equivalent, SEMA360, so we can still savor some of the year’s best custom car and truck builds, like Darren Sammartino’s 1970 Chevrolet K20 (pictured), which was shortlisted in the Young Guns category at SEMA’s annual Battle of the Builders contest.
Join us for a tour of some amazing restorations and rebuilds…
Ford Focus ST (2017)
Texas-based Rhiannon Munoz customized her Focus ST with the help of Paul Murillo. Under the bonnet, a Mishimoto intake and intercooler help boost power to 375bhp and carbon parts provide a classy finish. The ST rolls on Air Lift Performance air suspension and ESR CS 11 rims with Kenda tyres.
Dodge Business Coupe (1941)
James Thomas built this fighter-plane-themed ’41 Dodge, known as ‘Aviation Rat’, as his first client-build for the business he co-owns, JSE. Only the cab and frame center section remain from the starting point, with new floors, aluminum rocker panels and frame sections added along the way. Power comes from a 318ci Dodge motor bored out to 325ci, with forged pistons and conrods.
Toyota MR2 Spyder (2000)
Owner/builder Andrei Taraburca reworked this MR2 with a V6 from a Toyota Sienna minivan and a transmission from a ’99 Celica GT. Taraburca made the custom fender flares and bespoke coilovers that provide adjustable ride height and damping. The car has been repainted in an Audi color, Nardo Grey.
Ford ½ ton Bread Truck (1950)
This one-of-a-kind bread truck was entered by Shannon Waltz of Pot O’Gold Customs in Colorado. The finishing touches were applied earlier this year to the Cummins 4BT diesel-powered Ford, which rides on AccuAir air suspension and Mobsteel wheels.
Cadillac Coupe Deville (1959)
One of the upsides of having a virtual show at SEMA this year is that it’s easier for builders from outside the USA to get their cars into the event. This ’59 Caddy owned by Norway’s Viggo Lorentsen has a RetroSound Hermosa Radio and DAB antenna adapter that are perfectly blended into the original chrome dashboard.
Chevrolet K5 Blazer-E (1977)
At the 2019 SEMA Show, Chevrolet unveiled the E-10 – a retro pickup with Bolt-sourced batteries and powertrain components. This year comes the Blazer-E, which swaps the original 173bhp V8 for a 197bhp Bolt EV electric motor. Chevrolet Performance’s initial eCrate aftermarket offering – the 60kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package – is expected to be available to customizers in the second half of 2021.
Ford Ranchero (1971)
Returning Battle of the Builders finalist, Randy Borcherding’s latest creation is a ’71 Ranchero. The restomod brings together performance parts from Ridetech, Holley, Doug’s Headers and Ford Performance, among many others.
Ford Coupe (1933)
This sinister machine gets nearly 800bhp from a supercharged Big Block Chevy. Built by Greg Friedrich of Gizmos in Minnesota, it’s designed to have almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The interior of the three-window coupe with suicide doors is trimmed in distressed gray and brown leather.
Dodge ¾ ton W250 (1947)
Matteo Medoro from Edmonton, Alberta, was back for a second shot at SEMA’s Battle of the Builders ‘Young Guns’ category in 2020. Only the cab, bonnet, grille and fenders remain of the 1947 three-quarter ton truck; those original components, patina intact, are joined to a 1991, Cummins-powered Dodge 4×4 frame with custom mounts. The front bumper was TIG-welded from scratch and painted to match the vintage look.
Chevrolet Camaro (1968)
Already an award winner at the 2020 Grand National Roadster Show, Steve Keefer’s Camaro also features in the Battle of the Builders at SEMA360. The LS4-powered restomod, built with East Bay Muscle Cars, has been widened by 5in and incorporates unique, 3D-printed and CNC-machined components.
Ford Bronco (1979)
The US aftermarket is set to explode with parts for the 2021 Bronco, which Ford has designed with customization in mind. But there’s a vibrant scene dedicated to rebuilding and modifying old Broncos as well. This build from Greg Adams transformed a ’79 into a monster truck-style four-door..
Ford Bronco (1970)
It’s easy to see why the classic 1966-77 Bronco was the major inspiration behind Ford’s 2021 reboot when you look at a restored example like this. John Cole put it together with components from Federal Tires, US Mags and Energy Suspension, among others.
Datsun 240Z (1973)
Ohio-based Eric Ritz recently completed his clean-looking 240Z build. The car has a 6.0-litre LS2 V8 from a Pontiac GTO modified with Holley parts, and Hawk Performance brakes. Ritz’s car made the Top 40 in SEMA’s Battle of the Builders.