Project Car Contest 2020

Sponsored by:  &  

A contest for all auto enthusiasts who have worked on, built or customized your vehicle-

Vote for your favorite finalist at the 2020 Twin Cities Auto Show! 

Project Cars are an important part of car culture, and the Twin Cities Auto Show is giving 4 finalists a chance to show theirs off.

4 finalists have been selected to compete for a trip to a Barrett- Jackson Auto Auction (plus bragging rights) - and you get to help pick the winner by voting!

The finalists will have their cars on display at the Twin Cities Auto Show, March 7-15, 2020, for the duration of the show. Attendees of the Twin Cities Auto Show will vote to determine the winner, which will be announced during an awards ceremony at the show. 

Congratulations to the Project Car Champion - Noah Brush and his 1961 Ford Econoline!


Announcing the 2020 Finalists: 

  • From Owner Mell Messer:
    This 1955 was saved from the crusher in 1975 by one of my brothers. It was just a shell of a vehicle. He turned it into a “Gasser”. I acquired it in 1985 after returning from the US Navy’s Submarine Service. The car was always my favorite. I played around with it for a few years. However, after starting a family, it received no attention. About 10 years ago I decided that it needed a new life. I wanted to make it appear as a sport model of the 1955. As you can see, I got a little carried away. I call it "WUTSZAT" because that's what most people say when they see it
    “WUTSZAT” Through the Years:
    1955 Body
    1956 Tail Lamps, Fuel filler is behind the left tail lamp
    1957 Front fender sections, and Hood Rockets
    1979 Camaro Back Window • 1985 Oldsmobile T-Top Glass (Non-Removable)
    1985 Corvette driveline and suspension. (Handles like a corvette)
    1985 Corvette front seats and steering column
    The hood opens normal and the complete front also tilts open. (Lots of re-engineering)
    Curb weight 3460 lbs. only 244 lbs. heavier than the corvette
    Work Done: 
    This vehicle was built in a pole barn on a blue collar budget. There is over 500 feet of welding on the all steel body. Nothing on this vehicle was purchased as a kit. All body modifications started from flat, 18 gauge sheet metal. I hand crafted the exhaust from mandrel pre-bent 3” tubing. The wheel openings have been re-arched to give it a more streamline appearance. The style line on the side of the ‘55 normally stops at the rear of the fender, but I extended it all the way back to the rear bumper. The windshield opening and firewall is lowered a total of 6 inches. The doors are lengthened at the top to lean back. This modification helped in the elimination of the rear side quarter glass. The front fenders are lengthened 5 inches. I performed all the metal and body work as well as all necessary prep work to get it to final paint. The only part of the build I did not personally perform was the upholstery and paint work. This vehicle was built to be driven, so far it has approximately 10,000 miles on it. We drove it 1,700 problem free miles to Bowling Green, Kentucky in August 2018 to show at the Tri-Five Nationals.
  • From Owner Noah Brush:
    The story actually starts 4 years ago when I was 14. A friend of ours gave me a free Case 446 garden tractor. The tractor had been sitting for many years and wouldn't run. I spent the summer fixing and restoring the tractor so I could sell it. I sold it for $1,000 and made my dad drive me to the middle of nowhere Nome,North Dakota so I could buy my first vehicle, a beat up 1981 Ford F-150. My dad and I completely re-did the truck so it would be ready for my 16th birthday. I drove that truck for two years until we decided I needed something a bit more modern so I got a 91 Bronco. With the f-150 just sitting I decided I wanted to build a hot rod so I started looking to trade it for something cool. My dad saw the Econoline in an ad and showed it to me. I didn't think it was what I was looking for but we started talking about the potential. My dad and I build custom 70's Honda motorcycles and thought this would be a really cool motorcycle hauler if we did it right. I contacted the guy and eventually we made a deal and the Econoline was mine. The ride home was exciting to say the least, the motor overheated within a mile of the place we got it and it puked coolant all over the gas station. It seems the previous owner had drained the radiator and forgot about it so when the thermostat opened it just started spraying. We eventually made it home with almost no brakes and a very warm engine. The build plan started that night. We decided it would need a bigger motor, automatic transmission, disc brakes and some attitude. I was working part time for the local Kia dealer in their quick lube so it would be take awhile for me save the money needed. Over the past year, I have completely changed the drive line and turned it into a very unique hot rod/shop truck/motorcycle hauler. I sourced a scrap 302 from a 69 mustang, rear end from a 69 Bronco, c4 transmission (gear box from a bronco and tail-shaft and housing from a maverick). In the process of building I bought and sold 3 different used 302 motors to get all the parts I needed. I would buy a motor, take off what I needed then sell the rest to keep my budget on track. There are no bolt in conversions for this build so I had to fabricate almost everything to make it fit. There was some significant body damage to the front and passenger door so I had to learn some bodywork with my dad, and then source the original paint so we could patina the repaired sections to match the rest of the truck. The best part of this has been working hand in hand with my dad. Most kids my age don't get to spend time with their dad sharing something they are both passionate about. I have since left Kia and am now working for Luther Ford in hopes of becoming a technician after I graduate. This truck will stay with me for years to come. Additional pictures and videos of the build process can be seen at brokenspokecycleandspeed on YouTube and Instagram.
