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Take a ride with local business Classic Ford Broncos

Mike Thomas

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Bucolic views of rural Powell, Ohio stream past at an impressive clip as the driver presses down on the accelerator. A throaty roar issues from the exhaust. We might be going 50 mph, or it might be closer to 70—for some reason, the lack of a roof on the vehicle makes it harder to judge. (That, and and the disorienting effect of my “rock ‘n’ roll” hairstyle whipping about my face in ever-changing directions.)

The truck is a rolling anachro-nism. By all outward appearances, it is a pristine, burnt-orange Ford Bronco in the classic body style of its first iteration, produced from 1966 through 1977. But from a glimpse
of the modern suspension components underneath and the aggressive sounds emanating from the tailpipe, and it’s clear something is not as it seems. 

Photos: Brian Kaiser

This Bronco is a “restomod” (a portmanteau of restoration and modification) of that first-generation Bronco. It is one of between 35 and 40 that Bryan Rood’s company, the aptly-named Classic Ford Broncos, will produce in a given year. Carrying a price tag of $200,000, it is also one of the most expensive terrestrial vehicles I have ever ridden in.

Like many things a man will do throughout his lifetime, Rood started selling old Ford Broncos because of a woman.  

“I was invited to the Kentucky Derby 10 years ago for a bachelor party. We were walking to the Derby with a group of girls that we met the night before,” Rood explains from his office in the Classic Ford Broncos facility near Powell. “There was an old Bronco for sale on the side of the road, and one of the girls thought the Bronco was cool, so I bought it just to try to impress the girl.”

Rood doesn’t elaborate as to what happened with the woman, but what became of that first Bronco set him on the path to a lucrative career in the automotive restoration game.

Upon returning to Columbus with the truck, Rood could not take it out without entertaining unsolicited offers of purchase. Eventually, he hit upon a deal too good to pass up, selling the Bronco which he initially purchased for $3,500 to a buyer at $8,000.

It occurred to Rood that if he could achieve this kind of return on an old Bronco, maybe he could repeat his success with another. It followed that if people would pay for an unrestored Bronco, maybe a fresh coat of paint and a tune up would up the ante.

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“When I first started messing with them, I was selling them for under 15 grand,” Rood explains of his fledgling business. “It’s not that they weren’t popular, there was just a very different following for them back then. They were kind of a mud truck, or just a cheap, old, beat-up farm truck that some people thought were cool.”

Within a year, Rood had hired a full-time mechanic. Ten years on, his company employs a staff of around 15 in a 10,000 square-foot facility—the largest Bronco restoration shop in
the country.

The approach to the Broncos themselves has also changed considerably over the years, moving from restoration of engine parts, interiors and paint to all new custom bodies built in-shop, nestled on a classic Ford Bronco frame with modern performance drivetrain and suspension components included.

In keeping with advances in his process, Rood’s clientele has also changed over the years. He now marks major-league athletes and captains of industry among those for whom he’s built a Bronco. On the day I visited his operation, his crew were working on a tasteful sage green Bronco commissioned by Kelly Clarkson. 

“Almost exclusively, they’re going to beach towns or lake houses,” says Rood. “It’s the ultra-high net worth clientele that are buying these things, because Jeeps aren’t cool enough.”

The Broncos Rood and company create are a statement piece—a summer-home vehicle for the finance set who can drop 200k on a weekend toy without batting an eye. Despite the hefty price tag, Rood explains that the owners of his restorations aren’t afraid to get his creations dirty, even if farm-field mud is swapped for sand from beaches in the Hamptons.

Undaunted by the sticker price? Interested in grabbing one of Rood’s Broncos? You’ll have to get in line—at any given time, he has a list of 25-30 customers in contract. You’ll also need some cash, as you can’t finance one of Rood’s creations—it’s a cash deal, with a 10% deposit due up front as a show of good faith.

And don’t believe for a second that your $200,000 buys the right to dictate every aspect of the build. With most of his business coming via word of mouth, Rood sees his Broncos as rolling billboards for his company. There are some things he simply will not do. No 20” rims, no wacky interiors—not at any price.

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Getaways

Want to get away? Southwest making it cheap

614Now

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Southwest Airlines is hoping that enough of you are close to feeling safe to leave the house for more than a trip to the grocery store. In a bid to jumpstart their flagging business, Southwest has announced some pretty steep ticket discounts - as low as $49 each way to a host of cities departing from Columbus.

Flights must be booked at least 14 days in advance and travel must happen between May 26 and August 31. Most expect Ohio's 14-day travel quarantine rule to expire by August but be sure to take that into account if you decide to hop on a plane.

Some of the cities and deals we have imagined for you include:

A long weekend in Atlanta: $118 per person roundtrip from Friday, Aug 14 - Sunday the 16th. Keep in mind, it's about 100 degrees in ATL this time of year so be sure to have access to a body of water if you go.

A patriotic, weekend protest in Washington DC: $98 per person roundtrip, 4th of July weekend. See the sights (if they're open to the public) and stand somewhere with a sign with whatever outrage you have in mind.

