Kindig-It Designs rubs the velvet off their blue suede shoes
When Ron Meis of Lead, South Dakota decided to pay tribute to his first car, he knew just where to turn. I hesitate saying Ron wanted to recreate his first car, because every bone in my body doubts his teenage transportation looked this good. Ron called up his good pal Dave Kindig and told tales of comfy cruising in a bodacious Buick. Dave could see the vision all the way down in Utah, and he wanted to see Ron’s ponytail blowing in the breeze at the helm of a ’59 Buick Invicta, so the pair set out to find the land yacht.
Once a suitable two door hardtop was located, Ron and Dave starting planning. “Blue Suede Shoes” kept bouncing around in Ron’s head; he wanted that to be the theme for this car. Knowing the car couldn’t be fuzzy, the boys decided to make the interior very blue with subtle shoe-esqe details.
Ron is a man who drives his cars, regardless of the fact that they look like museum show pieces, so the first order of business was to set the enormous body on a custom built Art Morrison chassis. The modern underpinnings yield top notch handling characteristics and a killer stance in one fell swoop. Large disc brakes from Wilwood are on each corner, plenty visible behind the oh-so-sparkly wheels. If you don’t recognize the rollers, that’s because they’re one-off billet specimens from EVOD. While you’re looking, check out the white walls! They’re fake. The white ring is part of the wheel, masterfully hidden in plain sight in billet aluminum. That’s right, the Michelin Pilot Super Sports are regular black walls. Look closely and see that the spokes extend into the white wall; there’s your clue!
I’ve come to realize that Mr. Meis is a man who enjoys old cars for their style; the shapes, the memories, the thumbs up from fellow motorists, but he also very much values driving these cars, as well as his time, lower back and smelling fresh. In other words, Ron wants to get in his burly Buick and rip, he does not want to lean over the mile-deep paint to fiddle with a stuck choke, emerging from the engine bay sore and stinky. Turn the key, turn the tires, could be Ron’s motto. Dave Kindig shares this outlook, so an LSA engine was plucked and placed in the Buick. For those who aren’t up to speed with GM’s LS-alphabet soup, an LSA is a supercharged 6.2L wonder-machine rated at 556 or 580hp, depending on how it’s dressed; the Cadillac CTS-V and ZL1 Camaro are the original environments for the LSA, which are both known for their hair-raising acceleration. While powerful and wonderful, the LSA isn’t especially handsome, so this particular unit was dressed with custom Buick Nailhead rocker covers, which give the initial impression that you’re looking at a 401. Then you notice the throttle body banged off at an angle out front and the big blower box up top, and you get that slow, creeping-up grin as your brain processes the fact that this kustom luxo-barge could outrun your weekend bracket racer.
The cabin of the Buick is where Kindig-It Designs really let loose. Starting with some anchor points, an ididit colum was put in place, then a full waterfall center console was fabricated to tuck up behind the dash and flow into the rear seating area. Said console necessitates a quartet of buckets seats, sourced from Corbeau and covered in blue leather. Notice the contrasting leather ‘laces’ on the seats as well as white top stitching detail, just like a shoe! Matching blue carpet covers the Dynamat insulation, and the massive dashboard hides a Vintage Air AC system. Joyfully in plain sight is the one-off VHX instrument system. If you’re sharp on Buick instrument clusters, you’ve already spotted some of the changes here; the speedometer used to be a long, skinny job, with a myriad of gauges, knobs and warning lights in each round hole. Dave said “let’s change that up, dudes” and so it was changed up. A large speed and tach were placed in the big holes, each with a small gauge nested inside. The smaller, outer circles each received a gauge, and the original speedo opening was filled with a Buick script backed with blue suede (sorta). Only a few people have seen what Ron sees when the headlights come on; the script has a halo of white that shines through the background, giving the Buick logo a heavenly aura, rightfully so.
Externally, the ‘Ick was cleaned up, given a shave and a haircut as it were. The bumpers were refined and smoothed, the grill lost some extra stuff for a simpler look, while the antenna and badges were lost completely. Custom hinges operate the hood, designed to be useful but not seen. Can you spot the door handles? No it’s not a trick question, because they’re not shaved shaved, they’re Kinding-It’s smooth door handles set into the trim, undetectable to most. The paint (of course) is a custom mix called (what else) Blue Suede Blue while the top is coated in Cadillac White Diamond.
Teenage Ron wouldn’t know what to do with this car, if he was around to see it. Thankfully adult Ron drives Blue Suede Shoes like it’s, get this, a car! It was a part of the Goodguys 2016 Hall of Fame Road Tour, been to a bunch of indoor and outdoor shows, and even won some awards. It goes to show that with a deep love for the automobile, you can do anything that you want to do, just lay off of my blue suede shoes.
Photos courtesy of Jon Glover, Glover's Garage Photography