SEMA Show 2023: the Render Garage top nine

Matt Barnsley of Render Garage fame takes us though his top nine from the 2023 SEMA Show


Matt Barnsley is a long-time friend of Street Machine. He was a Young Gun with his LX hatch, did a stint as a freelance photographer and worked with us on a number of projects with Holden. These days, he works for himself under the Render Garage banner, helping car builders visualise and plan their builds before they even turn a spanner.

Right now, he’s over at the SEMA Show, and was kind enough to take us for a tour through his top nine cars of the show so far.

It’s been a few years since I last had the chance to make it to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Like many of us, I’ve been watching from afar and devouring every news article and YouTube video I could find to soak in the experience. But let me tell you, nothing beats actually being here in person, and I’d like to share some of my favourite cars from the event so far.

The SEMA Show is massive, covering more than 20 acres, and even after two full days of attending, I still haven’t seen it all. Here’s a selection of some of the cars that have stood out to me.

1. Ruffian Cars – 1967 Mustang fastback

This retro-mod cafe racer caught my eye as soon as I walked into the Central Hall. It exudes vintage Carroll Shelby Cobra race car vibes with incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship. The overall impression is one of class and sophistication, reminiscent of a Singer Porsche but in a Mustang’s body.

2. Ringbrothers – 1969 Charger

Ringbrothers never fail to amaze with their SEMA creations, and this one is no exception. It’s a bit more understated than some of their recent builds, which I found really appealing. It’s got a 1000hp ‘Hellephant’ crate motor up front, but what really grabbed my attention were the custom hood design and the striking deep black paint with gold accents.

3. 1967 Pontiac GTO – TWISTED

This might be my favourite of the show. The build quality is exceptional, and the car’s design is beautifully balanced. It doesn’t try too hard to stand out, but the more you look, the more the details shine through. The interior is impeccably styled, and the Pontiac Rally-inspired wheels add a distinctive touch.

4. 1961 Chevrolet Impala bubble-top

I’ve always been a fan of this classic shape, and Maharaj Customs’ TYMELESS rendition is exceptionally well done. The colour combination, stance and interior all work together harmoniously.

5. Mustang fastback – ‘Bleu Bayou

Built by Goolsby Customs, this Mustang was showcased at the Glasurit stand. The car’s styling immediately grabbed my attention, with its custom side skirts, front spoiler, and a rear diffuser that looked fantastic. The gold rims and subdued metallic paint are popular trends this year, and it’s easy to see why – they look greata. The tasteful stripes on the bonnet tie in the gold accents, and the flush-mounted window trims give the car an original yet sleek appearance.

6. 1968 Camaro

Another gem on the Glasurit stand, this Camaro was crafted by Revision Rods & Rides. It features refined body modifications, smooth and neatly tucked bumpers, and a well-designed custom engine bay. A retro-styled side decal adds the perfect finishing touch.

7. 1967 Camaro – ‘Cardinal’

The photos don’t do this car justice, as it was in a dimly lit area. But the more you looked, the more you discovered. It’s adorned with gorgeous carbonfibre elements, a custom billet grille, and what really caught my eye were the brushed bronze trim and accents, complemented by satin-finish body colour bumpers.

8. 1956 Ford F600

Though not a debut car, this is the first time I’ve seen this F-truck in person, and it’s incredibly impressive. Built by Classic Car Studio, it’s a custom crew cab with suicide doors that perfectly suits the truck’s shape – it’s a very impressive rig.

9. Chevrolet Camaro – ‘Illicit

Built by Lopez Performance, this Camaro is exceptional from every angle. It’s evident that every aspect was handcrafted and meticulously designed, resulting in a unique and well-executed car.

So there you have it, some of my favourite cars from this year’s SEMA Show. I can almost guarantee that I’ll come across even more in the next few days that are just as good, if not better, than the ones I’ve highlighted here. If you ever get the chance to attend in person, don’t hesitate. It’s an experience like no other, and these cars are just a taste of the automotive wonders awaiting you.