Volkswagen performance runs in the family for one father-son duo

Matthew Mallard and Scott Mallard (L-R) stand next to their red Volkswagens in Belgrade, Montana. Photo by Charlotte Grandpre.

It’s hard to miss the Mallard men cruising down the highway in their matching tornado red Volkswagen cars. The vibrant vehicles—outfitted in custom license plates that wink at the cars’ German heritage—boldly stand out in a sea of monochromatic colors.

Matthew Mallard says his bright red Jetta GLI is a tribute to his dad, Scott Mallard, who fueled his passion for cars and German engineering from a very early age.

“The first car I got to sit behind the driver’s wheel was my dad’s 1999 Jetta GLS,” Matthew says. The Volkswagen fandom was likewise passed down to Scott from his father, and Matthew’s grandfather, early on. Scott was shuffled around town as a kid in his dad’s red Volkswagen Beetle. To this day, his mother exclusively drives Volkswagen cars—most recently a Volkswagen CC.

He learned how to drive in his dad’s 1971 Volkswagen Squareback at an Air Force Base in Germany and drove his parents’ vintage Beetle throughout high school and college.

“It had about 140,000 miles on it when we sold it,” Scott says. “It was an amazing car.”

In his twenties, he saved up and purchased his “dream car” – a royal red 1983 Rabbit GTI. Since then, he and his wife, Jenny, have acquired a 1994 Jetta GLX, a 1999 Jetta GLS, a 2006 B6 Passat, 1973 Super Beetle and, most recently, a red 2019 Golf R. Scott loves the vibrant color of the Golf R and its pep.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive,” he says. “Even the guys in the showroom [at] the Volkswagen dealership in Bozeman, Montana, said, ‘It’s nice to see a car with color come through.’”

When Matthew needed to purchase a new car in 2020, he knew the perfect person to turn to for advice and inspiration.

“I started looking at the Golf GTI, but since we are planning on having kids, we wanted something with a little bit more cargo space,” says Matthew. “I talked to my dad about it, and we went with a 2019 Jetta GLI.”

“I love it,” he added. “If I can have any excuse to drive my car, I take it.”

In a nod to his grandfather and dad, Matthew picked the same exact shade of red and outfitted the car with a similar custom license plate.

“He’s a cool dad,” Matthew says.

While the two plan to celebrate Father’s Day apart this year, they are already looking forward to future road trips and father-son drives in their Volkswagen vehicles.