- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2009

Chuck Hogan graduated from high school in 1971. He remembers his high school years as being the heyday of American muscle cars.

A couple of years after graduation, he purchased a used 1969 Dodge Super Bee. He still remembers that the turquoise car with a white interior had 35,000 miles on the odometer, and that he paid $850 for it, and that he kept it about three years before selling it.

More than three decades later, Mr. Hogan started to look for another 1969 Dodge Super Bee. That’s when he learned only 15 turquoise Super Bees were made in 1969 with a four-speed manual transmission.

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“I searched the Internet for a couple of months and found a red one in St. Louis,” Mr. Hogan said.

On a Saturday in November 2006, Mr. Hogan and his wife took a five-hour ride from Illinois to St. Louis, Mo., to inspect the red Dodge.

“We took it for a ride,” Mr. Hogan says. “There was some rust in the trunk; the lifters knocked; and it was all over the road.” A disappointed Mr. Hogan returned to his home in Batavia, Ill.

“Sunday morning, I was back on the Internet and found a yellow one in St. Charles, Missouri,” he says. The yellow car was located about 20 minutes away from where he had seen the red one the day before.

“The next Saturday, we were off to Missouri again,” Mr. Hogan says. “It was the same 300-mile trip in a week.”

The yellow Dodge was as good as the red one was bad. Mr. Hogan bought it on the spot and went home to await the delivery truck. It arrived the week before Christmas.

Mr. Hogan learned that his 1969 Dodge was one of the 27,846 Super Bees produced and had a base price of $3,138. The hardtop coupe could have been ordered with a variety of engines. Most Super Bees were built for speed. This one left the factory with a 383-cubic-inch V-8 under the hood. It produced 335 horsepower.

Mr. Hogan’s car had recently been restored in Tennessee and had been resprayed in the original yellow with the distinctive black stripe around the tail. From the headliner down to the carpet, the interior is black.

Besides the AM/FM radio and heater, Mr. Hogan’s car is equipped with power steering to help turn the B.F. Goodrich white-letter tires.

“I drove it about a year,” Mr. Hogan says, “then it started using some oil and the front end needed new ball joints and tie rod ends. It was getting a little worn out.”

In December 2007, Mr. Hogan pulled out the worn engine and was pleased to discover that it was a numbers-matching engine that was original to the car.

“I debated on whether to have it rebuilt or put a Hemi in it,” Mr. Hogan says. “The Hemi is a lot more fun.”

He decided to have his cake and eat it, too. He stored the original engine (to be rebuilt later) and installed a 472-cubic-inch Hemi engine in the ‘69 Dodge. Mr. Hogan says it now develops 525 horsepower. “It still has the factory ram air,” Mr. Hogan says. “It operates by pulling a lever under the dashboard.”

The engine swap was completed by the end of January 2008. Mr. Hogan says his Super Bee is equipped with a “tick tock tach,” a combination clock/ tachometer on the far left end of the dashboard that someone must have thought was a good idea. The 8,000-rpm tachometer has a red line of 5,000 rpm.

The speedometer tops out at 150 mph. Mr. Hogan says a reliable source reports that 135 mph is easily attained. Driving in modern day traffic necessitated the addition of a right side mirror.

“For safety I had to put it on,” Mr. Hogan says. “It comes in handy.”

“They love me to no end at the gas station,” he says. He reports highway mileage of 12 mpg and 8 mpg in town. The gas cost is not really so prohibitive because the car is only driven on sunny summer days.

The four-speed gearshift lever sprouts from the floor through the asymmetrical console. Because the Super Bee is based on the 117-inch wheelbase Coronet platform, it has a fairly comfortable ride. Head rests were first being required at the time and Mr. Hogan’s car is so equipped.

Mr. Hogan enjoys listening to the music tumbling from the dual exhausts. “It’s not that loud,” he says, but even so, “you really can’t hear the radio.”

For your car to become the subject of the Classic Classics column, send a photo (frontal 3/4 view), plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Dr., Vienna, VA 22181. Only photos of good quality will be considered. No customs or hotrods accepted.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

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