For three years, there’s been one main way to get a glimpse of Zack Loffert’s vintage car collection: rent them.
The 33-year-old car enthusiast — who owns multiple vehicles that have appeared in movies, along with more traditional classic cars — has rented them out for between $250 and $1,000 per day through his business Rodz & Bodz. Customers book them for media productions or weddings. Or just a joyride.
But Loffert’s collection is revving up for a more public profile. On May 15, he’s opening a museum featuring 60 of his cars in Lakewood’s Colorado Mills mall, where Saks Off 5th previously operated.
“I felt that the collection was hidden, and I hated that it wasn’t open to the public since we have a limited clientele,” Loffert said. “The people who knew about our cars were begging me to let other people enjoy it and told me to stop being selfish.”
There’s “Bumblebee,” the old Chevy Camaro used in the first scene of the 2007 “Transformers.” And the small three-wheeled Corbin Sparrow that Mike Myers drove in the 2002 “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
One of Loffert’s personal favorites is the bright yellow Hummer that Woody Harrelson used to track down Twinkies in 2009’s “Zombieland.”
It won’t be in the museum, but it might be parked outside. That’s because it’s Loffert’s daily driver.
“I’ve always loved how the car becomes the characters in films,” he said.
Looking in the rearview mirror
Loffert, a Littleton native, has had a passion for cars since a young age. He was raised by women and said he wanted to find an outlet for his testosterone, spending time at his uncles’ and friends’ auto shops. Before he was old enough to drive, he had two cars under his name, one from his mother and another he bought with money from a lawn mowing business.
“And by the time I was 16 and a half, I had 15 speeding tickets, so the judge ended up making me sell one of them,” Loffert said.
He began working in sales and auto repair, and said he later started a business helping turn around failing mom-and-pop auto shops.
“I was helping some of them, who used to make $700,000 to $800,000 a year, make $1.8 to $1.9 million a year. But my salary wasn’t the same, so I decided to make something for myself,” Loffert said.
Loffert has purchased cars through auctions and online with his savings over time. He also builds three to five cars of his own each year, some of which are replicas from animated films, like the Mystery Van in “Scooby Doo.” In 2016, he said, he won $50,000 on a lottery ticket. He used it to buy three cars.
Three weeks before his wedding in 2017, he told his wife he was going to start Rodz & Bodz and rent out his car collection, which at the time contained 25 vintage and film cars.
“There wasn’t a company in the state that rented out cars for a variety of uses, and I wanted to build something where I had no competition,” Loffert said. “I had friends in the film industry who picked us up right away, so it seemed like the perfect route.”
Revving up the rental business
Rodz & Bodz, which he launched in 2018, previously operated out of an old 14,000-square-foot warehouse at the corner of Santa Fe Drive and Hampden Avenue in Englewood. Loffert has a staff of six, with plans to double it this year.
Customers can rent a vehicle for as little as a couple hours up to several years. A small-town cafe has been renting Loffert’s replica cars of “Mater” and “Lightning McQueen” from the 2006 film “Cars” for the past two years, he said.
Loffert said around 25 cars have been rented out for TV and films, some of which are set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival and on Netflix. Every six months, he sends out a list of cars available for rent to a variety of directors. He’s not typically told the name of the project, just how long each director needs the vehicle for.
“But music videos and weddings are more of our bread and butter since they don’t have the budget to go out and buy a $30,000 or $40,000 car like some of the movies,” Loffert said. “Big production companies have millions of dollars and don’t rent from places like us. They build their own. We work mainly with the smaller and local franchises.”
When it comes to weddings, the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette and the 1935 Auburn Speedster are the most popular, Loffert said.
Business began to ramp up in 2019, with a peak of 31 rentals out at a time. When the pandemic swept through, Loffert lost $25,000 in pre-bookings in one night, he said.
Rodz & Bodz also has a transportation arm of the business, transporting cars around the state.
“I figured since we were spending money on it anyway, why not make money off it at the same time?” Loffert said.
Museum offers additional revenue source
Loffert was initially just looking for a larger space for his growing collection when he came across the opportunity to head to the mall, and open a museum.
“I did not want to open a museum for 10 more years,” Loffert said. “I’m too young to open a museum is what I kept telling myself, but then COVID happened.”
In need of extra revenue, he decided it was time to unveil his collection. Loffert signed a lease on April 1 for the space: 29,000 square feet for the museum plus a 5,000-square-foot warehouse for the rental business. Loffert said he already has 50 bookings for the summer.
Museum admission will cost $12, and hours will be the same as the mall’s. On opening day, visitors will get the chance to take pictures inside of one of Loffert’s popular movie cars, which he’s waiting to unveil.
“I can’t wait to see and hear people’s reactions when they step inside and see what I’ve been collecting over the years,” Loffert said. “The buzz is real. We have mall goers pulling back the banner off the gate all the time and poking their heads in.”
Stuart Zall, founder of Denver-based Zall Company, represented Loffert in the deal and connected him to Colorado Mills, which is owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.
Zall told BusinessDen the lease is for about two years, shorter than a typical retail tenant. While he didn’t represent the mall in the deal, he said he assumes Colorado Mills wants to expand its audience by signing on an attraction, rather than a large department store.
“Let’s say you live in Littleton or Colorado Springs, but you’re a car enthusiast, well, you’re going to Colorado Mills to check these out,” Zall said. “And while they’re there, maybe they’ll have a pretzel or buy a pair of shoes. I always like to say, ‘If somebody goes to the game, they’re going to buy a hot dog.’”
The mall declined to comment on its new tenant.
“Given the timing, they’ve lost a couple of anchors like everybody has and there’s not a lot of new and exciting apparel concepts popping up,” Zall said. “If they add a TJ Maxx, well that’s just one more TJ Maxx in a sea of others in the market, which doesn’t help expand the trade area. But if this is the only auto museum of this kind, that’s exciting, and it serves as a tourist stop on the way to the mountains, as well as a place for Zack to store his cars.”
Colorado Mills isn’t the only mall getting creative. In December, Denver Pavilions debuted Distortions Monster World, a temporary 19,000-square-foot interactive installation on the first floor of the mall. The installation showcases monsters and sculptures created by Greeley-based Distortions Unlimited, which has made handcrafted Halloween props, monsters and animatronics since 1978.