1971 Super Bee Dodge Charger

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   1971 Dodge Charger Super Bee Clone

By Michael Vogt

1971 Super Bee Clone I had seen an ad for a '1971 Dodge for Sale' in the Trader for several months, back when I was living in Chicagoland. It kept dropping in price, but looked like no one was even looking at it. I finally found myself down in the neighborhood where it was at and figgered I'd drop in for a look-see. The car had potential... but was one of the small block base Charger 'Toppers' - cars that were given a half-vinyl roof for free. The interior was in great shape, and the engine had been looked after, and, it had complete factory A/C. I had always wanted a Super Bee, and liked the Red/White trim of the advertisement cars, so... I began chasing down parts... first the raised hood, and after I chased that down in St. Louis, I found a Tough Wheel, and the heads, and HP exhaust manifolds and a rebuilt '71 Thermoquad and air cleaner assembly. I stripped the trim off and completed the minor metal work before getting Maaco to paint the car. yes, MAACO. If you make sure you're picky about which store you visit, and you SPEND some real cash, you can get a great paint job that duplicates the factory finish. No ultra-clear coats or non-original-looking stuff for me. Just nice catalyzed enamel and a healthy coat of carnuba wax to get the proper 'look'. When I moved to Minneapolis I got the proper trim and converted my half vinyl roof to full vinyl. Eastwood sells a great spot-welder that will zap on the small nail-headed rivets that hold the chrome/aluminum trim in place, and in an afternoon I had a great factory-looking funky white roof. I'm diggin' it. Everyone digs it. A long day of prepping the car and it was ready for the decals. Installing 15' long decals takes some real planning and extra hands - but ended up flawless and are another eye-catcher.

A local shop in Richfield upgraded my 1971 vintage A/C to 134A with no obvious changes to external parts - and boy does that make the 100F summer days less annoying. I was bummed because I could not find any upholstery shops in all of MN that could or would, try and fix the minor tears on my bench front seat. I finally headed back to Chicagoland where the Riggs Brothers removed only the center section, and stitched in a PERFECT match replacement for a very reasonable cost. My interior was perfect, and all original. Outside... the front spoiler and gulp, rather $$$ '71 go-wing gave the car the muscle look it was asking for. I had seen 'Cudas and some other B-bodies with mis-matched wheel sizes and it gave the cars a great forward rake, so 14' rallyes in front and 15' rallyes in back and the car has a stance that gets smiles. It took me a YEAR to chase down the SUPERBEE cast metal badges for the fenders. I had seen several 'real' Superbees without these... and it was disappointing. The decals came from Phoenix Graphix and there were great.

I pulled the heads off the lowe mileage 318, and had 30angle valve grind with hardened inserts put back in. Installed the 340 HP manifolds and the Edelbrock dual-plane intake with Thermoquad, full mandrel-bent 2 1/2' exhaust capped by the machine gun tail pipes, and found the tire-squealing power I was missing. I still have a 2.76 'highway' rear end and still get 22 MPG on my 100 MPH trips bewteen Chicago and Minneapolis.

The car is a local favorite, and I'm quick to hand the keys away to friends and club people - toys are best shared, and this is a good example.

I get criticized for having a 'clone' sometimes. I laugh. I've seen clones that deserve the criticism - slapping a sticker on doesn't impress anyone. But mine is complete... and... because it IS a 'clone'... it'll never have the full value the factory-made cars do... and that means only one thing.

I get to DRIVE MINE EVERYWHERE! And I do. 10,000-15,000 miles a year. And its a blast.

I could not have done such a complete and accurate job without all the gorgeous cars and reference pictures from this 71 Superbee web site. I've appreciated the effort it takes to put this together, and will be proud to have my car up here.

Enjoy

Mike 'Doc' vogt

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