SEMA Helps High Schoolers Build Their Dream Jeeps

Starting on July 15, 2019, as part of the “SEMA’s High School Vehicle Build Program,” five unique Jeep Wranglers were auctioned to the highest bidder. The event was hosted by Bring A Trailer. All proceeds were reinvested back into the program.

In the 2017-18 school year, a pilot program debuted with one vehicle. When the auction ended, it brought in more than $56,000. Given such a great response, this year it was opened to five schools, all given the opportunity to customize their vehicle with the help of industry volunteers and manufacturers.

Let’s check out the final builds from each of the five schools, starting with Santa Fe Early College Opportunities.

Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO)

Santa Fe Early College Opportunities ECO Crawler

The first vehicle was a 2005 Wrangler. The students from Santa Fe, New Mexico school choose to vent the hood for both looks and cooling. They replaced the normal doors with trail doors.

A Rock Krawler Suspension kit was used to lift the vehicle up 3.5 inches and a five-inch stretch to the rear end. A set of Atturo Trail Blade Boss tires were installed for both streets and the back country. The students even repainted the entire body.

Santa Fe ECO's entry was the "ECO Crawler."

Comstock High School

Comstock High School went with the only hard top of all entries.

This Wangler went up for auction July 16. The students from Kalamazoo, MI, chose to customize a 2004 model. Their project used a Skyjacker four-inch suspension kit with a set of Atturo tires.

They went with JcrOffroad to get the rock sliders, spare tire carrier, bumpers, LED headlights, and a full carpet kit. Then they went to Just Jeep ‘N Stuff for a roof rack, which was mounted to the hard top. This Wrangler also received a fresh coat of paint.

Comstock High School's entry. It was the only hard top of the bunch.

C.D. Hylton High School

The third Jeep was built by students in C.D. Hylton High School from Woodbridge, Virginia. Their project started with a 2002 Wrangler and a full frame-off restoration and a painted chassis. It also had some extensive improvements under the hood. A new hood from LQK/Keystone and a full paint job was also added to the build.

These students went with a Rancho Suspension 3.5-inch short arm lift. A new windshield was put in place. They added a nice chrome rim and tire package to finish out the great look.

C.D. Hylton High School's Jeep went for a unique look mixed with off-road capability.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School

Santa Ynez Valley High School 2002 Wrangler

This project started out with the oldest model of Wrangler, from the vintage year of 1997. These Santa Ynez, CA, students chose a Superlift suspension system to get four inches of lift on this build. They then added a set of 37-inch Atturo tires mounted on Black Rock Wheels.

The grille was by T-Rex. Rugged Ridge products were installed throughout and LLumar window tint keeps the California sun to a minimum. This vehicle appears to be a simple build.

A well-spent budget on this Wrangler makes the interior pop.

R.L. Turner High School

Students at R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas got their project on the auction block July 19th. Their customized Wrangler is a 2004 model. Collins Bros’ Jeep donated a front bumper and winch for this build. No lift kit was mentioned for this build; however, the tires tell a different story.

New seat belts came from Seatbelt Planet and the wheels are by Rolling Big Power. Painless Performance provided trail rockers. Since the body was in such good shape, no new paint was needed on this vehicle.

R.L.Turner High School 2004 Wrangler.

This is a real-world, hands-on experience in automotive education. If you or someone you know wants to get involved, contact SEMA’s Youth Engagement Programs Manager, Katie Hurst at [email protected].

Which build is your favorite? Drop down to the comments below and share your thoughts!

Article Sources

About the author

Scott Spinning

Scott has been freelancing as a motorsports photojournalist for 38 years. he has been published in several national magazines also in a local and national tabloid. He loves the smell of racing fuel and the sound of a large horsepower engine roaring.
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