Employee Spotlight : Interview with Josh Kelly
We are proud to announce our newest Road Scholars member Josh Kelly. Josh comes to us from New York with experience and passion for all things air cooled. We sat down with him to break the ice. Here’s what he had to say.
You just moved from NY to NC a month ago, what made you move and how do you like it so far?
While I lived in New York I was a restoration specialist working on vintage Volkswagen Beetles. I wanted to transition into the Porsche air-cooled side of the industry because I have always enjoyed the Porsche 356. So far, I love it here especially since I am closer to my family near Richmond, Virginia.
Judging by your Instagram (@respectedvintageaircooled) you are passionate about all things air-cooled. What sparked this?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and one of the things we would always do was watch all of the “Herbie” movies. I loved the fun, whimsical nature of the little Volkswagen beetle and the fun idea of a beetle beating an icon like the Porsche 917 or Pantera. Later on, when I went and studied Graphic Design, I began to appreciate and find a true love for air-cooled cars: Porsche, Fiat, and Volkswagen to name a few. I also began to find an interest in the history and simplicity of these cars; specifically the Porsche 356 and it’s minimalist design.
When I was 18, I bought my first air-cooled car, a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle. While studying Automotive Restoration, I bought and sold two other Volkswagen bugs, a 1971 and a 1962 Ragtop. Like any car guy, I was sad to see them go but earlier in 2017, I decided to buy another bug: a 1963 Ragtop.
Where did you learn about restoring cars? School?
I actually learned about restoring from both my dad and college. When I was 15, my parents found me a 1965 Mustang Coupe which became my first project once I started at McPherson College and which I still have today. When I was in high school I drove my 1965 Mustang, which meant that if I needed her on Monday, I had to fix her over the weekend. My dad, even though he knew nothing about cars, would help me every time and we learned so much together. My dad helped me a lot, but I learned most of my restoration knowledge from attending Mcpherson College.
While in school, I majored in Automotive Restoration with an emphasis in technical skills, attending the only 4-year program of it’s kind. In the program, I learned everything from paint and bodywork to sheet metal fabrication and upholstery. However, I truly enjoyed engine and drive-train rebuilding the most.
What is your favorite project you’ve built to date?
Honestly, my favorite built to date is one yet to come; my 1963 Volkswagen Ragtop Beetle. Although I have always loved my Mustang Coupe, I look forward the most to finishing the bug to its original concourse restored state.
Being at Road Scholars and just coming off of the company retreat who’s your favorite co-worker (Cam doesn’t count)?
I would have to say Simon Briggs because of his generosity to share his literary and design knowledge with me so that I can grow and learn. I appreciate him for having the heart of teacher because I believe that that is what the focus of this company is – to be scholars together.
We have some interesting restorations going on in the shop, do you have a favorite so far?
Obviously, I am really excited to be working on the next special project coming into the shop, but I would say the 1951 Porsche 356 Pre-A Coupe which I have been helping with for the past few weeks is my favorite in the shop.
Whats your favorite pass time that doesn’t involve cars?
I would have to say it is a tie between hiking/adventuring and furniture restoration.
Congrats on your engagement… what does your fiance think of the move and working for Road Scholars?
She has always been supportive, which is why we moved to New York in the first place but I think she enjoyed the move further south. She actually tagged along for my interview and has been excited for me and excited for this opportunity as she is learning to appreciate classic cars in the same way I do.