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Memories From Behind the Wheel


Memories from Behind the Wheel is our series dedicated to vintage cars and our adventures with them. We hope this on-going collection of stories from our community will inspire and keep us close to the beautiful hunks of metal responsible for our life-long love affair with vintage cars and the open road.

The vintage cars that made us

To kick things off, we asked a handful of Kindred employees, along with some friends from across the country, to share their favorite vintage car memories with us.

If you couldn’t already tell, our team here at Kindred is obsessed with vintage cars. Spending time behind the wheel of a vintage car stirs up some of our most cherished memories (and maybe some we don’t look back on quite so fondly).

When we pick our heads up from our work and remind ourselves of why we love vintage cars, it’s the fact that each one has a story to tell.

A car is an extension of ourselves; they transport us to and from some of life’s most important moments, whether it's the story of road tripping the PCH, driving our date to prom, or bringing a newborn home from the hospital for the first time.

Cars come and go, but in the end, the memories we made live on. These are the stories that made us. We hope you come along for the ride.

Want to share your own vintage car story? Share your favorite memory here.

Jani & Bill L. 1975 Chevy Blazer, Colorado

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story Jani Bill

What year, make, model was your car? Did it have a name?

It was a 1975 Chevrolet Cheyenne Blazer nick named “Betsy”

Where and how did you get it?

We bought it in 1978 from a Chevy dealer – we traded in a 1971 Tornado we had brought with us from Chicago.

Tell us your vintage ride’s story?

It had CB radio and big, fat off road tires. License plate frame read: “Four-wheelers do it in the dirt”. We came to Denver in 1976 and wanted to be mountain folks.

Do you have a favorite memory or two about “Betsy”?

We once took Betsy down Lombard St in San Francisco. We had to back up on every turn.

Another memory is a road trip to a ranch up in Colorado. The single lane road to the ranch was so narrow and steep that Mom had to take the kids out and walk up the road.

John M. 1967 Chrysler & Oldsmobile Cutlass

(Kindred Director of Production)

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story John M

Any favorite memories with your dad’s Cutlass?

My most distinct memory of this car is of my dad letting me sit in his lap and "drive". We'd take it to a very large, very empty Sears parking lot in Hicksville, NY and I’d steer while he operated the pedals. As a 4 or 5 year old there was nothing cooler to me than getting to "drive".

Is there a single car or car-related memory that inspired your passion for vintage cars?

My dad has always been a car guy, particularly post-war American muscle cars. He definitely passed that love on to my brother and me. Weekends were spent working on, detailing and enjoying the various cars that passed through our driveway over the years. There's a really huge classic car scene on Long Island. On summer Fridays, there was always some sort of car show or cruise night to attend. Those are indelible memories for me and really where my own passion, and taste in cars developed from.

Is there a recent memory with your family that you'll remember or that you hope they will remember?

Working here at Kindred has afforded me several opportunities to create memories with my family around our incredible cars. Most recently, we participated in the annual classic car show in our town, Benicia. We brought our EV Chevy 3100 and VW Bus and it was such a great time. My wife Brittney and son Jack were able to see the reactions people have when seeing our cars for the first time, and that was really cool. Jack even helped hand out Kindred swag to the crowd. It's really nice to be able to show my son that you can turn the things you're passionate about into meaningful, fulfilling work.

Dave M. 1978 Ford Bronco, California

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story Dave M

What year, make, model is your car?

1978 Ford Bronco, Custom, Full Size 4 x 4

Does it have a name?

Big Red

How long have you had your Bronco?

My parents purchased the Bronco in 1978 and I’ve had it since (with two minor interruptions, about 3-4 years of other owners detailed below.)

It’s been one of the loves of my life to restore this wonderful SUV to its original condition, just the way my dad & mom purchased it in 1978. I kept as many original parts as I could and brought back its beautiful red with a black matte hood, custom striping and on/off road tires with white lettering on the outside.

What’s your Bronco’s story?

When we first saw the truck, my mom yelled out that it was the car she wanted. We went into the dealership, where my dad had to give the guy his watch as collateral in order to negotiate the price of the car. After he completed the transaction, they needed an hour or so to get it ready to drive home and offered us a steak dinner, at no charge, next door. Even though we had just eaten dinner, we couldn’t pass it up. Needless to say, we all had large doggie bags to go (ha-ha.)

