Chattanoogan Jarret Kinder owns four early Ford Broncos, but only one is making the 2,000 mile trip from Tennessee to Las Vegas for four days of unabashed car show glory.
Kinder's fully restored 1976 blue Bronco earned a featured slot at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association's show - the most renown automotive specialty products show in the world. The event, which drew 60,000 buyers last year, takes place this week in Las Vegas and runs through Friday.
Kinder's Bronco is one of 500 cars with paid display spots outside the convention center, but one of only 20 that will be featured in a prime location with Velocity Channel's TV show "Car Crazy Central."
Kinder spent $6,000 to buy the Bronco about a year ago, then tacked on another $70,000 for the restoration, which was handled by Krawlers Edge Restoration and Custom Fabrication in Knoxville. The goal, Kinder said, was to keep the original style intact while making the ride more comfortable.
"A lot of people put big tires on them, but mine looks more like it would have looked when it came off the line," he said. "But of course it is 40-year-old technology, so they're not much fun to drive if you restore to original. This one has a different frame and suspension so it's a lot more enjoyable to drive than it would have been in 1976."
He seems just plain tickled that his Bronco will be ogled at by thousands in Vegas.
"I bought it with the intention I'd try to restore it," he said.
"I thought it would be a weekend project. After a year of staring at it and doing terrible work I decided I should seek professional help."
That professional was Thomas Kincer, owner of Krawlers Edge Restoration. He spent about 2,000 hours building the Bronco before loading it up on a trailer and driving out to Las Vegas.
"Every nut and bolt is brand new," he said.
Kincer is hoping the prime spot at the show will translate into new customers and restorations, but also honest feedback.
"I'm ecstatic," he said. "I'm ready to let people look at it and stand back and hear people's comments. That's the most exciting part for me, because you can overhear and get the real feel of what their true take is on the vehicle."
Kinder, who works at a money management firm for high net worth individuals and family businesses, said he won't be able to make it out to the show, but he does plan to drive the Bronco when it arrives back in Chattanooga.
He added he was only expecting to spend about $50,000 on the restoration, but he's happy with the final product.
"It's something that just kind of gets away from you when you start paying for things," he said. "You think, it'd be nice to have that new and that new, and eventually you end up with a really expensive car that you drive occasionally."
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or email@example.com.