Every Car Has a Story: Columnist, Matt Bell

Start your engines and discover the passion among auto enthusiasts

By Matt Bell


June 16, 2022

Hello Seattle, and welcome to the first in a series of articles about people, cars and passion. For many, cars prompt an emotional reaction and whether or not you consider yourself a car person, everyone has a story or a vivid memory of one. Every Car Has A Story, and we will tell them here because Seattle has a very rich car culture and an eclectic group of people who drive them.

Photography by Kennett Mohrman

First, a little about me and why I was lucky enough to curate this new column in “Seattle” magazine. I run a business called The Shop Club as well as Derby restaurant inside The Shop, a private social club that caters to car and motorcycle enthusiasts as well as those looking for a fun club that’s not too stuffy and has amazing food.

The Shop Club offers everything from car storage and lifts to car maintenance to wine tastings and workspaces. Derby restaurant sits at the center of The Shop Club and is open to the public, serving elevated comfort food for lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. The Shop Club serves as the center of the Seattle car culture.

My passion for cars started as early as I can remember. I played with Matchbox cars as a kid with my two older brothers. I was obsessed with having the biggest collection. I kind of think that enthusiasm fueled my desire to get into the storage business. Later in life, it was watching 1980s TV shows that, in retrospect, featured a treasure trove of cars centered around the plot or characters.

Photography by Kennett Mohrman


Photography by Kennett Mohrman


Photography by Kennett Mohrman


Photography by Kennett Mohrman

My first car was a terrible brown Oldsmobile Delta 88 four-door sedan that could fit two full-sized kegs in the trunk. It was a hand-me-down from my two older brothers and was on its last legs until I crashed it while racing a friend to get in line for a KISW radio station promotion selling gas for 99 cents a gallon (remember that?). I then saved up enough money from my paper route and mowing lawns to buy a 1976 4×4 K5 Blazer. The Blazer was the first car I chose for myself and I racked up enough speeding tickets to almost get me kicked off my parents’ insurance.

My favorite car? I absolutely love driving my 1968 Ford Bronco. The smile per mile is very high, not only from me but from people who wave, give the thumbs up or stop to tell me a story about one they had or drove. Driving a classic car like this is not simple. Everything is manual and nothing works exactly right. You have to earn the joy, which is why I think I love it.

A classic Bronco is something I wanted for as long as I can remember. My Bronco now lives in California with the top permanently removed so when I drive, it’s always sunny and it feels so fun and carefree.

Is there a classic car from a movie or TV show you wish you could drive? This is a really hard question because TV cars are what helped me build my passion. There are so many to choose from! Some of them I already have, like a 1968 Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard” and a van similar to the one on “The A-Team.” If I could have only one more, I would choose the 1980s GMC truck from “The Fall Guy.” Colt Seavers (played to perfection by Lee Majors) was the coolest Hollywood stunt man and bounty hunter of all time.

Every Car Has a Story. What’s yours? Discover some interesting people and their passion for cars in every edition of “Seattle” magazine and online, seattlemag.com.

Are you an automobile enthusiast? Want to be featured? Submissions welcome at Matt@seattlemag.com.

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