"I've had a lot of people who do paint and they come up and ask, 'who painted this?'" Paula said. "You'll never see anything else like it."
Paula said Doolin originally painted the car with a shade of liquid crystal known as "Ruby Slipper." Later they decided to repaint the car, but when they did they discovered the paint they had received was not the exact "Ruby Slipper" shade.
After another repainting also failed, the Goodens and Doolin sat down, started from scratch and designed a custom shade of liquid crystal that Paula said cannot be seen on any other car.
Besides the paint job, Bessie has had a major overhaul under her hood. Dennis said the only original piece left under the hood is the block. Bessie has a new, 400-cubic-inch engine with only a few thousand miles on it.
The Goodens have no intention of leaving Bessie undriven or in storage, especially since this is the first summer they've had her available and fully functioning since they got her.
"We wanted to make it beautiful and elegant but still a driver," Paula said. "Most people with a car like this do not drive it."
Bessie has won more than 10 car show awards since the Goodens began restoring her, including second place in a worldwide competition that allowed any GTO from 1964 to 1974 to enter. Paula said they were up against cars with massive modifications.
Restoring a classic car is one of many things Paula has been able to cross off her list of things to do before she dies. Paula, who served in the Air Force earlier in her life, said Dennis helped her accomplish many things she wanted to do, including being a photographer, petting a tiger and serving as a wildlife rehabilitator.
"When I met Denny, he said, 'OK, here we go,'" she said. "He made my to-do list come true."
"I'm good for something anyway," Dennis replied.
After working as photographers, the Goodens became state-licensed wildlife rehabilitators, specializing in possums.
"People tend to not like possums, and they really get a bad rap," Paula said.
Rehabilitating possums that were either injured or had lost their parents was a very labor-intensive job, requiring 24/7 attention, she said. The possums had to be fed every two hours and needed their temperatures taken every hour. The Goodens have photos of the many possums they included as family members.
After three years, the Goodens decided to take a break from possum rehabilitation. Now they are both retired and enjoying their newly completed GTO.
"We like to share the joy we're having with her with others," Paula said.