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Restored-Heart-And-Soul-book-cover-blue-skyWelcome to the website our new book: Restored Heart & Soul. If you love classic cars, road trips, Americana, you’ll love this book!

We are excited to bring this book to you. We launched the book on Amazon for Kindle and in print.

The idea for this book began at William Watters United Methodist Church where Dave spent the last 12 years mowing the cemetery. While observing some men visiting the graves of wives, Dave wondered about their stories: Why do these men spend so much time at the gravesites? Did they care that much while their loved ones were alive?

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Restored Heart & Soul: The Book


The idea for this book began at William Watters United Methodist Church (UMC) where Dave spent the last 12 years mowing the cemetery. While observing some men visiting the graves of wives, Dave wondered about their stories:

Why do they spend so much time at the grave site? Did they care that much while their loved ones were alive?

Such questions and Dave’s wonderings about the answers became the seed for his first novel, Restored Heart & Soul.

This is the story of Hank, who, through a twist of events, finds himself almost thrust onto a cross-country road trip in an old Dodge van—a broken old man in a broken old van.

While Hank enjoys some classic cars and bikes along the roads and even a classic car show along the way, readers share the main character’s “coming of age” story—his stop at a campground outside Flagstaff, breaking down outside a sleepy little a desert town, a truck stop outside Tulsa—as Hank learns indelible lessons about life and people, and he begins to change.

By the end of the story, both the man and his machine have a Restored Heart & Soul.

Follow our website for updates and the book’s official release-date.

Be one of the first to buy this book and have it autographed by the author!


Please also visit for another book about traveling in an old Dodge A 100 Van

About The Author

Dave Bielecki

Dave Bielecki is the publisher of Car Show & Cruise Guide ( and Upper Bay Boating ( and is the Executive Director of the Custom and Classic Car Educational Foundation (

The Foundation’s mission is “to promote the custom and classic car culture and history to the public, along with encouraging a new generation of enthusiasts.”

In Restored Heart & Soul, Mr. Bielecki’s first book, he car-cruise-guide-logocombines his love of classic cars with a desire to invite others to revisit their relationship with God. Mr. Bielecki currently resides with his wife, Diane, his son, Daniel, their two cats, and a few classic cars in various stages of being restored, heart and soul.



Connect with Dave and the Car Cruise Guide on Social Media



Below are reviews and actual thoughts from readers of the book.

I am not a church-going man. Frankly, after reading the back cover of “Restored Heart & Soul” I began to have second thoughts about reading this book. But as infrequently happens, once begun, I was hooked by the opening scenes. How does one put down a book that begins with a man digging up a grave site while muttering to himself, “Honey, why do I feel like a grave-robber?” What is this man doing in a cemetery? Why is he digging up this woman’s grave? Who is Anne Marie Johnson? I was hooked from the start. For his first attempt at story-telling, Dave Bielecki has written an outstanding short novel. Not only did he capture my interest from the first page, but continued on to develop characters and relationships that are truly heart-warming. The man understands people. Reading the storyline gave me much the same feeling as would a hearty meal of comfort food, all warm inside. I finished the book in two settings. There is nothing artificial about the characters. No super-heroes, no high-intrigue, no bomb-plots or mysteries. Just plain folk, behaving much like the people I know. And that’s the novel’s charm. It is an easy novel to relate to.
Hank, the main character, and I are from the same generation, and I could really relate to him. In our younger years, our cars were an outward expression of ourselves. We spent much time (perhaps more that we should have) nurturing that expression. Then one day we awaken to find most of our lives behind us. We have outlived many of our friends and family members. And regrettably, we find we have missed out on much of our children’s lives. The loss of our mates precipitate a bitterness in some. Someone must be held responsible for an early calling. Why not God? Hank is fortunate. He has friends who love and understand him. They feel his pain and try to guide him back into a life of caring. Together with their help, and the help of friends he encounters along the way, Hank accomplishes a cross-continent adventure that he and his departed wife once dreamed. In the telling of Hank’s story, the author steps us through the processes of restoring our own hearts and souls. While I stated earlier that I may not be a church-going man, I do believe God guides us. At times we have to turn loose our attempts to control our surroundings and God guide us. He works in his own ways. We just have to be wise enough to recognize the path when presented to us. I highly recommend this book. It is a pleasure to read.
~David Wilson

My restored heart and soul began in the Bahamas just as a terrorist had entered Ft Lauterdale Airport that I was going to be flying into. (1/6/17) I was flown to Tampa and finally to BWI. I read the book through that day and could not put it down. I laughed and cried some and realized maybe I needed a little work also. This is not however the first favor or the first time this great new Author and I have crossed paths. He is a great man, husband, father, and friend… Thank you Dave!
~ Jim High

