Growing up on the westside of Detroit, the son of a diesel mechanic and the youngest of four boys, a young Ritch Branstrom observed in awe and wonder the things happening around him.
Having older brothers always meant there was something happening in the garage. From an early age motorcycles and cars were fascinating things.
Months, years, were spent observing cars being constructed.
And then with the help of his father, who it seemed could miraculously do anything, the car would be REconstructed.
And the cycle would continue...
And continue, from one brother to another.
Having uncles that were homebuilders offered another perspective on things.
And spending summers in the Upper Peninsula offered yet another perspective.
Traveling up to the U.P. to stay at the Grandparents was the very best.
And seeing the wonders of the U.P.
And learning how to canoe...
But what stood out the most for him was the interesting roadside attractions along the way. This Paul Bunyan statue stood in Grayling and was probably the greatest thing that the young Ritch had ever seen. And the realization that it was made primarily out of car hoods really struck a chord.
So did the 8 story Uniroyal Tire that was just 2 miles away from where he grew up.
In his early teens he started making contraptions.
Watching his father TOTALLY reconstruct the sheet metal on the bottom of this van showed him that with a little bit of scrap metal and patience one could create anything.
So as soon as he was able, he was cutting up cars and trucks and adding them together.
And making 4 wheel drives out of cars.
And the pieces left over from those projects started resembling parts of creatures.
And big fish...
And from there it took flight...