Which homebrew hot rod will win Optima’s 2022 Ultimate Street Car title?

Brandan Gillogly

Las Vegas’ annual SEMA show has a reputation for delivering ostentatious show cars and plenty of glitz and chrome. Of course, there are also plenty of high-performance builds highlighted in this aftermarket show, and while many of the vehicles are show cars in their own right, many are bit more rough and tumble, as seen by the varied field competing for Optima’s Ultimate Street Car title. Each year, Optima seeks out the best-engineered and quickest street cars and trucks and pits them against each other in a series of timed events to test their braking, acceleration, and handling proficiency.

Just like in previous years, 2022’s field is incredibly varied. There are imports and domestics, muscle cars and sports cars, high-revving inline-fours and monster V-8s. This year there’s even a hydrogen-powered pickup, built by Make Copeland, to go head to head with the gasoline, diesel, and electric powerplants represented in the competition. As usual, there’s also a decent field of trucks, including classics and some late-models.

If you’d like to see these home-built hot rods compete in acceleration, braking, and autocross courses, you can see them at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the days following the SEMA show, which runs November 1–4, Tuesday through Friday. All of these vehicles and more will be run hard on the fast autocross course as Optima also selects several newly debuted cars and trucks from within the SEMA show each year and offers them the opportunity to strut their stuff.

Brandan Gillogly

Garrett Randall has been driving his 1970 Corvette hard for about five years. Look closely and you can see the gravel chips on the rear fender, a side effect of wide, sticky front tires. Randall’s Corvette features custom fender flares and is painted in Mopar F8 green. The shade looks every bit as good on his curvy Stingray as it does on a late-model Challenger or Charger.

You tell us: Which rod would you put your money on to win Optima’s coveted title?

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