'I'm back': Dragster returns to track 19 months after car was stolen and stripped to pieces
Stewart Addley is back on track.
Nineteen months after his 1965 Plymouth Satellite was stolen from a storage facility, and stripped to pieces, he returned the rebuilt dragster to the quarter-mile track Saturday in Sparta, Ont.
“It was like ‘I'm back, my car is back,’” says Addley, a drag racer from London, Ont.
“I’ve got a little bit of tuning to do to get it back to where it was. The car usually runs 9.20s at 144 miles per hour, so I'm not far off.”
In November 2021, his car and trailer went missing without a trace.
He posted to Facebook and a social media campaign by the racing community garnered over one million views.
With London police coming up empty in a search, Stewart attended a drivers meeting at St. Thomas Raceway Park (STRP).This is how Stewart Addley’s 1965 Plymouth Satellite dragster looked after it was recovered months after being stolen (Source: Stewart Addley)
“I spoke to a friend and he said ‘give me the message and I'll speak to some friends of mine,’” says Addley. “Within two and a half hours, I got the phone call saying they found my car.”
However, when he got it back, it was just a frame, drive line, and four tires.
“When we saw the car come back for the first time with body panels all over the place on the grass and the floor pans all stood on and folded up and we had no idea what we're going to do,” says Bob Dentry, a friend of Addley’s.
Dentry started to gather friends from the racing community to help start a rebuild.
“Bob came up to me and said ‘we need somebody, and we know you’re a welder and fabricator, and we know you know what you're doing,” says Robert ‘Chewie’ Molasky, who works as a starter at STRP.
“He asked ‘can you help us put this car back together?’ I said ‘sure, why not?’”This is how Stewart Addley’s 1965 Plymouth Satellite dragster looked after it was recovered months after being stolen (Source: Stewart Addley)
The two began documenting the journey from start to finish on Dentry’s YouTube page.
Addley didn’t ever insure the car, so they knew it was going to be difficult to start from scratch.
However donations of parts poured in from members of the racing community.
Alicia MacKenzie from Alicia Custom Paint in Ajax came forward to help with the body and paint.
An impressive list of others from all over Canada and the United States followed with parts.
“We went through a lot of emotions with this car,” says Dentry.
“It was anger, frustration, happiness, sadness. We ran the gambit.”
But they got it ready for opening day. Saturday Stewart was able to get four passes in on the track.
Robert ‘Chewie’ Molasky (Left) and Bob Dentry work on a rebuilt 1965 Plymouth Satellite dragster in London, Ont. on Sunday, May 7, 2023 (Brent Lale/CTV News London)“My grandson was there,” says Addley.
“The smile on his face to just know grandpa's got his car back.”
Having spent 1,000 hours each on this rebuild, Dentry, Molasky and Addley are all a little sad that their time together working on this project has come to an end.
However, they are thrilled Addley is back in his happy place behind the wheel.
“All the labor that they put in and time away from their families,” says Addley.
“You don't get people like that anymore. We were friends at the racetrack, but we became so much closer and got to know each other so much better.”
They all agree, the racing community is “family.”
“We’re lifelong friends now,” says Addley.
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