Dale Matthews' e-mail and pictures piqued our interest. He starting out by saying, "Here's one that's a little different and very neat. To Bee or not to Bee." His riddle was, "When is a Super Bee not a Super Bee?" The answer is-when it's a '70 Coronet 500 with the N code, high-performance 383 four-barrel, backed by a four-speed with a console and bucket seats.
We've all heard about the curious four-door family sedans which were optioned with a 426 Hemi, but how rare is a Coronet 500 with the base Super Bee engine? Dale tells us he checked out Galen's white book and found that 55 were built with a four-speed.
In a sea of thousands of Coronets, a small percentage had the high-output, musclecar engines. A friend phoned Dale to tell him this '70 Coronet was for sale in town. Dale lives in Lenoir, North Carolina, and he had to see the curious Coronet. He tells us, "I went to look at it and desperately wanted to buy it, but I had to pass. It went to another Mopar enthusiast in town. it will make a beautiful car. It's B5 Blue with a black vinyl top and interior. It's got power steering and brakes and is quite fixable. Obviously, the original owner wanted some high-performance fun without the stripes and scoops of a Super Bee."
Dale credits the find to a friend named Doug Carver, who is always finding something and dragging it out of the weeds. Doug told us about the surprise of finding an old Coronet 500, and then realizing it was a Super Bee without the cop-baiting scoops, stripes, and badges. Doug explained, "This guy told me the car came from Virginia. He lives around Mountain City, Tennessee. It came from a private junkyard. They didn't even know how long the car had been sitting there, it had been there so long."
it was Doug who recognized the Coronet 500 for the rare find it was. What got his blood pressure up was the four-speed. He continued, "When I first saw the car, all it had in it was the engine block. Then I [realized it's] a four-speed car. I was talking to the guy about it, and he said, 'I got all the parts for it.''' Doug thought the owner wasn't sure about the status of the car by the way he described the four-speed, which was inside the building. The guy told Doug, "It's one of them [that has] that big old Pistol Grip on it." The pair went to look, and, sure enough, there was the Pistol Grip [and tranny] with the console sitting on top of it. Doug disclosed to the guy what he knew about the car. "I kept telling him, it's a pretty rare car. Instead of fixing up this plain 318 Challenger you have, I'd be putting time and money into this car."
About a week later, Doug got the chance to buy the Coronet. "He needed something to drive back and forth to work, and I had a little Mustang." The deal was done.
Dale Matthews tells us the car is still in town, and he doesn't think it's been restored yet.