As the cars in this issue can attest, every now and again we Mopar guys get a glimpse at the way things used to be. Truth be told, many of today's restorations are technically over-restored. Like most mass-production items, cars had variances, and the era of the supercar isn't always noted for its quality control. So the rare gems that somehow survived the following decades unmolested by...well, by people like us, give everyone a chance at seeing a time capsule of the day.
Indianapolis residents Steve and Karen Minor are the caretakers of one of these mobile history lessons. Their '70 Super Bee is pretty much the way it was the day it rolled off the Highland Park assembly line, right down to the spark plugs and wires. Still in its 19,000-original mile, Plum Crazy livery, the twin-bumpered 'Bee came to the Minors by way of three other owners (hard to believe that a survivor car can make it through four owners). The first owner was an 18-year-old girl who purchased the car new from Pyramid Motors in Poland, Ohio. She enjoyed the car for a couple of years and then she got married. This is when the second owner comes into play: her father. When she purchased the car, her father cosigned the loan for her. After the newlyweds got settled, dad wanted the happy couple to transfer the loan into their name, but when the young pair decided they didn't want to carry the paper, the "old man" claimed the car and became the second owner. So, from time to time he took the car for rides around town, but was uncomfortable with the attention a bright purple Super Bee brought him. By 1984 the car had 16,900 miles on it and came up for sale. Steve had his first run-in with the car at that time.
"At the time, buying it was out of the question, so I talked my friend into buying it. A little less than a year later, he informed me that the size of his family was increasing and he needed to sell the Bee. Needless to say, I bought it this time. This was in May 1985, when the car still sported only 17,000 miles, and we are the fourth owners of the car."
The Bee's exterior sports the factory High Impact FC7 Plum Crazy Purple paint. The longitudinal tape stripe and even the vinyl top are factory installed. The interior of the Minors' major prize is also stock, right down to the black vinyl bucket seats, the Solid State AM radio with rear speaker, as well as the floor console and both the headliner and carpeting. When this car was built, "horsepower" was the operative word and a 383 with a single Holley carburetor gives the Bee its sting. Once again, factory originality is present on the engine, including the belts, hoses, plugs, and wires. Even the battery is the same one that the factory installed. The 31-year-old TorqueFlite still sends the power to the 3.23 geared 8 3/4-inch rear, the average 383 combo of the day. To make sure the Bee held the road, the factory installed 14-inch Rallye wheels with Goodyear PolyGlas tires on all four corners, and those original factory-installed tires still serve their purpose.
Looking closely at places in the paint, some minor runs in that factory pigment are evident, and the car has aged somewhat in the ensuing 30 years. It was on display at the Exit 78 Antique Mall outside of Indy for some time, which is where we shot the photos. Regardless of that, this car remains a history lesson to future generations who may want to know, "Say, what was a Plum Crazy Super Bee?"