SEMA 2015: Slam’d Mag’s Top Customs & Rods

With so many extraordinary builds at the annual SEMA Show making their debut each year, it’s quite the chore to cover the sheer abundance of quality rides on the floor – much less trying to narrow them down to a “Top 10” that really stood out, so we didn’t. Instead, we chose 12. These 12 builds really caught our attention and were all stellar representations in the Slam’d Mag Customs & Rods category so we’re proud to be able to feature them here first for your viewing pleasure, in no particular order of course (little disclaimer* – there are literally 1,000s of amazing builds in the show and with limited man power and time we don’t always find them all as they’re stashed all over a million square feet. So yes, we may have missed a few, but alas, we do our very best to bring you the best of what we come across). So sit back, relax, and follow along as we walk you through some of our favorite builds from this year’s show.

Sic Chops 2015 Custom of the Year – 1956 Continental Mark II

Although we feature a couple Lincoln’s in our “Top Picks” –  David Hoekstra’s 1956 Continental Mark II built by Sic Chops stands apart and is definitely one for the books. Named the Goodguys 2015 Custom of the Year, this laid-out beauty featured in the Kicker Audio SEMA booth was built by Scott Laitinen of Sic Chops and features an effortless mix of old-school custom style and modern performance.

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Built atop a one-off chassis from the Roadster Shop, the Continental features everything you could ask for in a performance-built ride, from a full C6 Corvette suspension and massive Wilwood disc brakes to a 520ci Ford V8 touting eight stacks, built by Jon Kaase. Fitted with one-off 40-spoke wheels from Colorado Custom wrapped in Michilin Pilot Sports, a Ford 9-inch rearend and 3.73 gears, although this award winning build is certainly a visual masterpiece, it was built to be driven!

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Aesthetically, the Mark II remains classic with a few well designed body modifications like the subtle 2.5-inch chop, custom front and rear bumpers and a smoothed rear pan with flush-mounted dual exhaust outlets. The car is topped off with a deep DuPont Black paint scheme and finished with Chroma Clear. Inside, the Continental is just as custom as the rest of the build, with 8-way adjustable Lexus seats finished in black and white leather, a custom dash with Dakota Digital gauges, and of course a Kicker Audio system fit for a king. There should be no question as to why this stunning build made the top of our list!

SoCal Suspension 1960 Oldsmobile – “True Gold”

Undeniably one of the most popular debut builds at the show this year and a prime example of classic Slam’d style, Eric Conner’s 1960 Olds drew crowds and a ton of attention across many of the automotive genres in attendance. Eric and his SoCal Suspension crew have become a staple out at the SEMA Show debuting custom ride after custom ride over the last few years. Always bringing something new and exciting, SoCal Suspension has quickly worked their way to the top of our “list” for their vision and creativity paired with attention to detail in every one of their builds.

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Photos: Lindsey FisherMike AlexanderDoug BurkmireJohnny O | Words: Lindsey Fisher & Mike Alexander

For this year’s SEMA build, Eric enlisted the help of some trusted friends and partners to help bring his dream build to life. Dubbed “True Gold” – this 1960 Oldsmobile rolls on a set of True Spoke wires with an amazing custom Gold paint job laid down by Mike D. at Davey Auto Body featuring a ton of subtle details throughout. In true SoCal Suspension style, the interior was brought up to the same exquisite standards with custom upholstery by Armando at Lindy’s Auto Upholstery and the custom trunk setup houses the AccuAir management with plenty of room for “groceries” as Eric assures us this one is built to be driven! Eric would like to give a shoutout to Mike D., Armando, True Spoke, AccuAir, Meguiars, and his SoCal Suspension crew for pulling some serious all-nighters to get this one completed in time for it’s SEMA Show debut.

Dale Dameral’s 1963 Lincoln – “Not JFKs”

Typically when you think of laid-out hot rods and customs, you think of the classic ‘bagged Caddy, 1950 Mercs all lead-sledded to the nines, a classic Tri-five with some potent power, or even the occasional “Shoe-box” sporting seaweed flames. But a few of the custom builders this year had a different idea for the perfect platform to showcase their custom prowess. This year, the Lincoln Continental shined with builds like this one, and as huge Continental fans ourselves, there’s no doubt that they made the right choice.

Dale Dameral Jr.’s 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible was an immediate crowd favorite and an obvious choice for a spot in our Top Picks right from the start. Nicknamed “Not JFK’s,” this incredibly clean ’63 Continental was built to celebrate Dale’s family business, King Kustom Kovers’ 70th anniversary and actually started out as a joke between friends, one that resulted in a full SEMA build in just under 10 months time.

