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Matt Bernall of Bernal Auto Style provided this rendering to the Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) Auto Shop Program, w

Industry Pitches in on Student Jeep Build

SEMA has launched a new program designed to support and engage high-school students in the automotive hobby. As part of the pilot program, high-school students from the Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) Auto Shop Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will oversee and execute an entire project Jeep build—including tracking time, expenses and associated resources—using a pre-owned vehicle purchased and donated by SEMA.

Matt Bernal of Bernal Auto Style, which offers design services and project-vehicle support, was recently invited to participate in a teleconference with the Santa Fe ECO Auto Shop Program and help bring their vision to life.

“I like to think the rendering is what turns an idea into a real project, not only for the students, but all involved,” Bernal explained. “It’s also a marketing tool to incite public excitement about a project, while at the same time validating that project.”

Prior to meeting with Bernal, the students created a build sheet for the 2015 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that included:

  • A 6-inch arm suspension kit with an external reservoir
  • A front/rear locking differential
  • Headlights
  • 17x10-inch rims
  • 37x12.5-inch tires
  • Front/rear fenders
  • Snorkel
  • Front bumper
  • Vented hood
  • Spare tire swing carrier
  • Winch
  • Rock sliders
  • Skid plates
  • A 50-inch light bar
  • A 30-inch light bar
  • Cube LED light pods
  • LED halo headlights
  • LED taillights
  • A front grille
  • Door rockers fenders
  • A hood cowl scoop

SEMA continues to support the project, and is helping to secure parts donations and volunteers to serve as mentors to the students, according to the association. Those interested in supporting the project or wanting more details should contact SEMA Senior Director of Education Zane Clark by emailing zanec@sema.org.