Gale Bolen recently finished complete restoration of his 1969 (and 1/2) Dodge Super Bee, and a recent drive around Pratt had heads turned and people waving.
Gale Bolen enjoys the reactions he gets when driving his 1969 (and 1/2) Dodge Super Bee around Pratt. The bright red color and old-style muscle car body attracted of attention from all types Wednesday morning when he took for a spin through town, stopping at the barber shop and Kanza Coop.
"People wave, I get a lot of thumbs-up, arms sticking out of windows, it's great," Bolen said. "This is a very special car. I don't mind the attention at all."
Bolen finished a complete car restoration just in the past six months, crediting help from Pratt friends Deny Bowe at Safety First Auto Repair and Ryan Koontz of Doug Reh Chevrolet in the project.
"Deny did a lot of the mechanical work and Ryan did all the body and paint," Bolen said. "I was kind of like the general contractor, but these guys made it happen."
Bolen bought his favorite muscle car four years ago from the original owner, J.C. Cook, in Pratt.
"He had ordered that car brand new from Howard Moyler Motors here in town, probably paid less that $4,000," Bolen said.
The story behind the car is that Cook enjoyed putting the car to the test on the race track in it's early years. Track times were in the 13-second quarter scope, pretty fast for the early '70's.
"It was a factory race car that came out to compete with the Chevy Chevelle," Bolen said. "It's called a six-pack, and about mid-year of 1969, they decided to put on a lift-off hood. That's why this car is called a 1969 and 1/2."
Bolen said the original owner Cook, worked for the railroad and parked the Super Bee in a Pratt garage in 1978 and left it.
"He worked out of Herington and then moved to Nebraska," he said. "When we pulled it out four years ago, it was in pretty rough shape. It had been pretty beat up."
Restoring old cars is an enjoyable hobby for Bolen and he has complete four or five other Chevy's, including two 1967 Corvettes, and 1968 Camaro and a 1970 Chevelle Convertible. He also owned a newer model Shelby Mustang for awhile, but this is the first Dodge he took under his wing.
"This car is my favorite," he said. "I sold all the other cars but I'll never sell this one. This is my baby."
Bolen does not race his 1969 (and 1/2) Super Bee. He said he just likes to take it out once a week or so and drive it around, watching people's faces light up as he goes by. He also enjoys taking his car to car shows and hanging out with other restoration enthusiasts.
"It's just fun to sit around and talk cars," he said. "I've taken it to car shows here in Pratt, Dodge City and Great Bend. I'm going to do that some more this year."
So far, Bolen has won awards with his car at every car show he has entered, including a People's Choice award and two-times best Mopar, best muscle car. The red car had a black Super Bee stripe around the back end and special curved glass in the back window.