Episode 3 - view more episodes
With an expanded prize package and increased benefits to applicants, the 9th annual SEMA Launch Pad competition included a record-high number of applications from entrepreneurs of new automotive-related products.
Fifteen semi-finalists have been announced and will now advance onto the next round. Watch the competition in action as each competitor pitches their products to a panel of iconic industry judges for a chance to secure their spot in the Top 5. The Top 5 candidates will move on to pitch their business ideas at the 2021 SEMA Show with the top two competing live on stage during the SEMA Banquet for a chance to win a grand prize package valued up to $100,000.
2020 Launch Pad Winner
DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2018) -- Kyle Tucker was crowned winner of the fifth-annual SEMA Battle of the Builders® competition for his 1969 Chevy Camaro during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party designed to celebrate the builders and showcase products from the trade-only Show.
Tucker's '69 Camaro (sponsored by exhibitor ARP) beat out the amazing builds of Top 4 finalists Eddie Pettus (1932 Willys aircraft refueling truck, BASF), Rod Nielsen (1972 Mazda R100, Tire Stickers), and Young Gun Kyle Kuhnhausen (1972 Nissan 240Z, Young Guns Regional Winner from Goodguys).
All four builders will be featured along with many other SEMA Show builders in a new episode of the TV special SEMA: Battle of the Builders. Hosted by Adrienne "AJ" Janic and racer Tanner Foust, fifth-annual SEMA: Battle of the Builders TV special will air on the Velocity Channel at 10 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2019.
The 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition included submissions from seasoned builders as well as new customizers representing an elite group of individuals who demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks, and SUVs. The program was expanded this year to recognize winners in each of the four different categories, with Tucker also winning the Hot Rod title, Pettus earning the Truck/Off-Road honor, Nielsen scoring in Import/Sport Compact and Kuhnhausen in Young Guns (for builders 27 years and younger).
Industry experts RJ DeVera (Meguiar's), David Freiburger (Motor Trend Group), and Fred Williams (Motor Trend Group) narrowed down the field of nearly 300 entries, an increase in participation from last year, to the Top 10 in each category before selecting the Top 12 builds overall. The 12 finalists then took over judging duties and voted to name Tucker the overall winner.
DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2017) -- Troy Trepanier was announced as the winner of the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party held at the conclusion of the 2017 SEMA Show.
Trepanier's 1929 Ford Model-A Tudor sedan edged out the amazing builds of fellow Top 3 finalists Alan Johnson (1932 Ford Tudor) and Troy Ladd (1936 Packard roadster) for the title. The three builders will be featured along with many other SEMA Show builders in a new episode of the TV special "SEMA: Battle of the Builders," which will premiere on the Velocity Channel on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Since 2015, the unique one-hour program has aired on the Velocity network, giving viewers a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the SEMA Show, up-close footage of the vehicles and exclusive interviews with builders as they share their personal stories and journey to the premier automotive trade show in the world.
For many of the builders, SEMA Battle of the Builders is their chance to prove that they are among the industry's best. This year's competition began with nearly 300 applications from builders representing an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks, and SUVs.
For more details about SEMA Battle of the Builders visit www.sema.org/botb.
About SEMA and the SEMA Show
The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details are available at www.SEMAShow.com or www.sema.org, 909/396-0289.
The Corvette was a Select Six winner at Chicago World of Wheels, and received 1st in Class awards in best interiors, engine compartments, etc. The car has custom AME independent Chassis, floorpans, wheel houses, exhaust, bumpers, & interior, flush-mounted glass, machined trim parts, cross-ram EFI, Infinity box wireless control system, Kicker audio system, dash iPad interface, Tremec six-speed, extended body valences/rocker.
Leach, owner of CAL Automotive Creations in Bennington, Neb., is a previous Ridler winner, 2014 Trend Setter of the Year, Ford Design Award winner, Barrett-Jackson Cup winner, and Top 10 Battle of the Builders finalist in 2015. The car has Art deco finned suspension and chassis, cast-looking interior and components. Coach-built body with attitude and elegance combining old-school hot rodding.
The project started with a clean 1932 Ford Tudor body canvas. All planned modifications were laid out before any cutting began. Certain dimensions were not determined until the body had been on and off the frame for the desired look. Johnson was a 2015 SEMA Battle of the Builders Top 3 finalist.
Markin converted a four-door sedan into a two-door coupe and restyled the entire car. Every piece of the car has been modified, remade, or custom-made for the car but for two pieces. 2017 ISCA Grand Champion, 2017 ISCA Rod Champion, and 2016 Pirelli Great 8 Finalist
The car is a SplitRay 2017 Pirelli Great 8 cut down the middle and widened 6 3/8. It has a Z06-inspired interior, LS9 with a one-off supercharger system, and a six-speed transmission. Multiple computers provide complete control of the car with a Bluetooth device. I took over 20,000 hours to build.
Built by Rad Rides by Troy, whose mission is to build the finest hand-crafted automobiles in the world.
A modern race-inspired Camaro with an LT4 and T56, hand-built front spoiler and side skirts, custom lower rear diffuser/valance, one-off wheels, fully fabbed underhood sheet metal, and tremendous amounts of metal fab on the entire car. The Roadster Shop has delivered cars to compete specifically in Battle of the Builders the last four years.
The Hollywood Hot Rods Packard roadster is a one-off steel coach built from design drawings.
