Year in year out, SEMA features the best customized cars and trucks in the land. It’s one of five major car-debut locations. They bring their machines here to Las Vegas from around the world for a chance to be seen by fans, industry executives, and international media members, but mostly to show off their automotive works of art.
We had the pleasure of selecting our Top Five SEMA picks today during our annual Goodguys GOLD awards ceremony. With hundreds and hundreds of amazing rides on hand, picking just five is always brutal, but we’re confident we picked five of the very best representing different genres and styles.
Here they are!
Roadster Shop – 1970 Camaro “Road Rage”
Roadster Shop caught the world by storm several years ago with the Rampage second-generation wide-body Camaro, setting a new standard for pro-touring performance. They’ve refined that concept even further with the incredible new Road Rage ’70 Camaro.
Every panel of this Camaro has been modified and massaged, with massive custom front and rear wheel flares connected to custom rocker panels and carbon fiber front and rear valences. The body is covered in deep, gorgeous BASF Glasurit Rage Blue paint with gold striping adding just the right amount of race influence.
Naturally, there’s a Roadster Shop chassis for the foundation – a Fast Track frame with cantilevered coil-over independent front and rear suspensions and big Baer disc brakes making it ready to attack any track or road course. Forgeline center-lock wheels get it rolling. Big-time power comes from a Texas Speed LSX displacing 454c.i. and cranking out 750hp. It’s fed by one-off Kinsler stack injection with custom-machined gold air inlets protruding through the hood to gulp massive amounts of air.
There’s a balance of form and function inside, where Avant Garde Design crafted a custom cabin with butterscotch-colored leather and a combination of competition and luxury influences. Custom pieces abound, designed, machined and fabricated by Roadster Shop, from the one-off steering wheel, to the switches and instruments. A center touch screen serves as a command center.
Though undoubtedly refined and well crafted, this Camaro looks pissed off, ready to pounce, and yes, full of rage.
Frank Howard – 1956 Pontiac Star Chief – Customs by Kilkeary
After years of metal sculpting and finishing at Pennsylvania’s Customs by Kilkeary, Frank Howard’s regal ’56 Pontiac Star Chief convertible made its debut here at SEMA. Coated in a custom-mixed BASF Glasurit blue and rolling on gold-hued Evod 20×9- and 22×10-inch OE-inspired wheels, this custom rod appeals to all generations.
The mods are relatively subtle, with the windshield chopped 7/8-inch and one-off headlights molded into restyled fenders. The sectioned front bumper adds a tight fit while the rear bumper was hand made using five OEM bumpers! The engine bay, intake tube and other essentials were crafted by hand.
The custom Roadster Shop chassis is outfitted with AccuAir Endo-CVT tanks and ride management system to keep it rolling smooth and laying low. A Whipple-charged Don Hardy LSX V8 is up to the task of manhandling all that heavy metal. As you might imagine, the interior by Shusta Interior is as spectacular as the outer skin. CNC-machined PVC panels blanket the cabin with everything held in place via hidden magnets. Only the finest Relicate leather was used to cover the seats.
The topper is the blue canvas top by George Yego. Frank Howard can feel confident that he is cruising the finest car to ever roll out of Customs by Kilkeary. Simply a stunning machine!
Jimmy Shaw – 1971 Maverick – Greening Auto Company
From mundane economy car to a 200mph mechanical marvel, Jimmy Shaw’s 1971 Maverick by Greening Auto Company is fresh, different and fast. You won’t find another one like it anywhere. While it will get driven on the street, Shaw’s goal with the mighty Maverick designed by artist Eric Brockmeyer is to eclipse the 200mph mark next fall at the Texas Mile.
Getting up to “two bills” won’t be a problem thanks to a 351 Windsor V8 by Bennett Racing Engines which is equipped with a pair of Precision Turbos. A Bowler 4L80E and a Currie read end send over 1,200hp to the 19×12-inch wheels cut in house at Greening.
Draped in BASF “Go Fast Greening Gray,” the widebody Maverick features a trick forward-tilting hood and liberal amounts of one-off parts along with a lot of aerodynamic enhancements. Underneath the subtly modified body, is a full perimeter IRS chassis by Roadster Shop.
The interior is equal parts race and street. M&M Hot Rod Interiors handled the cabin and made the custom race bucket seats equipped with five point harnesses. A carbon fiber dash pad and inserts round out the contemporary aesthetic.
This will be the best looking street machine at the Texas Mile for sure. Maybe one of the fastest too!
Joseph White – 1968 Chevy C10 – Creative Rod & Kustom
Finished in just a matter of months, this slick C10 from Creative Rod & Kustom incorporates a truckload of subtle mods to make a major impact. The long list of custom touches includes a 1-inch chopped top, custom hood air ducts, a tucked handmade front bumper that incorporates a spoiler and air inlets, and a custom rear bumper with integral exhaust outlets. Hand-crafted panels fill the engine bay and bed. A smooth custom-mixed blue PPG finish covers the body, complemented by a satin gray hood, silver bumpers, and Billet Specialties wheels.
The C10 rides low and mean on a Roadster Shop chassis, with power coming from a GM Performance LS3 engine topped with a Magnuson supercharger and backed by a 4L80E overdrive automatic. Four-wheel Wilwood disc brakes bring everything to a safe halt.
There’s more custom metalwork inside, with a hand-built dash filled with custom gauges and painted satin gray to match the hood. The dark gray hue also matches the Hydes leather beautifully stitched over custom bucket seats and door panels by Bux Customs Interiors in Pottstown, PA. DEI sound deadening keeps everything quiet, while a Billet Specialties wheel tops the tilt column.
The end result is a clean, cool pickup that retains all the elements enthusiasts love about the classic C10, with distinctive details that make it a one-of-a-kind custom.
Matt Caruso – 1970 Charger “Evolution” – SpeedKore Performance Group
There’s no doubt that top-tier muscle cars are continuing to evolve, and there’s no better example of that trend than Evolution, Matt Caruso’s incredible ’70 Charger built by SpeedKore Performance Group.
The Evolution Charger boasts a full carbon body structure – from roof to quarter panels, fenders to doors, trunk to hood. It’s the only car to be displayed in the Meguiar’s booth with a fully exposed carbon fiber body rather than a painted finish. The custom body is punctuated with a custom billet grille with a bronze-nickel coating.
The carbon Charger sits on a CAD-designed SpeedKore frame and cage connected to an aluminum floor. Penske double-adjustable coil-over shocks and Brembo brakes are found at each corner, with HRE 19×8- and 20×11.5-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin rubber connecting the chassis to the pavement. Power comes from the latest 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi SRT Demon engine, with custom tuning and modifications to bump the 840hp rating up to 966hp. It breathes through a custom exhaust with SLP mufflers and sends power through a Tremec six-speed to a Strange rearend.
There’s more carbon fiber inside, with custom interior panels and dash by SpeedKore, and Recaro seats wrapped in cigar-colored leather by Gabe’s Custom Interiors. Finishing touches include a pistol-grip shifter and custom CNC-machined steering wheel.
Light, tight, and just right, Evolution is a stunning specimen of pro-touring prowess.