“It’s an everyday driver that I just never got tired of,” is how Jeff Wickstrom from Mesa, Arizona, describes his ’71 Superbee. According to him, it’s a true daily driver in every sense of the word. With such a great story about how he and his Superbee spent a lifetime together, we’ll let Jeff take it from here.
Does this look like a car with 325,000 miles on it? We didn’t think so either.
I never thought of it [the car] as special. The ’Bee is just an old friend who I enjoy spending time with. The story of the ‘Bee goes back to summer of 1979 when I bought it from a young woman in Annandale, Virginia. I hadn’t planned on buying the car, and until then, had never even heard of a ’71 Superbee. After reading a newspaper ad, some buddies and I went to look and see what it really was. Here was this stock, original paint, ’71Charger-Superbee with a bad transmission and a wrinkled fender parked on the street in a residential neighborhood. It even had the factory decklid spoiler. The woman didn’t live there; she had just coasted to a stop and left it after the transmission went bad. She met us at the car and explained that it had to go as neighbors were complaining. She wanted $600, but said if we would take it that day, then $400 would be enough. Being a poor high-school kid, I didn’t even have $400, but between me and my buddies, we scraped together all we had (I think less than $300) and towed it home with a rope. At the time I didn’t really care for the car as I already had a ’70 Road Runner, but we all thought that decklid spoiler was cool.
Between 1980 and 1985 it was used as a daily driver while I was in college in Southeastern Ohio. Even though I bought it in Virginia, it had a Remy Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge sticker from Waverly, Ohio, on the bumper. By 1985 the car was showing its age, so I repainted it the original Green Go shortly before graduation from college in 1986. After college I had no plans...or job, so I took all of the money I had saved up, packed a tent, sleeping bag, my tools, and what little else I owned into the trunk. I said goodbye to family and friends and proceeded to drive around the country for the next nine months trying to figure out what to do with my life. The ’Bee was my home address for all that time, and the road atlas was my “to-do” list. My bank account was an envelope hidden in a slit cut into the carpet under the seat. My only conversation was with the steering wheel or the other social outcasts I met along the highway. There were no cell phones or GPS back then, only common sense and independence. I didn’t even have a decent radio, it was the stock AM unit, with a single dash speaker, and an FM converter hung below the ashtray. I camped out in State Parks or off the main road in small towns while trying to conserve my limited finances. That trip lasted just a bit over 10,000 miles and stretched from Ocean City, Maryland, to Northern Iowa, down to Galveston, Texas, up to Silverton, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, back down to Mexico, over to Death Valley and finally we reached San Francisco, California. I could go on and bore you further, but I’ll stop here with the comment that it was certainly the experience of a lifetime. Running out of money in Tempe, Arizona, in the spring of 1987, I put down some roots, and I’ve been in Arizona ever since.