Then There Were Three: SEMA’s Sizzling Semi-Finals

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Top Three Battle of the Builders Gary Corkell 1932 Ford Phantom

As the voice of NHRA Brian Lohnes said at the begging of the Hot Rod category announcement, this is “The deep end of the pool here”. Friends, this pool was really, really deep! How only three were chosen from that pool is hard to fathom. But choose they did and here they are.

Perfectly proportioned and divinely detailed, the “3 Penny Roadster” from Pinkee’s Rod Shop was the first top three qualifier. Everywhere you look on this ride there is a surprise.  As described in the build book, George Poteet’s 1936 Ford Roadster is part Hot Rod and part Concourse D’Elegance with a modern twist. Countless hours of meticulous metal crafting went into this build. This Battle of the Builders contender has been “intentionally stretched and recontoured to create a visual and period respectful masterpiece.” It’s an astonishing build with over the top details and well deserving of a spot in the top three.

Gary Corkell’s 1932 Ford Phanton came in at number two. Designed by Chip Foose and built by One Off Custom, if we are going to talk about this build we have to talk custom. Custom chopped ’32 Ford windshield, custom Alumicarft grille, custom firewall and pinstripped floor pans. Custom front apron, custom Classic Instruments gauge cluster, custom stainless dash trim, interior, headers. The top has been chopped top 3.5 inches it the front and 4 in the rear. The front apron is custom as are the running boards, and the burl maple dash. It sports a ’52 Ford Crestline Steering Wheel, custom pedals and leather interior. And it doesn’t get anymore custom than the coat of BASF “Easy Green and Hot Fudge.”

The Ringbrothers completely redesigned “Valkyrja” ’69 Camaro rounds out the trio. Subtle modifications amp up the muscular attitude of this 100% carbon fiber build. This pavement pounder puts out 890-hp courtesy of the 416-cubic-inch Wegner Motorsports LS3 topped with a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger. A  6-speed Tremec enhanced by Bowler and a 9 inch rear end gets the power to the pavement. Mike Ring commented, “This build was unlike anything we had attempted before, both in design and execution. The result is a car with a classic look but entirely modern underpinnings, materials and technology. It’s the perfect mix of style and performance.” That perfect mix earned this ’69 a chance at the top prize.

The remaining nine finalists from the other three categories are as follows.  From the Young Guns: it was Luke Merrill and his 1940 Chevy 2 Door Sedan. Brad Swaney and his 1971 Chevy C-10. And Kyle Ray and his 198 BMW E30. Sport Compact: Edison Sarkisyan and his 1955 Porche 550 Spyder. Louie Shefchik and his 1968 Iso Rivolta. And TJ Russell and his 1991 Porsche 911. And from the Truck/Off-Road category: Darin Smith with his 1972 Chevy C-10 Shortbed. Erik Barnlund and his 1972 Ford Bronco. And lastly, Randy Borcherding and his 1955 Chevy Truck.  All great builds and it should be interesting how this plays out on Friday at SEMA Ignited. Stay tuned!

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