Goodguys 2019 SEMA Gold Award Winners

Gold medal, gold class, gold standard – no matter how you phrase it, gold is representative of prestige, quality, and excellence. So, it’s no surprise that the Goodguys Gold Awards have become some of the top honors bestowed to fresh builds debuting at the SEMA Show. Builders bring their best to SEMA to try to take home the gold.

Now in their seventh year, the Goodguys Gold Awards give us a chance to recognize incredible Goodguys-style rides – hot rods, customs, muscle cars, classic trucks, and other vintage iron that you’re likely to find at America’s favorite car shows. Our team scoured the SEMA Show halls to find what we consider to be the Top Five rides on display, which is no easy feat considering the hundreds of amazing machines here.

Goodguys Gold winners were announced today at a special press conference that attracted a huge crowd and packed the aisles around the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association booth. In addition to the prestige of these awards, the gold bar trophies were extra special this year thanks to genuine gold plating by our friends at Advanced Plating! How cool is that! When you check out the winners below, we think you’ll agree that they’re most deserving of these glittering honors.

David Biegler – 1964 Buick Riviera – Cruzer’s Customs

The brilliant burgundy Glasurit finish is the first thing that draws you in on this slick ’64 Riviera, but incredible details from stem to stern keep you studying it. Like many modern customs, this beautiful Buick incorporates many one-off pieces that are just slightly different than stock, like the machined aluminum grille with smaller-diameter headlights, a custom rear pan and bumper that relocates the license plate, and relocated taillights. Tucked bumpers and beautiful chrome by Advanced Plating complement the super-straight body, while one-off EVOD wheels evoke the classic Buick road wheels of the era.

Much of the car’s custom metal work was done on the floors, which now accommodate a custom Roadster Shop REVO chassis for much-improved handling and a bitchin’ ride height. The Don Hardy-prepped LS engine is dressed to look like an old Nailhead, complete with dual Holley Dominator EFI units. Power is sent to the rear through a Bowler-built 4L70E, with Baer brakes bringing everything to a safe halt.

The team at Avant Garde worked its magic inside, stitching brown leather in a style reminiscent of the original upholstery and building a custom console in the same OEM vein. Classic Instruments built gauges mimicking originals, while Vintage Air climate controls were used to aid in cabin comfort.

The Cruzer’s crew says the goal was to honor the original Riviera style that many consider to be designer Bill Mitchell’s best work, adding only what they think he might have if given access to modern technology. We’d have to argue they succeeded.

1969 Camaro – Ringbrothers

Year after year, Mike and Jim Ring turn out amazing custom creations from their Wisconsin shop. This incredible ’69 Camaro named Valkyrja was one of two builds the brothers debuted at SEMA and it’s simply mind-blowing in both scope and detail. What else can you say about a one-off, digitally modeled carbon fiber body conceived by Gary Ragle Designs that’s widened 5-inches in the rear and 3-inches in front, with custom venting in the hood and quarters, a redesigned front valence, and an aggressive rear pan treatment with center-exit exhaust? It must have been difficult to cover up that custom carbon fiber with the BASF Glasurit Totopkg Green finish.

This carbon Camaro is built to perform with a Detroit Speed front subframe and IFS and a four-link rear suspension, also from Detroit Speed. QA1 coil-over shocks and Baer brakes are found at all four corners. The wide body helps accommodate massive 19×11- and 20×12.5-inch custom wheels from HRE, wrapped in 295/35/19 and 345/30/20 Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Wegner Motorsports provided the potent LS3 engine, which cranks out 890hp with the help of a Whipple supercharger and Holley Dominator fuel management. A Bowler-prepped Tremec six-speed sends power through a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft to a John’s Industries 9-inch rearend.

The team at Upholstery Unlimited worked its magic inside the Camaro’s cabin, stitching perforated leather over custom bucket seating. Dakota Digital built the custom instrumentation in a two-pod configuration that pays homage to an original Camaro dash, while a Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum system keeps things comfortable and Kicker components keep the music flowing.

Big power, a lightweight body, great handling, and classic design with modern twists are all the elements we’ve come to expect from Ringbrothers, and they come together beautifully in this killer Camaro.

Nathan Powell – 1932 Ford Tudor – Goolsby Customs

We were thrilled to see some great early street rods showcased at SEMA and this ’32 Ford Tudor built by Goolsby Customs was a wonderful reminder of why Deuces will always be cool. Un-chopped with only subtle body mods, the Ford offers a fresh take on the resto-rod aesthetic using a distinctive color combination of a pale green body, darker green beltline accents and wheels, and black fenders, all done using Glasurit materials. Rubber-lined running boards, a fabric top insert, and bright nickel Advanced Plating trim all add to the classic character of this delicious Deuce.

