The musclecar market of the '80s had its pluses and minuses. Those people who had already acquired their precious Mopar iron were able to make a nice profit as prices soared through the roof. Also, it suddenly became economically feasible for aftermarket companies to begin reproducing some of the hard-to-find trim and body parts. On the other hand, it made it more risky to drive these expensive machines on the street.
Jim Mooneyham, a package store owner from Gray, Tennessee, wanted to have a car that looked good that he could drive on a regular basis without fear of depreciating its value. His decision, therefore, was to build a solid musclecar package replica now that the parts were available for that effort. He had already owned a wide variety of original 340-383 powered A- and E-Bodied machines, but jumped at the chance to pick up a partly reworked '70 Coronet to build this "stinger" ringer when its second owner was unable to complete the project.
The car had come from Florida as a low-mileage 318 model. Due to that locale, the body was solid except for some easily repaired light rear-quarter rust and parking lot dings. After acquiring the car, Jim sent it up to Fred Balltus in Wise, Virginia, who cleaned it up and applied several coats of Plum Crazy basecoat/clearcoat to the prepped panels. The hood scoops, which were not available in the aftermarket at the time, came from another junked B-Body, while the well-known Super Bee graphics are right out of the Year One catalog.
Inside, Jim himself tackled the interior. This included new seat covers from Legendary Auto Interiors and a carpet package from Year One. In keeping with the Super Bee's "economy musclecar" heritage, the column shifter was left intact. The suspension was rebuilt with new bushings and is now aided by modern Monroe gas shocks at all four corners. For wheels and tires, a set of 15x7 Magnums with BFGoodrich T/A radials were mounted to the fully rebuilt drum brake hubs in front with 15x8s in the rear.
Meanwhile, the 318 was set aside and Jim began the work of building a more fortified plant for the 'Bee. This began with finding a solid 440hp block from 1969 in a local boneyard, which was machined by S&W Machine in Bristol, Tennessee. Into this, Jim stuffed a stock crank and rod outfit capped off with Keith Black 12:1 pistons. Providing valve timing is Mopar Performance's P4286677 Purple Shaft hydraulic cam, with the rest of the valvetrain left basically stock. The heads were cleaned up with a very mild polishing and valve job.
On top was installed an Edelbrock-cast Chrysler Six-Pack intake (yes, it is original) and a trio of Holley two barrels. To keep maintenance to a minimum and retain the resto flavor, the 440hp exhaust manifolds were left on the engine. Ignition is handled by an MP electronic ignition kit, which works in conjunction with a set of Crane wires, Champion plugs, and a Mopar reproduction battery.
Of course, the big bruiser would need a stout transmission behind it, so Jim had an A727 rebuilt by Alan Carter, which now houses a mild street shift kit and a 2,300 rpm stall converter by TCI. The 831/44 rear was replaced with a fully-assembled Dana 60 set-up from Herb McCandless that uses a 3.73 rear gear ratio.
It was not a quickie project, as Jim chose to enjoy it and did a lot of the work himself. However, the results of the two-year effort, seen here on the high banks at nearby Bristol Motor Speedway, speak for themselves.
Special thanks to Wayne Estes and Red Whitmore of Bristol Motor Speedway for use of the facility for this photo shoot.