The Bronco brought my dad and mom at various times to their jobs over the years, eventually ending up in Oregon at my parents’ retirement home. My dad eventually had to move in with my sister back in LA, so my parents asked me to try to sell the Bronco. As much as I didn’t want to, I ended up selling it to my next-door neighbors’ son, who drove it for a couple of years.

Years later, my oldest daughter was just starting to drive, and I needed a car for her to drive. I asked my neighbor to help me find a car for $1,000 or less. A couple days later he drove up in our Bronco. I could NOT believe it and figured that this truck needed to be in our family, it was a sign.

My oldest daughter drove it for a few years but I bought it back from her around 2016. I contemplated on how I was going to restore it for about two years and eventually decided to do it myself, even though I had limited experience in mechanics.

I rebuilt it as close to factory condition as I could, keeping original parts when possible (engine, trans, seats, steering wheel and more), though I added a new stereo with a GPS system. That is where it stands today. It is as reliable as the first day we bought it and eats as much or more gasoline as it did in 1978, but I love every inch of it and would not change a thing!

Do you have a favorite memory or two about your car?

Both my kids, now almost 40 years of age, and my Grandson, who is 13 years old, were brought home from the hospital in the Bronco.

Favorite road trip?

A year or two after we purchased the Bronco, my dad, mom and older sister and I took a trip up the California and Oregon Coast to scout out land for my parents to build a retirement home on. During the trip, we passed a bunch of loggers. My Dad had installed a CB radio in the SUV, and we heard countless truckers telling each other to be on the watch out for a big beautiful Red Bronco heading North.

John B. 1968 Chevy 3100, Montana

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story John B

What’s your 3100’s story?

My parents owned it for seven years, using it to travel to our mountain cabin and haul a snowmobile.

I got to call it "my ride" when I was a junior in high school. I painted the side boards and wheels (with house paint), and put in an 8-track stereo player with four speakers. I loved cruising the drag in my little Montana town, waving to all the guys with their new muscle cars. Everyone knew my truck. My mom sold it when I was away at college — I was heartbroken when I found out.

Robert C. 1969 Chevy Chevelle and 1970 Chevy c/10

(Kindred Paint and Body)

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story Robert C

What was your first favorite car?

My first favorite car was my dad’s 1969 Chevy Chevelle. It was loud, rowdy, had a tunnel ram intake through the hood, and never made it out of primer. That car started my obsession with the “rattier” side of classic cars, where the imperfections are what make it shine.

When did you start working on cars? Who taught you? Where did you do it?

I started working on cars as early as I can remember, I’ve also been helping my dad run our exhaust shop since we opened in 2009.

Do you currently own a vintage car?

My 1970 c/10 long bed. That c/10 was the first car I bought at 14 for a mighty $600. It was my first everything, from my first intake and carb swap at 15 to my first C-notch and axle flip at 26 as well as my first paint job.

What's your favorite car memory?

My favorite car memory would have to be bringing my dad’s custom 1969 Chevrolet G10 van to SEMA 2018. It was so rewarding seeing all of our hard work pay off. It felt as if we had finally hit the “big leagues.”

What's your current dream car?

My current dream car, which has been my dream car for a long time, is the 1971 Buick “boat tail” Riviera. I think that the body style of Riviera is the most menacing vehicle ever put on the road.

Favorite Kindred Model?

My favorite kindred model would have to be the EV Bronco. I’m a traditional Detroit iron kind of guy, I love big displacement V8s and loud noises, but when I saw the performance and power the EV prototype was putting to the ground, I was sold.

Steve K. 1985.5 Mustang SVO (Amongst others)

(Kindred Upholstery)

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story Steve K

What are the cars you remember from growing up?

The car my parents had when I was born was a 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL. After that, my mom got a 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and my grandfather had a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300TE station wagon he used for hauling around his English Mastiff. We also had a 1992 Ford Mustang GT Convertible that was customized with metallic paint, a cowl hood, and a 351w.

How did you get into cars?

My dad. He was a gear head that owned a few body shops when I was young. I have a lot of early memories of going to work and hanging around all of the cars being worked on. That and making weekly trips to Englishtown Dragway for Wednesday night test and tunes and summer / spring nationals.

Did you have a favorite car growing up?

I had two. The first was the 1985.5 Mustang SVO we had (first car I have memories of) and number two was a 1958 Plymouth Fury (Famous from Christine).