    Work Done:
    Completely rebuilt a 69 Ford 302. Had block bored .30 over and hardened valve seats put in.
    New Lunati Cam,springs, valves
    Edelbrock Intake
    Holley Sniper EFI system
    Combined 2 different c4 transmissions, rebuilt all internals, fabricated a cross member and changed the truck from 3 on the tree to an automatic
    Installed a Ford 9" rear end and converted it with a yukon posi lock with 3.50 gears
    Complete custom interior. I had to cut the floor out to make room and then make a new floor, fabricate a new dog house and center console to accommodate the larger motor and cooling requirements.
    Rewired and installed a new modern fuse panel
    Lokar performance shifter
    custom gauge cluster
    Custom exhaust
    Front Disc Brake conversion
    Added air horn system
    Blended patina
    Hand lettered our shop logo
  • From Owner Shane Durrence:
    Ever since watching fast and furious for the first time, I have always wanted to build a car that sets it away from anyone else. I have been working on this car for nearly 7 years now. It started with myself painting it at Auto Body class, and it’s been getting better every year, there hasn’t been a part or panel on this car that hasn’t been touched! I'm currently working on phase 3 of its looks in the garage right now! This vehicle won the SEMA young guns regional competition in 2019, and has been on display competing in Battle of The Builders at SEMA 2019. Vehicle is top notch professionally built.
    Originally purchased as a replacement for my first car (a 1989 MR2) from a guy in MN in 2013 who has had it for years. It was missing a bunch of parts from engine mounts to interior pieces. The paint and body were in poor condition as the car was sitting underneath a tree for quite some time. I took my interest in bodywork that stemmed off of my first car to apply to tech school and have this car as my project. I ended up painting and repairing everything I could, this car sparked my interest in creating that "one-off" look. I continue to strive to be different and have changed major things since the day it rolled out of the paint booth including the seat re upholstery to many changed to the exterior. The car was originally a 130hp 2.2L 5sfe 4 Cyl Engine, and was swapped to a hefty 260whp 2.0L ST246 3sgte JDM Caldina Engine. Most of the work was done by myself out of my garage, minus the engine swap. I couldn't be more humbled to the achievements building this car has gotten me to, and I can't wait for what the future has in store.
    Work Done:
    Paint & Body -
    Veilside Body Kit
    Carbon Fiber MAD PSI Ducktail Trunk Lid
    94+ Converted Rear Body Panel with USDM Kouki Taillights
    LED Underglow
    Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Paint with PPG Prismatique Flake
    3M 1080 Carbon Wraped Accents
    Rota Grid Wheels (17x8 +35 / 17x9 +42)
    AW11 Style Screaming Chicken Badge Made by Fever Auto Labs
    Rear Lower Valence Shaved
    Interior -
    A1 Corvette Leather Seat Covers Installed by Berres Upholstery
    MRS Heaven 98 Shift Knob
    Pioneer Double Din Touchscreen Radio
    Kenwood SW11 Subwooffer
    JBL Speakers
    02 Corolla S Steering Wheel
    Suspension -
    Koni Adjustable Strut Inserts
    H&R Lowering Springs
    Poly Bushing Kit
    MR2 Heaven Sway Bar Reinforcement Plates
    Drivetrain / Engine Bay -
    JDM 3SGTE Gen ST246 Caldina Swap
    CT15b Turbo
    TCS Intercooler and Piping Kit
    TCS 3" Downpipe
    TCS Intake
    TCS Brushed Aluminum Cooling Fan Shroud
    TCS Modded Coolant Filler Neck
    TCS X-Brace
    South bend Clutch with 3sgte Flywheel
    S54 Transmission
    Walbro Fuel Pump
    Berk Stainless 3' Exhaust
    Racer X Catch Can
    Custom Fabricated Oil Filler Cap
    *New* Debuting a new wrap at the Twin Cities Auto show(/strong>
    • From Owner Erik Riedlinger
      I bought the car when I was a senior in high school working two jobs and going to school full-time to pay for it. The car was bone stock still has factory warranty. Now 10 years later that car is a full drag car that makes 1100 hp. My buddies and I have done all the work. The car set records this year in the U.S.
      Erik Riedlinger is from Riedlinger Racing
      Work Done:
      "F1 a 94 pro charger on 22 psi makes 1100 hp TH 400 transmission gforce 9 inch rear, end Holly terminator X with Holly Dash computer system. For fuel system ,fuel cell ,caged, aftermarket seats parachute. You name it the car has it done .. tons more to list"

