Compton, California – Transamerican Auto Parts has named the winner in its second annual “Life is Better Off-Road” SEMA vehicle build competition held at the 2016 SEMA automotive aftermarket industry trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s best presented, truly off-road capable truck, Jeep or SUV on display at the show was the Daystar Products’ 1941 Dodge Powerwagon “Bootlegger,” as deemed by a panel of off-road industry experts in a ceremony held at the Pro Comp/Transamerican Auto Parts SEMA Show booth.
The winning entry was revealed today at the event hosted by legendary Motocross, Supercross and off-road racing champion, Ricky Johnson. The panel of judges featured some of the most distinguished names in off-road vehicle engineering and development, fabrication, journalism and motorsports.
“The Bootlegger captures the essence of the Life is Better Off-Road Award for its on and off-road capabilities and customized update of the vintage vehicles associated with bootlegging,” said Transamerican Auto Parts President and CEO Greg Adler. “The powerwagon took the bootlegger theme and ran with it and the creative use of aftermarket parts impressed us with a nod to history and a keen eye for design.”
MORE: 2016 SEMA Show Coverage
Mark Turner of Daystar Products wanted to employ a bootlegger theme throughout the build and chose copper because it was the prime metal commonly used to make bootlegger stills. The engine sports a copper radiator hose and copper air intake while the firewall was changed to copper then covered with dynamite. Bootlegging’s roots are intertwined with NASCAR mythology and moonshine-running vehicles were made to look stock while their inner workings included supercharged engines and weighty shocks and springs to prevent sag as they transported Mason jars full of liquor.
The powerwagon’s supercharged power, racing transmission, custom driveshafts and longer leaf springs made it stand out as supremely off-road capable in a field of remarkable entries ranging from Rubicons to Titan XDs. Completed in 50 days, the Bootlegger was driven to Tennessee for Whiskey & Wheeling with Xtreme Off-Road Adventure then shipped to Alaska for wheeling where it was driven on a glacier.
The Bootlegger’s build list includes:
• Edelbrock LS3 6.2L Supercharged Engine
• Daystar Products Engine and Transmission Mounts
• G2 Axle & Gear Gears
• Optima Batteries
• Skyjacker Leaf Springs
• Interco Super Swamper Tires
The select panel of judges featured off-road icons and personalities including short course off-road racing Pro Lite and Pro 2 Division champion Brian Deegan, DIY fabricator and racer Bill Caswell, celebrated Trophy Truck developer and builder Rick Geiser, Content Director for the Truck Trend Network Sean P. Holman and Editor and Publisher for 4 Wheel Parts’ Off-Road Adventures magazine Craig Perronne.
Entries were submitted up until just days before the SEMA Show began and 10 semi-finalists were selected based on criteria such as off-road reliability and capability, quality of craftsmanship, real-world functionality and overall vehicle presentation. From this field, one truck/SUV and one Jeep were chosen as finalists competing to be awarded as the most authentic off-road-capable vehicle at the 2016 SEMA Show.
The 10 Semi-Finalists were:
Daystar Products Dodge Powerwagon Bootlegger
Fab Fours Chevrolet Colorado Kymera
Westin Snyper 2-Door JK
Hellwig Titan XD
PIAA JK Unlimited
High Country Complete Customs
Addictive Desert Designs Springfield Armory Ford F-150
Addictive Desert Designs Titan XD
Truck Guru Chevrolet Colorado Long Travel
The Bootlegger will receive a professional photo shoot and a cover feature and multi-page vehicle spotlight in ORA Magazine. Additionally, the Daystar Products vehicle will be recognized across the spectrum of Transamerican social media and digital channels, including a promotional email campaign, an invitation to be displayed in feature locations at TAP-sponsored events, tradeshows, Truck & Jeep Fests, along with the benefits of extensive partner media coverage of the award. The semi-finalists will also be included in the full media campaign and receive ribbons in recognition of their accomplishment.