When you're a young boy of 15, what's possibly the main thing on your mind are cool cars. You're all amped up about getting your license, and those pictures of Mopars you ripped out of magazines and advertisements are just a dream you have tacked to your wall. Most will settle for the old family car; some, however, are lucky enough to save up and earn something respectable that they can call their own. Well, 30 years ago, John Godshalk was 15 and had some money burning a hole in his pocket. That was when a Bee buzzed its way back into his life.
Back in the late '70s and early '80s, muscle cars could be had for chump change. How does $200 for an original B5 Blue A12 Super Bee sound? Well, John's brother Ed picked this car up for that very amount of dough in the summer of 1977. "I went with him to pick it up and we brought it back home near Chicago," recalls John. The original engine was gone, and in its place was a 383 that didn't run-hence the price. After another $400 for a replacement engine, the Bee was back on the road. John's brother kept the car until a short time later, when he needed money for school and sold it to a family friend.
When 1980 came along, John was a 15-year-old enthusiast looking for a hot set of wheels. "I got a phone call asking if I wanted to buy the Bee for $600 and it was a done deal," he says. John drove the car through the majority of high school until it slung two rods out of the side of the block. He wanted to step it up a bit this time, so he hunted down a 440 and started piecing it together on his modest high school income. "I managed to get the car running five days before I had to drive to Laramie, Wyoming, to attend WyoTech."
John eventually found a car to take the A12's place as a daily driver, restricting the Bee to a pleasure car. After he finished WyoTech, he moved to Colorado, where he currently resides. There, he joined the Rocky Mountain Performance Mopar club (RPM), where he tracked down an original Six Pack intake and correct air cleaner.
Now boasting 500 cubic inches, the RB 440 is filled with all the good stuff and makes all
As life progressed, restoring the Bee was always in the back of his mind, but he wasn't able to get started on the resto until around the year 2000. He dropped it off at the first restoration shop he chose, but he soon realized that they weren't offering the kind of work he was looking for. The shoddy bodywork and paint delayed the build, and when he got the car back, a lot of the work actually needed to be redone. Thankfully, his friends Tim Juszczyk and Greg Johnson took over from there, promising John that they would help him as they completed their regular work. John was confident in the quality of their work.
While Tim and Greg were busy with the second round of bodywork on the B-Body, John was hard at work putting his skills he learned at WyoTech to good use, rebuilding the engine and transmission. When it came time to assemble the car, his good friend Tom Schacht lent a hand. A lot of the parts were restored and are original to the car. Inside, the dash was sent off to Auto Instruments and Just Dashes to have them refurbished, and Eddie Collins reupholstered the seats.
"The car is extremely special to me because it's my first car and I've had it since I was 15," he admits. "There were plenty of times I thought about selling it, but it doesn't cost anything to keep it." We're glad he kept it, and so is John. Staying true to his word, this is a 100-percent driver's car. It's no garage queen. "I'll occasionally race it, and it went 13.20 at 108 mph at Bandimere Speedway," he claims. Nearly ten years after he started, the Bee is finally complete. Now, it's a 500-cubic-inch Six Pack-powered beast that leaves a sting.
'69 dodge Super Bee Original A12
Owned by: John Godshalk
Castle Rock, CO
As the sun sets in Las Vegas, this Bee takes on a whole new life as the B5 paint jumps off
- Engine: As a graduate of WyoTech, John was more than capable of completing most of the mechanical work on his own. He had the 440 RB block machined to .040 over, and installed a 4.15 crankshaft from 440Source that is bolted down by ARP main studs. This bumps displacement to roughly 500 cubic inches. It's attached to a 440Source stock length rods and pistons. Sitting on top is an Edelbrock aluminum Six Pack intake manifold with Holley two-barrel carburetors. This is bolted to aluminum 440Source cylinder heads with 2.14/1.81-inch valves. Inside is a .242/.246-degrees duration .555/.569-inch lift Hughes Engines camshaft with 1.6 Hughes roller rockers. For the exhaust, tti 1 7/8-inch headers and a 3-inch system featuring Dynomax mufflers was used.
- Ignition: Mopar Performance electronic ignition and distributor with orange ECU box.
- Transmission: John rebuilt the four-speed transmission and had the Hurst shifter rebuilt by Hurst. It now features a Passon Performance overdrive.
- Rearend: Original Sure-Grip Dana 60 with 4.10 gears.
These are the original gauges that have been saved by Auto Instruments.
- Suspension: Stock replacement suspension with Just Suspension components and Mopar Performance torsion bars and leaf springs. The shocks and struts are from KYB.
- Brakes: Front disc brakes from SSBC and factory rear drums.
- Wheels and Tires: Billet Specialties 15x7 and 15x8 Street Lite wheels. BFG Radial T/A 235/70R15 front and 275/60R15 rear.
John manages to keep his white bench seat immaculate in spite of driving it as often as he
- Body: Tim Juszczyk (metalwork) and Greg Johnson (paint) completed all of the bodywork and even fixed the bodywork that was poorly done by the previous shop. He had his work cut out for him, too. As every door, fender, and quarter had rust and damage to them.
- Paint: PPG Deltron B5 Blue.
- Interior: The seats were reupholstered by John's friend, Eddie Collins. John sent the gauges out to Auto Instruments to have them replaced with white ones, and the steering column and parking brake were restored by SMS Restoration.