440 Six Pack Auto 4:10 8-3/4
Owner: Dave Pelletier
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
The November 2014 Mopar of the Month is this 1970 Dodge Super Bee! I first spotted this Super Bee on Ebay in 2005 and added it to my Cars in Barns pages. It looked like a good project with lots of upside. Apparently Dave Pelletier thought the same and bought himself a Six Pack car. As we are both members of the Mopar Message Board called Moparts I followed the restoration and thought it was only fitting to feature it . I will let Dave take over:
I found my Superbee in the local Auto Trader in the winter of 2005 and went to take a look. The car was interesting, to say the least, but it needed a LOT of work. The good news was the car is an original V code, 6 Pack car with the numbers matching original motor, the body stampings matched the VIN, the original fender tag was still present and most of the really rare stuff was there (carbs, intake, ramcharger ductwork, etc.) AND the body was in pretty good shape with far less than average rust for a 35 year old B body Mopar. The BAD news was that the car was the victim of a poor attempt at an amateur restoration quite some time ago which was never completed. Icing on the cake was the numerous missing bits and pieces. The ad claimed that the car was complete and 100% rust free, but even laying on my back in an underground parkade with a dim flashlight, I could tell that the description was “optimistic”. Ultimately I bought the car against my better judgment as I liked the options the car was equipped with; the 440-6, N96 Ramcharger, disc brakes and sure grip rear end and the color (EF8 dark green metallic) has long been a personal favorite. I had visions of building a Pure Stock car to race in the PSMCDR series so the column auto fit the bill perfectly too.
Diving into the restoration, the rust wasn't extensive and was limited to a tiny floor patch on the driver’s side near the gas pedal and a larger one on the passenger side front. The Dutchman panel required replacement and the passenger quarter and outer wheelhouse required replacement due to an accident long ago. The trunk floor had been “fixed” by someone cutting the old floor out in sections between the braces and putting a new floor over top! This type of scabby work was indicative of everything that had been done to the poor car up until now. The primer hid a partial repaint and color change to FJ5 (Sublime) and the interior was poorly color changed to black…for example the dash and gauges were spray bombed black and a rag was used to wipe off the gauges! The rear window was siliconed in place… I could go on, but you get the idea
During the restoration process, I determined many things about the car and a bit about its history. As near as I can tell, it was involved in an accident in 1981 (based on the California title and plate with the date on it). It appears that the car may have left the road and damage consisted of a broken K member, dented rear quarter and outer wheel house, damaged rear end and the original valance panel had been replaced. Recovery caused damage to the passenger spring shackle. I suspect that the original transmission may have been fatally wounded in this accident as well, probably by hitting something from underneath….like a rock in a ditch. Luckily the car was still straight, rockers, floors, door and fenders were still unscathed so the accident damage wasn’t fatal. At some point after 1981, the aforementioned “restoration” was started with a badly re-welded K frame, a replacement 727, the partial color change to sublime and spraybombed black interior. The car left the state for a while before being purchased by a dentist in Clovis, California. The good dentist had an extensive car collection and for whatever reason, nothing was done with the Superbee while it was in his possession. He sold the car through a broker in 2003 and the new Owner was a Contractor from Peachland, B.C. Canada. Again no work was done to the car until it made its way into my hands in early 2005.
What was originally to be a driver quality resto that would take 3-5 years became a more involved resto spanning almost 10 years. Life interfered with a divorce, three moves, an illness and even the “Christine” incident during which (according to my wife) the car tried to kill me and caused the replacement of the N96 hood after the paint work was completed. Though the car was largely finished in 2010, some detail items and final work (safety inspection and wheel alignment) wasn't completed until October 2014. The rebuilt odometer now shows a total of 11 miles….the first miles the car has traveled under its own power in 33 years. I look forward to driving the car on sunny weekends, attending local shows and letting the 440-6 loose at the dragstrip.
I had a lot to learn about ’70 Superbees and spent hundreds of hours on Ebay and Moparts researching and finding bits and pieces. The car’s resto was more than just a process to fix the car, it became an education and social experience and I’ve met so many helpful people that I’m proud to consider friends today. I farmed out the paint and body (thank you Randy at McCaw Autobody) as well as the engine (OK Engine Rebuilders) and other sub assemblies and components. I did most of the disassembly and reassembly myself with help from several people. I’d like to thank my father Mike, son Steven and friends Mark Thompson, Vic Porcher and Sheldon Orser for their invaluable assistance over the years. Vic looked after most of the correct plating for the car as well as providing many important small parts and helping with the assembly process. There are too many other people to mention though I’d like to thank the late Jules (the Wiperman) D’Addio for his excellent work on many of the car’s sub-assemblies….may he rest in peace
Mopar of the Month
Mopar of the Month
Everyone has some setbacks when restoring a car but this one shows you just how precious life really is. Its hard to say someone is lucky but can you imagine how bad this could have been? Dave is no worse for wear and even has maintained his great sense of humour....I will let him tell the story:
One evening I fired up the car and was standing in front of it trying to kick it off high idle when all of a sudden, the tires spun and the car took off with me draped over the hood! we ran over my fire extinguisher, jack stands and floor jack and simultaneously the open hood caught the attic stairs. Luckily the 'Cuda was elsewhere or I would have been pinned between the two cars. As fate would have it, I fell just prior to the car hitting the parts tables at the end of the shop....timing is everything; I didn't get pinched by the bumper and I fell late enough that I didn't get run over. The impact bent the tables and broke the back wall of the shop. There was a buddy with me who was standing on the passenger side of the car....he ran over and I calmly asked him to turn off the key so I could extricate myself. After the car was shut off and I crawled out and took a look at the scene my friend asked me if I was going to yell or hit something....I just told him that this wasn't even the worst thing that happened to me that week and said, let's go in the house and have a drink!
Best I can tell, the tranny linkage was setup too close to the motor and when the motor moved in the mounts a bit, the linkage was pushed from Park to Reverse.....AND it also appears that the tranny had suffered some total
meltdown and fused all the gears so that every gear (even reverse) caused the car to move forward so even though the emergency brake was set (clearly no match for a healthy RB!) and it was in Park, I was playing with fire.
OTOH, I was very lucky in that a) I suffered only minor injury and b) though the hood and springs were demolished, the hood never touched the fenders nor the firewall. The bumper pushed up against the front fenders but didn't damage the paint. It was a setback but after another 6 months and a few more thousands, she was as good as before. Luckily I had the foresight to order an extra gallon of PPG EF8 "just in case".....
My wife is convinced that the car is possessed and refuses to get in it....hence the "Christine" moniker.