Twin brothers Samuel Åhdén and Michael Åhdén, have a deep rooted interest in old vehicles, primarily American. It all began in the1960s when the brothers spent their summer holidays at their grandfather’s house. He ran a cab company and had a fleet that exclusively comprised of American cars.
Grandpa’s interest in cars was also visible on his desktop, where a distributor cap from a twelve cylinder engine was used as a pen holder. Their grandma visited auctions as often as the opportunity arose, and the boys were not slow to follow.
– We were raised at auctions and therefore we became who we are, the brothers state.
Even at a young age they could have become owners of a 1956 Chevrolet standing in their grandfather’s barn, but as the boys mother did not approve, the car was sold to a young couple.
This was remedied in 1976 when a 1954 Ford Crestline was purchased. The car was customized in line with the trends of the time.
At this time Samuel and Michael had an identity crisis. They looked like hippies with their long hair, headbands and afghan fur coats, but at the same time, old American cars and Rock’n’roll were all they could think about. They strode in to the barber and asked for a rockabilly hairdo. The hippie era was ending.
Their Ford 54 Crestline was rolling until 1985 when the Swedish Motor Vehicle Inspection imposed it with a driving ban. The car was stored in a barn until 1993 when a car enthusiast appeared and bought it. The new owner restored it back to pristine condition. Four years later, in 1997, the urge for the car was so strong that Michael bought it back.
Their great interest in music began in the mid-1960s, when the brothers used to follow their mother to the corner shop to buy sweets and magazines. One of the magazines featured an article on the Rolling Stones, a band that made a huge impression on the brothers.
It would take another three years before they could actually grab a guitar and take their first chords. With the help of a neighbor who owned a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Marshall amplifier they could learn Chuck Berry songs. The kind neighbor kept his house open for the boys and they were rockin’ ? those three chords night after night. There, they heard a record with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring guitar player Eric Clapton. The groups brutal guitar sound knocked the brothers out.
At the time, rock and blues albums were not easy to get hold of, and had to be specially ordered from the record store. The picture on the cover of Eric Clapton with his Marshall amp and a Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958, sparked the start of collecting guitars and amplifiers.
In 1973, the family went on a holiday trip to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The boys made a visit to the guitar guru Halkan and his music retail store, Rock House. At Halkans place they found a mecca with lots of Fender and Gibson guitars.
In the summer of 1976, Samuel planned a trip through Europe. A considerable sum had been saved for this purpose, but before he set foot on foreign soil Samuel wanted to pay Halkan a visit and there it was, the long awaited for Gibson Les Paul guitar. This resulted in that the vacation budget was minimized by about 95%. But the guitar was in the can.
The brothers Åhdens see links between the U.S. auto industry and the 1950s and 60s Gibson and Fender Guitars. The president of Gibson, Ted McCarty, hired car designer Ray Dietrich to design a guitar that would have popular appeal. Under Dietrich, the Firebird took on the lines of mid-50s car tailfins. DuPoint car paint was used, sometimes with metallic finish. These metallic painted guitars are rare and highly valuable collectors items.
Brothers Samuel and Michael say that the American ’50s cars, guitars and music, as well as the jeans and the boots have a common denominator: a bygone era and a culture that is very much worth preserving.
Preservation of cars, guitars, juke boxes, drums and other popular historical things from the 50s and 60s are those closest to these guys hearts. Today they have a unique and extremely sought after collection of guitars, basses, amplifiers and props, worth millions of dollars.