- '67 Lingenfelter Camero. One of the Optima Battery Ultimate Street Car challengers. Photo and Text by Royce Rumsey

The roots and raison d'être of SEMA reside in Hot Rods and the early ‘50’s Hot Rodding and Customs culture. And the roots of Hot Rodding power principally resides with Bow Tie small blocks.

LS-variant powered Mitsu Starion Coupe will be competing for Ultimate Street Car title at SEMA later on this week...

LS-variant powered Mitsu Starion Coupe will be competing for Ultimate Street Car title at SEMA later on this week...

Along with the fantastic builds from the usual SEMA stars (Ring Bros, Chip Foose, Cam Miller, Jesse Greening, Kyle Tucker, the Gerbers, etc.) as well as major manufacturers’ wild projects (and budgets), there are SEMA participants that pay homage to its roots with Honest-to-God performance cars (ne, “neo-Hot Rods”) that are actually DRIVEN, with aggressive alacrity, and powered by good ol’ derivatives of the hydrocarbon burning Small Block--which remains very much alive, thank you very much, as it is approaching its seventh decade. None of the technocrat-weenie anemic electric whine for this crowd. Some serious basso-profundo exhaust notes accompanying the blue-white smoke of Falken tires being melted is what the people want—no matter what the “green globalists” deign to mandate elsewhere.

Some of the most profound examples of the populist builds resides with the competitors in the renowned Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Challenge and a DriveTribe Ambo (Yours Truly) was able to get up close and personal with some of these Street Star creations in an exclusive, off-site photo-shoot away from the prying phalanx of iPhone photo-bombers.

A "muderous" ZL1 is quite ready for the 0ptima SEMA event this week.

A "muderous" ZL1 is quite ready for the 0ptima SEMA event this week.

Here are a half-dozen of the “True Believers” contemporary “hot rods” that will be scorching the Las Vegas Speedway asphalt at the end of this SEMA week—dynamically demonstrating what the Hot Rodders who made SEMA possible had in mind all along.

MOPAR is rightly represented at SEMA's Optima Battery event with this 8ltr V10 muscled ACR variant.

MOPAR is rightly represented at SEMA's Optima Battery event with this 8ltr V10 muscled ACR variant.

This 2003 C5 Z06 has proven to be a top Ultimate Street Car challenger and will be defending its record at SEMA.

This 2003 C5 Z06 has proven to be a top Ultimate Street Car challenger and will be defending its record at SEMA.

Continuing the drag racing heritage of SEMA is Weistec's 2000hp/6sec 2008 CLK wowing the SEMA crowds.

Continuing the drag racing heritage of SEMA is Weistec's 2000hp/6sec 2008 CLK wowing the SEMA crowds.

The title photo'd '67 Camaro by renowned Bow Tie builder, Lingenfelter.

The title photo'd '67 Camaro by renowned Bow Tie builder, Lingenfelter.

Isky,Vic, Big Daddy, Dean, Von Dutch, and the Alexander Bros and the gang would be proud.

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