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Featuring everything from the Choppin’ Block air suspension setup to a custom Ferrari leather interior (from King Kustom Kovers of course) and a full ARC Audio stereo setup, this ’63 has many defining features that set it apart from most Continentals. As the very first bolt-on kit from The Choppin’ Block, custom 16-inch 6-piston Wilwood brakes, and the attention-grabbing PPG Toner Red paint scheme, this Slab just goes to show that not all amazing Lincolns have to be Black.

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Built by Outkast Kustoms with the help of some major sponsors, including – Auto Sound SpecialistsAccuAir Suspension, ARC Audio, D&R Chrome, Dakota Digital, Downtown Muffler, FAST, FinishMaster, Flowmaster, Fusion Coatings, Grand Collision, LaFore Lincoln Parts, Lexani, LizardSkin, Meguiar’s, Monster Cable, MSD Performance, Odyssey Battery, Powermaster, Ridetech, Scott’s Shop, The Choppin’ Block, The Hoffman Group, Toyo Tires, Viair and Wilwood Brakes, this Lincoln is certainly a dream come true for its owner and a prime example of superior customization.

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Rides By Kam 1970 Chevy Nova – “KNova”

Muscle cars may be synonymous with big power and loud exhaust, but this amazing 1970 Nova built by Robert Zahabi, owner of Rides By Kam, is more than just raw power. Custom from top to bottom, this incredible Nova features a fully massaged body under a two-towned House of Kolor Jet Black (upper) and custom Jet Black / 5-percent Orion Silver (lower) combination paint scheme, one-off front end boasting components from Speedtech, Ridetech and Brembo, mini tubs and a triangulated 4-link in the rear, and rolling on 20×8.5 and 22×10-inch Billet Specialties Velocity wheels wrapped in Falken rubber.

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With the theme of the build being symmetry, practically everything from one side of the car is mirrored to the other side, including matching ProCharger F2 Series cog drives and custom intercoolers from PWR. Topping out at over 1200hp, the 9.4L TR 572ci big block is not only a piece of art under the hood, but also a potent setup made to be driven! Inside, the fully custom theme is carried over with a unique burgundy interior created from scratch, with symmetry running throughout. Even the trunk is fully finished with leather upholstery, black billet oval accents and “KNova” badging to match the rest of the car’s custom interior.

A true example of a dream muscle car with Slam’d style, there was no questioning whether this bad boy made it into our Top Picks!

Jesse Osborne’s 1959 Cadillac Convertible – “The Gambler”

Another staple on most custom bucket lists is the classic 1959 Cadillac, and this ’59 convertible dubbed “The Gambler,” is the perfect example of the ultimate Slam’d version. Built and owned by Jesse Osborne, this gorgeous Caddy features a mildly modified 390ci engine, disc brakes, and custom touches throughout. The body of the Cadillac features expertly gapped body panels, fresh brightwork, a custom House of Kolor fade paint scheme topped with Roulette Red Kandy, and a new black convertible top with custom body color stitching.

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The interior of the car is just as exquisite as the exterior, with custom black leather upholstery with Roulette Red Kandy stitching by Haley Custom Upholstery, a custom fiberglass center console built by the owner and airbrushed by Erik Frank of Hardcore Customs, and a full Kicker Audio sound system with Bluetooth expertly incorporated to flow with the rest of the interior. A real looker and another one of the most swarmed-about cars at the show (making it quite “fun” to photograph), this caddy locked in a spot in our top choices with ease.

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Tucci Hot Rods 1931 Ford Model-A – “The Don’t Call It A Rat Rod – Rat Rod”

Rat rods run the gamut when it comes to the class, style and quality of build in the industry, with many who wear the name “rat rod” seemingly just thrown together piles of parts. But this 1931 Ford Model-A Tudor Sedan built by Dave Tucci of Tucci Hot Rods is not even close to being one of those “rats” although all week long we overheard the term “rat rod” being loosely handed out to this fine example of a perfectly executed custom HOT ROD build.

When a customer comes to Dave Tucci and looking for the “loud and obnoxious” vibe of a typical rat rod but with an extremely high standard of style and quality construction, this ’31 Ford is precisely what happens and we just fell in love with it from top to bottom! It’s everything we here at Slam’d look for in a custom hot rod – and then some.

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Built atop a custom chassis featuring a cantilever front setup with FOX float shocks and AccuAir management, this Model-A boasts everything from a fine-tuned Small Block Chevy engine with three hotrod-style deuces towering over the block, to Wilwood disc brakes tucked behind the massive 17-inch front and 20-inch rear US Mags wheels wrapped in Excelsior vintage rubber.

The heavily custom body has had 5 ½ inches taken out of the roof, plenty of industrial design elements, like laser cut window trim and seat frames, and finishing touches like a wood-slat roof, really put this build over the top in the innovation and style departments. Not at all your typical “rat rod,” this gorgeous ’31 Ford is right at home here in our Top Picks.

