CHASE — Sam Padgett always admired car collector Bob Bethell. He respected him so much that Padgett is coordinating the first Bob Bethell Memorial Car Show Aug. 24 in Alden.
That’s why Padgett admitted it was a tough choice whether he would show his vintage 1970 Dodge Dart at the Chase Car Show or attend Bethell’s estate sale that sold several vintage cars.
Vintage cars collected by the late Rep. Bob Bethell were auctioned June 29 in a sale by Carr Auction of Larned. Lorene Bethell, Bethell’s widow, decided to sell the antique collection. Rep. Bethell represented the 113th District for 13 years and died in a car accident May 20, 2012 upon returning home from a legislative session.
“Bob loved his cars and I thought sponsoring a car show was a way I might pass that on,” Padgett said. “I know Bob would be proud that a car show would be staged in Alden. I wanted to do this in Bob’s memory.”
The Bob Bethell Memorial Car Show will run from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Alden grade school building. Fifteen trophies will be awarded.
For information, call Padgett, 620-534-9533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The web site (http://www.blacktoprebels.com/events/EventDetails?event.eventId=9100) offers information about area car shows.
Padgett, who resides in Alden, attended church with Bethell, who was an ordained minister, and discovered they both had a passion for buying and restoring vintage cars.
“After I started talking to Bob, he invited me over to see his cars and I was impressed,” Padgett said. “It was fun talking cars with Bob.”
Padgett bought and traded vintage cars over the years, including a pair of Dodge Chargers and a 1954 Oldsmobile.
“I’d had some cars I wish I could have kept and restored,” he said.
But Padgett got lucky when he discovered a 1970 Dodge Dart originally purchased from Rickabaugh Motors in Lyons that had lightly used by the mother of Rice County Sheriff Dale Higgins.
The Dart was refreshed for 1970 with front and rear changes designed to bring the car closer to the design themes found in Dodge’s full-size vehicles through grille and contour changes.
“It was in good shape because it was housed in a garage for several years, then sat on the curbside for a few years,” Padgett said. The eight-year quest for restoration involved installing a new vinyl top. His son Chris found a old Dodge Dart for a valuable back fender replacement. The restoration meant a lot to Padgett.
Padgett bought it for $600 and has invested several thousand dollars into the restoration. Padgett estimates the car would be valued at more than $10,000.
“It was a lot of time and work invested in this car, which is fun to drive,” he said. “I’d have to say it’s not for sale.”
Bethell’s estate sale went well.
A 1966 Chevrolet Caprice with a 396-cubic-inch engine sold for $15,000. A 1958 Pink Cadillac brought $12,500. A Pawnee County resident bought a completely restored 1947 Studebaker tow truck.
Bidders bought bicycles, old gas pumps, hub caps, a Ford tractor, five-bottom plow, manure spreader and a 1955 Chevy truck.
Bob Bethell left several legacies including his service as a Baptist preacher, CEO of several long-term care facilities, legislator and advocate for the state’s developmentally disabled population, a collector of antiques of all kinds, and most of all, a family man in the finest tradition.