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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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Arts & Culture

(614) Movie Club: New Jon Stewart feature, Episode V Beer Tasting, and timely documentaries

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(614) Movie Club. It’s OK to talk about it. 

Every Monday at (614) we’ll be here to update you on virtual and physical screenings that are being offered by the businesses and organizations that make Columbus such a special cinema city. Read below for this week’s streams and showtimes.

NOW SHOWING AT GRANDVIEW THEATER

Jaws

The original Jaws will continue to show at Grandview theater after a July 4 weekend beer tasting. Fitting, right? Watching this might be what it takes to keep you away from the beach for the rest of the summer.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Jurassic Park

More Steven Spielberg horror on the big screen. Again, if you missed the beer tasting, you’ll have a few more shots this week at catching some dino-roaring action on the big screen.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

One of the most popular picks for best Star Wars film of all time, the beer tasting comes during a year when the fifth episode is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Enjoy a 10-round beer tasting, free pint glass, raffle prizes, and a very entertaining presentation.

  • Showing: July 11 (3 and 9 p.m.) and 12 (5 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW SHOWING AT STUDIO 35

Irresistible 

A local town battling big-party politics, written and directed by Jon Stewart and starring Steve Carrell? Looks great on paper, plays out even better on screen. Rose Byrne is outright ridiculous in this one. Enjoy a 2020 release in an actual movie theater with grade-A recliners.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4:30, 7, and 9:30 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 104 min.

Jurassic Park

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 and 7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Jaws

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (9:45 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

See above.

  • Showing: July 11 (noon and 5:30 p.m.) and 12 (2 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT THE WEX

Cincinnati Goddam

A timely documentary that followed the Black Lives Matter movement around 2013, this film focuses on the corruption within the Cincinnati Police Department, whose force was responsible for killing a total of 15 black men between 1995 and 2001. 

  • Closes: July 9
  • Cost: Free
  • Release: 2015
  • Runtime: 103 min.

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most prolific singers of all time. Although a lot of her life has been studied, this documentary goes deeper with some never-before-seen footage and interviews from greats such as Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 90 min.

The Last Tree

A coming-of-age journey that follows a Black teenager trying to find his identity in the UK and beyond. The movie was the winner of the World Dramatic Competition at Sundance and Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer awards at the British Independent Film Awards.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 98 min.

Denise Ho - Becoming the Song

Another unfortunately timely documentary, Denise Ho follows the personal journey of the openly gay singer from pop icon to human rights activist. What emerged out of the Umbrella Movement of 2014 saw Ho take to the streets in the midst of the Hong Kong revolution in 2019.

  • Closes: July 30
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 83 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT GFC

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly

Ai Weiwei, China's most famous artist, transforms Alcatraz Island prison into an astonishing expression of socially-engaged art focused on the unjustly incarcerated. Known-whistleblower Chelsea Manning makes an appearance. 

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 78 min.

We Are Little Zombies

If eccentric Japanese cinema is your forte, you’ll want to check out We Are Little Zombies. A messy triumph of tragedy, comedy, music, social criticism, and teenage angst, watch what four teenagers do when they find out their parents are being turned into dust.

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: N/A
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 120 min.
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Things To Do

Where to get your Red, White & BOOM on this July 4th

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It was a bummer to hear that Red, White & BOOM would be canceled and changed to a virtual format for 2020. However, that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating in a somewhat traditional sense. Even with one of the biggest fireworks celebrations put on hold, there’s still plenty to do around Columbus, fireworks or no fireworks.

We here at (614) know that given the modern-day circumstances, people have the choice to celebrate in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Below you can find three ways to celebrate–Local 4th of July events; Red, White & BOOM alternatives; and places where you can legally celebrate yourself.

THINGS TO DO ON JULY 4TH

Fourth of July Fireworks

West Jefferson July 4th Streetfest

When: July 4 at 10 p.m.

Where: Watch from home

Obetz Fireworks

When: July 4

Where: Watch from home

Fourth of July Activities

Neighborhood Bike Brigade

When: Various start times

Where: Dublin neighborhoods

Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby

When: June 26 through July 4

Where: Any Dublin pond

Fourth of July Parades

Front Yard Parade in the Round

When: July 4 at 6 until 9 p.m.

Where: Your front yard

2020 Cruisin’ On The 4th of July

When: July 4 at noon

Where: Northbridge Ln., Columbus, OH 43235

New Albany 4th of July Parade & Festival

When: July 4 at 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Where: Church of the Resurrection, 6300 E Dublin Granville Rd., New Albany, OH 43054

Other Fourth of July Events

Zoombezi Bay Family Movie Night featuring The Goonies

When: July 3 from 6 until 11 p.m.

Where: Zoombezi Bay, 10101 Riverside Dr., Powell, OH 43065

HOW TO CELEBRATE WITH RED, WHITE & BOOM

Red, White & BOOM was gearing up for its 40th anniversary before COVID-19 shut the mass gathering down. However, the beloved Columbus fireworks show will be hosting a virtual event over the first four days of July. The virtual campaign will air on NBC4.

Here are some of the events that will take place:

  • Highlighting the best Red, White & BOOM stories
  • Stories from local veterans inducted into the Ford Oval of Honor
  • Broadcasting the best Red, White & BOOM fireworks over the show’s 39-year history
  • Looking back on the tradition of parades honoring veterans

HOW TO TAKE CELEBRATING INTO YOUR OWN HANDS

We here at (614) also know that setting off fireworks yourself is illegal. We also know that buying them within the state is legal (OK?).

So here is a list of places around Columbus you can buy fireworks from. What you do from there is up to you, but we advise you to stay within the law:

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Zoo Babies! We’ve got the photo cuteness

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Start the ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, Columbus, because we’ve got Zoo baby pics!

A Masai giraffe calf, a sea lion pup, two red panda cubs, and a siamang (gibbon) baby—all recent births at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for these endangered species. It’s a show of commitment from the organization how they were able to nurture these species populations at-risk for extinction and bring new generations of them into the world. 

“We are extremely proud to welcome these babies as they all represent hope for the future of species that are increasingly facing challenges in their native ranges,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO, Tom Stalf. In the press release, Stalf detailed how special these births are as the threatened species received around-the-clock, top-quality care by the Animal Care staff over the three-month-closure of the Zoo, due to COVID-19. 

OK, no more waiting—get your fill of cuteness below with these Zoo baby pics!

Masai Giraffe Calf

“A Masai giraffe calf was born on June 28, 2020, at 2:29 p.m. to mother, Zuri, in a behind-the-scenes barn of the Zoo’s Heart of Africa region.”

Sea lion Pup

“During the early morning hours of June 25, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed the first sea lion pup ever to be born at the facility!”

Two Red Panda Cubs

“Two healthy red panda cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a welcomed addition to this endangered species.”

Siamang (Gibbon) baby

“On the morning of May 29, 2020, the Australia and Islands region welcomed a baby siamang. Mom, Olga, is being very attentive to her little one, whose sex and name have not yet been determined.”

Get information about conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium here.

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