4 unsung custom builds from SEMA 2020

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Jesse Kiser

SEMA’s annual Battle of the Builders pits some of the country’s top car and truck builders against each other to see who can deliver the highest-quality custom work. Despite SEMA taking a break due to the pandemic, SEMA360 kept the show alive virtually for 2020, and that (naturally) included a Battle of the Builders competition.

Brady Ranweiler took home the top prize this year for a gorgeous 1963 Chevy wagon, but there were many builders that also deserved praise. You can see Brady’s build and the rest of the top 12 selected as finalists at SEMA’s Battle of the Builder website. We wanted to highlight four more builders and their amazing creations that didn’t make it into the Top 12. Here are standouts from each of SEMA’s Battle of the Builders categories: Hot Rod, Sport Compact, Young Guns, and Truck/Off-Road.

1970 Camaro by Chris Smith

1970 Camaro by Chris Smith front three-quarter
Tim King

Second-gen Camaros are finally getting their due, and Chris Smith’s Pro-Touring ride would be one of our top choices to hustle around a track. Its chassis benefits from an unobtrusive cage and Ridetech coilovers. Power comes from a 650 hp LT4 V-8 and it’s all harnessed by a six-speed manual transmission. We especially like the blending of old and new in the interior that features a digital dash and a subdued color palette that complements the metallic charcoal exterior.

1973 240Z by Eric Ritz

1973 240Z by Eric Ritz front three-quarter
SEMA Digital

Lots of SEMA builds aim for flashy and bold, but this understated ride is as subtle as can be. Its white paint highlights the sanitary fabrication and layout throughout. Under the hood is a gorgeous LS V-8 and as much as we appreciate the easy power and great soundtrack, we’d have been just as happy with an L24 or RB if it looked this good.

1947 Dodge by Matteo Medoro

1947 Dodge by Matteo Medoro front three-quarter
SEMA Digital

Matteo Medoro is a returning competitor to the Young Guns segment of the Battle of the Builders, reserved for builders 27 years old and under. This flatbed work truck creation uses a 1991 Dodge 3/4-ton truck chassis and its 12-valve Cummins diesel as a foundation. Medoro was inspired by Vegas Rat Rods and left the rust on the ’47 Dodge pickup body but the mechanicals are all in tip-top shape. The Cummins now breathes through a BD turbo and the beefy solid axles turn 38-inch Toyo rubber to get to and from any job site.

1970 C10 by Chad Whitlock

1970 C10 by Chad Whitlock front three-quarter
SEMA Digital

On the opposite end of the truck spectrum we’ve got the 1970 C10 from Chad Whitlock and Boneyard Builds in Leeds, Alabama. It’s built on a Roadster Shop chassis and is dropped low for street and track duty, but it is also diesel-powered. It used a DMax Swap wiring harness to install a Duramax V-8 diesel between the frame rails and it’s fed by a compound turbo system. We love the combo of the emerald green paint and gold Rotiform wheels.

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