RodRides Community Built

The project named “Opa” arose from a Grandpa, Mel Lee Ellenwood, with Stage 4 cancer (aka Opa) eager to see his grandson learn craftsmanship and mechanics.

Our RodRides Community Built ’35 Chevy Truck was in Mel's barn. When he decided to sell his truck, our co-founder, Blythe Zemel, begged and pleaded for it to go to her to assist in the development of an industrial arts program for youth in the area.


Little did this family know that when our co founder bought the truck, her business partner, Andrew Holcomb, and her were opting to hatch a plan to get this truck funded and rebuilt for his grandson, Payton. This is a non-profit project that will aid in helping a family keep something that has been in the family 50+ plus years. 


Our goal is to raise funds, obtain sponsors, and build community support to get the truck built through an incentive program for his grandson, that not only involves this young man, but youth and elders from the community.

RodRides Community Built is recognized as a non-profit in the state of Texas. We currently have our Form 1023-EZ filed with the IRS for full tax exemption. 

We hope that additional funds can be raised to support our 501c3 non-profit and continuing doing heirloom car builds for families.


RodRides Community Built
We are a 501c3 non-profit with the mission to bring together multi-generational communities to complete heirloom car builds for families. 

We believe in the restoration and preservation of our history, trades, skills, and craftsmanship. 

We provide hands-on educational and mentoring opportunities for youth and various community activities for adults and seniors that are funded through community support and donations.

Our goal:

To assist in the restoration of cars and trucks with family history and bonds. We look for the cars and trucks stalled in fields and garages filled with stories and family histories and creative visions. We look for parents and grandparents that dream to keep the tradition alive of fixing up a car, to get their hands dirty, and be part of maintaining the classic tradition of the American automobile.

Our Program:

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, we believe it takes a community to get a car running. We take on projects that need us with an incentive based program and a community effort. As with any non-profit, we rely on community elbow grease, assistance, donations, and sponsors to fund our program and projects.

Educational Outreach:

We seek to involve multiple generations in our Community Built Projects. We offer an industrial arts program for students in middle school and high school in an alternative education setting. We also offer community service hours for youth.

Multi-generational Connections:

Our goal is to help fuse genuine connections between seniors, adults, and youth. Our program enhances not just education, but social opportunities.

What is an heirloom build?

Any project car or truck with a family history that has been stored for fifteen years or more with hopes of it becoming an heirloom for the next generation.

What happens to these builds once completed?

All cars and trucks currently are purchased by RodRides Community Built and we maintain ownership until the heir it goes to meets the qualifications of the Incentive Program. For example, our Incentive Program for heirs under 18 require graduation of high school, participation of a determined amount of hours in the build and fundraising efforts, and agreement that if the build can not be maintained properly that it will be returned to the non-profit.

Showing and Touring of Cars:

RodRides Community Built seeks to share the history, stories, and the capabilities of all that happens when a community comes together. We do require that the cars and trucks remain available to us for showing and touring.

Have a car or truck you’d like RodRides to take on?

If you have a project car in the United States that meets the criteria for our program, please give us a shout. We do require RodRides Community Built ownership of all vehicles in our program, but vehicles will be returned to family if all the program requirements and eligibility are met. Cars and trucks are either purchased by us at a discounted rate or owner can make a tax-deductible donation at fair market value.

LEARN MORE ABOUT RodRides and RodRides Community Built


  • Tom Hoyer 
    • $45 
    • 17 d
  • Tom Hoyer 
    • $45 
    • 17 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 19 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $6,000 (Offline)
    • 19 d


Blythe Zemel 
Boerne, TX
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