New for the 2020 Contest:

This year the MADA Service, Parts, and Collision council will be selected 1 additional finalist for the Project Car contest through the Shop Talk: Meet Your Future Technicians event on December 6, 2019. At this event, 2 high school students gave a short presentation on their project cars, in front of their peers and potential employers. Noah Brush and his Ford Econoline were selected to move on in the Project Car contest, to display their car at the 2020 Twin Cities Auto Show and compete against the other 3 finalists for the grand prize.

The Grand Prize- Barrett- Jackson Auto Auctions:

For nearly 50 years, enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions, named America’s No. 1 Attraction for Car Lovers in the 2019 USA Today Readers’ Choice Contest. Widely regarded as a barometer of the collector car industry, the auctions have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where thousands of the world’s most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience ? in person and on live national and international television. Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions® in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to the millions watching the events via live worldwide television coverage on Discovery Channel and MotorTrend, over 500,000 people are in attendance at all four auctions, looking to witness auction action at its best, capture the car of their dreams, mingle with celebrities, experience adrenaline-pumping thrill rides in the latest vehicles from America’s top automakers – or shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace.



About the Project Car Sponsor, MADA Service, Parts and Collision Council:

The Service, Parts & Collision Council (SPCC), or, "The Council," is an organization created to support and promote Minnesota new car dealership fixed operations.

The organization is dedicated to providing:

  • A clear voice in the marketplace to advance dealership service, parts and collision centers
  • Government advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues
  • Specialized information and industry support specific to the new car and truck dealership repair industry
  • Expertise in new car dealership issues
  • Promotion of automotive careers to ensure future workforce demands can be met
  • Education and awareness to consumers on quality vehicle repair and Minnesota law in case of an accident.

In short, it’s the goal of this Council to promote the health and growth of dealership service work, dealership body work and to advance the automotive repair industry. 

Click here to view the official Project Car contest rules.

For any questions, click here.


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