The Ties That Bind
by Seth Burgett, founder and CEO, Gateway Bronco
A Gateway Bronco represents a balance of vintage aesthetics, engineering, safety, and design. Behind each build is a client seeking adventure and the chance to create lifetime memories. Increasingly, those clients are tapping into the nostalgia of using a first-generation Bronco to deepen ties between family members and strengthen relationships. Our first father-daughter trip has spawned a contingent of clients creating a vehicle with their high school aged or college aged daughter.
For us, the annual Bronco 1:1 adventure started in the spring of 2016 when I was taking a year-long sabbatical, with no Board of Director roles, no non-profit duties, no responsibilities to the world except for spending time with my wife and three kids.
During that year our oldest, a 17-year-old at the time, was between her junior and senior years in high school. We were having our monthly sushi date when she suggested we take one of the Broncos from my collection of original paint rigs from our home in the St. Louis area to Walden Pond in Massachusetts. It was a phenomenal idea. Inspiration sparked as she was thinking about Henry David Thoreau and that tiny cabin he had lived in while I had memories of the Eagles’ Don Henley trying to save Walden Woods, also connected to Thoreau’s cabin.
Of course, I said “yes” immediately, and we continued our sushi date. Our travel plans started to take shape and a few minutes later she said, “Maybe when we get there, we’ll just turn and go to California.” and so in June 2016 that’s what we did! With that, our first annual cross country road trip was born and hit the road that June heading to Walden Pond in a drum brake, original paint Bronco, pulling a 1965 Apache tent camper, just like the original Ford Bronco ad in 1965. We traveled from Walden Pond to Niagara Falls, then to Glacier National Park. Many Glaciers campground quickly became our favorite spot and during this trip it snowed. In fact Going to the Sun Road was still being bulldozed in June so we made the decision to stow our rig at a storage unit in Kalispell so we could come back in July for a trip across the world famous, Going to the Sun Road. It was worth it, we came home to celebrate Father’s Day with the rest of the family before continuing our journey in July to fully enjoy Glacier National Park. Following our 2nd trip to Glacier we headed to Seattle, following the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur.
It was an epic, once in a lifetime, 5-week, 5,000 mile trip and the start of a wonderful journey for her and I. We have made it an annual tradition, now paired down to a one-week adventure to Glacier. The first was one of my favorites trips of all time, the others following have become something we look forward to all year long. It’s a cathartic experience in nature which deepens our relationship on an annual basis. I call it ‘Brief Moments of Wonderful’.
For 2023, the plan is to travel from Kalispell, Montana, to Glacier National Park to Banff National Park in Canada and back. This is the thing I look forward to every year with her— a one-on-one adventure together, off the grid. We like to go on the heel of the season in September, when there are fewer people, and we can get the kind of peace and serenity we’re looking for. Back-country hiking and spending time together is the best thing to replenish our souls as we go through our daily lives. We look forward to this trip all year long. Our daughter has committed nonmatter how complicated her life may get with marriage, children or other obligations she will dedicate one week a year to our 1:1.
What we’ve learned is that we’re not the only ones who are creating memories like this. We’re seeing a consistent upward swing of clients buying vehicles for their daughters in high school and college. We have several one-on-one, father-daughter projects being built in our shop today. We have an author building a Bronco with us and having an F100 being built for his daughter in LA who wants a special vehicle to pull her horse trailer. We have a local entrepreneur who has a high-school-age daughter who bought a Bronco at auction and is building out an amazing half-cab for her, with a powered rear window. (For an example of one of the father-daughter projects that have passed through our shop, see the feature on the Brittany Blue Bronco elsewhere in this month’s newsletter.)
We have seen an increasing trend of father-daughter projects come through the shop. It’s a part of what we all love the most — seeing our clients’ dreams come together and living vicariously through their children’s designs and ideas. While they get to build a vehicle and manage the process, their daughter gets to enjoy the design aspects and the satisfaction of seeing an idea come to fruition using our 3D Configurator or renderings. They get to see a hard asset come to life and then enjoy it, versus seeing that asset sit in an investment account. It is a growing trend with our client base. My daughter and I are looking forward to a time when we drive across the European continent, from Spain up through Northern Europe to see the Northern Lights. It’s a trip that my daughter and I have planned for years, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. We plan to do that with our upcoming LUXE-GT EditionTM product, engineered for safety, stability and road going performance with independent suspension and antilock brakes among its many advancements. I’m sure that trip will generate memories we’ll cherish forever. We’re grateful to see that so many of our clients are also living out their dreams and strengthening family ties behind the wheel of a Gateway Bronco. This is how I can live out a personal mission to “Improve the quality of life for others”. It’s a special part of why we do what we do for our clients.
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