Rodding Around
By Brian Brennan
red gear icon NSRA 2021 Street Rodding Achievement Award
At this year’s SEMA Show during the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) banquet the National Street Rod Association’s own Jim Rowlette presented Jerry Kugel of Kugel Komponents its own award, which is presented yearly to an individual “in recognition of outstanding service of the street rod industry.”

This year Jerry (in photo with his wife Judy) was recognized for a lifetime of support to our industry and hobby. Jerry is well known for Kugel Komponents (should you call, you will most likely be greeted by Jerilyn Kugel and her “smiling voice”) that has championed the independent suspension for virtually all types of hot rods. Numerous award-winning street and competitive hot rods have featured Kugel Komponents chassis, suspensions, and numerous other individual products that make our industry and hobby more enjoyable.

He’s also known for his long-running history at the Salt along with his sons, Jeff and Joe, who have managed to capture multiple records (think red and blue ball caps) in a series of world land speed record hot rods. Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the possibly thousands of drives he has accumulated behind the wheel of his ’32 Ford roadster “Blackie.” It has served as a driving testbed for decades and continually provides a way for Jerry and Judy to enjoy the hobby and industry mile after mile. (Here at In The Garage Media we wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Jerry and his family for an amazing business that has furthered, over these past oh so many decades, our hobby and industry.

You can reach Kugel Komponents by visiting

Jerry Kugel of Kugel Komponents, stands smiling next to his wife and holding an award

red gear icon Bob Matranga Captures 2021 Battle of the Builders Competition

Modern Rodding Premiere Issue cover
For all of you fans of Modern Rodding you will recognize the name and the car: Bob Matranga with his ’55 Chevy named “Brute Force.” His Chevy appeared on our inaugural cover and has now gone on to capture the top prize in this year’s eight annual SEMA Battle of the Builders competitions. We applaud the choice and couldn’t agree more!

For those who need a refresher, it should be noted that every part of Brute Force was scratch built or heavily modified. Brute Force gets its name from the Mike LeFever–built 540ci Merlin engine, capable of 1,400 hp, that’s topped with Arias Hemi cylinder heads and force-fed by a pair of Garrett turbochargers through a Hogan intake.

Judges narrowed down the field of 240-plus entries to the Top 40 before selecting the Top 12 builds overall, which included two women for the first time. The 12 finalists then took over judging duties and named Bob Matranga the overall winner. Brute Force was also a Ridler finalist by taking home a Great 8 from the Detroit Autorama in 2020.

The four finalists of this year’s competition will be highlighted along with other featured builders in a new TV special 2021 SEMA: Battle of the Builders, scheduled to premiere on the History Channel January 23, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. (EST).

Look for his latest efforts in upcoming issues of Modern Rodding.

red gear icon HRIA 2021 Business of the Year Recipient: In The Garage Media
HRIA 2021 Business of the Year glass award
Well, knock us over with a feather! We didn’t see it coming but we sure are excited about receiving the 2021 Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) award for Business of the Year at their banquet during the SEMA Show. To have your peers recognize your efforts and to spread the word among our industry during the SEMA Show is an honor we are truly humbled to have received. (Also, thank you to John McLeod of Classic Instruments, a Holley company, for inviting all of us to sit with his crew at their banquet table.)

Given the award for “… outstanding contributions …” makes all of us at In The Garage Media (ITGM) emerge from SEMA energized and ready for another year, and many more after, to participate enthusiastically in our hobby and industry. ITGM is made up of three brands (Modern Rodding, Classic Truck Performance, and All Chevy Performance) located in a small office in Placentia, California. It’s filled with enthusiasts who enjoy what they are doing, and the industry they are doing it for, and who have done so for decades.

While a hearty “thank you” is in order for those on the HRIA council who recommended ITGM and then supported us with their votes we couldn’t be more appreciative. Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the industry that’s supporting us daily through their advertising, contributions to assist us in our editorial efforts, opening their business doors to us when we travel about the country, and to the dozens of freelancers we have worked with for years as it’s their efforts too that have helped us make our publications the informative and enjoyable print and digital books they are.

You can reach any of the crew by visiting

Modern Rodding
VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 16 • 2022