March 11, 2021
The fortunate among these enthusiasts magnify their obsession via unique aesthetics, enhanced performance, increased comfort, and yes… improved safety. ARCH Motorcycle was conceived as a one-stop destination for the most determined of these souls. The quest: to create a top-shelf, bespoke option for seekers of the ultimate motorcycle exercise. A consolidation of craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology which allows each owner the opportunity to influence the look and feel of their personal ARCH Motorcycle. Included with every ARCH delivered is the “esprit de corpse” of a diverse group of fascinating individuals, who share their passions for motorcycling and beyond, cultivated through exclusive owner events that combine motorcycling with culture, in unique and varied settings.
The founding father of the ARCH Owners tribe is Vic Branstetter, a successful hospitality entrepreneur whose integrity permeates every room he enters. Vic is ARCH’s resident expert on aspirational vehicle ownership. When pushed to estimate how many bucket list vehicles he’s owned, his infectious smile tells the story better than any three-digit number could. Although he leans toward personal anonymity, serious SoCal gearheads have likely sifted through thick crowds to get a closer look at one of his new-in-country vehicles. Chances are, the rest of you have viewed his transportation options via reality TV, or seen his projects jumping from the covers of industry magazines. A perpetual early adopter in the exotic vehicle space, he embraces his addiction to the latest and greatest. “I’m not a collector,” Vic claims. “I’m an acquirer.” Like Hemingway in Africa, Vic seeks the thrill in acquisition of exotics. And like the rest of us, he likes to put his thumbprint on them. Actual thumbprints, though, are unacceptable in his world.
Mr. Branstetter comes by his self-described “gearhead disorder” honestly. From humble beginnings in the heartland of Oklahoma, this son of a son of a mechanic spent the bulk of his youth engaged with his grandfather and father on various wheeled projects. Vic’s Dad, an airline mechanic by trade, was also an auto parts jobber for Edelbrock and Iskenderian. While his friends played with toys, Vic recalls stuffing manifolds and carburetors underneath his childhood bed. “From about 3 years old, I was my dad’s helper,” he says, fetching tools and providing an extra set of greasy hands. As an enthusiastic 5-year-old, he strapped on a mask and helped his father repaint the family’s ’49 Oldsmobile in their home garage. Before most could ride a bicycle, Vic was customizing his JC Higgins Freightliner. His future MO was apparent: completely deconstructing many of his rides within days of receiving them. His father enabled young Vic’s affliction, by keeping a steady stream of projects in front of him. Countless bicycles, minibikes, and go-karts were subject to his scrutiny, spawning a lifelong bond between the two of them.
Upon the successful launch and growth of the Houston’s chain of eateries (now known as Hillstone Restaurant Group) Vic found himself headquartered in Atlanta, in charge of operations at multiple locations in the region. He admits his decision to purchase a plane and fly himself between the stores was short-sighted. Especially, since the ambitious scaling of their restaurant business was quickly testing the limits of his equipment and skill set. He decided to go back to flying commercial and focus on safer, earthbound hobbies. This enabled a nautical fixation that involved multiple off-shore cigarette boats, and ended with a festive (read expensive) foray into yacht ownership. With Houston’s blowing up nationwide, the West Coast beckoned, and Vic found his new forever home in Southern California.
It was in Los Angeles where Vic’s motorcycle addiction blossomed. Sure, he had owned plenty of bikes since his days in Oklahoma, but now, it actually made sense to ride a motorcycle. Perfect, year-round weather with empty and endless canyon roads, accessible via legal lane-splitting. This concept may be polarizing in the national discussion, but SoCal motorcyclists know it’s the key to survival on their roads. In addition, the weather and canyons are a boon for exotic car owners who unveil their gems on weekends, to test g-forces en route to grab an $8 coffee in Malibu. Vic was primed for this scene, and ready to make his statement.
On a personal note, Vic found the perfect soulmate for his ambitious lifestyle in his lovely wife Kelli. Beyond their elegant Pacific Palisades estate, Kelli lists philanthropy and animal rescue among her many passions. Their extended “furry” family is known to grow with little notice, as she is famously generous in her concern for the four-legged among us. The current beneficiaries include four French bulldogs, a Staffordshire bull terrier, a papillon, a chihuahua mix and a Sphynx, hairless cat. This year’s Branstetter Christmas card photo session will surely be one for the ages.
Vic Branstetter was the ideal first client for our fledgling motorcycle company, committing to the initial production model months before it rolled off the hand-assembly line. He was well aware of Gard’s reputation for attention to detail, and was anxious to witness the transformation from genre-bending prototype to street legal production model. The first generation KRGT-1 checked virtually every box Branstetter looks for in his acquisitions. Since his initial purchase in 2015, Vic has added two more ARCH Motorcycles to his fleet. He claims the ARCH KRGT-1 is the ultimate lane-splitting canyon carver, with the bonus of being a true American exotic. ARCH Motorcycle is proud to claim Vic Branstetter as a friend, and founding member of our revered enthusiast family.