Son makes father proud at SEMA
Matt Dinelli is no stranger to building and showing vehicles at Las Vegas' SEMA show, the automotive industry's largest expo for aftermarket accessories. SEMA is also known as the place to display the nation's top custom-crafted rides.
The Medinah resident owns Attitude Performance, a shop in Arlington Heights with a 12-year history of bringing award-winning vehicles to SEMA -- and this year was no different.
There was change, however, in who led Attitude Performance's 2019 project. In a turn of events, it wasn't Matt, but rather his son, Jake, at the helm. The craftsman turned over the reins of the custom build to the high school senior.
"Jake has been in the shop since he was 5 years old, learning how to weld," said Matt, whose shop specializes in Jeep accessories, truck modifications and the attention-getting, off-road brutes it builds. "In the months before the show, I knew it was clearly time to turn him loose on a special vehicle with total confidence it'd be done correctly."
With Ford as a sponsor, a 2019 Ford F150 with an EcoBoost engine was secured and work began in July for the grand debut in late October. Another brand on board was Black Rifle Coffee, a veteran-owned premium coffee company headquartered in Salt Lake City.
"Knowing we wanted a military-themed truck, we designed a rugged look," said Jake. To give the vehicle an aggressive appearance, a Kryptek camo pattern was designed and applied and the pickup truck was given a 6-inch lift, courtesy of a BDS suspension. Rugged 37-inch tires are wrapped around 20-inch KMC wheels.
Other upgrades include custom WARN bumpers, fender flares and an A.R.E. bed cap with a mounted cargo rack. A Borla CatBack exhaust provides a more aggressive sound, while on the inside, there's a custom Katzkin leather interior, complete with branded logos.
For entertainment, there's a wild Rockford Fosgate sound system with four additional marine speakers mounted in the bed, along with a TruckVault cargo drawer system.
The project was completed just in time and unveiled at the SEMA show, where it garnered a Special Design Award from Ford, one of just nine given out. Another honor for the father-son duo was being invited by Ford to a private dinner at the Shelby America headquarters.
"I was so proud of Jake and to be recognized by Ford was something really special to share with him," Matt said.
The F150's future plans involve being shown at other events in Vegas, like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Expo and the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT). From there, it'll make its way back to the 'burbs, where you'll be able to catch it at some of the shop's cars & coffee events and summertime cruise nights.
As for Jake? After his graduation from Lake Park High School this spring, he's off to the Universal Technical Institute to further study mechanics.
"Every time I tried other occupations, I always ended back out in the shop with dad," said Jake. "It's just in my blood to turn wrenches and build cool things."
• Share your car's story with Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or COPOthebook.com.