Local Utah car restoration miracle worker, Dave Kindig, kindly gave VW Southtowne some time to talk about his passion for car restoration and his history with restoring Volkswagen’s and more. Now featured on Velocity Channels “Bitchin Rides” on Tuesday nights.
A little history of Kindig-It Design… Dave Kindig worked at High Performance Coatings for eight and a half years during this time he learned a lot about the restoration business and he got to know people in the industry. Dave’s love of cars and restoration has been self-taught, Dave jokes that his degree came from the “Design and Engineering school of Lego’s™ and Hot Wheels™.” Which let’s be honest, what better degree could their possibly be? By “learning along the way, always being goal oriented, and looking about 4 or 5 steps ahead,” Dave said telling himself these things helped him know he couldn’t fail. Growing up, Dave would take Hot Wheels™ and chop them and redesign them- there were no safe models!
Dave’s renderings of the cars that he had been drawing over time went up on the walls at HPC and that is where they were noticed. Rod and Custom Americruise came through Utah and stopped into HPC. They noticed Dave’s renderings on the walls. Ed Capen asked about the drawings and Dave was commissioned to do a 1999 Chevy Silverado “Arizona Speed and Marine ASM SS” limited special edition trucks rendering for his first magazine. Since being discovered and cashing in his 401k, Dave started his shop with $4800, a garage, and two guys. This sounds like the making of a good TV show, right?! This space was soon outgrown and the shop moved to 4500 square feet, then to 9000 square feet, and after 5 years another 9000 square feet. Now 14 years later, Kindig-It Design stretches out in a 27,000 square foot warehouse employing over 21 people in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fast forward to the future, Dave recently was awarded the 2012 Master Builder Award at the Boise Roadster Show as well as the 2012 Trendsetter Award at the Hot Rod Industry Alliance at SEMA.
Dave’s First VW Beetle… In the 90’s, he had acquired a 1960 Volkswagen Beetle. At the time he was in the Salt City AirCoolers and he said it was a great time to get together with people that had a love for air cooled VW’s. Dave said that his 1960 VW Beetle wasn’t the last VW Beetle that he changed the engine, the color, and cut the top off of…
Where do the inspirations for restorations come from and is there a need to keep the integrity of the car for memory sake… “When meeting with a client they usually have an idea of what they want, but they’ve come to a professional designer. They may not have every aspect in mind, so from there you build on the taste of the customer and make suggestions.” Dave said he truly likes “to keep the originality of the car. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should necessarily. A lot of cars have classic lines but we give them modern amenities. The thing that most people say about our work when they see the fit and finish is that every time they walk by they notice something different from the last time.”
What about people that only use their car for shows…
“There is such a mix of people. Some people just want them to go into collections.” Dave said “Life is so short, why wouldn’t you want to drive it?”
Kindig It Design did a beautiful 1962 VW Bus. If you could get your hands on any Volkswagen model what would it be and how would you modify it…
“There is a soft spot for the 1949-1951 VW Hebmüller… and I wouldn’t change anything.”
The 1962 23 Window Deluxe bus was built for Fusion IO, a local computer software company. It was to be used as a display and promotions vehicle and it debuted in 2010. It has been all over the U.S. and featured in their promo videos. It features lots of small details such as, custom front and rear roll pans to get rid of the bumpers, custom built 17 & 18 Porsche 911 Fuche wheels (I think that’s how you spell Fuch ), a 2017cc engine with dual 44mm Weber carbs, straight as an arrow body and paint using PPG Mercedes Black and Silver, lowered the bus by way of a Bus Boys narrowed front beam drop spindles and a set of 944 Porsche brakes. The rear suspension was swapped out to a super street Type I trans-axle. Inside is a full custom upholstery job performed by JS Custom Interiors (in house) and it has tons of cool stuff including the 26″ LCD TV that is automated by a power window motor hidden in the spare tire section of the front seat, a 9″ monitor in the front roof air vent. Speaking of seats, the most unique feature of the interior is the wrap around styled rear seat that we custom built out of the original rear benches. The rear area also has Ash hardwood floors with aluminum strips between to give it some class. The audio and visual is all Kicker and includes 6 mid and tweet combos and 2-12″ subs and a couple of big amps to run it all. The logos are custom built to resemble the company logo and were built out of 1/2″ aluminum
With a history of restorations and a love for the Volkswagen brand, what do you think it is about Volkswagen that has created such a solid, passionate following…
“I think the simplicity of Volkswagen is why people are loyal. It’s the collect-ability and lifestyle that is associated with it; of owning a VW and modifying it. The romance of it is everyone remembers the early days and remembering that they may not have had a lot of money to drop on a car and VW’s were cheap then; it’s also the memories that go along with it. And if you had a girlfriend in a VW they sit extra close to you cause of the seats are close together.”
Personal favorite restoration…
“The white 1968 Ford Mustang named The Boss. The car was named by the gentleman that built the car originally. Started with an Eleanor replica, the only thing we kept was the roof, door jams, and inside the back window structure. Everything else was custom built.”
Favorite Story behind a restoration… “All are pretty cool; we’ve met so many nice people. It’s like asking what my favorite car is, it’s about impossible. Mike Hess’ 1937 Candy Red Chevy that we chopped, stretched, pinched, widened the fenders, added suicide doors, running boards, custom dash, he let us do everything we wanted to it. We were only supposed to chop it and add the suicide doors originally. Mike then asked us what else we would do. That car ended up winning the 2007 SEMA GM Design Award for Best GM Hot Rod. Then there was the 1939 Buick from Harold. Originally we had built a 1947 Chevy Pick Up for him. He had the Buick sitting around and just wanted it as a driver car. Apparently many of the cars that we build as drivers end up winning awards, as with Harolds. We ended up winning the 2011 GoodGuys Rod and Custom “America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod” award.” As well as the Wasatch Up and the Salt Lake AutoRama 2011.
Dave Kindig is definitely a local celebrity- with publications in magazines; Hot Rod & Restoration, Hot VW’s, Vette, and GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association just to name a few. You can also find Kindig It Design on Hot Rod Television on Speed TV (Part 1 and Part 2). In the future, we guarantee that you will see Dave and Kindig It Design winning more awards and continuing to make a name for themselves nation and even world-wide! We definitely appreciate Dave and his work and spirit and we hope there will be more Volkswagen’s in their future as well!
** UPDATED 4.21.15 …. We have many people asking about starting prices for Kindigit work: Their shop rate is $65.00 per hour plus materials. An average build at our shop starts at $250K depending on the condition of the vehicle and what components you would like to upgrade to. Feel free to give Kevin a call here at the shop Monday – Friday 9-5 (MST) to discuss your project further. Their number is 801-262-3098 and Kevin’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org