1971 Super Bee Dodge Charger

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   Greg Maurer - FY1 TOP BANANA 383, 4-Spd

1971 SUPER BEE -- 383 4-speed 1 of 766 -- 1 OWNER

By Greg Maurer

Time Line This Super Bee was purchased on September 21, 1971 from Tubbs Brothers in Sandusky, Michigan-but not before a $25 down payment on a '66 Ford Mustang was made. This was done on a Friday, and I thought about it all weekend. By Monday, I'd decided I didn't want the Mustang. When I informed the Tubbs Brothers salesman, Bill Smith, a man who also worked with me at Marlette Homes, that I wouldn't be picking up the Mustang that day, he indicated that I would probably lose my $25 down payment. I inquired about putting the money towards that yellow Super Bee that was sitting out front. Bill agreed, so I had my sister, Sheila, go to the bank and draw out $375 from my account, which was some of my Army discharge money. I'd looked at the Super Bee on three different occasions, and the only thing I didn't like was the color-Banana Yellow. After purchasing the car, my brother Marty once commented I was the "Captain of the Banana Boat." Because of this statement, I was nicknamed "Captain", which was later shortened to "Cappy."

Storage: The Bee was driven the winter of '71-'72. After which it was stored in the barn of the home place where I grew up. I jacked it up, put it on cement blocks and had the tires removed for storage. In 1976 it was painted and restriped with decals by Lyle Tetreau of Bad Axe Michigan while in storage. Other storage places included the garage of a place I lived in near Owendale, Michigan, my friend Ron Webb's, and my Uncle Martin's place by Verona, Michigan. Currently, it holds a place of honor in my garage in Ubly every winter.

Time Line In 1981, after getting a job in Indiana, I left the Bee behind in storage-not to be driven except for special occasions when I traveled back home. In the spring of 1987, she was brought out of storage early to be used as a primary means of transportation. The Bee was even used going back and forth to work-something that had not been done for ten years. At the end of the season, however, she was put back into storage for the next six years. Initially in a pole barn, she was moved several times until eventually coming to rest in a field between a barn and a grain bin.

On July 5th, 1992, now living back in Michigan, I made the decision to have the Super Bee restored to her original beauty. She was surface rusting and infested with mice-nowhere near the amazing shape she'd once been in. I began by purchasing a used 1971 383 Magnum engine. In early 1993, Thompson's-a small but very skillful bump and paint shop in Caro Michigan-picked up the Bee and began restoration. Over the next year and a half, the Thompson team: Tim Crawford, Mike Wagner, and Jeff Lemke made my dreams of getting the Bee back to her former immaculate self came true. They will always have my gratitude.

After 5 years of having the Super Bee back on the road, in 1998 she went back to Thompsons in Caro for some touch up paint work. Later that year, she visited Caro Transmission in Caro, Michigan for the first time for a Performance Plus shifter, and once again for a Competition Clutch.

Time Line In the 30+ years I have owned the Super Bee, she's had 5 different engines-two 383 Magnums and three 440s. The last 440 was built and put in the Bee in 1978 by my brother in law Denny Morin, my brother Jeff Maurer, and myself. All other mechanical work, oil changes, and bi-yearly inspections of the undercarriage were done by a long time friend, Bill Sturgill.

All Decked Out and Showing Off: In 1974, for my wedding, the Bee was done up with shoe polish and tin cans. In 1979, it was in another wedding when my brother Jeff married Paulette Wolschlager. She's also participated in numerous parades-including one where I handed out 1971 50 cent and dollar coins to the crowd--and four Michigan car shows. Frankenmuth in '94, Ubly in '95, and Bad Axe in '95 and '96. She won an Axe that read Top Forty Winner-Bad Axe Car Show '95.

The Bee has never been in an accident, although she's had her share of close calls. My hopes are to own her for another 30+ years. The Super Bee is not just an automobile. The down payment came from money I received serving my country. She's part of my identity. Many have ridden, some have driven, but only one has owned The Super Bee.

Some other tidbits:

During restoration, the car was completely disassembled and each piece taken down to bare metal. It came apart quite well, and only two bolts were broken during the process. The engine, transmission and interior were also taken apart and completely redone.

23 yrs after purchase, Dad took the car back to Tubbs Brothers where he'd originally purchased it. As luck would have it, Bill Smith, the salesman who sold it to him in 1971, still worked there. Tubbs pic is of Mr. Smith and my Dad. Both Bill Smith and one of the owners of the business (Don Tubbs) remembered this particular car even after all those years. (Those Bees DO make an impression, don't they!) ;-)

Greg 'Cappy' Maurer
Ubly, Michigan

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