By the time a car becomes 25 years old, there are bound to be at least a couple of good stories associated with it. Often, the best (and most common) stories are usually associated with the purchase of the vehicle right before it's resurrection-
"Found in barn" stories, "Little old lady" stories, and "Soldier" stories have become an integral part of the hobby, and all of us have burned up more than a couple hours swapping them back and forth. But it's easy to get frustrated with these stories, because while those cars and the screaming deals that are associated with them do exist, they always happen to someone else!
Have you heard the one about the one-of-13, '71 Hemi Charger Super Bee that was sold because the second owner was scared to drive it? Seems the car started making this horrible racket that got worse as time went on. The handling was getting worse as the noise got louder, and he was afraid to drive it at all anymore. Figuring a noise that big would cost a bundle to fix, he decided to cut his losses and get rid of it. Some guy in town on a business trip came along, pried the keys from the owner's hand long enough to take it for a short test drive (the seller was worried about someone getting hurt because the car was acting so badly), and decided the car wasn't beyond repair. A deal was struck, and the Hemi was taken home.
A new set of front pads and rotors later, and the Hemi was back on the street. Yes, that's right-it never occurred to owner number two that the grinding and squealing sound the car was making was simply because the brake pads had worn down to the metal and were grinding into the rotors. It was 1974, and a 30-year-old Billy Harper had just paid pennies on the dollar for the low-mileage '71 Hemi Super Bee, the last year the legendary Hemi was available.
"If you knew what I gave for this car, you'd be sick" Billy said.
Billy didn't realize when he bought it that only 22 Charger Super Bees were equipped with the 426 Hemi-he just liked Hemi cars, and the price was right. Of the 22 Bees so equipped, 13 of them were backed by automatic transmissions, like this one. You wouldn't think a car fitted with a Hemi, automatic trans, and 4.10-filled Dana rearend would come with a bench seat and column shifter, but Billy's did.
Other options of note on the B-7 Dark Blue Metallic B-Body are tinted glass, power steering, power disc brakes, vinyl top, 15-inch Rallye wheels, dual chrome mirrors, drip rail moldings, wheel lips, AM radio with rear speaker, and, of course, the Air Grabber.
Billy drove the car for several years before parking it. Then, in 1997, he had Calvin Courtney, Brad Probus, Jeff Collier, William Hall, Lou Tiemier, and David McDougal at Redline Restorations in Paducah, Kentucky, perform a ground-up restoration on the car, taking it down to bare metal. Because the car was so clean, there were no patch panels needed anywhere before it was given a fresh coat of paint. The interior was good, but it showed signs of wear so a new one was ordered from Legendary and installed. The original interior and date-coded carpet have been kept, though, and are in a box in the attic.
The engine had been well-maintained during its 45,000 miles of use, and, as a result, it still sports its factory bore specs.
The rest of the internals were also left original, with the only exception being a hydraulic cam and lifters, though they have the factory grind. The only thing missing from the car when Billy bought it in 1974 was the factory exhaust system-headers had found their way under the hood. However, a pair of OE iron manifolds are now back in place. An interesting detail on the car is that it's build sheet has a scheduled build date of February 1971 (2/71), however, the original door sticker had a date of 5/71. It would have been pretty easy to get a "5" in place of a "2" and was most likely a simple typo. Because it was found like that, it was put back the way it came.
Billy doesn't plan on selling the car anytime soon, and it keeps good company with his other nine Hemi cars which include a '70 'Cuda; '71 Challenger; four '67 Mopars-a Charger, a Belvedere, a Coronet and a Coronet R/T; a pair of '68s-a GTX and a Road Runner; and a '69 Road Runner. On top of that list, he also has his record-holding '68 Pro Mod Barracuda raced in IHRA competition. We'd love to hear the stories attached to these Mopars, but it's best that we don't-it would probably make us sick!