1971 Super Bee Dodge Charger

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    '71 Charger Super Bee

   Tom Hartkopf - EL5 BUTTERSCOTCH


By Tom Hartkopf

1971 Charger Super Bee I the summer of '96 I started looking for a decent Mopar cruiser to purchase. During the Woodward cruise my brother spotted a '71 Super Bee on the side of the road for sale and thought we should check it out. It was Butterscotch with brown interior 383-3spd on the floor. Car had original paint and solid but looked as though the Duke boys had owned it for a while. I managed to make a deal on the car and this sparked my passion for the '71's.

I tinkered with the car for a few years and decided I wanted a nicer starting point rather than doing a total resto. So in the summer of '99 I started my search for a factory 440 car. With the low production #'s I thought it could be almost an impossible task but with all the Mopar internet sites it opened up things allot. After posting wanted adds on every site I could find and looking at many disappointing cars I received an email from a guy that said he saw this U code '71 Bee advertised on a site and passed along the info. I quickly contacted the owner and he still had the car. After many phone conversations, pictures and video tape were sent I jumped on a plane and flew to AZ in Jan of 2000.

1971 Charger Super Bee The owner Brian and his wife Christi were very nice and extremely helpful in helping me make the trip. They picked me up at the airport, and brought me to their house to see the Bee. It was sitting in the drive as we pulled up to the house I had a good feeling about this one. It wasn't perfect but it was at least as good as described. After looking it over for a while we struck a deal and went over to a nearby Ryder truck rental and picked up a trailer and truck to tow the Bee back to MI.

The car had a decent running 69 440-4bbl in the car but what was great is the matching # engine was on a stand in the garage along with the trans. After several hours of loading the car and the extra parts (the engine was a bear to get into the back of the truck without a picker) I was on my way home being the proud new owner of a '71 440 4bbl Super Bee.

1971 Charger Super Bee I had never towed anything in my life or been to AZ so the mountains were a bit of an adventure. I also gained alot of respect for truckers and what they do along the way. The weather held for me on the trip not seeing a single drop of rain or snow and I made it home without incident.

After getting the car home I was able to really look the car over good and realized it was even better than I thought it was. It was originally purchased in Colorado and spent it's life there before Brian moved to AZ the year before. He was the fourth owner and he had a couple of the previous owners #'s. I contacted them and got a little of the cars history.

Couldn't find out much about the original owner but at one point the Bee almost became a parts car with someone wanting to purchase the Ramcharger hood and the 15in wheels had already been removed. Fortunately Luke and Sara purchased (saved) the car and restored it in about 1982. She drove it for several years before selling it to Brian.

The car has several options. It is a Lynch road built car so there isn't much info on the fender tag except that it did come with the Ramcharger hood, the black bucket interior and the EL5 color is correct but that is about it. Somewhere along the way the built sheet disappeared. Besides the afore mentioned items the car also has:

  • Tuff wheel
  • AM/FM radio
  • Slapstick auto
  • 6 way drivers seat
  • Front and rear spoilers
  • Duel painted mirrors
  • Front and rear bumper guards
  • PS
  • PDB
  • 355 sure-grip
  • and of course the 440-4bbl engine

I have done some work to the car since acquiring it. Besides cleaning it up a ton I installed a complete Accurate Ltd exhaust system. Installed legendary seat covers. Replaced the carpet. Added 225-60-15 Radial TA's and Installed KYB shocks. Last summer I pulled the engine and trans and installed another 440 that had a fresh rebuild that was sitting in my garage. I figured I would save the original for another day. This is by far the best car I have ever owned. It really is a pleasure to drive and really gets alot of looks. The other thing great about these cars is they still don't bring in the big bucks (yet) that the earlier models do which make a rare car like this affordable to someone like me. I took it to a show in the spring and actually ran into a guy that has a '71 U code Canadian export Bee that he is trying to restore. His name is Martin and he is going to send me some pic's some day. He said it is GY3 and a 4spd car. Said it is complete but has some rust. If he sends me the pics's I will forward them. Well that is about it so, looks like time to take a run down to Woodward!!


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