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Top three finalists in SEMA’s Battle of the Builders roll on Coker tires

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 08:00
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All three finalists in the fourth annual SEMA “Battle of the Builders” competition were equipped with period-correct tires made or distributed by Coker Tire, as the highly anticipated event reached its culmination during “SEMA Ignited” at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday night. The annual competition, which featured entries from seven countries and 38 states, ultimately pitted a dozen custom vehicles vying for the coveted award.

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Rad Rides by Troy Built Model A Tudor (above), Hollywood Hot Rods' "Mulholland Speedster" and Johnson Hot Rod Shop's '32 Ford Tudor Sedan take top honors in annual build-off competition

Equipped with Excelsior Stahl Sport Radials from Coker, the 2017 Battle of the Builders-winning ’29 Ford Model A Tudor was developed by Manteno, Ill.-based Rad Rides by Troy, under the direction of the designer and builder Troy Trepanier.  Owned by Dennis Mariani, the one-of-a-kind Model A is powered by an all-aluminum small-block with a five-speed transmission, and a modified original Halibrand quick-change rear axle. Its highly customized body rides on a modified ’32 Ford boxed-in frame with a custom crossmember and an internal torsion bar suspension with RideTech shocks at the front and rear. Built using a selection of original Model A components, the car features Rad Rides customized paint and a custom interior.

Named as “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” at the 68th annual Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona earlier this year, the runner-up 1932 Troy Ladd Mulholland Speedster is equipped with Firestone 6.50-16 whitewall tires supplied by Coker.  Owned by Bruce Wanta and built by Ladd and his team at Burbank, Calif.-based Hollywood Hot Rods, the one-off “coachbuilt” speedster started with a 1936 Packard 1401 Coupe and utilizes a hand built, figure-eight frame also designed by Ladd. The stunning speedster, which took six years to build, incorporates independent suspension that favors leaf springs over coil springs. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a Winters rear end with inboard drum brakes.

Riding on Firestone Dirt Track tires by Coker, a Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop ’32 Ford Tudor owned by racer and collector George Poteet also landed among the top three “Battle of the Builders” finalists.  Named as “Street Rod of the Year” in June at the 2017 Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, the Tudor was crafted at Johnson’s Gadsden, Ala. headquarters. Fitted with a Ford 312 Y-block engine that produces 412 hp and 405 lb.-ft. of torque, it features a five-speed Tremec TKO 600 transmission, upgraded by Bowler Performance. Wheels are magnesium Real Rodder’s Halibrand Indy Roadster units, detailed with Dow 7 aircraft-coated centers with show-polished rims. A complete steel surround was hand formed and structurally welded into the interior of the car. The interior floor is laser-cut aircraft-quality plywood, with 47 total pieces bonded together to make one. Finishing off the bespoke interior is custom upholstery work, done in-house at Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop.

 “Each year, ‘Battle of the Builders’ brings out the wildest and most innovative hot rods, street rods and customs from the aftermarket world’s most innovative craftsmen,” said Corky Coker, CEO of Coker Tire. “We are proud that these top three finalists chose Coker to equip these priceless, one-of-a-kind vehicles with period-precise tires.”

For more information on Coker Tire and their entire selection of reproduction and period correct tires and wheels, including handmade wooden wheels, please visit www.CokerTire.com.

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