Markus Lujan’s 1961 Chevy Bel Air – “H8MENOW”

An icon in the automotive world, the Bel Air “bubble top” is many Slam’d fans’ dream car, and this one certainly takes the cake for being laid-out and unique from top to bottom. Markus Lujan has built quite a few customs and slammed trucks in the past, but this time he was out to build his dream ride and make a SEMA Show debut to check it off his bucket list.

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Going all out this time around, Markus and friends spent the majority of eight months or so turning this once dilapidated 1961 into the pristine machine you see here. Keepin’ it a bit “gangsta” in true Severed Ties fashion, Markus opted for hydraulics thanks to the help of Dice Suspension and Phat Phabz. Once the car sat nicely atop the massive 22×8.5 and 22×12-inch Intro billet wheels, it was time to dial in the body and paint. A custom sea foam green mixed and laid down by King Kong Customs really helps set this build apart from the rest. Next up the bubble received a full custom interior and Rockford Fosgate system in record time thanks to the Gotcha Covered crew.

Markus said he couldn’t have finished this build in time without the help of friends, family, those mentioned above, and his faithful sponsors who helped him complete his dream build and check the SEMA debut off his automotive bucket list. Also a special thanks to Steel Rubber, Race Ready Performance, Slam’d Mag, Napa Auto Parts, Classic Industries, Dakota Digital, MSD, Kindig It, ididit, American Autowire, Dynomax, and Vintage Air.

Chip Foose’s 1965 Chevy Impala – “The Imposter”

The annual SEMA Show wouldn’t be complete without the likes of top builders like Chip Foose, and consequently, neither would our Top Picks. While we don’t always dig all aspects of some of this “big name” builds, it’s undeniable the amount of work and detail that went into the transformation of this Impala. As always, Foose had a hand in a number of beautiful hot rods and customs that appeared at the show this year, but our favorite was definitely the 2015 Riddler Winner, 1965 Chevy Impala dubbed “The Imposter.”

Owned by Don and Elma Voth, this gorgeous ’65 Chevy is actually less old-school and more modern than some may assume. Foose used his incredible design skills to seamlessly mesh this ’65 Impala with a more modern C6 Corvette. The only thing that remains classic Chevy is the shortened Impala and heavily modified body, which has a total of 14 inches taken out, including eight inches from the roof and six inches from the quarters and deck lid.

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While we can understand some enthusiasts’ distaste for this kind of meshing of sorts, one look at the car up close had any naysayers stumbling over their words. This this is an absolutely gorgeous and detailed car and a true pro-touring beast created to the standards of Foose himself. It’s no wonder the car took the Autorama Show by storm earlier this year, securing a well-deserved Ridler Award (the fourth for Foose and a first for the Voths).

Aesthetically, the Impala kept its classic styling (although it’d be impossible to point out all of the slight custom mods that blend seamlessly) but was upgraded with some Corvette-esque design cues, such as pocketed door handles, classic 3-light taillight design, front and rear valances, tucked bumpers, and “shark gill” front fender flairs, as well as the iconic Corvette fuel filler in the deck lid. The car is topped off with a custom two-tone BASF Imposter Pearl Dark and Imposter Pearl Light paint scheme mixed to Foose’s specifications.

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The body of the car is remained “Impala” with some twists, but the chassis and everything underneath is pure Corvette, a 2009 C6 to be exact, with plenty of modifications. To accommodate the Impala body, the Corvette frame was stretched eight inches. All the suspension components and undercarriage are straight from the C6, which now fit effortlessly under the shortened Impala body. Powered by the 6.2 LS engine, the Imposter features what any modified LS-based machine should – a custom intake, supercharger (this one from Magnuson) and a full custom exhaust.

Inside houses a custom interior with a Corvette-inspired two-seat design. This interior was clay molded around the existing Impala dash and finished in body-matching two-toned leather. An incredible build that may not be quite as “slammed” as others, but bringing a mix of the best of the best from the show – the pure workmanship and artistic talent that makes this car what it is up close and in person makes it more than worthy!

Kindig-It Design’s 1960 Cadillac Coupe DeVille – “Copper Caddy”

Built for Jerry Logan by Kindig-It Design, this gorgeous ’60 Cadillac Coupe DeVille is dripping industry-leading components. Set atop an Art Morrison frame, the “Copper Caddy” features a custom independent front suspension and a 4-link rear with Strange Engineering components and 9-inch rearend. Tucked up under the car are one-off EVOD Copper Caddy wheels wrapped in Michilin Pilot Sports, which expertly conceal the massive 14.25-inch 6-piston Wilwood brakes.

