Dave Kindig-built Corvette wins the world’s most prestigious show car award, powered by an Aussie-built V12

Kindig-It Design comes up with a wild Ridler winner, powered by an Aussie-built V12!


The winner of the Ridler Award for 2024 is Dave and Tracy Maxwell’s 1953 Chevrolet Corvette. Well, it looks like a Corvette – in fact the body is built from aluminium, rather than the original’s fiberglass.

The Ridler Award is widely regarded the most prestigious award for elite show cars on the planet. To even qualify as a contender, the builds must be kept tightly under wraps before the covers come off at the Detroit Autorama.

From there, the eight finalists are chosen. Just making the Great Eight is a sign you’ve built a pretty special car.

This year’s Ridler winner was built by Dave Kindig and the team at Kindig-It Design, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dave and his shop foreman Kevin Schiele were in Australia in November to host the first Kindig Custom Car Show at the Adelaide 500.

The theme of the built was inspired by the 1954 Motorama concept car known as the Corvair (pictured below). This, coupled with the car’s V12 engine, resulted in the car being named ‘TwelveAir’.

And the V12? That is the work of Aussies Shane and Matt Corish of Race Cast Engineering, who won a stack of awards at the 2016 SEMA show for the V12 LS1 engine.

As the name suggests, the brothers built a V12 initially by cutting and shutting two LS1 blocks. They later came up with their own custom V12 blocks, in either aluminium or cast iron.

“The Corvette engine is an alloy block and was assembled by Brett Niddrie at BNR Engines,” says Matt Corish. “The engine is a structural member of the vehicle. We made a lot of custom castings for the car too. There is a prize for anyone who can figure out how that intake works!

“The guys sent us a CAD of their intake design; it was incredibly difficult to make. It’s sort of organic – not just twelve identical trumpets copied and pasted, but more like a sculpture that flows with the lines of the car.”

The Aussie theme continues with the use of a Haltech Nexus VCU, which Dave Kindig reckons is the only part of the car that wasn’t made from scratch. Makes ya proud, don’t it?

Shifting gears for Dave and Tracy is a 8L90E transaxle. Rather than sitting on a frame, Kindig used a unibody design for the car, with F1-style suspension front and rear, including cantilevered coil-over mono-shocks all ’round.

The 20×8 and 21x12in rims are one-off items, designed by Dave and manufactured by EVOD Industries. EVOD fabricated hundreds of parts for the car, including the suspension, steering wheel and every single exposed bolt!

The interior panels, centre console and dashboard were entirely 3D printed, then wrapped in Sienna leather by JS Custom Interiors.

Phew! There is so much more to dive into around this car, but for now, here’s Dave Kindig’s take on the build and winning the highly coveted Ridler Award:

“For the past 25 years, Kindig-it Design has been driven by a shared dream, born from the minds of a group of misfits with a vision… “TwelveAir” represents the culmination of all these dreams and visions. Over these past five years, our team of engineers, fabricators, mechanics, and body techs have been secretly working their fingers to the bone to bring this automotive work of art to life.

“What began as a dream has become a reality, thanks to our wonderful clients Dave and Tracey Maxwell. Their trust in our team has empowered us to reach new heights, and we are forever grateful for the opportunity they afforded us.

“TwelveAir is more than just a car; it’s a testament to our team’s craftsmanship, creativity, and sheer determination. Every aspect of this masterpiece has been handcrafted to our highest standard, from the scratch-built all-aluminum body to the custom-built V12 engine, and F1-style monospring suspension.

‘We did not take this opportunity lightly,’ says Dave Kindig, founder of Kindig-it Design. ‘We poured our hearts and souls into every detail, pushing ourselves to go as far as we possibly could. The result is a true rocketship that embodies our passion for automotive design.'”