What's your dream car now? What about a Kindred?

The "if money was no object" car is and will always be an original RUF CTR Yellowbird. As for Kindred - I'd choose the VW Bus in baby blue.

Brendon H. 1978 Volkswagon Beetle, North Carolina

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What year, make, model? Does it have a name?

A 1978 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, Champagne edition. It didn’t have a name but we called it “the Bug.”

Where and how did you get it?

My dad surprised the whole family when he just rolled up in it one day. We were so excited. My brother and I were somewhere in the 10-12 age range and we thought it was one of the coolest cars we’d ever seen.

How long have you had it?

The car has been in our family since 1982 – so that’s over 40 years now! It’s not currently running…but I have faith that my brother will reassemble it back to its original glory!

Tell us your vintage ride’s story?

“The Bug” was passed down from my dad to my brother, and finally to me. Despite countless miles, a hole in the backseat floor, minimal heating, no air conditioning, and a quirky top, this Beetle was my ticket to freedom. It had its quirks: a sticky accelerator, an unpredictable electrical system, and windshield wipers that quit long ago. But behind the wheel of this 48-horsepower legend, I was the king of the road, embarking on adventures, feeling invincible. Among the many cars I've owned, each with their own stories, this Beetle remains special.

Marc D. 1976 Land Rover 109 Series III

(Kindred Production)

Kindred Newsletter Images May Story Mark D

Is there a car that was your first love?

I’ve always been a car person, so picking one car is difficult. But I think it all started with the old Land Rover Defender. What could be more epic than exploring Africa in a diesel Landy? The hankering for that adventure led me to build my 109 Series III and do just that — explore Africa!

What was the first car you restored on your own?

My circa 1976 109” Series III Land Rover. My friend Zak Kotze and I decided that we wanted to explore Africa and, having just completed college, all we could afford were old Land Rovers. I found my 109” in someone’s yard. The owner had put a 4.1 Chevy engine into the Landy and the old gearbox just couldn’t handle the torque. He wanted to keep his engine, so I bought the Land Rover without one. He handed me the gearbox casing and two crates of gears and said he never wanted to see this pile of @#$ again! I rebuilt the gearbox (first gearbox I had ever rebuilt) and then found a Nissan RD28, 2.8 litre 6 cylinder diesel engine from a JDM engine importer, which I mated up to the transmission.

After taking the Land Rover on a camping trip to my friend's farm, the engine had to be rebuilt. Once that was taken care of, we jetted off to Mozambique for a 4-week overlanding trip!

Tell us about the Mozambique trip – what was the car, who did you go with, where did you go?

Together with a bunch of Air Force colleagues and other pals, we headed off to Mozambique for a 4 week, 1,350-mile overlanding trip. We drove from Pretoria to Maputo, then north through Xai-Xai, Inharrime and all the way to Inhambane, where we camped on the beach! We so loved this spot that we stopped and spent Christmas there before heading back. The two old Land Rovers we took were slow but flawless — we had no issues with them on the whole trip, even though we had packed enough spare parts to rebuild half a Land Rover!

What are some of your favorite memories driving cars?

Overlanding through Botswana must be one of the great experiences – being days away from civilization, with just your friends around you, totally self-sufficient. I’ll have to tell you the lion story one day!

What is your dream car?

I am definitely an offroad person so, I have a special place in my heart for 4x4s. I love the looks of the old CJ7 Jeeps — there is something about that grill and rounded hood that is truly unique. I have a soft spot for the Mercedes G-Wagon (as long as it is a diesel). The Land Rover Defender is iconic and probably what got me into overlanding, but if I had to choose just one, the reliability of Toyota Land Cruisers is legendary. If I were to overland Africa again, I would certainly want to take an 80 Series diesel Land Cruiser!

Which Kindred Model would you want in your garage? Where would you take it?

The ICE Bronco is my favorite at the moment. I would love to take it on a road trip across the country, Route 66 specifically, stopping at all the OHV areas on the way to do as many trails as I could! Having said that, the EV Bronco is not far behind the ICE Bronco. In fact, when it comes to just enjoying the ride, that EV Bronco is just plain fun!

Daydreaming about making vintage car memories of your own? We’ve got just the thing.

Pre-order your own Kindred classic

We can’t wait to hear about your future adventures.

Here's to the vintage cars that made us.

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