Dodge's mid-size B-Body could be had in many different varieties, from mundane drivers to hot rods. You could get a four-door, wagon, drop-top, etc., all manner of designs spanned the production years that started in 1965 and ran until 1976. For one special owner in 1969, this Hemi-powered Super Bee likely ended up being a red-hot one-of-one.
The 'Bee was on the budget side of the Dodge line-up, and a lot of buyers who opted for power left the accessories off. This car, on the other hand, was a stunning hardtop with a J code engine, and R6 Red paint. It also received a red interior, white top, and a white scat stripe, out-styling many of the more upscale R/T models created that year. Experts who looked at the car when it debuted at Carlisle a couple of years ago were fairly certain it was the only red paint/red gut/white top Hemi 'Bee built that year, and thanks to Don Fezell, it has been brought back to a level of automotive perfection.
Don is well-known in historic racecar circles, owning a number of important drag cars from all the big manufacturers, but he also has a surprisingly diverse body of street cars in his current collection as well. A majority of the Mopars in the collection are street Hemi and big-block B-Bodies, but finding this particular car was special.
"It's a very low-mileage Hemi car with only 21,000 miles, and it was all there," says Don, who maintains his collection in Dubois, Pennsylvania. "The previous owner had run out money for racing it, and had simply parked it when the gas prices spiked, and never moved it again. The wheels and tires were down in three-four inches of dirt."
At the time its location was revealed, the car was still owned by the original buyer, a gentleman from the Buffalo area, and had been sitting in his backyard since the 1970s. Found by a friend of Don's, a deal was struck, and the intact but somewhat deteriorated beast was brought down for restoration in Don's own shop, where he and his crew led by Paul Swartzlander gave it a complete work over.
"The paperwork was all there, we even found the build sheet when we took it apart," Don says. "This was a wonderful car to restore; the sheetmetal was still solid, with mostly surface rust and some pitting in the lower front quarters from leaves piling in there. The driveshaft still had the three tape stripes showing."
The original Hemi was still in it, and Don rebuilt that. Various suppliers came through with the few things needed to make it right, and Don sometimes uses his own substantial stash of original pieces to barter for items that he needs as well. In this case, most of the tough stuff remained intact. The car was optioned as a Trak Pak, with a Hurst-stirred 833 and Dana rear. It received the Ramcharger fresh-air hood as part of the Hemi package, as well as front disc brakes and steel wheels. The scoops and small front-fender Hemi badges are the biggest clues that you had better glide and hide when this thing was next to you at a stoplight.
While the Bee was marketed as a budget bruiser, this one was far from that. In addition to the stout driveline and being built on the hardtop chassis, the car got a bucket-seat interior with console, Tic-Toc-Tach, AM radio with rear speaker, and side fender scoops. The red interior was offset by the white top and matching Scat Stripe around the rear.
It took 21,000 miles to get from 1969 until the car was parked, and it is not likely going to be driven any serious distances now, though Don is a stickler when he rebuilds anything. He has many classics at his ready disposal, but he admitted that this car was probably the prettiest in his garage. Besides, by maintaining the legitimate compression ratios and using the best replacement components needed, he can meet any desire to tromp on the accelerator that comes over him.
1969 Hemi SuperBee
Don and Mary Lee Fezell
Engine: One of the reasons Don wanted this car was because the original 426 Hemi engine and driveline were all still intact. Following normal restoration techniques, it was rebuilt exactly as it would have come from the factory. Like most of the other street cars in his collection, this one was done on site at his shop in Dubois. Incidentally, Don is partial to this particular B-Body design, as he still owns a 1969 SS/GA Super Bee with a worked 440 in it that he raced starting back in 1969. Machine work on the Hemi was done by R&R Machine Shop.
Transmission: The TorqueFlite was the common choice for many racers, but this buyer went all out with an 833 four-speed, stirred with a wood-knob topped Hurst shifter.
Differential: If you picked the stick, any Hemi car automatically ended up with the beefy Dana 60 out back as well. This one has a factory 3.54 ring and pinion in it. It's also got a Sure Grip, of course.
Horsepower and Performance: We don't know—the engine was rebuilt to stock specs. Regardless, it looks fast…
Suspension: The restoration process was pretty straight-forward, so on this car, all of the suspension pieces were replaced using either NOS or proper-appearing replacements. Of course, Hemi cars got welded-in torque boxes and bigger rear spring packs—all of that is there.
Brakes: Stopping almost 4,000 pounds in a hurry has always been work. Again, for that reason, Hemi cars normally got power-assisted braking, including discs in the front, as standard equipment.
Wheels: Color-coded steelies with poverty caps were mandated since all Hemi cars got a 15-inch rim, but we imagine that the Kelsey-Hayes recall version would have been on here had they still been offered. Repop rubber rounds it out.
Body: The credit for getting the panels cleaned and prepped for paint at Don and Mary Lee's shop goes to Ray Vanderbilt.
Paint: The paint, vinyl top, Scat Strip and final assembly was also done by Ray.
Interior: Thanks to good pieces from back in the day and replacement carpet and covers by Legendary Interiors, the interior looks brand new.