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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

1955 Chevy Bel Air Wins the 2021 SEMA Battle of the Builders Award

There was a lot of competition at the 2021 SEMA Battle of the Builders, but it was ultimately Robert Matranga and his multi-million-dollar 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, “Brute Force”, that ultimately won first place!

Robert’s Bel Air is a beast! It is clear to see why this Chevy was a top 12 finalist and named the winner in the end. “Brute Force” is an 800 hp, 540 cid, Twin-Turbo Merlin engine powered Chevy that is not only freakishly fast but also has all the good looks to go with it.

This extraordinary vehicle was also one of the Great 8 winners for the 2020 Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama. Check out this video that shows the custom Bel Air in great detail.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced the Top 12 finalists in the eighth annual SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. These builders represent an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated extreme talent, creativity, and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks, and SUVs.

In addition to Matranga, the three finalists who round out the top four for 2021 included: Eddie Pettus with his ’61 Austin Healey Sprite (Sport Compact), Bryan Thompson with his ’34 Ford Pickup (Truck/Off-Road), and Young Gun Dayton Jacobson with his ’00 Chevrolet S10. Each builder brought their best builds to this year’s competition and were recognized with trophies in their respective classes.

The 2021 Battle of the Builders Top 12 finalists were:


  • Mike Fillion — 1956 Oldsmobile 98
    • Mark Giambalvo — 1930 Ford Model A 2-Door Sedan
    • Robert Matranga –1955 Chevrolet Bel Air


  • Samantha Frazier– 1973 Nissan Datsun 240Z
    • Eddie Pettus — 1961 Austin Healey Sprite
    • Simo Veharanta — 1982 Porsche 911 RSR


  • Jeremy Miranda — 1959 Chevrolet Apache
    • Kamaka Pocock — 1967 Chevrolet C10
    • Bryan Thompson — 1934 Ford Pickup


  • Dayton Jacobson — 2000 Chevrolet S10
    • Chelsie Lesnoski — 1993 Mazda RX-7 FD
    • Cole Marten — 1991 Nissan Skyline R32 GTR
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