In 1988, Wes Konsmo of Tacoma, Washington, was cruising through Seattle when he spied what he thought was an old Mopar in the back of a used-car lot. A return trip to the lot confirmed his suspicions. Sitting there surrounded by other seasoned sheetmetal was a '69 Super Bee painted Light Bronze Metallic. A quick drop of some cash and Wes drove his Bee home. For the next seven years, the Bee was driven around town, hauling groceries and whatnot until it was deemed time to give the car a facelift. Wes "deemed" the time right when the headlight switch shorted and caught the dash on fire. Had it not been for a quick-thinking friend with a fire extinguisher, the Bee might have been lost.
After completely disassembling the car, the Bee was soda-blasted, revealing hidden horrors beneath. The amount of Bondo in the rear quarters would warrant replacement of both sides. Cancerous spots of sheetmetal were removed from other portions of the body, and the front fenders were replaced. When Expert Autobody of Port Orchard, Washington, finished preparing the revitalized sheetmetal, they covered everything in a flawless shade of the original Light Bronze Metallic, then installed a new vinyl top from Legendary Auto Interiors. The interior needed to be the same quality as the exterior, so to that end, Wes commissioned Specialty Auto in Tacoma, Washington, to recover the seats with a new skinning of Saddle Tan, and to install a new headliner also supplied by Legendary Auto Interiors. Although the original eight-track player still occupies the factory location, tunes are served up via a CD player hidden in the glovebox. CV Plastics of Mission, British Columbia, handled the restoration of the original dash and the plating of all plastic parts.
During the time Wes was driving the Bee, the number-eight connecting rod decided to take a vacation and left the block. Parkland National Auto in Tacoma handled the machine work and sleeving of the block. Then Wes, with the help of friend Steve Stahlschmidt, handled the assembly chores. The guys filled the block with the stock rods and crankshaft to spin a set of Wiseco 9.5:1 pistons. The Mopar Performance 484 Purple shaft cam actuates stock valves in the 452 heads that were freshened by Aerohead Components. Feeding the B-engine is a 750 Edelbrock carb perched atop a Weiand intake. From there, the 18-spline transmission sends the juice to the 83/4 rear filled with a Sure Grip unit and 3.91 gears.
Driving something this nice means you better be able to stop when needed. The 14x7 Magnum wheels wrapped in Grand Am rubber are slowed with factory power disc/drum brakes.
Wes purchased his first Bee right off of the showroom floor in December 1968. He has regretted letting that one go, so we would be willing to bet that he and his wife, Linda, have no plans to sell their latest Bee anytime soon. Why? Because Wes is a pre-enjoyed auto-sales manager. He can definitely appreciate the value of his secondhand sweetheart.