Kelderman’s Killer Trucks

This year at SEMA trucks were everywhere. From tricked out vintage Chevy C10’s to outrageous off-road rock climbing monsters, the variety was crazy. There were even pickups on the drifting track – who knew a pickup could drift? But one group of trucks had something special hidden underneath – a suspension system that not only gives these trucks a smooth ride without sacrificing towing capability, but also gives the ability to adjust the height of the truck itself. This something special is the Kelderman Air Suspension System.
I had the chance to catch up with Jeff Kelderman and his team at SEMA this year and take a look at the trucks they brought out to the show. He explained that their air ride suspension system was build to cater to towing trucks, giving these trucks a smooth ride whether or not they are hauling a load. They specialize in high-end customization for trucks that can go off road, or haul anything from RV’s to trailers.
What’s really cool about these trucks is how their height can be adjusted from super-high monster truck status to good old regular pickup. If you want to see what I mean check out this video.
This system is made to fit Ford, Dodge and GM trucks, but I think the Kelderman team can retrofit just about anything. People from all over send their trucks to this Iowa shop to get tricked out – if you want to do the same with yours check out their website

SEMA 2015 Product Highlights

Every year over one hundred thousand people involved in every area of the automotive industry walk for miles through the Las Vegas Convention Center to see what’s new and exciting in the automotive aftermarket world. Although the builds being shown off throughout SEMA are amazing, it’s the products on display that contribute to the finished products that are these amazing machines. Here are some cool products I got to check out this year at SEMA:

Billet Badges
Did you ever want the letters of your name in chrome across the hood of your car, or maybe you had a better idea to replace the famous mustang silhouette on the grill of your Ford? Well just give Billet Badges a call and they will help you create, design and manufacture whatever your imagination can concoct! They specialize in one off badges and emblems with no minimum order. They offer some standard badge shapes to start with, or you can create something completely from scratch. If you want to make your build that much more customized you should definitely get in touch with these guys. Check them our HERE

Classic Performance Products
If you want to raise the bar on your classic ride’s suspension, braking, or a long list of other components CPP is the place to go shopping. What’s great about CPP is that you can pick one kit that has everything you need for your particular car. Their Mustang II IFS package is one example, allowing you to add upgraded independent suspension to your Ford Mustang or truck, or even some Chevy models. But sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference – for instance their FitRite LS Engine Adjustable Brackets are a little piece that can make your LS conversion a lot easier. Whatever upgrade you have planned for your classic, I recommend taking a look at the Classic Performance Products website or talk to their customer service team for help with your next project.

Edelbrock was one of the original group of manufactures that came together to create SEMA, and over 50 years later they are still going strong. Edelbrock’s catalogue of performance equipment is always impressive – whether you’re a professional builder or a backyard hobbyist they have something that’s going to make your car faster! Many of their performance upgrades are bolt on packages, which makes getting some extra speed behind your ride that much easier. There is the Victor Series Manifold for the Ford 5.0L Coyote engine, which adds 27 ft-lbs of torque and 16 horsepower over a stock manifold, or the Cross-Ram LS3 intake, which is ideal for a Chevy LS3 with twin turbo applications and can add 27 horsepower and 28 ft-lbs over the average aftermarket intake. Of course they don’t stop with Chevy or Ford, there is something for the Jeep lovers, Subaru drivers and lots more. Take a look at their website and see what they have for your ride!

Fertan by CRP Automotive
When you endeavor to restore a classic dealing with rust is an inevitable enemy you’re going to encounter. There are lots of ways to get rid of it, from media blasting, to grinder, to the good old fashioned combination of elbow grease and a wire brush. Now you can add one more tool to the arsenal: the Fertan line of products by CRP Automotive. I got to watch the Fertan Rust Remover at work, and it was pretty cool. A rusted piece of metal was dipped into a bowl of the liquid, and a few minutes later it emerged looking like new (hence the photo). The possible uses rushed through my head as I watched this demonstration…rusty nuts and bolts, all those little pain in the neck pieces that are equally tedious and delicate…no more scrubbing and scraping (or just giving up and replacing), this stuff is the answer! They have a line of products including a Rust Converter, Metal Coating and Primer. If this sounds like something you could use start shopping HERE

