Building a driver may be the ultimate way to enjoy your car. When you're willing to risk the occasional ding or dent by driving the car on the road, it's almost relaxing. Many a car show fanatic sits patiently behind his or her ride with a dust mop in hand, ready to attack any particle that dare to touch the pristine coat. Kevin Wesley couldn't dream of anything like this. His car was made to be driven.
Kevin is your typical Mopar owner. He grew up in a house with a family who always seemed to have a cool Chrysler product sitting in the driveway. "I was always into them since I was a young kid. It's just a family thing I guess," he says. This family thing affected him all the way up to his first car purchase and into his adult life. "I would drive my father's cars, too, and I'm sure I beat on a few of them a little too hard," he quips.
Once he was an adult, he enjoyed the driving aspect of his cars more. "Too many people are so concerned with the looks of their 'piece of history' that they've become afraid to drive it." Kevin wasn't going to fall into that category. He fully intended to drive any classic Mopar he owned, and his car buddies were the same way. But why can't a car do both-be driven and be a show winner?
Kevin was on the lookout for a clean B-Body, and he tells us. "My friend Greg Bigford had this '70 Super Bee that he picked up in the early '90s. It was in pretty good shape, as it came from Texas. The paint was good, the interior was nice, and the car ran strong. Greg had it for a while and just did a few things here and there to fix 'er up. He then sold it to our mutual friend Pat Herman."
Not everything on the car...
Not everything on the car is true to the window sticker. These Rallye wheels were installed by one of Kevin's buddys before Kevin bought it.
The Hemi Orange Bee was well optioned as it sat, but over the years, Greg and Pat added a few things to their liking. "The Ramcharger hood, hoodpins, exhaust tips, and rallye wheels didn't come on the broadcast sheet, so the car isn't a numbers matching original. Pat sold the car to me five years ago and I've been maintaining it and driving it any chance I can get." This maintenance schedule developed into an engine build after Kevin's father went a little hog wild with a burnout trying to impress some friends.
Naturally, Kevin was displeased that he had to rebuild the engine, but he took the time to do it right. He sent the car to Greg's shop, Auto Design in Grand Ledge, Michigan, to perform the work. It was simple-a stock rebuild with a mild aftermarket cam to give it a more menacing idle. "I was upset that the engine had to be rebuilt, but I figured it was the dues I had to pay for all the beatings I put on my father's cars back in the day," he jokes.
N96 was the option code for...
N96 was the option code for the Ramchargers hoodscoops and underhood airbox. Kevin's car doesn't list it on the fender tag, but that doesn't mean it looks wrong.
The car is back together and working better than ever. One would even say that it's better than the day it left the factory. "I thought about restoring it further, but I honestly enjoy driving it this way far too much," he says. "I won't ever do a rotisserie restoration on it." Approximately 10 years ago, the car was repainted and received new seat covers. Since then, the gang has been hard at work in making sure the car stays that way. Take a close look and you can see the Bee shows some battle scars, but everything is there and still in impressive shape. Kevin certainly gets the most out of his Bee.