Thursday is just another day at work for a lot of you who didn’t get to Las Vegas for this year’s SEMA show. For us, surewe were working but it didn’t seem like it. We cannot stress enough how awesome the SEMA show is every year. Even if you can’t get official passes as an industry insider, there are still hundreds of cars parked all over the surrounding area near the show that you can check out for free, plus the end of the week show that is open to the public; SEMA Ignited. If you are anywhere near Vegas, get over to Paradise road near the convention center tomorrow (Friday) from 3pm to 6pm for the fun.
Sadly, today we all learned that legendary customizer George Barris died at 89. While none of his popular TV or movie cars are here at SEMA this year (that we know of) a lot of cars here are influenced by the his early customs, like the Hirohata Merc.
Thankfully we still have Gene Winfield, another of the originators of traditional custom style, and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all even as he approaches 90. Not only is he here demonstrating how to shape metal at the Eastwood booth, but he’s got a brand new custom car with him; The Desert Sunset. This 1952 Chevy features all the traditional touches, perfectly applied by the master. The signature blended color paint job really just cannot be appreciated over the internet. You need to see it in person. This is also one of the cars you can vote for in the Eastwood Hands-on Awards “Customer Favorite.”
Another traditional custom is this black car spotted out in the parking lot. We must admit, we did not get a good enough look at it to even tell you exactly what car they started with. Give us your best answer in the comments below.
A less traditional car is this 1959 Buick custom, but perhaps no factory style represents the influence of the custom car culture better than the long, low and wide 1959 and 1960 models. These cars all looked like wild customs straight off the showroom, and it is hard to imagine a time when every car on the road looked as wild as these.
More in the Roth style of “cartoony custom show car” is this VW van, but is it even? This may just be a rolling piece of sculpture with not a single ounce of original Volkswagen in it.
This workhorse Chevy Scottsdale truck from the 1970s has been given a new life as a low, low show truck. The contrast of the nearly bone-stock looking 40 year old body with the modern stance and retro wheel and tire combo in modern low profile sizes really makes for a killer look.
This tastefully restomodded 2nd generation Corvette could be mistaken for a stock car. But if you look at the wheels you see they are old style, but again in a modern 21st century size. From there all sorts of modern power, brake and chassis upgrades were applied to make it go, turn and stop as well as it looks like it should.
Goolsby Customs built this understated Mustang that looks like it could really take care of business on a road course, or any open road. The custom body work, topped with a gray-on-gray paint scheme that mixes matte and glossy finish paint, won them an award from Mother’s for how good it looked.
Finally we have this wild 1st generation Camaro. This may be as low as you can get one of these, with all the tricks applied: chopped top, lowered, the body channeled over the subframe and custom suspension. With the Toyo Proxes tires, roll cage, and huge brakes this car is ready to go head-to-head with the Mustang on any track.