DECEMBER 2022: A 1960 DODGE DART PIONEER’S FIRST OWNERS WERE ACTUAL PIONEER DESCENDANTS

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Ruth and Dorothy Bower are members of a well-known family in Red Deer, Alberta Canada because their grandfather James Bower became a successful farmer in the area after missing a train in 1899.

James Bower had a strong business sense that helped establish him as a pioneer farmer in the Red Deer area and build a legacy of success that still exists to this very day.

Ruth and Dorothy Bower are living descendants who have honored the family name with a series of charitable acts that range from a large land donation of a natural greenbelt east of Red Deer to a sizable scholarship fund that honors an uncle (William Arthur Bower) who lost his life at the young age of 22 in combat during World War One.

Jim Sutherland

One of the Bower sisters’ lesser-known acts of kindness involved a 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer they purchased brand new from a Red Deer car dealership (Northwest Motors) and drove until it was stored in the early 1970s. The Bower sisters had a working farm close to the southern limits of Red Deer and employed a young 15-year-old teenager named Sigmund Brower to work as a hired hand during the summer of 1975. Sig was blown away when he saw the ’60 Dart and wanted to buy the car in exchange for his farm work that summer, but instead Sig accepted wages for his efforts. It was a very tough decision for a teenaged Sig on the verge of a driver’s license.

Fortunately, Ruth and Dorothy are honorable people and held onto the car until the early 21st century when a now successful author named Sigmund Brouwer became only the second owner of the 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer. They also sold the car to Sig for the same amount of money he earned as a young teenager during the summer of ’75.

Full disclosure: We tried to buy the car in the early 1990s when we became aware of the pristine 1960 Mopar, but the Bower sisters wanted to honor their agreement to give Sig first right of refusal on the car-yet another measure of their integrity.

Sig had a young family when he bought the car in 2005 and wanted to upgrade its safety equipment, including 4-wheel disc brakes. He also upgraded the interior after the original fabric was used for multi-family mouse dwellings during the many years in storage.

The paint job was original when Sig bought the Dodge Pioneer and was in reasonably good shape, but it was no match for outside elements once it left the garage. Sig did not use the car very often, even though it held fond memories for him because of its connection to the Bower sisters and his reaction to the Dodge when he first saw it.

Eventually Sig reached a point in his life when he decided the best course of action was to sell the car because he no longer used it enough and it was showing signs of age. He was aware of our attempt to purchase the Dodge back in the early 1990s, so he contacted us to see whether we were still interested in the car-or knew somebody that would do right by it.

Naturally we were still interested but wanted to mull over the idea of ownership over the winter. Eventually the lure of a local legacy car was too much, so we bought it in July of last year. We put several thousand trouble-free miles on the ’60 Dodge while we worked on the idea of a paint job because the car now required a rescue from terminal patina.

The car was painted this past summer under the careful guidance of Trevor Comfort, a local restoration expert who played a very important role in our success. Now the car looks as good as it did when the Bower sisters bought it new in 1960.

For us here at MyStarCollectorCar, the legacy of the former owners (Bower sisters and Sig Brouwer) ride shotgun every time the stylish 1960 Dodge Dart Pioneer hits the road. Rest assured it’s a good vibe inside the car.  

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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