LINE-X 3-D Effects
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as I walked by a Jeep that had a tire track pattern running up the side…was that 3-D or really good airbrushing? Turns out it was a combination of both! This year at SEMA LINE-X unveiled the newest application of their super-strong Body Armour protective coating, using it to create 3-D designs. The design is created, then transferred to the vehicle. Everything is sanded and prepped for the application of LINE-X coating, then it’s sprayed. Additional effects are painted onto the coating to give the 3-D effect even more life. This is a pretty cool technique, and I’m sure this is just the beginning! Check out their website to learn more about all the ways LINE-X can be used in any build.

Metro Moulded Parts
Unless you are lucky enough to come across a ride that’s been carefully stored in a heated garage or one that’s spent it’s life in a mild climate, your restoration will most likely include replacement of all those soft, rubbery parts. What may seem like a small detail is an item that can add up quick – this stuff is everywhere from the piece that seals the trunk to the weather stripping at the little vent window. If you are ready to get going on this replacement Metro Moulded Parts is a good place to start. They make all kinds of weather stripping and rubber parts for a long list of makes going back to 1907. Take a look at their website HERE to find out more.

POD – Power On Demand
The POD line of products has just about anything you might need to jumpstart your car, to charge your phone, or to signal for help if you’re stuck on the side of the road. Anyone who drives an old school should have one of these jump start kits – classic cars were made before “dummy lights” to tell us our headlight or something else is on, and since everyone has a “dummy” moment once and a while it’s good to be prepared! And if not for yourself it may come in handy for one of your driving buddies – breaking out one of these is quicker and easier then the old fashioned cable-style jump. Take a look at their website and see their full product line HERE

Tiarra Luxury Grilles
Who doesn’t want a little extra bling bling on their ride, and where better to put it than right up front on the grille? Tiarra Luxury Grilles specializes in giving both old school and new school rides a little extra shine when they’re riding down the street with a wide selection of grilles with customization options. So if you want to give your ride a little extra something for everybody to see when you pull up check them out HERE

Wheel Assist by Gaither Tool
Everybody has their own little technique for changing a tire…from the careful knee balance move to just having some good biceps so you can pick the tire up and put it in place, there are lots of ways to do it some easier than others. But if you’re dealing with heavy tires or big rims it gets harder to get them in place, and easier to damage them in the process. Enter the Winntec Wheel Assist by Gaither Tool. All you have to do is get the tire on its stand at floor level, and this tool does the rest of the work for you. Easy to use levers lock and unlock the wheel’s position, and raise it or lower it to the elevation you need. You can also rotate the tire into the position you need to line it up with the studs. This tool is super easy to use and something anyone who works on their car often should think about adding to their garage. Check it out HERE

The Genesis of a Classic

“On the first day God created the earth, on the second day he created the Corvette…” Dan Short jokingly answered when I asked him who this sparkling red Corvette was built for. Although I think he was only half joking – I could believe there was some divine intervention in the creation of a ride this beautiful!

On the third day of the SEMA show I was lucky enough to walk around the car with him and pick his brain about this cool build. Turns out a lot of this car was put together largely with spare parts they had around the shop, but the one part that sets this off from any other red Corvette on the road is the removable split window hard top. Dan and his team created this removable hard top by cutting the top off an original ’63 split window coupe and using it to create a mold. This mold was used to fabricate a fiberglass hard top that can be placed onto a convertible with a perfect fit and finish. The fiberglass construction and custom clip system makes it easy for two people to pop the top off and let their hair blow in the wind on the next ride.

As if the original Chevy small block wouldn’t have made this ‘vette fast enough, Dan decided to dust off an LS engine from his inventory and incorporate it into this build. He said the LS conversion was a smooth process for this build, and didn’t even have to modify the firewall or floor to accept the transmission he paired with this motor. A custom performance suspension set up gives this classic the tight handling any driver would want to handle the power behind the LS.

As cool as this car is, the story behind the builder is even cooler. Dan bought his first car – a 1967 Camaro – from a guy that he chased down the road, following the billow of smoke the car was puffing out. Not long after he did the deal he had to chase down the prior owner again…to ask him how to open the hood! It’s amazing to think that this same teenager went from struggling with a beat up ’67 to heading up a shop that puts out one of a kind builds on a regular basis.

