Freibuger Dons the Ugly Sweater for Holiday Hooptie Challenge III!

Who would have guessed that two guys resurrecting sketchy derelict cars and road-tripping them ridiculous distances in obscene conditions would have led to a whole universe of shows on MotorTrend (Roadkill), including an annual holiday special? David Freiburger and your favorite MotorTrend hosts and project cars—all in the snazziest of ugly sweaters—are back to compete for yuletide glory in Holiday Hooptie Challenge III!

Related: MotorTrend has a holiday special?! Click here for a free trial to MotorTrend+ and watch all three years of the Holiday Hooptie Challenge. Then head over to the MotorTrend Store for your own limited-edition Holiday Hooptie ugly sweater (collect all seven!).

The MotorTrend hosts and project cars are the gifts that keep on giving, and Holiday Hooptie Challenge III is the biggest holiday-themed-mishmash-of-motorsports-special yet! Plus, for the first time ever, the Holiday Hooptie Challenge isn’t taking place in the seasonally-inappropriate Southern California high desert. Bremerton Raceway, Evergreen Speedway, and Seattle, Washington, are the scenic locations of the events the festively dressed contestants will compete in for the ultimate prize—the Holiday Hooptie trophy. Tune in to MotorTrend+ on Friday, November 25, 2022, to watch David Freiburger don the traditional ugly sweater and host Holiday Hooptie Challenge III.

Which MotorTrend Project Cars Are in Holiday Hooptie Challenge III?

There are six MotorTrend project cars in the Holiday Hooptie Challenge III lineup, but not all of them will make it to the final event at Evergreen Speedway, northeast of Seattle, Washington. The first event, at Bremerton Raceway (southwest of Seattle), will determine which of the six MotorTrend hosts and project vehicles get teamed up, and who goes home. Only the best MotorTrend project vehicles can compete in an event like the Holiday Hooptie Challenge (ahem, the ones that run are “the best”), but which project vehicles will bear the traditional Christmas lights in the final event?

Runs Good 1990 Jeep Comanche Prerunner: Jeep made a pickup truck before the Gladiator, called the Comanche. It shared much of its DNA with the much-loved XJ Cherokee, and at some point someone decided to turn this 1990 example into a prerunner (a lifted off-road vehicle designed to go fast through desert terrain)—but then abandoned the project. That’s when the Runs Good crew stepped in and totally revitalized the 4.0-liter inline-six-powered baja blaster … sort of. It didn’t have a fuel tank when it was purchased, so the guys had no idea if it ran at all, and the current fuel pump is only held in with one screw, but that rear suspension and exoskeleton rollcage have enough style to make up for any lack of performance.

Dirt Every Day 1976 AMC Pacer: The product of one of the few occasions on Dirt Every Day when Dirthead Dave Chappelle got to choose the vehicle, the off-road Pacer is a capable little rockcrawler built with the help of the Dirtheads’ friends at Mawdco Manufacturing in Oldtown, Idaho. Fred Williams may have wanted to use one of the other awesome vintage 4x4s on Mawdco’s property, but when Dave said they were cramming locking Dana 44 axles with 4.10s and 35-inch mud boggers underneath the compact AMC, of course he was on board. Dana 44 axles, big knobby tires, and an AMC inline-six—is the Pacer the older (and shorter) brother of the Comanche?

Faster With Finnegan 1985 GMC S15: The first Faster With Finnegan project vehicle was built for one purpose: to beat Randy Pobst driving a 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 around the infield course at Atlanta Motor Speedway. So, a 5.3-liter LS-swapped GMC S15 is the perfect choice, right? Maybe it was, maybe Mike Finnegan just has a thing for minitrucks, but the S15 was so much fun it got a second chance at beating the world-class race car driver at the end of season two. Questionable radiator placement, not enough suspension, and too much nitrous—yeah, the Faster With Finnegan S15 perfectly defines “hooptie.”

