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Life is a highway, Unity man drives Model A 1000s of miles home

Kelly McLellan never shies away from adventure.

UNITY — The popular Tom Cochrane song featured in the animated film, Cars, seems to be the theme song for well-known Unity car enthusiast, Kelly McLellan. “Life is a highway and I want to ride it all night long.”

McLellan never shies away from adventure, and he says he’s not a foreign traveller, instead, he likes to spend his time experiencing all the sights unseen along North America’s highways.

Would you drive a 1930 Model A Ford across the USA? McLellan’s latest adventure may have been one of the biggest and most admirable. The “car guy” as some refer to in Unity, wanted to make a memorable trip with his uncle, Phil Michalowski.

“I always wanted a Model A two-door sedan and found one online so bought it sight unseen from the internet and flew to Iowa to pick it up, while my uncle flew in from B.C. and I picked him up along the way,” McLellan said.

“I likely could’ve bought one anywhere, but it was the trip adventure I wanted to go with it.”

Mclellan is a member of the Western Canada Camaro Club and those passing their Unity property always admire the freshly shined-up variety of vehicles in his driveway. He and his family have been part of Unity parades, Saskatoon Cruise Nigh and other car club adventures.

He and his wife, Tammie, have also undertaken some extraordinary adventures of their own, often throwing caution to the wind and making few preliminary plans, just choosing to explore the open road driving cars they love along the way. For their 10th anniversary, the couple drove a 1968 Coupe De Ville to Las Vegas and renewed their wedding vows.

After McLellan’s uncle experienced a health crisis and was in recovery he flew to McLellan’s and loved to go for drives in the 1957 Chevy owned by his nephew. McLellan decided to make a memorable trip for his uncle and drove Uncle Phil back out to British Columbia in the classic car.

That might have been what inspired this latest adventure, knowing they both loved classic cars and they both loved to drive the open roads. Thus, they returned to Unity in the newly purchased Model A Ford. The trip wasn’t without its mishaps, but all were endured and resolved and helped to make “every mile a memory,” affirms McLellan.

His vast array of automobiles, mechanical knowledge and experienced trades work with welding all served their purpose in getting the A home. McLellan documented the trip on his Facebook page.

The duo were filmed and interviewed for CTV News Aug. 29 and returned to Unity later that evening where McLellan says the vehicle will sit for a few days, claiming both car and driver need a break from each other.

When asked how many vehicles he currently owns, McLellan responds, “That number changes all the time and at present, I own 12 that include Camaros, two blue ’80s vans, one a shortie, a 1984 dually, a step-side, custom golf cart, a ’57 Chevy, my custom welding trucks and my daughter’s bucket golf car.”

Those curious like myself want to know what draws him to cars.

“ … when you grow up with no shoelaces you want shoelaces, and these cars are things I couldn’t afford growing up so now I can.

“Unity guys like Mr. Eltom and Ernie Stabbler are the foundation of the Unity Car community and when I was 12 or 13, I looked up to them and longed for having cool cars like them. I am like a magpie, I am drawn to shiny things and it’s what drives me to go to work every day.”

At present, McLellan says he has no definite plans as he states, “I see a lot of squirrels and I get sidetracked a lot.”

McLellan credits his wife for the support and loving life and the car adventures along with him. Now it’s a family affair as the couple’s three daughters share in the adventures in whatever manner they are able.

“I lost my dad when I was young and love hearing stories about him. I want fun stories and memories made with my family. These adventures are all part of those memorable moments to recall for a lifetime.”

McLellan is proud of the fact that, in his opinion, Unity has “the best young guys coming up in the car community and are a lot like me, working hard for their prized possessions and being an engaged part of the car community.”

The recently acquired Model A will be another part of his collection.

“People bring photo albums home from their trips; I bring a car home from my trips.”

This trip won’t be the last for the year as during the interview McLellan was currently driving and checking some locations with his brother for a dinner cruise, he is planning with fellow car enthusiasts. He also plans a trip to the United States for his birthday in October to see Nickelback. Through his blue shortie van experiences he struck up a friendship with band member, Brantley Gilbert, who invited them to attend.

Those who know McLellan well say there is a famous quote that describes him to a T, “Life is too short to drive boring cars.”

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