But this transformation didn’t happen overnight. Shortly after he bought this car he enlisted in the U.S. Army and continued to serve our country for the next 15 years, retiring honorably as a Major in 2005. During his military career he traveled the world in service, while also honing his technical mechanical knowledge. The skills he learned while enlisted were not only used on military machinery, but on the piece of American muscle he had back home. Over time he built and rebuilt his Camaro, which he still owns and plans on restoring one more time.

Learning about Dan’s story was especially cool for me, because my first car was also a Camaro…and I still drive it today. Working on my car over the years has not only helped me gain technical knowledge, but also taught me the value of hard work and determination. Dan’s hard work, determination – and love of classic rides – resulted in the shop we know today as FantomWorks. His inspirational story is proof that amazing things can be accomplished, no matter where you start out!

The Tail of Three Customs

As I walked through the SEMA show I caught myself having a serious case of automotive ADD, I could barely focus on one amazing build before the next shiny piece of machinery caught my eye. But I will say that some of the shiniest builds always seem to be in the BASF booth…not sure if it’s the paint or the skill of the teams behind the builds, but either way they are awesome! This year I was lucky enough to catch the unveiling of three custom builds BASF featured in their display.

First was JF Launier’s 1967 Acadian, finished in a custom red R-M ONYX HD paint. Of course the customization didn’t stop at the paint. The cool stripe detailing is complimented by the custom chrome details throughout the car, and a Katskin leather interior. This car is dubbed “Adiamo,” a play on the Spanish translation of Nova which is “no go.” Well this car will definitely go with an LS3 engine putting out 550 horsepower!

Next came Chip Foose’s customized 1933 Ford Coupe, which was finished just in the knick of time for this show. Chip shared the behind the scenes story of how a stray spark flew onto the completely taped and masked body, causing it to burst into flames. This happened just 8 days before the reveal, but you would never know it looking at this gleaming hot rod on the SEMA show floor. It is finished in a BASF Glasurit 90 Line custom blue and silver two-tone paint, with a killer LS3 Corvette motor built by Street & Performance under the hood. The body includes lots of custom Foose touches, including re-fabricated front fenders and grill. His head painter looked both proud and exhausted as Chip spoke and praised the build team.

As anyone can imagine, a Chip Foose build is a hard act to follow. But the Ringbrothers definitely did their thing, finishing off the BASF reveal with their customized “Espionage” 1965 Mustang. This ride is given a one-of-a-kind look by its wide carbon fiber body, which is extended 2” on each side. The original car was disassembled and each piece of the body was used to create molds for new carbon fiber components, a process that took more hours then the build team would like to count! Although everything on the body except the floor was rebuilt with carbon fiber components the final weight comes in at 3400 lbs, a few hundred pounds heavier than this model’s original spec weight. This modification didn’t make the car lighter, but instead makes up for the additional weight all of the performance machinery lurking beneath the carbon fiber shell. It might be hard to decide which side of the American Muscle rivalry this spy green Mustang is on, as its powered by a 427 cubic inch Chevy LS7 engine. Either way this ride is cranking out over 900 horsepower and looks good doing it. But there’s a back story to this reveal too…today was the first time the owner of this car was seeing it, and I don’t know if the build team was more nervous about revealing it to the public or their client. I had a chance to ask the owner what he thought of his new car as he looked it over for the first time. When asked if it was everything he expected, through a slight smile he replied that it was everything and more. When I learned he was originally from Russia I asked “why an American muscle car?” He explained that he loves the spirit of classic cars, in his opinion new cars have no soul. Well this Mustang definitely has an old soul, and a new life as an amazing performance machine.

Thanks to BASF and all three build teams for bringing these amazing rides to the 2015 SEMA show. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s show!

