Pub. 62 2021-2022 Issue 2

Bird-Kultgen Celebrates 85 Years

Bird-Kultgen Celebrates 85 Years

Image above: The Grand Opening of the 1947 Franklin Location

Bird-Kultgen Ford recently celebrated their 85th anniversary. BK was established in 1936 by Jack Kultgen and Arthur Bird and is still family-owned and operated. The dealership has grown to be the largest Ford dealership in Central Texas and is a trusted fixture in the Waco community.

Current President Claire Kultgen McDonald shared, “I would like to say thank you to all of the customers that have trusted us and allowed us to earn their business for over four generations. We are here to serve you. Additionally, to all of the wonderful and talented men and women that have worked on our team and been part of the Bird-Kultgen family, thank you. But we aren’t done yet. The tradition of excellence that was established has provided a strong foundation for becoming the best Bird-Kultgen Ford we have ever been.”


Mark Stewart, who owns the dealership with Claire and runs the day-to-day operations as General Manager, is focused on BK’s future success. “We are evolving to simplify the car buying process and offer an easy service experience to meet the needs of our customers. We are preparing now to sell and service electric vehicles and provide more advanced mobile repairs. Providing the best service to Central Texas requires our team to be the best. We will do this by continuing to provide a great work environment, world-class training, and state-of-the-art equipment and tools. This will allow us to provide the highest levels of service to our customers,” stated Mark.

Mission and Charity

Our BK mission is twofold. We believe we are called to serve the transportation needs of our community, to help them get work done and make lasting memories with their families. We are called to give back to this great community and are honored to support many charities and nonprofits in the Waco area.

Jack Kultgen and Arthur Bird celebrate the grand opening.
KWTX covers the grand opening and one of the first Waco businesses with ”Conditioned Air.”
The Franklin location in the 1960s
Grand Opening of Highway 6 Location

In 2021, the dealership supported many local events and charities such as:

  • Youth at the McLennan County Agriculture Sale
  • Raffling off a Mustang Convertible for Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry
  • 100 free mammograms in October with Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest
  • Presenting Sponsor of the Chamber Waco Under 40 Awards
  • Scholarships through TSTCs automotive department
  • Fuzzy Friends Barking Ball
  • Waco United Way


In 1936 Jack Kultgen and Arthur Bird began operating the Ford dealership located in downtown Waco on 5th Street. In 1947 they moved to Franklin Avenue and became one of the first buildings in Waco to offer air conditioning! In 1992, BK moved to its present location on The Motor Mile.

The dealership has sold and serviced some of America’s most iconic vehicles. From Ford’s first truck, the Model TT, to the Model A, the launch of the F series in 1948, the 1954 Thunderbird, the iconic 1964 Mustang, the Taurus in 1985, which was the best selling vehicle in America with over three million sold, and the Explorer in 1990 which launched the SUV revolution.

Presently, the dealership sells the best-selling vehicle in America for the last 44 straight years, the Ford F-150. They also sell exciting new products such as the electric Mustang Mach-E, the new Bronco, and the all Electric F-150 Lightning coming in 2022, which has already generated over 50 reservations.

50th Anniversary Celebration in 1986
Remodeling the new Highway 6 Location
Employees Celebrating at the 75th Anniversary

Jack Kultgen ran the dealership from the 1930s until the late 1980s. His grandsons, Peter and Edward Kultgen, joined in the 1970s and helped build and lead Bird Kultgen during the latter half of the 20th century until Ed’s retirement in 2015 and Peter’s in 2021. Claire McDonald, Jack’s great-granddaughter, joined the dealership in 2010, and Mark Stewart was adopted into the BK family as an owner in 2021.

In Closing

Together, Claire and Mark are dedicated to the continued success of the Bird Kultgen dealership by providing simple and easy service for their customers, a great work environment for their employees, and cultivating an even better Bird-Kultgen for the future. 

Team photo in the 1950s.
The technician team says goodbye to one of our oldest and most used tools, this compressors served for over 50 years.
The BK Team in the late 80s at the final days of the Franklin location
BK’s 2021 Team
85th Anniversary Lunch at BK Ford