The International RATical Rod Build Off Drive Off is an annual event where experienced builders have ten months to build a vehicle from the ground up and then take it to the ultimate test, a 1400 mile cross-country drive to the world's largest aftermarket automotive show, SEMA where they represent their sponsors.
The International RATical Rod Build Off Drive Off took the 2019 SEMA show by storm with its hybrid vision of the Kustom and Rat Rod scene, a new genre called RATical Rods.
These builders are not afraid to transform their vehicles into a whole different kind of beast made for the road. Blowers were ample, creativity was limitless, and the building skills were over-the-top.
Builders apply and must be approved by the IRRBODO staff prior to becoming part of the 10 month long build off that wraps up in a 1400-mile journey. That’s right, builds are started just ten months prior to a 1400-mile drive off portion to the event, where they are put to the ultimate test.
This year the builders set a whole new standard of RATical. Sean Puz, of Bad Ass Rat Rods, took the title of 2019 International RATical Rod Build Off Drive Off World Champion with his IL CAPO, which started out as a ‘36 Packard Sedan, and was completely transformed through the incredibly talented Puz. Sean’s wife, Donna, accompanied him from their home in Florida to SEMA. His main sponsor for his build was Derale Performance.
Builds that successfully made the journey were judged by the builders, themselves, making the championship even more special and prized.
Builders that successfully completed the drive off portion of the event were, Sam Hard, whose ‘70 Charger was originally a stunt car from Fast and Furious; Dirty Word Customz with Dirty Money; the ’39 Hearse owned by Darren and Jess Sheldrick from Double Jack’s Garage in Australia, which was featured on Hot Rod Magazine’s Instagram; Anthony and Terri Abadie’s 1932 Chevy from Team Rat Pac; Lanny Martindale from Canada with a Mapleleaf (Chevy) named The Gypsy; the Youth Program, Keeping Hot Rodding Alive’s Project X; and Bella Rat Custom’s RATical Kiwi from New Zealand.
Other builders that participated in the build off were Lloyd and Linda Pierson, whose ‘57 Ford Gasser was featured on SEMA’s Instagram Page as it entered Ignited; Warwick Andrews, BJ Barger, and Ryan Hopkins. Chris Walker of ITW Hot Rods, also garnered plenty of attention for his “Hulk Camino”, which Chevy Hardcore called a “big smash” that turned “SEMA on ear”.
Unfortunately, some builders were not able to attend the drive off, but still took the show at SEMA. Jacob Griffin’s ’75 Gremlin was a “showstopper” that was featured in multiple publications, including The Classic Cars Journal. Griffin was held back from the drive off portion of the event, as he escaped the recent California wildfires.
Thus far, 2020 has 22 builders ready for the challenge. The 2019 builders have raised the bar for years to come. All we can guarantee is a scene unlike before, and it's going to be RATical.