    In his new book, “Restored Heart & Soul,” Dave Bielecki blends his love of God, of family, of classic cars, and of the Chesapeake Bay into an inspirational tale of personal renewal and restoration.
When Hank Johnson’s wife died, he lost much more than his life partner.  He lost his faith.  The news that his estranged daughter was expecting her first child began the slow restoration of Hank’s broken heart.  Driving his classic Dodge “hippie van” (the one that he and his wife Anne had hoped to restore some day) cross country from Bakersfield, California to the banks of the Chesapeake to be at his daughter’s side, the friends that Hank made along the way helped him  restore his van and, in the process, his ailing soul.
At 220 pages, it’s an easy read that left me misty eyed.  More than once I had the feeling I was watching an inspirational movie on the Hallmark channel.  If you like happy endings, then you’ll love “Restored Heart & Soul.”

~ Alan

Collector car enthusiasts, and all who have taken a cross-country road trip in the US, are sure to enjoy Dave’s interesting and uplifting story (perhaps somewhat autobiographical?) of one boomer’s love of old cars, and opportunity to renew his love of life, family and new and old friends. The story also has a spiritual component (in this case Christianity) to which some readers may relate. Dave keeps the story flowing well, and takes a light approach to subjects such as the difficulties of acquiring needed transmission work for a vintage Dodge van while on the road! Dave paints vivid pictures of his characters and of remote US locations like Tucumcari and many off-the-beaten-track points between Bakersfield and Baltimore. Congratulations to Dave on what I understand is his first book!

H. A. Smith III

Being a car guy, I knew this book would be a good read. However, the story goes beyond car guys and car stuff. Life has turned Hank into a bitter old man, but pair an old Dodge Van and a cross country trip and, together, he rediscovers why life is enjoyable and how to enjoy it. Having made this cross country road trip many times myself, Dave has accurately described the sights and landmarks found along the way. This is an uplifting story you won’t want to put down.


Restored Heart & Soul is Dave Bielecki’s first book. It is a fictional story relating the feelings a brokenhearted man named Hank Johnson goes through after losing his dear wife to a lengthy illness. Traveling can be healing and refreshing, and so it is for Hank Johnson. The book chronicles Hank’s journey driving an old Dodge van across country and how the trip restores his faith in God and man.
A classic car enthusiast and magazine publisher, Dave Bielecki writes in a casual and informal style. Published in August 2016, the easy to read book comprises 220 pages in 15 chapters. It is a charming and inspiring story with a message to all in search of renewal.

Tim Campbell, Freelance Outdoor Writer

I enjoyed this story very much! Hank had given up on life after losing the love of his life, but God had a much better plan for him! Hank had to take the first step before change would happen. If we always do what we always did, we always get what we always got. So with encouragement from friends, Hank stepped out in faith, and God did the rest! A great life’s lesson for us all! As long as there is still breath in our body, Almighty God is not done with us yet!

As a classic car enthusiast myself, I can attest to the fact that some of the most generous and helpful people we have been blessed to meet were also car people. On many occasions, they went out of their way to help us to get our car back on the road again. God puts people along our life’s journey; some to teach us, some to guide us, some to encourage, and some to help us. You will find some of all of these folks in Restored Heart and Soul.

Sharon Shelton, Author of Bay Memories

Dave, I finished your book. I must say, I found it fascinating. When I started the book, I thought it would either be real religious or all about cars. I was wrong on both….it was a great story. Although I am a reader, I don’t usually read a book so fast, as I did with your book. I found myself wanting to get back to the book and find out what was next on Hanks journey. I enjoyed how you kept it moving along with the long journey from the West Coast to Baltimore.

As a retired police officer, I meet with several guys for breakfast. We have some of the same conversations that the “baker’s dozen” boys have. Some have lost their wives over the years and I’m sure they find the time meeting for breakfast, a time to open up and just talk about anything that comes up.
While reading the book, I felt like I was on the trip with Hank. I’m not real good with fixing vehicles, but it was interesting reading about all the problems that came up with the “hippie van” and how Hank took it all in stride.

You have a unique way of writing and I hope you continue.

Wishing you the best…………
Dick Ellwood,
Author of Cop Stories-
The Few, The Proud, The Ugly; Charm City’s Blue Justice;
The Dark Side Of Blue;
and Secret Zoo (Children’s book);

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