The brightest new star in the TV car show constellation is ‘Bitchin’ Rides’.
The show’s ratings have gone through the roof since its September 2014 debut on Velocity TV and the future looks even brighter for Dave Kindig and his Kindig-It Design family.
The reputation of Kindig-It was already established before the TV show, but now Dave and the crew have also become TV celebrities as the people behind some of the finest custom rides on the planet.
We had a chance to talk with Dave about his road to success, not an easy journey for him by any means. Dave had no father, no strong male role models, and little money during his childhood years, but he had a big dream.
The dream started with Hot Wheels when Dave was a kid from the “wrong side of the tracks”, in his words, and ended up with an award-winning business in the custom car field. Dave calls it his “American Dream Cinderella story”.
Dave words-“I had nothing as a kid but it didn’t take much to make me happy, particularly if it had four wheels and a steering wheel.”
Dave is self-taught in every aspect of a build, from renderings (drawings) to completion. His skills include artistry and a lot of hands-on talent for a project.
Dave lives by the motto: “If you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life” and he clearly loves his job.
MSCC asked Dave about his favorite ride and he gave us a simple answer; “the next one.” Dave loves the challenge and creativity needed to make “high end show drivers”, in his words.
Dave called his job the “most difficult on the planet” because he has to “sell stuff that nobody needs, costs a lot, and needs a blank check to do it right”.
His customers disagree with him because there is a long lineup of people on his waiting list who want his Kindig-It Design services, and cost is the least of their concerns.
Dave knows all the players in the custom field and recounted the pivotal moment when he was introduced to custom build heavyweights Boyd Coddington (Senior and Junior) and Chip Foose during their visit to his previous operation manager’s job with a ceramic coating company.
Goodguys VP Ed Capen brought the famous custom builders and noticed Dave’s renderings on his office walls. Ed asked who drew them and Dave began the first big step toward his own custom build business when Ed steered him toward people who wanted his designs.
Dave called it luck, but it was inevitable that his creative talents would be discovered at some point in his life.
After that initial design request, all it took was a huge gamble, the proceeds from his 401K, plus the blessings of his lovely wife Charity to start Kindig-It Designs. Together they have built a highly successful marriage and business.
Dave recalled his early days with Charity before they were married, and long before Kindig-It, when he took a 1968 VW Beetle and did some custom work on it, including a 1960 Beetle front end and a cut-off roof.
He called it a primitive project done in his future father-in-law’s garage, but Dave will always have very fond memories of his first big custom build.
The TV program made him famous, but his celebrity comes at a price because he attracts a crowd at car shows and misses the opportunity to admire other builders’ work.
Dave calls himself a “visual art collector” and likes to admire the vision, theme and lines of a great build.
Dave compares the custom automotive experience to great art where people “compare a Picasso to a Monet”.
One of the most important components of Bitchin’ Rides was Dave’s wish to keep the show true to the custom build industry where award-winning builds take a great deal of time in real life.
Dave wanted to avoid the “quick-flip” angle employed by other car shows where quality is sacrificed by unrealistic TV deadlines in the plot lines.
Dave has always had a unique philosophy toward the custom builds: “Every car has the potential to be the coolest car you will ever see”-and that includes four doors. Need proof?
Dave’s 1939 Buick was the first four door sedan to ever win Goodguy’s America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod award in 2011.
Another famous Kindig award winner is Bella, a 1960 Chevy four-door sedan that also proves a beautiful custom ride can have two extra doors.
The sky is really the limit for a guy with Dave’s creative flair and he has branched out into innovation with inventions like his patented custom flush door handles that blend a sleek custom look with a familiar stock look.
The door handles also serve a valuable function when a dead battery turns hidden entry mechanisms with handle-less doors into a nightmare. Dave has also added subtle fender flares with inner fasteners for first-gen Broncos to his product line.
The final words from Dave Kindig; “I was always a car guy long before I was a TV guy.”
Good thing he is great at both jobs.
*Photos courtesy of Kindig It Design and John Glover/Glover Photography.
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