One Block of Wood….No Rules!

All of the custom-designed pinewood cars will be autographed by the builders and displayed at the SEMA Show November 2-5, 2010 in Las Vegas. At that time, SEMA members may bid on the cars in a silent auction to raise money for Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp.

On July 24, 2010, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) presented the first ever “Pinewood Builders Race” at the annual SEMA Show-N-Shine car event in Pasadena, CA. HRIA is a SEMA council that promotes the growth and stability of the hot rod hobby and industry. This unique event involved a dozen of the nations top hot rod builders competing in a pinewood car build-off. The builders were given a block of wood, just like the kind Cub Scouts use for their annual pinewood races. However, the similarities between those races of our childhood and this race ended with the block of wood.

The Challenge

The builders were encouraged to create a one-of-a-kind miniature hot rod, utilizing their own custom building skills, and incorporating their own recognizable style. Unlike the pinewood races many of us grew up with, this race has very few rules. The only limits on the design of these miniature street rods are the builders’ own imagination and creativity. One car builder received the inaugural “HRIA Cup” along with bragging rights for the next 12 months. In addition, one car was voted as “Best Design” during the banquet festivities The builders were required to maintain basic dimensions for their tiny hot rods, ensuring that the cars would stay on the race track. In addition, all forms of combustion were disallowed, per Fire Marshall guidelines. 

Finally, the most important rule of the race was to utilize at least one piece of the wood block, in a visible manner. As is the case with all hot rod builders, this rule was stretched as far as possible, with some cars utilizing only a tiny splinter of the wood in their final build. On many of the cars, you will need to look very closely to find the wood; a steering wheel, a blower or a seat may be the only wood on the vehicle.

The Builders

The twelve builders selected for this race represent past, present and future of hot rod building. From legends such as Clay Smith and Alan Johnson to newcomers like Rob Ida, these vehicles represent the wide variety of styles found in the hot rod industry. The selected builders included;

  • Alan Johnson Hot Rods
  • Art Morrison Enterprises
  • Boerne Stage Kustoms
  • Carl’s Custom Cars
  • Clay Smith Cams
  • Cotati Speed Shop
  • Fesler Built
  • Hot Rods & Custom Stuff
  • Pinkees Rod Shop
  • Rich Evans Designs
  • Rob Ida Concepts
  • Derek White’s Street Vizions
  • West Coast Customs

About the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)

HRIA's primary objectives are to ensure the future prosperity of the hot rod industry and to advance and promote awareness of the hobby. Within this context, HRIA focuses on industry-specific issues, developing effective strategies and programs that will assist members in improving their business practices and procedures. HRIA also works with HRIA's legislative staff to address those legislative and/or regulatory matters which may affect the hot rod industry, and provides a forum- through participation in Hot Rod Alley, a special SEMA Show section-through which member companies can take advantage of new business and marketing opportunities.

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