Being immersed in the custom automotive industry has its perks, including traveling to events around the globe, seeing the SEMA Show firsthand and being able to work with some of the most amazing people this industry has to offer – one big automotive FAMILY. But what is probably one of the main highlights is documenting truly passionate people and getting to experience the inner workings of their life’s passion – it’s truly inspirational to work with such passionate people on a daily basis. On the way out to yet another event, we were able to do just that and spend a day with Dave Kindig and the crew at Kindig-It Design.
Photos & Words: Lindsey Fisher
Now, you may know Dave and his custom creations from Velocity Channel’s Bitchin’ Rides television program, but Kindig-It Design was cranking out some of the most magnificent automotive masterpieces long before Dave’s TV celebrity status kicked in. In fact, what started out as a leap of faith to start his own business back in 1999 has turned into a life-changing, passion-fueled course into leading the charge at of one of the finest custom shops in the country. Dave now shares his passion and business with over a dozen employees, his wife, and children.
Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kindig-It has grown from a single suite in an industrial-sized warehouse to a shop stretching nearly the length of a city block, now featuring state-of-the-art machinery and “in-house” upholstery shop JS Custom Interiors (owned by Justin Stephens). Also added to the mix the latest in paint-booth technology, an immaculate showroom with wall-to-wall art and awards, and even a designated drawing room on the building’s second floor for Dave to work on his renderings and designs with a bit of peace and quiet. But even though the shop has grown leaps and bounds in size, employees, and the number of customs produced each year, Kindig-It Design still maintains its family-like feel and full hands-on approach from top to bottom.
Just stepping into the shop you can sense the pride that emanates throughout the facility, and not in an egotistical way, but more in a “we’re proud of what we do and we’re excited to share it with you” kind of way. Just inside the front door, offices and the shop’s showroom greet you, showcasing the two things that Kindig-It is well known for: amazing cars and some of the best customer service around. Nothing says “we’re here to help create your ultimate ride” quite like being welcomed by the smiling face of Baylee Kindig, Dave and wife Charity’s eldest child, and now the executive assistant and receptionist for the company.
Going much further beyond the front doors may require an escort of sorts, but getting into the shop itself is well worth it. Just inside the doors are walls filled with classic Kindig-It renderings from dozens of full-blown project vehicles that Dave and his crew have taken on over the years. A couple more steps and you’re face to face with the booth where each Kindig-It-built car gets coated in its very own custom mixed paint colors before being fully assembled and shipped out to car shows, noted appearances and rightful owners all over the country.
Building a full custom at Kindig-It Design is a well thought out process, with individuals in charge of everything from disassembling each vehicle and packaging every nut and bolt up into labeled bags, to custom metal shaping, wiring, paint, upholstery and everything in between. Kindig-It is truly a one-stop shop for some seriously custom rides. There’s even a state-of-the-art 3D printer and Wurth “vending machine” setup right in the shop to craft and create custom parts practically from thin air.
While we were there, there were at least a dozen different vehicles in different stages of build in the shop, including a custom golf cart, Dave’s personal VW 21-Window project, the MSD Chevelle and famed Copper Caddy, which both made their debuts at the SEMA Show, and a very special 50s-something custom set to strut its stuff at the Grand National Roadster Show in January. Of course, you won’t be seeing any photos of that particular build here, as we don’t want to spoil the surprise, best assured, you’ll certainly get to see it when its sitting proudly on the floor of the greatest hot rod show in the country!
We also got a glimpse at some projects being filmed for next season of Bitchin’ Rides. While you won’t catch any spoilers here, we will say that everything we laid our eyes on was meticulously put together and as custom as they come, straight down to the classic Kindig-It smooth door handles and the custom nuances that set every Kindig-It ride apart from the rest!
We’ve been lucky enough to tour a number of automotive facilities all over the world here at Slam’d Magazine and each and every time we go somewhere new, we’re inspired by the people and the projects they’re working on more and more. With Kindig-It Design, we were truly amazed by everything from the facility to the projects on hand, and there aren’t enough words to express how warmly we were treated by all the employees while exploring their turf. If you ever get the chance to take a tour of the Kindig-It Design facility yourself, we highly recommend jumping at the opportunity! Who knows, you might even get really lucky and get the man in charge of it all, Mr. Dave Kindig, as your personal tour guide as we did!