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While the low-slung stance is clearly an appealing feature of this Cad, so too is the custom power plant under the hood. Built with not only aesthetics, but also performance in mind, the “Copper Caddy” is fitted with an all-aluminum 454ci ZL1 Ram Jet V8 with a Billet Specialties Tru-Trac accessory drive and a custom Flowmaster-equipped exhaust. The 454 also sports a custom air cleaner and valve covers and atop the engine you’ll find a custom cover, which features intricately positioned copper “bullets” that rise just above hood level when the hood of the car is closed.

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Continuing with the copper theme, the Caddy features one-off chrome and copper trim, custom copper wheel tubs, custom front and rear grilles with copper “bullet” accents, and various other copper accents throughout. The car also boasts a 4-inch chop, custom swept wheel openings, Kindig-It’s flush-fit door handles in custom chrome and copper trim, and custom rear taillights with the exhaust exiting through the lower reverse light openings, finished off nicely with a custom Candy Brandy Wine paint scheme.

The interior is just as nice thanks to the custom work of JS Custom Interiors. It features Butterscotch leather seats and headliner, one-off Dakota Digital gauges, custom center console with copper accents, the car’s modified original steering wheel with a 3d-printed square ring, Billet Specialties pedals, and Vintage Air Gen IV system. The Caddy is also fitted with a full Kicker Audio system with 10-inch L7 subs and 6.5-inch QS speakers, as well as a Kicker IQ head unit with Bluetooth. A truly remarkable build, this Cad is certainly one of the best we’ve seen up close and personal!

Devious Customs’ 1959 Buick – “Be Devious”

The ’59 Buick built by Devious Customs has been on our radar for awhile now and it certainly didn’t disappoint when we finally got to see it in person in all its glory. As teased, the Buick features a massaged (and fully chromed) LS engine between the front fenders, a fully ‘bagged suspension system controlled with AccuAir management and Painless Wiring throughout.

Laid out flat to the floor, the Buick makes use of Colorado Custom wheels wrapped in Continental rubber, which are tucked up tight into the fender wells thanks to the full custom Devious air-ride setup. Inside, the classic beauty features a full custom white tuck-and-roll interior with blue carpet, custom speaker surrounds and custom two-tone dash, with Dakota Digital gauges to match the two-toned White and Blue exterior paint scheme. The interior also features a full sound system built by the pros at Audiotistics, featuring various CT Sounds components.

A perfect example of automotive artistry, this Buick blends classic lines with a modern Slam’d style, making it a great fit for our Top Picks!

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Retro Designs’ 1956 Bel Air – “Boosted BelA”

Though still somewhat controversial, well-done patina’d cars are becoming more and more popular, as well as more and more custom each year. This year, the SEMA Show saw quite a few patina’d builds (some done well, and some not so well), but the one that really caught our attention and stood out was this 1956 Bel Air owned by Andy Williamson.

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Built by Retro Designs, this classic Tri-Five is unique in a number of aspects, from the Vortech supercharged GM Performance LS3 crate engine under the hood, to the two-toned Buckskin colored interior with custom diamond-stitched upholstery compliments of Relicate Custom Leather and The Custom Stitching Company, and custom brush-gold accents throughout. If you’re looking for typical ’56 Chevy build, you aren’t going to find it in this ride and we are quite fond of the deviation from the norm on this build.

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Underneath, the Tri-Five is fitted with a full Ridetech air suspension setup and Wilwood disc brakes. Fitted with menacing looking custom steel wheels, the car sits atop Coker wide whites as if it’s ready to go cruise the back-roads of Nevada. A unique contrast of superior metal work and performance with a paint scheme that looks more attuned to a junk-yard racer than a fully-built custom Tri-Five, there was no way we were going to let this unique slammed ride go without making an appearance among this group of high-quality misfits!

MOBSTEEL 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupe – “Arch Angel”

Another Lincoln Continental build, this custom 1966 dubbed “Arch Angel” was built on the recently debuted NBCSN TV show and features a full MOBSTEEL air-ride suspension system rolling on 20-inch wheels from Detroit Steel Wheel Co. wrapped in classic 1-inch whitewall rubber. Under the hood you’ll find the car’s original rebuilt 462i MEL fitted with a custom SLP Loud Mouth Exhaust system, making this a custom that you can’t miss coming your way.

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What’s even cooler about this build is it was built for a local Pastor – “Pastor Kelley” who cruises his custom Lincoln to minister to youth in his area. How cool is that?! To keep with Pastor Kelley’s build wishes, the exterior of the car remains virtually factory minus the Axalta Battleship Grey paint scheme, which is complimented with a Radiant Red roof. Inside, the Lincoln features custom leather pieces from ChampCo Supply.

Not a bad way to wrap up our Top Picks from this year’s 2015 SEMA Show. Check out the rest of the pics of these top rides in the gallery below and stay tuned for exclusive full features on some of these fine builds coming next issue!


Check Out the Full Slam’d Gallery of Top 12 Rides HERE:


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