Like any good street rod, this one makes a statement with its stance – low-slung and aggressive thanks to a chassis from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop with a dropped front axle and wishbone-located rear suspension tucking the 15- and 17-inch inch billet artillery-style wheels high up into the fenders. A small-block Chevy engine is consistent with the classic street rod approach, though this 383c.i. stroker is fed by contemporary FAST EFI. It’s dressed and detailed in vintage style, though, with paint, aluminum Corvette valve covers and polished Tru-Ram exhaust manifolds. It’s backed by a Bowler-built 4L60E automatic transmission.

Climb in the cabin and you’ll be greeted with incredible upholstery by American Speed and Design combining vintage Lincoln fabric and leather in earthy green hues that complement the paint. There are classic-style details throughout, from the Classic Instruments gauges, to the simple Lokar shifter and Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop wheel.

Classic style and time-tested elements combined with distinctive colors and modern detailing make this one delectable Deuce that’s worthy of Gold Award recognition.

Ron Lallo – 1966 Chevy C10 – Ironworks Speed & Kustom

Classic trucks continue to be one of the strongest segments of the vintage rodding scene and there were scores of them showcased throughout the SEMA Show. Ron Lallo’s ’66 Chevy C10 built by Rodger Lee and his crew at Ironworks Speed & Kustom was a true standout and captured our attention for a Gold Award. Custom bodywork abounds on this beauty, with smoothed panels, tucked bumpers, and a custom-fabricated tailgate. It’s all covered in a beautiful Aston Martin green finish using PPG materials, with a satin silver finish on the bumpers and trim.

The foundation of this Chevy is a custom Ironworks chassis incorporating RideTech coil-overs for a just-right static stance, and Wilwood disc brakes for optimum stopping power. The distinctive seven-spoke 20- and 21-inch wheels came from HRE. The truck’s stance and color give it a tough, no-nonsense appearance that is backed up by a supercharged LS3 from Wegner Motorsports cranking out 875hp – more than enough ponies to light up those tires. Power is channeled through a TCI six-speed transmission.

With upholstery by the stitch masters at Gabe’s Custom Interiors, you know the cabin is tight on this C10. The split bench seat wears diamond-stitched distressed brown leather and incorporates a custom console with a machined aluminum insert and shifter. There’s more machined aluminum gracing the dash and Auto Meter gauges delivering vital statistics.

Rodger said that he and Ron always liked the look of this generation C10, so they didn’t want to erase its character – just refine it a little and maintain the truck’s tough, no-nonsense attitude. We’d say he accomplished this goal and turned out one impressive classic hauler.

Chris McPhie – 1969 Camaro – Dutchboys Hotrods

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the ’69 Camaro, there was an incredible array of these popular F-bodies on display. Chris McPhie’s beauty was one of two to capture the attention of our team this year. Built by Dutchboys Hotrods, the Camaro’s body is enhanced with stretched fenders and quarters, custom carbon fiber skirts and spoilers, laser-sharp lines and gaps, plus gorgeous custom-mixed BASF burgundy paint applied by the Dutchboys team. Everywhere you look on this classic you’ll find cool custom details, from the carbon fiber inserts, to the soft-close door latches, to the intricate sheet metal work in the engine compartment.

It’s not just a pretty body on this beauty, though. Underneath the channeled body shell you’ll find Detroit Speed suspension components delivering modern performance and handling, not to mention a killer stance. Big carbon disc brakes ensure maximum stopping power at each corner, with carbon-hoop Forgeline wheels wrapped in sticky 345/30/19 and 295/30/19 Michelin rubber. All that grip is needed thanks to the power from a Wegner Motorsports LS7 engine being sent through a Bowler-prepped Tremec transmission.

The race and performance influence spills over inside, where carbon fiber race seats and Impact harnesses are surrounded by sculped paneling from the talented team at Avant Garde. Virtually everything inside has been custom crafted, from the chrome moly roll cage, to the one-off console, to the fabricated dash with RacePak instrumentation and a race-style MPI steering wheel.

Beautiful fabrication and bodywork backed by potent performance potential resulted in one incredible Camaro that not only turns heads, but is certain to turn some impressive numbers on some autocross tracks next year.

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.