Roadkill Previews the 2017 SEMA Show

Every year, thousands upon thousands of otherwise-reasonable human beings descend upon Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. It’s the world’s largest automotive trade show and somewhere in between the Brodozer Hall and the Gallery of Underglow, you can find some of the coolest custom cars on display. We’ll have some of the cooler and Roadkill-y stuff from the 2017 SEMA show next week, but here are just a few builds we came across of interest.


Chip Foose, 1932 Ford

We’re sure used to seeing Mr. Overhaulin’ himself at SEMA with something awesome and guess what? He’ll have something awesome again this year. John Gilbert of HOT ROD Magazine got a little bit of info about the Foose build: It’s going to have a blown Flathead Ford V8. That’s particularly traditional choice and we like it.

Here’s how John described it: “Imagine what a brand-new 1932 Ford coupe would look like only days after it rolled off the showroom floor and into a state-of-the-art, old-time speed shop, and that’s the car Chip is currently building.” We can dig that and you’ll find it in the MagnaFlow booth at SEMA.



Ringbrothers’ Trifecta: 1956 Ford F100, 1969 Dodge Charger, and 1972 AMC Javelin

The Ringbrothers’ awesome Cadillac was a showstopper last year and they’ll have three of their builds featured this year. The “Clem 101” F100 should be spectacular with a mish-mash of ‘50s F100 parts: a ‘56 cab on a ‘54, all over a custom frame. Under the hood will be a 5.0-liter Ford Coyote V8 mated to a four-speed manual. You can expect some beautiful fabrication on it, to boot. Gary Ragle designed the “Defector” ‘69 Charger, which will also sport a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with a the Ringbrothers’ characteristic attention to detail.


Gotta say we’re super-excited to see the Rings’ AMC Javelin come to life, finally. They’ve teased us with it since they obtained it, but we’re finally getting some details, like a Whipple-supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8. The ‘72 Javelin remains a divisive starting point among muscle-car enthusiasts, but we rather like them here at Roadkill. In a perfect world, they’d use an AMC 401, but we get it.


Jesse James, Twin-Turbo 1964 Dodge Polara


Whether you like Jesse James or not, I think we can agree from this concept drawing that he’s chosen a fine subject. With just the right amount of rust, this ‘64 Polara looks rad. Add in a pair of turbos to the HEMI under the hood and, well, we don’t really need to say anymore. If we didn’t know it was going to be stoutly built and nice underneath, we’d almost suggest it could be a Roadkill car.

Zach Johanson, 1970 Chevy Camaro

Every year, SEMA holds a “Battle of the Builders” that pits some of the world’s best custom builders against each other. That contest includes a few young guns, like Zach Johanson. He’s built a classic pro-touring-style ‘70 Camaro with some different takes on it, namely an aftermarket BMW wheel and a cool racing-style Sparco steering wheel. The coolest part? Probably that 22-year-old Zach formed the center console with an English wheel, an old-school method of shaping steel.

Omix-ADA Vintage Jeep Collection

Roadkill’s (very many) Jeep enthusiasts will know Omix-ADA as a massive Jeep parts supplier. And while they’ll likely have a cool Jeep or two in their own booth, they’ll also have an awesome collection of vintage Jeeps on display in the show’s Off-Road Success Center. This is a recurring SEMA item and one we really enjoy. Obviously.


KC’s Paint Shop, ‘57 Chevy Bel Air

If you follow the Fort Worth, Texas, rod and custom shop on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen the progress on their classic ‘57 Bel Air. You can the pro touring style the new style of custom building, perhaps, but there’s a reason these cars are classics 60 years later. No Roadkill here, per se, just a clean Tri-5 Chevy.

Dominic Le, 1971 Datsun 240Z

And now for something completely different and surprisingly Roadkill: a garage-built custom that was in pieces less than a month from when it needed to be at the event. When it’s done, we expect it’ll be (much) cleaner than the Rotsun, our turbocharged 240Z. Dominic is also going smaller with the engine (albeit with probably the same or more horsepower). Instead of a V8, he’s going with the classic SR20DET, the same 2.0-liter found in tons of drift-prepped Nissan 240SXs. We find it pretty refreshing to see this car being built—including machining work—in a simple garage.

Of course, we’ll inevitably find more awesome stuff because SEMA is brimmed with amazing things. Patina is “in,” as we understand it, so we’ll probably see lots of fake patina (No, we aren’t going to use that word). But we can always find stuff we’re genuinely interested in and we’ll bring that to RK Nation.

151Rotsun 5.0 Roadkill Episode 64

Now, if you’re going to be at the show, here’s what Motor Trend OnDemand and TEN: A Discovery Communications Company  (our beloved corporate parents) are bringing to the booth.

In the TEN booth in the main hall we’ll be doing demos of MTOD and you can take photos with General Mayhem. Rotsun will be outside near the Velocity stage. Fred from Dirt Every Day is bringing something, (we think the Alaskan Army Truck), and all the hosts will be at the show. Appearances are as follows, with schedule subject to change, #becauseroadkill

Tuesday, October 31

10:30AM – 10:45AM – Velocity Stage in Motor Village: Freiburger and Finnegan appearance

10:15AM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Roadkill’s Elana Scherr

1PM – 3PM – TEN Booth: Meet Roadkill’s David Freiburger, Mike Finnegan, Steve Dulcich and Elana Scherr.

2:30PM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Dirt Every Day’s Fred Williams

3:30PM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan

Wednesday, 11/1

11AM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Put Up or Shut Up’s Brian Lohnes

1 – 3PM – TEN Booth: Meet Fred Williams and Dave Chapelle from Dirt Every Day + Brian Lohnes from Put Up or Shut Up

2:45PM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Roadkill’s David Freiburger

Thursday, 11/2

9:30AM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Hot Rod Garage’s Tony Angelo

1 – 3PM – TEN Booth: Meet Tony Angelo and Lucky Costa from Hot Rod Garage

3:30PM – SEMA Stage in Grand Lobby: Q&A with Hot Rod Garage’s Lucky Costa

We’ll cover it all here and on the usual social channels, look for #TENSEMA17 to keep up.

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover