I like old things. And no, not just because I am one.
The more things happen today, the more the things of the “good old days” really do sound good. All the technology of this throw away generation isn’t worth the hassle. And stuff today just isn’t as good as it used to be, even though we try and convince ourselves it is.
That carries over to hunting and fishing in a lot of ways, too. This week, I got to spend some time with someone who’s trying to make old things new and it’s an awesome thing.
I’m sure that a day doesn’t go by that you don’t run into someone that has an old three wheeler or four wheeler stashed in an old garage or hunting camp. We don’t like to get rid of them because, well, just because. Even the ones that don’t run mean something to many people.
But there is hope — for you and the ATV.
Tyler Breed of Choudrant is the man behind the plan. Breed has opened an business in West Monroe — Rare Breed Customs — to renovate and restore just about anything related to the outdoors and all terrain vehicles.
“I grew up riding with my dad (former LDWF Education Specialist and Union Parish resident Bill Breed) on our hunting lease on an old three wheeler and, as I got older, I got into older vehicles and customizing them,” said Breed. “Then I started fixing up old three wheelers and four wheelers and for some reason, I just fell in love with the older stuff. I like older cars and even live in a 120-year-old house. Even my appliances are from the 60’s and 70’s.”
Many people that have old, unusable ATVs are donating them to Breed and if they aren’t in too bad a shape, he is even buying some to restore. Others are bringing them in to make new just so they can have them operational again. He has several “graveyards” of old original parts and tries to use them to rebuild ATVs as often as he can.
While many of the old pre-2000 models have been junked, many are just sitting. Breed thinks it outdoorsmen who have room to keep them hang on to them because of sentimental value. Many don’t know they can be brought back to life for a reasonable cost, but he is hoping to change that.
“My customer base is fixing them up because they want to ride them, hunt with them and use them for work around their property,” Breed said.
Current market conditions are also playing a part in the development of this business. While a new medium level four-wheeler might sell for $6-7,000, Breed said he can repair seats, fenders, gas tanks and do basic carburetor, fuel line and engine mechanic work (as long as it isn’t major damage) and get an outdoorsman back on their unit fixed up right with quality OEM parts for less than $2,000 in most cases.
The most rare units he’s seen are the old Honcho four-wheelers and the original US90, which became the Honda 90 ATC. The most popular model that he sees are Honda Big Red four-wheelers.
“I know it sounds cliche, but it’s not about the money. As long as I can make enough to pay my bills and my employees, I just enjoy the hunt for older ATVS and parts. I enjoy reviving the old three and four wheelers because that is important to me. Every time something new comes in the shop, my mechanic, Casey, and I are like kids at Christmas. We just say, ‘Oh, what do we get to play with today’ and we can’t wait to get working on it.
“All most people want is something dependable to get them out in the woods and back home safely. That’s what we are giving them, plus a little history to go along with it,” he says. “We love bringing memories back. We love bringing Dad’s or Pawpaw’s four-wheeler back to life to make more memories. That’s what it’s all about.”
Combine that passion and ability with his degree in Wildlife Management and Forestry and you understand why he is driven to be a rare breed, indeed.