This isn't some show pony....
This isn't some show pony. With lightweight pistons, Hemi springs and retainers, tti headers, and an aggressive camshaft, this Bee wields a pretty sharp sting.
Graham Howard's '69 1/2 Super Bee is something of an anomaly. Rare by production numbers, this B-Body's rarity increases because of its location in Fareham, Hampshire, England. The Bee came with nearly every option available for the stripper street racer from the plant. Nonfunctioning quarter-panel scoops adorn its sides, while inside the cabin a large black vinyl bench positions the driver behind the column-shifted automatic.
The Fareham sales manager first heard about the Bee in 1999 from a friend who specialized in importing Mopar musclecars in the '70s. It was brought over in 1982 on the British merchant ship, the Atlantic Conveyor, which would later be requisitioned by the British Ministry of Defense to participate in the Falkland War. The Super Bee would reside locally until Graham's purchase. The Super Bee would need a complete cosmetic restoration and a minor engine refreshing since factory performance vehicles seem to age at a greater rate than their lesser-equipped brethren.
Graham says, "I've owned several Mopars over the past 10 years or so, including a Plum Crazy Purple '70 Super Bee and a '70 Plum Crazy Road Runner, but I've always wanted a '69 1/2 Six Pack car. I purchased the car minus the original engine and hood. I did receive a number of items, including an original Six Pack hood that was in the process of being shipped to this country from Canada. this was a genuine A12-coded Six Pack car in the rare Butterscotch color, and it was also the rarer hardtop model with an automatic, so I decided to start a complete ground-up restoration. I started collecting parts in early 2000. in 2001, I decided to fly over to the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, with my lengthy shopping list of parts. After buying up everything I needed (and more), I attempted to fly back home, only to be told there was no way that they would allow all those parts on the plane." This was the first year after 9/11, when airport security was at its highest. Graham eventually got all his bounty back to the U.K., but not without a lot of trouble. He says, "that trip did save me a lot of money as well as time and effort in tracking down the hard-to-find parts that were needed."
The absent 440 was difficult to hunt down. The RB block was currently used in a drag race car at Santa Pod (the premier dragstrip in the U.K.) and was available for purchase only at the end of the racing season. During the course of 2002, it was agreed that he could purchase the block. It was pulled, taken to a machine shop, freshened, and refitted with lightweight JE 10.5:1 pistons, while the 906 heads were ported and polished. A more aggressive Crane 509-inch lift camshaft was slid into place, while the performance factory valvetrain was retained. A polished pair of ceramic tti headers replaced the stock manifolds, plumbing the exhaust out of a tti system with stock-appearing chrome tips. The Dana was disassembled with the Sure Grip mated to a set of 3.70s, allowing for a more street-friendly use.
Sharing many performance parts...
Sharing many performance parts with the infamous 426 Hemi, the 440 Six Pack was deemed the "poor man's Hemi." The progressive throttle linkage allowed for moderate driving on a single carburetor before the pedal was mashed to the floor, opening up all three carburetors to suck in 1,350 cfm!
"After receiving paint, the running gear was stripped, cleaned, painted, and replaced, and the rearend was rebuilt by Hauser Racing," Graham says. The body, on the other hand, was stripped down to bare metal and restored from the ground up. Original Chrysler Butterscotch Yellow was applied layer after layer, and finished with several clear coats. Graham continues, "The Butterscotch paint was matched to a pristine example taken from underneath the brake master cylinder plate. That was only after the car was completely stripped down to a bare shell-doors, hood, trunk, and front fenders were all removed. New panels were fitted where necessary; any rust was cut out and replaced with metal; all the paint was removed; the body work prepared for painting; and then the bumblebee stripe was applied to the tail."
The interior was equally refurbished with new carpet, recovered seats, and a new headliner from Legendary Interiors. New seatbelts from Ssnake-oyl were installed, and the dash was redyed. Graham did confess that "one of the only things we changed from stock was to a front disc-brake conversion." When the four-year restoration was completed, Graham had one of the cleanest and quickest restoration cars in England.
The extra ponies pulsing through the Super Bee might overpower the stock tires, but we at Mopar Muscle wonder what could be so wrong with hazing those radials up and down the cobblestone streets?