A long 4th of July beach weekend in Ft. Lauderdale: $198 per person roundtrip from July 3-6 and you can stay at this cute Airbnb apartment that's just one block from the beach for $88/night.

Vegas baby! You're going to have to forget the weekends if you want the great flight deal. But we found August 5-7 available for $198 a person. Plus you can get into the Bellagio for $139 /night right now as an added bonus. Two nights of debauchery, a little gambling and some of the best restaurants in America. What could go wrong?

Of course, traveling may be risky business for some people and this all assumes the respective cities and attractions re-open and are relatively safe. But if you just need to get away, it's probably never been cheaper.

See other flight options here.

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Food & Drink

¡Ándale, check out these 12 Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

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It's hard to imagine a Cinco de Mayo without the traditional tequila-induced hangover. Even though you may not be able to sip those margaritas on a sunny patio or at the bar, local restaurants have figured out a way to help you celebrate at home - margaritas included. Here's the not-so-skinny on living out your tequila and enchilada-fueled dreams.

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In order to bring a bit of normalcy back, we've teamed up with @hornitostequila and @daiquiri_daze_popup to open our doors back up for the day and serve a limited offering of some of the faves for Cinco de Mayo. Offerings include but are not limited to our basic-cable famous salsas and Columbus' most missed margs. A party pack for four will include a Spotify playlist and that good Cosecha pebble ice that MIGHT JUST help to make you feel like you're celebrating on our patio. Online pre-orders will start sometime tomorrow at www.toasttab.com/cosecha-cocina/v3 and go to the day of. Walk-in’s are also welcome! Stay safe Columbus. We miss you dearly. Thank you so, so much for your continued support and we'll see you on the other side. Offerings: • Margaritas - Single (Comes with Salt, Lime, and Pebble Ice) - Traditional - Hornitos Reposado, Dry Curacao, Fresh Lime, Agave $8 - Next Episode - Hornitos SIlver, Dry Curacao, Hibiscus, Habanero, Lime $8 • Chips and Salsas $4 Koki's Chips, Roasted Tomato and Mint and Tomatillo-Avocado salsas Single/Extra Salsa $2 • Sage Margarita Jell-O Shot $2 • Cinco De Mayo Pack for 4 $40 (4) Margaritas of your choice, (2) Orders Chips and Salsas, (4) Jello-O Shots, Spotify Playlist, Ice, Limes, Salt, Super Cool Cactus Decanter • Chicken Tinga Taco Kit for 2 $20 (Pre-Order Only) Chicken Braised in Mild Red Chillies, Corn Tortillas, Avocado Salsa, Pickled Red Onion

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Are you ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This year our Fiesta is at your house with our 5 de Mayo Fiesta Combo 🇲🇽 You can get a combo for 2 or 4 Amigos! Each Amigo gets: • One Queso or Guacamole with fresh chips and Salsa 🧀 🥑 • Three Tacos of your choice (Shredded chicken, ground beef, or Al Pastor)🌮 • Two Lime or Flavored Margaritas We will be also dropping some 5 de Mayo T-Shirts inside some orders as a gift! But you can support our team by purchasing one for $10! *Promo available on 5/5/20 all day. Pick up only • • #eat614 #columbusfoodie #columbusfoodscene #topcolumbusrestaurants #614magazine #614eats #buckeyes #happyhour #mexicanfood #margarita #girlsnightout #tacos #guac #collegegirls #collegelife #restaurant #margarita #asseenincolumbus #college #campus #columbusfoodscene #columbusohio #osugrad #ohiostate #socialdistancing #quarantine #quarantinelife #cincodemayo #togetherasbuckeyes #osugrad

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Things To Do

Flanagan’s has your Saturday night covered with unique drive-in concert

Mike Thomas

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With the usual slate of summer festivals and events cancelled due to the pandemic, we're going to have to get creative if we want to have any fun at all in the weeks to come. In that spirit, the team at Flanagan's Pub in Blacklick is hosting a special drive-in concert this Saturday, May 2, that offers a good time from the relative safety of your own vehicle.

Described as "Sonic, meets drive in movie, meets live concert" on the Flanagan's Facebook page, this special event running from 6PM-9PM on Flanagan's north lawn will feature live music from artist Brad Moore, with full service carry-out food from the pub also available.

Upon arrival, drivers will directed to the field north of Flanagan's parking lot. Attendants will be on hand aid with parking, and to ensure that a proper space is left between vehicles to promote social distancing. From there, servers wearing gloves and masks will deliver a single use menus to each vehicle and handle all carryout orders. Then, it's just a matter of kicking back to enjoy the show (but please take note: Flanagan's requests that all guests at this event remain in their vehicle at all times).

To aid in parking when you arrive, Flanagan's has produced this handy map:

Flanagan's is located at 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd in Blacklick. For more information, visit Flanagan's on Facebook, or reach them by phone at (614) 855-7472.

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