By Chris Palmer
I guess my enthusiasm for Mopars started when I was 16 back in ?96. I was lucky to live on a block with some cool cars. My neighbor owned a 1970 Challenger Convertible with a 340 on one side and on the other a guy owner a 1969 Road Runner with a 383 4-Speed. To my amazement just months after acquiring my license the neighbor offered to take me for a spin in his Challenger and offered me the keys. Form then on it was Pentastars for me.
I remember as a teenager reading about a 440+6 ?71 Super Bee in Hemi orange with a black top in a magazine. The smooth lines and in your face colors just grabbed me. The car just looked fast without even moving. I knew what I wanted from then on. School and college occupied my time till I was old and responsible enough to start becoming a serious addict to Mopar.
My first car was a 72 Charger with a 318 and a Macco blue paint job and really loud pipes. I look back at that car and wonder what I was smoking back then?it leaked every fluid, the quarters were full of bondo, no headliner, but it was mine! Being relatively new to cars I was extremely na?ve, but the car did get me from Virginia to Wisconsin and even made a trip to the Nats without a problem.
As I acquired more knowledge I began to see the waning potential of my ride. I went from restoration to replacement after I saw the holes in the frame revealed to me from a friendly mechanic at my uncle?s shop. The car went For Sale and I immediately started combing the classifieds for a suitable replacement. My requirements were simple; it had to be a BB 71-74 B Body Dodge.
This car came to my attention by accident. I remember seeing it as a rolling shell with a bench seat in a large collection of 71-72 B Body?s at a guy?s barn in Michigan during my initial search for a car. I remember it because it was an original FC7 car from the west coast. In the summer of 1999 with my fist full of cash from my recent sale I went to Michigan with my girlfriend and brokered a deal for the Bee. The deal was for most of the parts necessary to get a running car and the interior and trim placed on the rolling shell with the jams, trunk, and engine bay painted. I went home that summer with a 383 and a tranny in the back of my Dakota that leaked AF all over my girlfriend?s luggage! She was not too pleased! In the late winter of 2000 the car was done and I trailered it home. Thus began the restoration.
As I grew and learned I found out the hard way about relying on nearly 30 year old parts and mass muscle car sellers. In the years that followed I removed, rebuilt and replaced almost everything that came with the car. The exception to this is the interior which will receive attention in the future. However, I learned a lot about my car as well as my abilities too.
The car was pieced together on weeknights and weekends with the paint and body work done in the summer of 2003. Since that point the car sat as life progressed. I bought a house, changed jobs, etc. Finally this year, 2005, was the year I determined to get her as close to drivable as possible. It has come a long way.
Finally the CAR: It is a 383 Super Bee ordered as a sales bank car from the Los Angeles Plant. It is a relatively early Bee with a build date of September 20, 1970. It originally was a bench seat auto with hood pins, drip rail, disc brakes, and turned down tips. It has a white vinyl interior. I took a few liberties and converted the car to buckets with a slap stick and added the spoilers and painted bumpers. I also used Plymouth style fender mounted turn signals because I wanted as little chrome as possible. I think this color is just awesome and the more of it the better. The police rims and dog dishes give the car a NASCAR look.
The body was absolutely awesome. It had very little rust and no patching was required. The body shop man said that it was one of the straightest cars he?s ever worked on. For Wisconsin this is rare.
The 383 is bored over 0.030 with KB162 pistons and a Comp Cams XE268H cam, worked 906?s, a performer intake and an FBO prepped 650 Mighty Demon. The 383 has great response and the 3.91 SG rear makes the car pretty snappy.
I also installed PST polygraphite suspension and Hemi leaf springs in the rear with KYB shocks and a Firm feel steering box. So far no squeaks and it handles very well for a 30 year old car!
Future upgrades include a better intake, redoing the entire exhaust (probably TTI), and dressing up the interior. Not to mention miles! After that who knows?stroker maybe!
Thanks for reading my page and thank you John for the free hosting.