Andy Caldwell of Melbourne, Florida, tells us his interest in '70 Dodge Super Bees started when he was growing up in Maryland. Andy recalls, " In June 1973, my dad brought home a 440 Six-Pack-powered '70 Super Bee that he bought at the used car lot of Fairfax Dodge. My dad bought and sold a lot of cars throughout his lifetime and drag raced many of them, but for me, this Super Bee always stood out. It was Sublime outside with a black bucket-seat interior, floor-mounted automatic shifter, and black 'C' stripes around the quarter-panels. I was only 8 years old at the time, and thought it was one of the coolest cars I had ever seen. Even though my dad only owned the Super Bee for a few months, I always knew I would own one someday."

In March 1984, Andy was in his first year of college, and helping his dad find another car to enjoy and run at the local drag strip. Andy found an ad in Hemming's Motor News describing a near-mint-condition, red, '70 Dodge Super Bee. Unlike dad's first one, this one was powered by a 383 in front of a 727 automatic transmission, and didn't quite have 21,000 miles on it. After his dad talked to the owner, they headed out on a road trip from their Maryland home to Beckley, West Virginia, the home of Fred Lilly, the owner of the Super Bee. Mr. Lilly explained that he bought the Super Bee from the original owner in Beckley. It didn't take long for dad to reach into his pocket and become $3,800 poorer, and the owner of one very clean and original Super Bee. The Bee had 20,850 miles at the time, and still had its original coat of E5 red paint accented with a white 'C' stripe, plus the black bench-seat interior looked like new. Rounding out the package was a column-shifted automatic, an untouched 383 Magnum, a 3.91 sure grip, a XHD suspension, a 26-inch radiator, and a power steering cooler. Four months after buying the Super Bee, dear ol' dad decided he wanted an all out race car. This meant the Super Bee would be going up for sale. Andy couldn't bear to see the Super Bee sold to someone else, so he struck a deal with his dad and bought it. He finally had his dream car!

During the first year Andy owned the Bee, he used it as a daily driver and began racing it at local tracks on the weekends. He tells us his first outings with the Super Bee at the track were unimpressive to say the least. The best he could muster out of the Bee were high 14s. But he had an itch to go faster, so he installed a set of headers, a 780 Holley carburetor, and an electronic ignition. In this trim, he got the Bee to run a best of 13.96 at 99 mph. He had a reasonable amount of success racing the Bee locally in the Maryland area. One of the accomplishments with it at the track was qualifying four years in a row (1985-1988) for the NHRA Division 1 Bracket Finals at Maple Grove Raceway. The racing began to take a toll on the original 383, so he decided to take it out and put it aside. The car then sat for about two years with no engine in it until his dad offered him a spare 440 engine from his '65 Satellite race car. The modified 440 was installed in late 1990, and the Super Bee then proceeded to run consistent 12s at the track. By the end of 1994, parts breakage finally caught up to the Bee. Andy broke the rearend and fixed it, but at the very next race, the 440 expired with two broken connecting rods putting two huge holes in the side of the block.

After the 440, the Bee sat for a year while Andy thought about what to do with it. Finally, he decided to return the car back to its original street condition since he had the most fun with the car in this configuration. Returning the car to its original condition was not hard because it had always been stored in a garage, so the original factory paint and interior were still in excellent condition. Not only that, but Andy had saved all those parts he had pulled off earlier. So in 1996, with the help of his good friend and racing buddy Bill Schmidt, he proceeded to rebuild and reinstall the original 383 and put the car back to its stock condition.

In 1997, Andy and his wife Kristin moved from Maryland to Melbourne, Florida, with the Super Bee in tow. For the next few years, he proceeded to drive and show the Super Bee regularly at many of the local shows; until 2001 when the 383 began having problems. He traced the problems to an exhaust valve not closing, so he pulled the 383 for another rebuild in 2002. He also decided the engine bay was going to get a thorough cleaning and detailing.

During this same time, Andy had become aware of an interesting drag race up in Stanton, Michigan, called the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race. So the 383 and the transmission would be rebuilt with their rules in mind. Ben Donhoff Automotive in Melbourne rebuilt and blueprinted the 383, including some decking of the block to bring the compression up to 10.25:1. The transmission was sent to JW Transmission in Rockledge, Florida, where it was rebuilt to stock specs. While the engine and transmission were being rebuilt, Andy cleaned, repainted, and detailed the engine compartment. He also bought a tti 211/42-inch exhaust system and Dynomax Ultra-Flow mufflers. He also pieced together a combination Mopar Performance and FBO ignition system parts, which he hid inside the car. Then in late 2003, with the help of another good friend, John Bober, all of the pieces of the drivetrain and exhaust were reinstalled. With everything back together, Andy has posted a best of 13.76 in the quarter

Andy always thought the passenger side 'C' stripe looked like it had been removed, and another installed in its place. He never gave it much thought until he took the car to the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals in 2000. While attending the show, a note was left on the Bee from a Mr. Skip Stanley. The note stated Stanley knew the original owners of the car and to give him a call. When Andy got home and called him, Mr. Stanley remembered the car when it was delivered to the dealership. He said the car was delivered with a black 'C' stripe on the passenger side and a white one on the driver side. Before the car was sold, the dealer removed the black stripe and put a white one in its place; it's been there ever since. Andy can't confirm if any of this is true, but it's a logical explaination of why it looks like the stripe was removed.

Even though Andy has raced the Super Bee all these years, he took good care of it. Right now it has just has just over 45,000 miles on it, and has always been garaged since it was new. About 80 percent of the exterior paint is original (except for the engine compartment and right front fender). Except for the headliner, the interior is all original also.

Well there you have it, a '70 Super Bee that has definitely seen and done it all-and lived to tell the tale.


Fast Facts
Owner: Andy Caldwell
Car: '70 Super Bee
Engine: Original 383
Heads: Stock rebuilt 906's milled to 80cc chambers
Camshaft: Stock replacement
Crankshaft: original
Rods: original
Pistons: original
Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
Induction: Factory installed 585-cfm Holley on stock, unported cast intake
Headers: Stock manifolds
Trans: rebuilt 727
Differential: 831/44 now with 4.10 gears
Paint: Factory applied red
Best Performance: 13.76

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