Local auto enthusiasts bring youth to ‘gray-haired game’

Conrad Schille, 26, stands in the garage with his recently purchased and restored 1974 Saab Sonett III. Photo credit: Jenna Watson/Grand Forks Herald.

Conrad Schille says he was born into Saabs.

The Swedish sports cars were a staple in his parents’ household in St. Paul ever since he can remember.

“My earliest memory as a kid, I took a ride in one with my dad,” he said. “I got out of the passenger door and as I closed it, I slammed all the fingers of my left hand in it.”

The incident didn’t faze Schille, 26, who said he spent the rest of his youth fixing up Saabs with his father. Now living in Grand Forks, he purchased one of his own about a year ago — a blue 1974 Saab Sonett III.

Adam Kuiken of Warren, Minn., spent his childhood in a similar manner, hanging around his grandfather’s engine repair shop in Aitkin, Minn.

“I probably spent too much time there, if you ask my parents,” he said. On his 14th birthday, he was presented with an engineless 1951 Ford pickup, which he fixed up and drives to this day.

But what is a cherished pastime for Schille and Kuiken doesn’t seem to be a common hobby for people their age.

At 30, Kuiken is the youngest member of the Prime Steel Car Club in Grand Forks. He and Schille say young adults are few and far between among classic car circles.

What are their theories? Click here to find out.

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