Kindred Motorworks puts a modern spin on vintage car restomods – TechCrunch

August 22, 2022 by No Comments

Owners of vintage cars know the deal. The “project” is never done and driving an old vehicle means dealing with mechanical failures, encroaching rust, old wiring shorting out and the continual hit to a bank account. For some, that’s part of the allure: a never-ending labor of love that includes the joy of a weekend spent replacing a starter or rewiring the brake lights. 

For others though, the desire for an old vehicle — whether for sentimental, aesthetic or historical reasons — is squelched by the nonstop maintenance. For that latter group of people, there’s Kindred Motorworks, a new restomod startup based in Northern California that takes sought-after old vehicles and infuses them with new powertrains, safety features and other modern-day touches. 

The restomod business isn’t really new. But Rob Howard, the CEO and founder of Kindred, which had its public debut during Monterey Car Week, says their tech-focused approach puts the startup in an entirely different lane than the competition. 

Their method provides an intriguing glimpse into how today’s technology can benefit the public desire for vintage items that work better than they did when they were new. 

It’s a strategy that has helped Kindred Motorworks raise more than $20 million through its first two funding rounds. It raised $5 million at the end of 2020 and another $15.6 million at the end of 2021. It has attracted a number of high-profile investors, including Hagerty, a company known for vintage vehicles and one of the country’s largest insurance providers for those vehicles, and Robert Downey, Jr.’s Footprint Coalition. Other backers include CPMG, Goldcrest and Fifth Down Capital.

Those funds will support the company as it works toward full production in 2024.   

The teardown and blueprint

Kindred stands out from the hundreds (potentially thousands) of shops that restore old vehicles through its standardized process that begins by handpicking a vintage car, truck or SUV and then tearing down and mapping every inch. The company then takes this blueprint and uses it for every part of the rebuild process, from parts sourcing and procurement to final assembly.

The aim is to take an arduous, long and expensive process and make it efficient, repeatable and at scale.

“I knew we could apply technology and scale to this and make it much more efficient,” Howard told TechCrunch. 

Image Credits: Roberto Baldwin

On the lift in Kindred’s shop is the frame of a Chevy 3100, a pickup popular with vintage vehicle enthusiasts that was in production from the late 1940s until the late 1950s. Howard says this truck has already been stripped down and rebuilt multiple times and will go through the process again and again. 

According to Howard, this will lead to a very detailed step-by-step process or blueprint that will be used to rebuild 3100s with electric powertrains that will be sold to customers. 

The system will include how-to videos for every step, which may seem like overkill, but will result in the vehicles being built exactly the same every time. 

It will also allow employees without the deep technical know-how to jump into the build process and learn on the job. When a person clocks in, they’ll be assigned a …….



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.