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Restoring history
Old racer, moonshine runner returns to Dawson
5 Restored Cars pic1
Vaudell Sosebee was surprised on Friday with the car given to her by her late husband Gober Sosebee. The vehicle was restored by a racing fan and car aficionado. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Dawson County longtime local and Georgia Racing Hall of Fame volunteer Vaudell Sosebee was surprised to find an old friend from her past sitting in front of the hall of fame Friday afternoon.

On Jan. 24, hall of fame president and longtime friend of Sosebees, Gordon Pirkle called Sosebee to the hall of fame for a special favor. What he didn't tell her was that she would be reunited with a car given to her by the late racing legend.

The car was purchased for Sosebee by her husband Gober, who passed away in 1996. He was a three- time Daytona Beach Road Coarse winner from Dawson County. Sosebee also had two wins in what is now the Sprint Cup Series.

"I don't know what Gober did to have to buy Vaudell this car, but it's really special," said Pirkle jokingly about the 1939 Ford. "I've never seen anything like it before. The entire dash is chromed. That was very rare for a car from that time."

Pirkle said that the black and white Ford, which was the winner of several Daytona races before being converted into a shine running vehicle, disappeared at some point and that no one had been able to locate it.

"I found this car one day," said owner Bud Layton, who restored the car back to near-original condition. "When Gordon told me about what it was and the history, I had to bring it back."

The vehicle was restored by Layton and his brother John. The brothers have displayed their restoration work before in Dawsonville, displaying cars such as the No. 16, 1955 Charlie Mincey Chevrolet at last year's Moonshine Festival.

Pirkle and Sosebee's friends and coworkers kept the car a surprise until the last moment, revealing the refurbished 1939 to Sosebee on Friday afternoon.

"I wasn't expecting this," said Sosebee. "I love it. I love it!"

After the initial shock had washed over her, Sosebee thanked the two brothers from the bottom of her heart before having her son, Brian, take her for a ride in her old car.

"I didn't think I'd ever see it again," she said. "It's like having an old part of me back. It's like having part of Gober back."

Fortunately, Sosebee will not have to be parted from the car for much longer. Leyton said that once he takes the vehicle on one last Daytona circuit, it would be donated to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

As another added treat to the surprise, Discovery Channel Moonshiners Mark X and Jeff Waldroup were also on hand to unveil the car, claiming the car's importance in moonshine heritage for the trip down from the Carolina mountains.