Duck Commander Truck Steals the Show

This year at SEMA LINE-X ushered in their new Truck Gear product line with the help of Mr. Duck Dynasty himself, Willie Robertson. To celebrate the release of Truck Gear LINE-X tricked out a 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 with all the bells and whistles this line has to offer, while integrating everything “Duck Dynasty” possible! This limited edition Commander Series truck will be available to customers soon, but in the meantime Robertson will be taking this one back to Louisiana. This truck has lots of duck details, from the duck silhouette cut into the bed-mounted rack to the actual duck camouflage. If you like ducks, this is the ONLY truck for you!
But the Truck Gear line has something for anyone who wants to upfit and customize their truck. The line includes step bars, bull bars, and grill guards, as well as things for the interior like seat covers and mats. Truck Gear is just another way LINE-X is helping people make their trucks extra tough! Check it out HERE

SEMA 2012…Cars, Cars and More Cars

I made this first trip to SEMA with the mission of meeting new people, and learning about new products so I could share the information with the readers at RIDINGWITHUS.com. But as I navigated the enormous showroom floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center I couldn’t help but constantly get sidetracked by all of the cars! Kind of like a kid in a candy store, only the candy was in the form of exotic, brightly colored, chromed out cars of all shapes and sizes. I captured what I saw along the way, and uploaded a special three part gallery so you all could take it in. Enjoy the flicks, and make sure you read on to catch the highlights of the 2012 SEMA show!

Meet Michael Satterfield and His Camo Cooper

One of the things I love about the car world is that there are a lot of genuine people in it…at least that’s been my experience! Well today at SEMA I got to meet another person who fits this description: Michael Satterfield, founder and designer of Morgan’s and Phillip’s Speed Apparel. Michael grew up in and around cars, and bought his first car two years before he could even drive. His roots in the motorsport world run deep, as his father Dean has been designing automotive components for many years. Michael grew up with this strong influence, and has owned over 60 cars since he made that first purchase at age 14.


But for all the cars he’s owned, the one he’s held onto the longest is a classic Mini Cooper. He explained that after five years of ownership this is the only car he hasn’t gotten bored of! Maybe that has something to do with how he’s tricked this one out. The exterior is wrapped in old school camo, accented with a white roof that opens to let in the California sun. The interior is totally stylized as well, with plush seats from TMI, custom steering wheel, and sound system and back up camera from Valor Multimedia. Yeah that’s right, a back up camera in a Mini…why not?

But Michael’s design skills extend beyond the automotive world. In 2007 he branched out into the clothing industry by founding M&P Speed Apparel. Michael started this company because he felt there was a lack of authentic automotive inspired clothing. Their t-shirt designs are not only cool, but each one has a historical connection. If you want to know the story behind the graphic just read the item description while you shop in their online store. Another way they are keeping automotive history alive is by creating official Shelby inspired clothing through their alliance with Carroll Shelby Licensing. The design work and finishing of the entire collection is done locally in the family barn, which was converted to a showroom and workspace. Hence the tagline “Born in a Barn!”
As if he isn’t busy enough designing clothing and working on custom rides, Michael makes sure there is time in his schedule to give back to the community. M&P Speed Apparel is working with Drive Away Cancer to help raise funds for this worthy cause. While staying involved in local causes, the extent of his community service reaches overseas with involvement in projects to enable and empower those struggling in India and Nicaragua.
So if you want to add some cool new gear to your collection I recommend you support M&P Speed Apparel. Not only do they produce quality clothing that keeps automotive history alive, but it is a company with a cause – something the world definitely needs more of.

Camaro in Costume…Rough, Rugged and Ready to Go!


When most think of a Camaro they think of a sleek racing machine. Although they may be well built, the words durable and rugged would probably not be the first to roll off the tongue when describing this Chevy. But this Halloween at SEMA LINE-X and West Coast Customs unveiled a customized 2013 Camaro 1SS Coupe dressed up inside and out in LINE-X Body Armour. This Camaro is ready for anything, and still looks great.


Many truck enthusiasts know LINE-X for their spray on bed liners, but their product line includes protective coatings for a variety of applications. In fact, West Coast customs finishes off many of their projects with LINE-X coatings. We got the chance to walk through this project with WCC’s Shop Manager Kenny Pfitzer. He explained that they choose to use a Camaro for this project to show an “outside the box” application of LINE-X, spraying this textured, durable finish on every surface imaginable. Not only is the entire exterior finished in the Body Armour coating, but the interior door panels, dash components, sound system and even the rims feature this textured finish.