The car features a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis, 440ci LSX Motor Dry Sump w/ Flex Fuel, TR6060 Transmission, completely fabricated front and rear Valance, Rocker extensions, engine bay, flush-fitted front and rear glass, shaved drip rails, Infinity Wire multiplex system, custom one-off interior, custom Dakota digital gauge cluster, ADV1 wheels, and Wilwood brakes. "We're just doing what we love to do," said Miranda.
Griffey is the owner of Hot Rods & Restorations in Knoxville, Tenn. He has been in business building hot rods and restoring concours, vintage and classic cars for over 36 years. After years of building cars for customers, he and his wife decided it was time to do a build for themselves.
Bespoke rebuild of the Porsche 993, an air-cooled car converted into a modern masterpiece that has full carbon-fiber wide-body construction.
Payne has participated, built, and designed over 68 builds prior to the 2017 SEMA Show. This year he brought 30 builds to the show with his name on them. "Battle of the Builders encompasses unique and innovative builds that make people's jaws drop and create buzz in person as well as social media," he said. "Well, my builds will do just that. They are one-off custom builds you won't see elsewhere."
Value: Up to $92,000
Value: Up to $27,000
Value: Up to $12,000
5 Competitors: Total Prize Value: Up to $4,000
Value: Up to $8,000
All award taxes are the sole responsibility of the award-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes. All award winners must complete a W-9 in order to receive a prize.
*No changes are permitted to the booth layout or location within the Pavilion. Company does not accrue SEMA Show seniority points by reason of exhibiting at a 2021 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the New Products Showcase area or the turn-key exhibit space with premium placement in the Launch Pad Pavilion at the 2021 SEMA Show. Company may purchase up to two (2) additional exhibitors passes beyond the complimentary allotment of two (2) exhibitor badges for use by company staff and/or spouse.
**SEMA membership dues are based on business type and annual sales. Maximum value of SEMA membership is $2,000.
*Please review the full Terms & Conditions for prize package
Chip was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and automobiles were definitely in his blood. Chip's first job was working for his father's company, Project Design. By age twelve, Chip already had five years of experience under his belt, and had also painted his first car, a Porsche 356.
Early on, a chance meeting from Alex Tremulus, the designer of the "Tucker", was Chip's motivation to attend Art Center, where he majored in automotive product design and graduated in 1990 with honors.
Chip's career profile is staggering; in 1986 he was Staff Designer/Fabricator for the Asha Corporation, eventually becoming director of design in 1989. Chip was responsible for conceptualizing new proprietary ideas and fabrication of prototypes for the OEM's. Other work has included: Stehrenberger Design as an automotive designer, creating illustrations and conceptual models; Baker Sportronics, as chief designer and fabricator of electric vehicles used in the NFL and MLB; and of course, working with his father, designing and building street rods, customs, studio vehicles and show cars for films such as Blade Runner, RoboCop, and Gone in 60 Seconds.
Chip started Foose Design in 1984, in Santa Barbara, California. After working with Boyd Coddington at Hot Rods by Boyd, he relocated Foose Design to Huntington Beach, California in 1999. Foose Design is an automotive and product design Development Company. His company specializes in illustration, graphics, ideation, model making, surfacing and complete construction of automobiles and automotive related products. These products are available to private individuals, automobile manufacturers and television and film producers. In November of 1997, Chip was inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at Peterson Publishing's 50th anniversary, held at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This induction made Chip the youngest member ever inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame at the age of 31.
2004 proved to be as exhilarating as the past years, Chip started a television series called "Overhaulin'", which began airing on the TLC network late April of 2004. Owners were tricked while having their prized vehicle restored by Chip and his team in a week's time. With an original run of 5 seasons, the series made nearly 90 automotive dreams come true. In 2009, Chip made a return to television, serving as a guest judge on the Discovery Channel's "Ultimate Car Build-Off." From 2010-2011 he also hosted the documentary series "American Icon: The Hot Rod" on Discovery's HD Theater. Discovery Communication's Velocity network relaunched "Overhaulin'" with all new episodes in October 2012, running for 4 more seasons. The show was relaunched once again with Motor Trend in 2019!
Jared Hare is the President and Founder of Addictive Desert Designs. Jared started his business by making hand fabricated parts in his garage in 2007 and it only took off from there. Currently, he holds nearly 20 patents, owns four businesses, and is the board of directors for Huron Capital. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, golfing, traveling and mentoring new people within the aftermarket industry.
Myles Kovacs is a leading voice of the influential, trend-setting youth segment. Kovacs has propelled DUB Publishing, Inc., and its family of companies into an annual $50 million-plus business. He has partnered with such organizations as Best Buy, Chrysler LLC, Energizer, General Motors, Mattel, Microsoft, Mobil 1, NASCAR, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart, targeting the youth market and the urban mindset, young-adult culture. Newsweek named Kovacs one of the nation's 10 Big Thinkers for Big Business in the 21st Century. He's been featured as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 25 Young Millionaires and The New York Times said, "When DUB talks, Detroit listens."
Alex Parker is the CMO and Executive Vice President of Redline Detection, the world's leader in diagnostic leak detection technology and winner of the 2020 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year Award. She utilizes her professional background in psychology, digital marketing, and publishing to generate great brand buzz around her company with authenticity and transparency.
**Please review the full Terms & Conditions and Selection Criteria.
The SEMA Launch Pad is the automotive specialty equipment's ultimate competition for budding entrepreneurs who are ready to introduce their products to a worldwide audience.
While the competition has supported young creators since 2013, the age limit has been removed to make it easier for more participants to qualify. There's also more cash prizes, and more participants than ever will be featured in SEMA's publications and social media channels.
If you have a product or service for the automotive industry, we want to hear from you!