Must Watch: SEMA Battle of the Builders

SEMA News—February 2017


By Juan Torres

Must Watch: SEMA Battle of the Builders

Tune in February 6!

The SEMA Battle of the Builders competition has grown by leaps and bounds, and interest in this year’s edition was at an all-time high, thanks in part to more than 250 vehicles that were entered and the new Young Guns distinction for builders who were 34 years old and under.

Battle of the Builders
The Battle of the Builders Top 10 cars were lined up and displayed prior to the SEMA Ignited kickoff.

During the week of the SEMA Show, The Enthusiast Network Executive Producer David Freiburger, Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off Road Editor-at-Large Fred Williams, and Meguiar’s Customer Engagement Leader RJ de Vera narrowed down the field to the Top 10 cars before the finalists judged their fellow competitors in front of a live audience. The winner was announced during SEMA Ignited, the SEMA Show’s official after-party.

The Velocity Network was at the Show to record this year’s hotly contested affair, capturing an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look for an hour-long TV special that will premiere Monday, February 6, at 7:00 p.m. (PST), with re-airings scheduled thereafter. The TV special and SEMA Ignited make it possible for consumers to connect with manufacturers and see the great new products and trends that debut at the trade-only SEMA Show. Visit or check your local cable/satellite provider for dates and times.

Battle of the Builders
The 2016 SEMA Battle of the Builders Top 10 cars were displayed by the Velocity stage outside the Las Vegas Convention Center for judging.
Battle of the Builders
Big Mike’s Honda Prelude (right) and Cam Miller’s Chevy Camaro were named into the Top 10.
Battle of the Builders
Fellow Top 10 builders take a look at Phil and Jeremy Gerber’s ‘67 Chevy Chevelle.
Battle of the Builders
The builders in the Top 10 check out Mark Turner’s ‘58 Jeep FC170.
Battle of the Builders
The Battle of the Builders Top 10 builds led the SEMA Cruise down Convention Center Drive toward SEMA Ignited.

Here are some random facts about the Top 10 builders:

  • The Ringbrothers, Mike and Jim Ring, were named to the Top 10 for a third straight year—only this time, they had two cars as finalists: a ’69 Chevy Camaro and a ’48 Cadillac. The Camaro took almost 6,000 hours to complete, and the Cadillac took 7,000.

  • Brad DeBerti is only 22 years old. He put together his ’17 Ford Raptor (for which no aftermarket accessories were available) in only six weeks with the help of his father. He is one of three Young Guns who made it into the Top 10.

  • A ’67 Chevy Chevelle was one of three cars that Young Guns Phil and Jeremy Gerber entered into this year’s competition. They added a supercharged, 860hp Wegner Motorsports LS3A engine that enabled the car to be raced at speeds exceeding 150 mph.

  • The ’69 Chevy Camaro that Cam Miller entered into this year’s competition was his first Battle of the Builders car ever, and it netted him plenty of recognition, including a spot in the Top 10. Miller has been doing custom paint and airbrushing for 19 years but building cars for just six years.

  • Certainly the green paint on Mark Turner’s ’58 Jeep FC170 helped it stand out among the Top 10, but so did the attention to detail given to the build, which was done with the help of Daystar Products employees as a fun project during their free time.

  • Young Gun Big Mike assembled and got his ’92 Honda Prelude running in two weeks and immediately drove it to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show from his Southern California home. He described the process as “the most brutal two weeks of my life,” but the hard work certainly paid off.

  • Gordon Ting generated quite a buzz when his ’16 Toyota Prius was named to the Top 10. He modified his race-inspired build with lighter parts, special brakes and a suspension that allows the car to “do what it looks like it was built to do.”

  • Kyle Tucker is no stranger to the Battle of the Builders, having won the inaugural competition in 2014 with a ’69 Chevy Camaro. This time, it was an all-steel ’41 Willys that took a little over four years to finish. It placed him among the top builders again this year.

  • It took Jesse Greening almost five years to complete the two-door ’61 Chevy sedan that he entered into this year’s competition. It’s easy to understand why, given that he had to handcraft the entire top (among many other parts). The end result was a car worthy of many accolades.

To learn more about the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition, visit And don’t forget to mark your calendar, set your DVR and tell your friends not to miss the TV special airing Monday, February 6, on the Velocity Network!

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