After the unveiling many onlookers honed in on the door components and other aspects of the car where a thick paint coating would be problematic. But Kenny explained that this textured coating sprays on in a thin layer and still offers the durability expected from LINE-X. Preparing this car for paint was similar to other projects, no modification to the body was required to apply the Body Armour.


When asked what the most difficult aspect of the project, Kenny answered with certainty “the graphics.” Although the texture added difficulty to the masking, they razor cut each line to produce the perfect job we’ve come to expect from West Coast Customs. They used the high gloss sheen of the base coat in contrast with the textured topcoat to add even more detail inside and out.


But the customization did not stop with the addition of Body Armour. The team at West Coast customs chose a performance hood and spoiler by SLP Performance parts, while they gave the car a low profile look using rocker panels by Street Scene Equipment. Asanti wheels and Continental Tires get this car where you want it to go, while a custom LED lighting package from ORACLE Lighting lights the way. More customization is under the hood with SLP High Performance Headers and custom dual high flow exhaust package.

This Halloween LINE-X and West Coast Customs treated SEMA with this one-of-a-kind Camaro, showing everyone that the possibilities for LINE-X Body Armour really are endless. How would you use it to dress up your ride?

Chip Foose Strikes Again


Chip Foose must be the hardest working man in motorsports. If he’s not Overhaulin’ some unsuspecting car owner’s hooptie, he is working on a custom ride for your favorite celebrity, or teaming up with one of his market partners on a new project. This year at SEMA he introduced his latest project, a ’53 Ford F-100 pickup that pays tribute to WD-40’s original delivery trucks back when the company was known as “Rocket Chemical Co.” Chip Foose and WD-40 teamed up with Source Interlink Media on the project, along with build partners L&R Engine, K&N, LMC Truck, McGard, Painless Performance, Quiet Ride Solutions, Pirelli and BASF.


The ‘53 Ford project truck was built along with a ’12 Ford F-350 Super Duty for this campaign. Both trucks are designed with those who work hard in mind, while showcasing WD-40’s rich history. Each truck will be auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale Arizona, all proceeds will benefit two SEMA Cares charities: Childhelp and Victory Junction.


A lot of thought was put into the design, down to the WD-40 shield shape in the cutouts of the custom wheels. When talking about the project Chip joked, “My wife’s probably going to kill me, but I might bid on this one!” No matter who is the highest bidder for these trucks, the real winners will be the charities supported by this effort. Forever humble and hard-working, Chip Foose lead the team on another great project for a good cause.

Chevy Unveils Big Toys for Big Kids


If you were a kid in the 70’s or 80’s and you loved cars, chances are you had a killer Hot Wheels collection. Well now those kids are all grown up…and chances are they still have a sentimental affection for Hot Wheels. This year on the opening day of SEMA Chevrolet unveiled a special car that will give all those big kids out there something to get excited about: a production Hot Wheels Camaro. This car will only be sold in the first quarter of 2013, complete with Kinetic Blue metallic paint and custom red-lined wheels.

The production model 2013 Camaro was unveiled next to a reproduction first generation Camaro, both sitting on life-sized orange Hot Wheels tracks. Each bore the unmistakable Hot Wheels logo, matching Hot-Wheels inspired rims and plenty of custom extras.


Interested buyers will have quite a few options to choose from. The Camaro Hot Wheels Edition will be available in coupe and convertible models, in 2LT (V-6) and 2SS (V-8) trims. On the exterior features will include a ZL1 rear spoiler and front upper grille, ground effects package, two-tone matter hood graphic, rear taillight panel “blackout” graphic and fender “flame” graphics. The Hot Wheels logo will be carried to the interior as well, complimenting black leather seats with red stitching. Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system will be a standard feature on this special edition car, including a variety of tools such a GPS, OnStar and Pandora internet radio. What you get under the hood will depend on your selection of either the SS V-8 model or the LT-based V-6 model. Both will pack a punch, but the V-8 manual version will have the most pick up and go with 426 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.

Hopefully those who do decide to pick up one of these life-sized toys treat them better than most treated their Hot Wheels in their younger years. Because after the first quarter of 2013 is gone production of this special edition will come to an end!