Ms. Donovan told Ron that...
Ms. Donovan told Ron that in 1978, a "Wino" had rear-ended her car, and the body shop had to repair the car using a '73 Duster tail panel, as a replacement '70 panel could not be found. During the restoration, Ron replaced it again with a '70 piece.
When spring arrived, the wife and I decided to go out and rack up some miles. There was no question which direction we were headed in, and that was to Dorothy's house. As the old Duster pulled onto her street I saw a car in the driveway, which caused my heart to sink a little. I knew Dorothy hadn't purchased a new car and I silently said a prayer that everything was okay. I knocked on the door but received no answer. As I was leaving the driveway a minivan pulled up. I spoke with the female driver who told me she was a friend of Dorothy's niece and was staying in Dorothy's house, while hers was being built. She explained that Dorothy had moved to a local nursing home. She provided me with a phone number for Dorothy's niece, which my wife promptly called. Kathy explained to the niece that we stopped by the house to fulfill the promise of showing Dorothy her Duster after it had been restored. The niece said that Dorothy had become oxygen dependent and had decided to move herself into assisted living. She gave us the location of the nursing home, and we drove straight there.
We found Dorothy in her room. She was still as sharp and spunky as ever. My wife and I sat with her, and told her everything about the car including the Best in Class award from the Cavalcade. She was all smiles, and seeing how happy this made her was a true blessing. Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling up to going out in the parking lot to see the car so I promised her I would come back.
We went home and put a photo album together along with some 8x10s. The album showed us the day I took possession of the car from her, all the way through the restoration, and on display at the Cavalcade. We returned to the nursing home and took her the photos. As she paged through the album, she paused and commented on the different photos. At the photos of the car in bare metal, she called the painter a miracle man. When we came upon the photo of the steel wheels that I had put on in place of the factory Rallyes, she paused, then said, "You know, when I ordered that car those sliver wheels cost me extra!" I hurriedly let her know that I still had them and laughed. As we sat around talking, I once again thanked her for selling me her car. She looked over at my wife and jokingly said "I didn't think I had a choice... He did become kind of a stalker!" I shook my head, laughing again, and thought to myself... what a neat lady.
'70 Plymouth Duster
Owned by: Ron and Kathy Wietholter, Florence, Kentucky
- Engine: The original 318 was removed and rebuilt to stock specifications by Rodney Lawrence of Florence, Kentucky. Ryan Muffler, also located in Florence, installed a Flowmaster exhaust with 40-series mufflers.
- Transmission: Rodney Lawrence refreshed the factory automatic.
- Rearend: 7 1/4-inch rear with 2.76 gears.
- Suspension: Factory stock suspension.
- Brakes: Factory front disc and rear drums.
- Wheels and Tires: Factory steel wheels modified by Frank Long, "the wheel guy." They measure 14x5.5 inches in front and 15x8 inches in the rear, with BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires.
- Paint and Body: Ron's friend, Gil Russell, completed all of the bodywork. It's painted in High Impact In-Violet PPG paint. Ron added the dual hoodscoops, Go-Wing, and white '71 stripes.
- Interior: Bobby and B.J. Reese in Cincinnati, Ohio, restored the interior using parts from Legendary Auto Interiors to recover the seats and replace the carpeting and trim.
- Special Thanks: Ron would like to thank his wife Kathy for sharing his love in cars, Dave Groh for metal polishing, Rodney Lawrence for the engine and transmission, Bobby and B.J. Reese for the vinyl top and interior, and Gil Russell for the paint and bodywork. Last, but certainly not least, Dorothy Donovan.