Student-Built Jeeps: Buy One, Support Learning, Get a VIP Trip

Not only does SEMA’s High School Vehicle Build Program encourage today’s youth to engage in the automotive aftermarket, but it also gives you the opportunity to have the ultimate SEMA experience.

Five fully modified Jeep TJ Wranglers from SEMA’s High School Vehicle Build Program are currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer. If you win the auction on one of these Jeeps, you not only get a built TJ, but you also support youth education and get to show your new purchase to the world as a featured vehicle at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas — all expenses paid.

Being part of this industry-only show, which is also the largest car show on the planet, is a big deal.

SEMA High School Build Program

SEMA stands for “Specialty Equipment Market Association.” Everything automotive aftermarket is on display each year at the annual SEMA Show. Besides putting on the big show, SEMA also has a ton of initiatives to help grow the automotive aftermarket around the globe.

The SEMA designed the High School Vehicle Build Program, now in its second year, to engage today’s youth in the automotive aftermarket. The idea is that high school automotive classes get industry support and training to build their own vehicles each year. This involves hands-on mechanical and finishing work to build a complete modified vehicle that is auctioned off each year. All funds from the auction go back into the program.

It’s Not Just a Jeep You’re Bidding On

The Bring a Trailer (BaT) auction is only good for 7 days for each of the Jeeps up for grabs. They are all no-reserve auctions, which means the highest bidder is going to be the winner.

Sure, if you win the BaT auction for one of these Jeeps, you get to drive it home and take it on any adventure you can dream up. Maybe the even bigger win is the SEMA Travel Package that comes along with the Jeep. The package includes a feature vehicle space at the SEMA Show, vehicle transport to and from the show, two show credentials, airfare, and hotel accommodations. The cherry on top of the auction win is that you’re helping fund youth automotive trade education.

In this year’s SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program, five different high school auto shop programs from across the country have fully modified five Jeep TJ two-door Wranglers. Thirty-two companies have pitched in over 220 products to make these builds come together and stand out.

The Jeep Builds

Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) High School: ECO Crawler

Jeep Crawler

The ECO Crawler build is the first up for auction (July 15-22) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The build started with a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The rock crawler-style build features over $19,000 worth of new aftermarket parts. Highlights include a ram air hood, 3.5-inch long-travel suspension, 5-inch wheelbase stretch in the suspension, leather interior upgrades, and a full repaint. Trail doors are installed, but it also comes with stock doors painted to match.

While it’s a low-mileage Wrangler, only 106,000 miles on the odometer, it has been in an accident at some point in its life. And to give the new tires proper clearance, the build also requires the buyer to make a few modifications. (Original emissions systems remain for the vehicle to pass inspection before the buyer modifies it.)

Comstock High School: 2004 Wrangler Sahara

2004 Wrangler Sahara

Comstock High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, modified this 2004 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. It is up for auction from July 16 to 23. This five-speed manual trans Wrangler is the only one in this auction to feature a hardtop — and a color-matched hardtop at that. The build features a fresh coat of paint, full carpet replacement, complete armor package, lots of LED lighting, a 4-inch lift, leather interior, and big brakes.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School: 1997 Wrangler

1997 Wrangler

The students from Santa Ynez, California, built up this 1997 Jeep Wrangler, which is up for auction July 17-24. This California cruiser five-speed manual Wrangler has $13,000 worth of products in it. Standout features are the massive 37-inch tires on 17-inch wheels and bikini top. This machine is ready for the beach!

C.D. Hylton High School: 2002 Wrangler Sport

2002 Wrangler Sport

The students in Woodbridge, Virginia, have put together this white-and-red 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The Wrangler was stripped all the way down to the frame, which was repainted bright red. This Wrangler Sport is loud, with lots of red accents and big, flashy chrome wheels. It’s up for auction July 18-25.

R.L. Turner High School: 2004 Jeep Wrangler X

2004 Jeep Wrangler X

The students at R.L. Turner in Carrollton, Texas, have built this traditional 2004 Jeep Wrangler X. This build is probably my personal favorite, as the black-and-green color combo just works on the Wrangler. The color combo is carried through to the new leather interior as well. The students touched up the original paint and kept the original seven-slot grille. The clean accessory switch system on the dash and black wheels help tie this build together.

Bid now! Don’t miss this opportunity to own a fun Jeep, help further youth education, and get an amazing automotive industry experience.

Bryon Dorr

Bryon Dorr is the Motors Editor of GearJunkie. He has been writing about overland travel, off-road vehicles, whitewater kayaks, and outdoor and travel gear for 11+ years, with over 2-years of that at Lola Digital Media. Prior to his current role, he freelanced across a wide range of outdoor, automotive, and travel media outlets, both online and in print, as well as with a wide range of commercial clients as a photographer, social media marketer, and copy editor. Based in Portland, Oregon, Dorr is an avid kayaker, cyclist, skier/snowboarder, runner, and photographer. When not outdoors doing human-powered adventures you’ll find him behind the wheel or bars of something with a motor and wheels or enjoying a dark craft beer with friends.