We were recently asked by someone at this year’s SEMA show which car we liked the best. Almost certainly, our face must have resembled that of any loving parent with a recently dropped oxygen mask from the overhead compartment. Perhaps on a different scale, but that question was similar to being faced with the task of choosing which of your air-traveling children would be the first to receive the life-keeping air it contained. Both. Right? Not an option! You’ve gotta pick one.
Such is the task of the team of judges for TMI Products’ TRIM Award winners. There can only be one for each category, and you’ve got to choose one among the thousands of cars in a veritable cesspool of innovation and creativity. We’ll admit that choosing an award is not on the same level as sustaining life, but this team still takes that task very seriously, and the team’s level of experience rivals any Ph.D. in the automotive realm.
The TRIM Award Judges
The team chosen to cipher the talent woven into the soft goods inside each of the winning automobiles is comprised of a panel of six independent judges, each with decades of experience in the automotive industry. Combined, they exhibit hundreds of years of experience and a deep well of knowledge for choosing those recipients deemed worthy of TMI’s TRIM Award. They are:
- Kevin Oeste: V8 Speed & Resto Shop, and the voice of SEMA 2023
- Sean Holman: Co-host of The Truck Show Podcast and Use For Adventure Agency
- Sara Morosan: 2021 SEMA Person of the Year, multi-Ford Design Award winner, and LGE/CTS Motorsports
- Theresa Contreras: PPG Brand ambassador, multi–Ford Design Award winner, and Baja Forged
- Marcel Venable: Co-owner of Auto Revolution, Car Guy Confessions, OBS Clash
- Jason Mulligan: Co-owner of Auto Revolution, Car Guy Confessions, OBS Clash
The 2023 TRIM Award Winners
To acknowledge the vast diversity of vehicles shown at the SEMA Show, TMI’s panel of judges selected winners from several categories. The winner in each category was awarded a TRIM award from TMI Products to recognize their effort and excellence in craftsmanship. Our congratulations to the winner in each category of a 2023 TRIM award.
Best TMI Truck Interior
You may recall we highlighted Dana Estes and his 1969 Chevy C10 Stepside on his win as the TMI Road Tour Champion. He had earned his way into the running for this year’s TRIM award, and per the judges’ decision, his truck earned the Best TMI Truck Interior at the 2023 SEMA Show.
Best TMI Car Interior
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro of JD Rudisill was built by Finale Speed, and while the carbon-fiber-wrapped exterior is a work of art, it was the car’s interior that won this year’s Best TMI Car Interior award. It utilizes TMI products, including a pair of TMI Pro-Series, Universal Sport-SS Low-Back Seats with matching door panels, a dash pad, a headliner, and a universal console.
Best Full TMI Interior
Another Camaro, this one owned by Rocky Troxell, uses a full TMI interior stem-to-stern. There are a pair of Pro-Series, Universal Sport VXR Low-Back bucket seats in the front with matching rear seats.
The seats blend seamlessly with TMI-supplied door panels, carpet, floor mats, one-piece headliner, dash pad, console, and even a trunk kit stitched up in distressed brown leather with dark brown inserts and black grommets.
Most Creative Interior
The sky is the limit when the award goes to the most creative entrant. This year’s ground-breaking cockpit goes to Rodger Lee’s 1967 Mustang fastback. There’s more to this car than just the interior! It was the 2023 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year and its interior is a tasteful blend between a Ford GT and a Shelby GT500. The car was aptly christened a DS-500R.
Best Color-Matching Interior
Another winner from far off the beaten path is this 1970 International Travelall of Cody Nebeker. The restomodded SUV’s gut was color-coded to perfectly compliment the mint green exterior.
The brown/tan plaid inserts paired up with green stripes throughout the tan interior grabbed the judge’s attention. Cody’s attention to detail and the way he tied everything together is what set him above the rest and earned him the award. We can only imagine how many yards of product were used to cover this vast cabin of comfort.
Best Custom Car Interior
Clearly illustrating that Cody isn’t a one-truck pony, his 1969 Chevy Camaro took home the Best Custom Car Interior TRIM award for 2023. The Ice Blue Camaro’s futuristic-looking interior is a full-on custom creation of white and black, featuring a hexagonal design detail.
Best Custom Truck Interior
When it comes to commanding attention, Mike Barcia’s 1996 Chevy Silverado C3500 does so with a vengeance. Wearing a tubbed dually bed to make room for those monster meats out back and featuring the popular Cat-Eye front clip, Mike’s heavy-hauler certainly grabs one’s attention.
The wow factor continued inside Mike’s four-door, crew cab as well. A quartet of saddle-brown bucket seats were separated by a full-length center console running the entire length of the cabin.
TMI’s Fan Favorite TRIM Award
Of course, Chevy C10 trucks are popular, and when asking for a fan favorite, popularity definitely plays into the decision. That doesn’t take anything away from Alfredo Rios’ 1970 Chevy C10, which received this year’s Fan Favorite TRIM award, voting done completely by online followers of TMI’s TRIM awards’ social media. This truck’s saddle-brown leather race seats contrasted perfectly with its custom blue paint and won the hearts of online voters in a closely contested race.
Best Of Show Champion
When it comes down to the Best of Show Champion TRIM award, there can only be one, which puts that oxygen mask securely back in our hands. Thankfully, the TRIM Award judges weren’t fighting for air, and after much deliberation, decided to crown Stephen Aguilar’s 1967 Pontiac GTO (Twisted GTO) as the overall winner and Best of Show Champion for SEMA’s 2023 TRIM awards.
The car’s three-year build was skillfully completed by Sean Smith Designs, who gave it its “Twisted GTO” name. Everything inside was hand-crafted by Sew Cal Interiors from 3D scans that were then turned into 3D models for proper fitment. During the transition from scans to real models, shapes were “refined” to accommodate power windows, a modern touch-screen stereo, and climate control.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
When choosing winners for TMI’s TRIM awards, the statement, “It’s what’s inside, that counts” proves much more than just a cliché. While the exteriors of these cars are amazing examples of perfection, their interiors are what matters when considering a TRIM award winner. The TMI TRIM award winners all received an invitation to the 2024 Barrett-Jackson Cup in Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as prizes from Mothers Polish, FiTech fuel injection, and OPTIMA batteries.
With this year’s winners in the record books, many enthusiasts and skilled craftsmen are already planning for next year’s competition. There will be regional competitions leading up to the big match at next year’s SEMA Show 2024 and we’ll be sure to keep you informed as the competition gets rolling. Stay tuned!