For one, it is the home of Bolivar Speedway (formerly known as I-44 Speedway). It’s a great 3/8-mile paved track that hosts weekly Late Model and Modified events throughout the summer. It was one of the home tracks of Larry Phillips, one of the most accomplished NASCAR short track drivers in history, and drivers like Jamie McMurray also cut their teeth on the high-banked oval.
Bolivar is also the location for the Country Classics and Karlin Lane antique malls, which are pretty car-centric in their own rights. The two stores are located right next to each other, just off Highway 13.
|1954 Kaiser Darrin|
One of the cars still in the Country Classics showroom was a little, red ’48 Playboy. Not to be confused with the magazine, this was a small car with a 40-hp four-cylinder engine and a retractable steel top. Only 97 of the diminutive two-seaters were built, so seeing one is certainly a rare occurrence today.
|1955 Chevy Bel Air|
Over at Country Classics, the massive showroom that once housed dozens of cars now only held two. Both the ’55 Chevy Bel Air Coupe and the ’70 Shelby Mustang had been treated to impressive restorations, and they looked right at home in the front window of the mall’s showroom.
Maybe the most interesting aspect of this setup was the décor surrounding the antique malls. Old gas pumps and petroleum signs were everywhere. It was quite a sight from the highway, and even better up close.
So there you go. If you like old, unusual cars, models, signs, and memorabilia, it might be worth pulling off the highway to check out the Country Classics and Karlin Lane antique malls as you pass through Bolivar, Mo.