Chrysler engineers had one thing in mind when they added the Six Pack Super Bee to the Dodge lineup midway through the '69 production year-racing. The minds behind these machines, including a number of ex-racers, sought to find a setup that could compete directly with the Hemi at the dragstrip at a more affordable price.
By swapping a 440 Magnum into a Super Bee and adding three Holley two-barrel carbs onto an aluminum Edelbrock high-rise manifold, Dodge created the '6911/42 Six Pack Bee. The modifications succeeded in juicing up the Bee's power. Testing at the time revealed an increase in peak torque to 3,600 rpm from 3,300 on a base 440.
The selection of the Six Pack option ($463) necessitated other upgrades to accommodate it. A Hemi suspension, a 931/44 Dana 60 rear with 4.10 gears, a Sure Grip, a heavy-duty radiator and fan shroud with a viscous drive fan, and G70-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires were all part of the Six Pack package. Even though the Six Pack option hiked up the price of the Super Bee, it still produced nearly equivalent performance at $400 less than what it would cost to run a Hemi.
Jim Spetzman of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, has sought to preserve not only the body of his Six Pack Bee, but the essence of it as well. Jim's Bee is bone stock, all the way down to the unwieldy drum brakes (discs were not even optional on the original Six Pack Bees). When we photographed Jim's car in March at the Mopars at the Strip show in Las Vegas, he had only owned it about a year. But he had already restored it to pure stock specifications and logged some pretty impressive passes. He ran a 12.96 e.t. at Las Vegas, and has an all-time best mark of 12.45.
So how did Jim come into this rare piece of Mopar iron? You've all heard a similar story before. The father is trying to sell his car to pay attorney fees to the lawyer who tried unsuccessfully to keep his son out of prison. While the father is trying to sell it, the point-type voltage regulator sticks and boils the battery, leaking acid all over the inner fender and motor. A shrewd collector takes it off the father's hands, and in turn, sells it to Jim.
OK, so maybe you haven't heard that one before. Nevertheless, that's how the Bee came to be Jim's.
That's about all he's been able to find out about the car's history. "We know it came from a good climate, in a sandy, dry area," Jim says. "We drove out to western Nebraska to talk to people who might have worked on the car, but there were a lot of dead ends."
The arid climate was evident in the Bee's sheetmetal, which is all original and intact. When Jim purchased the car, both door jams and the trunk lip area had faded original paint, but the 15-year-old paint job (most likely the second one) was still in good shape. After touching up a few spots, Jim removed and buffed all the stainless pieces, and the exterior was set. The original motor was intact, as well, along with the original carbs, and it now carries around 80,000 miles. Jim spent the Minnesota winter rebuilding the engine to stock specs to get it ready for the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag races. He also made sure the replacement transmission, rearend, and front and rear suspension matched stock. Even the exhaust manifolds had to be factory, and the Bee was shod with bias-ply tires. Additionally, Jim had to give the Bee new springs, shocks, brake lines, and fuel line. The hard work was worth it because he proceeded to run his personal-best e.t. the first time he took the car out.