We know it doesn't look like...
We know it doesn't look like much now, but it's a numbers-matching '69 Super Bee. When we finish it, two things will be certain: It will be cool, and someone will win it.
Writing for a car magazine can be a very rewarding career. Though none of us will get rich from the pay, our jobs are very satisfying in other ways. Giving someone an award at a car show, or telling them their pride and joy will be featured in our magazine are just two examples of how we are able to bring pleasure to members of the automotive enthusiast community. And getting paid to wrench on some pretty cool cars is a side benefit as well. So when the folks at Timber Wolf Smokeless Tobacco approached us about building a car for them to give away, we jumped at the chance. What better way to give a little back to the Mopar community than to build a cool car and give it away . . . quite likely to someone reading this magazine.
Since the people at Timber Wolf said they wanted the car to be a Dodge Super Bee, preferably a 1969, we simply chose to look for the type of car they requested. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast, while there were several '69 Super Bees on the market at the time we were looking, we had specific criteria in mind when it came to finding a car to build. Since our time is limited for this build, the car couldn't be so rough as to need major sheetmetal replacement, and since we do have a limited budget, it also couldn't be in such good shape that buying it would break the bank. What we wanted was a solid car that we could build, but not a car that was already finished. Since the value of the end product should always be considered when building a car, we also wanted the car to be a complete, numbers-matching unit.
After looking at several cars, from basket cases to finished drivers, we found the car you see here. Though externally, this Super Bee appears neglected and somewhat rough, it is a solid car with nearly all its original sheetmetal intact. Better yet, the engine is the original unit; the car is nearly unmolested, runs and drives, and has had only one paint job since new. All in all, this is a great foundation to build from, and while it is a base model Super Bee, don't worry. We're already formulating a plan to make this an awesome-looking, fast, and drivable hot rod that someone will be proud to own.
Once we got the car back to...
Once we got the car back to the shop, we put it on the lift to evaluate what we had to work with. Though somewhat neglected, this is a solid car with most of its factory sheetmetal intact.
Externally, our plans are pretty simple. Since the '69 Super Bee has a classic, muscular look, we won't be detracting from it with any added-on components. Instead, we'll enlist our friends at J.D.'s Paint and Body to do what they do best-make the body panels super-straight and apply multiple coats of base/clear for a stunning paint job. Although this car came from the factory wearing a dark green color, we're leaning toward yellow with black accents for the makeover. The contrast of black on yellow is eye catching and fits the "Bee" theme of the car nicely. Outside of paint, aftermarket wheels and tires will be the only external change we perform on the Timber Wolf Super Bee.
The car's interior will also be reconditioned, but will remain stock appearing. We haven't ruled out a few upgrades, such as a good set of gauges and aftermarket air conditioning, but we don't want to stray too far from the "bare bones muscle" platform on which Chrysler originally designed the Super Bee.
A musclecar should have plenty of muscle, so we'll go through the factory 383 big-block and make plenty of upgrades along the way. We'll definitely be boosting performance with an aftermarket cam, headers, intake, and carburetor, and we haven't ruled out a cylinder head upgrade as well. Of course, a looser converter will be in order, and we'll freshen up the TorqueFlite with new internals and a shift kit. Since these upgrades will certainly improve the acceleration of our Bee, we'll ensure the car handles and stops safely by installing new suspension components where needed and replacing the drum brakes with a four-wheel disc conversion from Master Power Brakes.
Follow along as we cover the build of the Timber Wolf car until completion in upcoming issues of Mopar Muscle. When finished, this car will be one that any enthusiast would be proud to own, so be sure to enter the contest and maybe it will end up parked in your garage.
We're a long way from finished, but we feel like we've gotten a good start on our project car by stripping it and getting it to the body shop. Be sure to follow along in future issues of Mopar Muscle as we transform this Super Bee into a great looking street/strip machine.
The rubber brake lines look...
The rubber brake lines look like the originals, so we'll replace them when we install our Master Power four-wheel disc brakes. The suspension will also be thoroughly checked and get new components where needed.
Electrical tape holding the...
Electrical tape holding the brake line to the rearend housing is one of several areas of questionable engineering we found on our project vehicle. These will all be addressed and corrected during our build.
Scraping 30-some years of...
Scraping 30-some years of road grime from the rearend center section revealed it was the desirable "489" case-definitely a good foundation to start with.