Roadkill Vette Kart 1985 Chevrolet Corvette: The Faster With Finnegan crew may have made the Vette Kart more capable off-road, but the original go-anywhere, do-anything hot rod started out on Roadkill. It’s been a fan-favorite since the beginning, spawning as many clones as the General Mayhem. Believe it or not, the 350ci small-block Chevy V-8 is the same motor, with the same parts, that David Freiburger assembled nearly 20 years ago—and despite years of abuse, it just keeps on going. The Vette Kart has survived sand dune blasting, jumps (on the stock C4 Corvette suspension!), rollovers, general neglect, and even a fire! This mangled, old Corvette truly is one of the greatest MotorTrend project cars in history.

Hooptie World Championship Freedom Hawk 1988 Pontiac Firebird: Derek Bieri’s introduction into the Roadkill universe was during the 2021 Hooptie World Championship, where he teamed up with Alex Taylor, driving this 1988 (say it with Derek) “Pont-eye-ack” to compete against five other teams in a multi-disciplinary and multi-day hooptie competition. It didn’t matter how many times Alex Taylor rebuilt the transmission during the Hooptie World Championship, it still doesn’t like to shift. The BluePrint Engines 350 V-8 makes … some amount of power. The wheels and tires are just way too expensive for a vehicle of this caliber. But the best part is (possibly the only good part), it has a thoroughly American paintjob.

Roadkill NASCarlo 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo: NASCarlo is the unholy union of a 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo and 350 ZZ4 small-block Chevy-powered, tube-chassis NASCAR stock car. David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan got the old racer for cheap and always wanted to drive it on the road for an episode of Roadkill, but they live in the real world and there are only so many limits that can be pushed before the legal team yells a resounding no. All the project vehicles that get driven on public roads on MotorTrend shows need to be registered, insured, and street-legal, and a tube-chassis stock car is not street-legal for many reasons. One of the biggest hurdles is getting them registered—race cars don’t have VINs. No VIN means no pink slip, no pink slip means no NASCAR on Rosecrans Boulevard (adjacent to MotorTrend headquarters in El Segundo, California, where many MotorTrend original shows get filmed). But all it took to make their dreams come true was cutting the skin off of an old GM A-body, and adding a passenger seat and some lights. Now NASCarlo is ready to crash itself every time the old race car gets fired up. Seriously—NASCarlo has a tendency to bite the hand that drives it.

MotorTrend Hosts Sport Project Car-Themed Ugly Sweaters in Holiday Hooptie Challenge III

To go with the six MotorTrend project cars, six of your favorite MotorTrend hosts will battle in the crucible of holiday motorsport, resplendent in festive ugly sweaters featuring a project vehicle from each of their shows (buy yours here). In the first event, a combination of drag racing and autocross, the six contestants will battle each other before being separated into teams. Holiday Hooptie Challenge III isn’t just a battle of driving skill; the brave MotorTrend hosts will also have to demonstrate their mechanical abilities in the second event. We’ve already told you that not every MotorTrend project vehicle will make it to the final event, the traditional road-course-meets-rally-stage night race. Will all six MotorTrend hosts make it to Evergreen Raceway?

Derek Bieri: Sometimes a guy is just happier fixin’ lightning-whirlers and spark-o-lators in his garage than grinding away in an office, wearing a tie. With his trusty pair of locking pliers on his hip, Derek Bieri put aside a successful career as an entrepreneur and businessman to do what he loves most, and now we all get to enjoy his unique brand of automobile restoration on his YouTube channel, Vice Grip Garage, and on the MotorTrend original series Roadworthy Rescues. With occasional help from his wife and sons, Derek scours the countryside for classic vehicles that just need a little bit of down-home tinkering (maybe more than a little) to get back on the road.

Dave Chappelle: Dave Chappelle should be very familiar to fans of Dirt Every Day, and now he has his own YouTube channel—The Dirthead Shed! The master fabricator and off-roader made some of Fred Williams’ wildest welding dreams come true on Dirt Every Day, and he’s keeping the adventure going from his Spokane, Washington, shop. Since he’s his own boss now, The Dirthead Shed will be about more than just wheeling and welding, going into Dave’s other hobbies and maybe even some home maintenance. Dirthead Dave is also a returning champion from last year’s Holiday Hooptie Challenge (teammate KJ Jones wasn’t able to make it out this year). Will he take home the Holiday Hooptie trophy again?

