The SEMA Auto Show is always an interesting affair. This is of course a hardcore off-road convention that features some of the most amazing machines you can think of, with some epic creations on display. In 2021, Richard Rawlings had his own machine created for the show. It was a Safari-style Polaris Slingshot, one of the most incredible off-road machines you can think of. Naturally, it generated a lot of interest, but so did a recent build by Gotham Garage.
From the hit Netflix show Car Masters: Rust to Riches, the team at Gotham Garage took a Polaris Slingshot and created something completely different. What they imagined is a three-wheeled hot rod that has an emotional connection. But they used the same base vehicle as Rawlings and Garage Gas Monkey. So the question is, which one is better?
Well, let’s take a look at both of these machines, then we can have our own verdict, and leave it to you to decide which one you think is the best.
Slingshot Polaris Gas Monkey Garage
The Gas Monkey garage slingshot is a bit different from the one offered by Gotham Garage. The Slingshot is equipped with a 2.0-liter ProStar engine, with either a five-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission. Rawlings and his team stripped the car down to the tubular frame, then rebuilt it from the ground up. And naturally his main ambition was to go off-road, compared to the Slingshot from the guys at Gotham Garage. Rawlings and Gas Monkey Garage didn’t change the power of the Slingshot, and it probably doesn’t need more power in fairness.
Out back there’s a single rear wheel, so it’s hard to really see that handling more power. The Slingshot became an urban monster, with a lot of work on the front suspension like the forging of the tubular upper and lower control arms. Fat 35-inch tires are now on the Slingshot, which fit around the stock rims, and a custom front bumper and eight-bulb KC lightbar have been added to the Slingshot. In its epic impact orange paint coat, the Slingshot earned what Rawlings called an “Urban Assault” character. Of course, that’s not the only wild version of Slingshot we’ve seen.
Hot Rod Gotham Garage
Gotham Garage came up with something very different. The creation was made for Patches, the brother of Tony Quinones (Caveman), and it was a bit of an emotional construct for Tony. Most of the car’s mods focus on the exterior body panels of the car, with a lot of influence coming from Chevrolet’s classic 1960s muscle cars. Then, of course, there are plenty of technical details to delve into. The plastic body panels are now gone and replaced with fused body panels from a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, including the side panels, hood and front bumper.
It certainly enhances the outward appearance of the Slingshot and creates something unusual and very different. Naturally, we’re going to get a classic paint job, and we’ve got a bright orange three-wheeled hot rod with white center stripes. The biggest mechanical change has to be the insane 30-inch alloy wheel in the rear of the Slingshot, with its own custom swingarm as well. There’s an extended chain drive, merged with the stock belt drive, and all of that drives the Slingshot’s massive new rear wheel. It’s a build just as crazy as building Gas Monkey.
Who did better?
Who did it best really comes down to personal preference. The Gas Monkey Garage Slingshot is clearly off-road oriented, although it can also be driven on the road. It retains much of the main body panels from the original Slingshot, with of course many additional additions. The build of Gotham Garage is much more focused on the exterior itself, with a large mechanical upgrade to the rear along with some internal mechanical tweaks. So we have one that is more exterior focused, one with a bit of exterior and internal off-road modification.
Two very different slingshots
It’s up to you which is best, but we’d say there’s more to be excited about building Gas Monkey Garage. It’s an extreme design, with some pretty significant changes, and it still looks different enough from the outside that we know this is no ordinary Slingshot. The rear wheel looks cool on the Gotham Garage version, but it’s almost a toned down version of the original Slingshot. Gas Monkey Garage and Richard Rawlings did a fantastic job with theirs, and it looks very cool and capable and ready to rip the dirt.
Sources: Gas Monkey Garage, Gotham Garage, Netflix