Related: It’s not too late to get your own Holiday Hooptie ugly sweater! Click here to check out all the Holiday Hooptie merchandise in the MotorTrend Store before supplies run out.

Mike Cotten: With a wrench in his hand, Mike Cotten is mechanically sympathetic, sometimes telling his co-hosts on Faster With Finnegan a modification is simply too outlandish. Mike Cotten is the owner of MidWest Images, a custom shop that turns out some very nice builds. It’s also a handy place for the MotorTrend crew to store a project vehicle or two for Midwest adventures (as seen occasionally on Roadkill). Little-known fact: David Freiburger and Mike Cotten have been friends for 30 years, since Freiburger first attended the Street Machine Nationals in Du Quoin, Illinois. Put Cotten behind the wheel of a MotorTrend project car, though, and you can expect things to get broken.

Steve Dulcich: The mechanical skill, the never-ending well of automotive knowledge, the hair—the bang-shifting! Does the co-host of Roadkill Garage and Engine Masters, positively radiant in his General Mayhem Holiday Hootie ugly sweater, need an introduction at this point? Steve Dulcich, with teammate Faye Hadley, was runner-up in last year’s Holiday Hooptie Challenge, and boy, did that second-place fruitcake taste like Dulcich sour grapes (Steve used to be a grape farmer, and the Roadkill Garage shop is still located on that Central California acreage). Dulcich has a reputation in MotorTrend project car competitions to win, or break trying—and occasionally get lost on the track. Will he fall prey to his usual foibles, or claim the victory snatched from his grasp last year?

David Newbern: Fans of Faster With Finnegan probably know David Newbern by another name—12-volt Dave. At HOT ROD Drag Week 2018 (his first time racing the event), Newbern spectacularly destroyed the engine in his 1971 Chevy “Attempted Murder” Nova. Bad wiring and an attempt at an 11.5-second pass with a lot of nitrous on day four caused arcing through the carburetor and into the block, literally melting the secondary venturis, and ruining all eight pistons. But, in true Drag Week fashion, David was able to convince a local parts shop owner to sell him a tired, old small-block, and crammed it into the Nova overnight, making a timed pass on Friday to officially complete Drag Week 2018. His efforts were spectacular enough to earn him one of Drag Week’s most coveted awards, the Spirit of Drag Week. David can wrench and drive with the best of the MotorTrend hosts, just don’t ask him to handle the wiring jobs.

Shea Seefeldt: Also introduced to the MotorTrend original programming universe through the Hooptie World Championship, co-host of Runs Good Shea Seefeldt is the owner of 10 Tenths Motorsports in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a professional fabricator, mechanic, autocrosser, and drifter. Part of the up-and-coming generation of hot-rodders, Shea may be the youngest Holiday Hooptie Challenge III contestant, but his cool and collected nature, driving skill, and mechanical aptitude make him a formidable contender. During the Hooptie World Championship, Shea and teammate, Runs Good co-host Dan Brockett, were neck-and-neck for the overall win with their other Runs Good co-host, Aaron Parker. Simply put, everyone on the Runs Good team knows how to handle a hooptie.

Stream Holiday Hooptie Challenge III on MotorTrend+ starting November 25, 2022, and get in the holiday spirit by picking up a Holiday Hooptie ugly sweater of your own, then cheer on your favorite MotorTrend host and project car in style. The MotorTrend Holiday Hooptie collection has more to offer, including coffee mugs, wrapping paper, and a Hemi Gremmie double-sided ornament. Get yours while supplies last.

Signing up for a MotorTrend+ subscription to watch Holiday Hooptie Challenge III also gets you access to the HOT ROD Digital Archives, with over 70 years of digitized issues of HOT ROD Magazine (click here for free access to the HOT ROD Digital Archives). You can also tune into MotorTrend TV on December 19, 2022, to watch Holiday Hooptie Challenge III, you know, while you’re “enjoying” time with the family and friends that might not appreciate vehicular tomfoolery as much as you.

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