383/4-Speed: 1969 Dodge Super Bee

There’s no hiding the fact that some project builds are going to be bigger than others, and that some project cars will be more desirable than others. The 1969 Dodge Super Bee ticks the right boxes when it comes to the question of desirability. However, when it comes to the question of major project builds, this car rates up there with the best of them. It will take a dedicated individual to return it to its former glory. So, if you think that you could be that person, you will find the Dodge located in Saranac, Michigan, and listed for sale here on eBay. There has been a single bid of $8,000 submitted at the time of writing, but this remains short of the reserve. However, 82 people are watching the auction.

This Dodge is claimed to be a one-owner classic, but that hasn’t stopped it from suffering badly over the years. It wears Copper paint, and I’m pretty sure that it also originally featured a Beige vinyl top. The vinyl is now a distant memory, and the paint has seen better days. However, that is the mere tip of the iceberg in this case. I’m sure that many of our readers won’t be surprised to learn that the Super Bee has some significant rust issues. It has impacted all of the lower body extremities, as well as taking a bite out of some of the steel that used to be concealed by the vinyl. From a positive standpoint, it is possible for the buyer to source reproduction pieces to replace all of the rotted steel, so returning the bodyshell to a pristine state is possible. The restoration process will also entail replacing a fair percentage of the trim and chrome, but the glass appears to be okay.

The rust in the panels served as an entree for what is going on below the surface with the Super Bee. Once again, there is plenty of rust for the buyer to tackle, and this appears to have consumed the floors and the trunk pan. There is some heavy corrosion on the frame rails, so the next owner will need to inspect these carefully. The rear rails are particularly prone to rust and failure around the back spring hanger, so it is vitally important that this area is structurally sound. I get the impression that this Dodge’s next owner is going to find themselves on a first-name basis with the people who will be supplying all of the replacement steel for this classic.

Dodge offered the Super Bee with the 383ci V8 as the “baby” of the engine options for 1969, but this engine was no wimp. With 335hp on tap and a 4-speed manual transmission bolted to the back of it, the 383 would’ve fired the Super Bee through the ¼ mile in 14.4 seconds. Any owner who was brave enough to keep their foot buried to the floor would be rewarded with a top speed of 137mph. This Dodge features both of these components, along with a Sure Grip rear end and power steering. The owner admits that the vehicle has been off the road since 1975, but he doesn’t indicate why it was parked. The Dodge would have been a relative youngster when this occurred, so we need to hope that it wasn’t a major mechanical problem that has laid it low. Regardless of the story, it will take more than five minutes to coax this classic back to life.

One thing is certain with this Super Bee: It is consistent. Its interior exhibits the same level of deterioration that we see across the rest of the car, and it will take nothing short of an interior retrim to return it to its former glory. The dash itself is complete and in reasonable condition, although the lenses on the Rally gauges have become cloudy and might require replacement. The dash pad is cracked, while all of the upholstery, the headliner, and the carpet have deteriorated beyond the point of no return. The downside here is that when compared to offerings from GM and Ford, Mopar interior trim kits do tend to be more expensive. That means that this aspect of the project is not likely to be cheap. However, if the work is completed properly using high-quality parts, an interior retrim is likely to represent a one-off expense. Once installed, there is no reason why the upholstery and carpet shouldn’t last for 50-years if it is treated with care and respect.

So, as we have seen, restoring this 1969 Dodge Super Bee will represent a major undertaking. There will be a lot of cutting and welding to return the bodyshell to a structurally sound state, and that’s just the starting point. The big question has to revolve around whether this is a financially viable project. The killer punch with this car is what resides under the hood. The 383 is an awesome motor, but any ’69 Super Bee is going to suffer in the market with that motor occupying the engine bay. If this vehicle was equipped with the 440, it would have the potential to be worth $80,000 or more once restored. If it were Hemi-equipped, that pushes that value into six-figure territory. However, 383-equipped examples currently struggle to sell for much more than $40,000. The bidding has already reached 20% of that value, and nobody has laid a spanner on this classic yet. That means that there is a long way to go before this Dodge presents at its best once again. Do you think that it is worth the effort, or is its destiny to serve as a parts car?

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Comments

  1. GP Member

    I would have eight grand in my pocket and a big smiley face.

    Like 10
    • Steve R

      No kidding. I like these cars, I’ve had a few 68-69 4sp Road Runners, however, I wouldn’t touch this car with a 10 foot pole at half the price.

      There are too many other desirable performance cars at reasonable prices, especially if you factor in what the Big Three have produced over the last 35 years to consider a car in this condition.

      Steve R

      Like 18
  2. Moparman Member

    From “Forrest Gump”: Run, Forrest, Run!
    From “Monty Python”: Run away! Run away!!
    YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, LOL!! :-)

    Like 12
  3. g

    That looks like my buddy’s dad’s car. I’m going by the barn and view around it(although very common view in Ionia). If so I’ve been watching this poor thing rust for 40 years. His twin brother had the same Bee with an auto. He might have finally sold it to someone in Saranac, which would be the other side of Ionia county.

    Like 3
  4. MJF

    Easy Trunk Access ….

    Like 2
  5. Melton Mooney

    I’d just about kill for 69 SBee project…but not this one.

  6. Melton Mooney

    From the factory, coupes, like this one, were a little lighter than hardtops. This one is waaay lighter.

    Like 4
  7. Don Eladio

    Junk, sorry to say.

    Like 3
  8. AMXBrian

    Perfect for an autobody school, minus the price. Years and years of work

    Like 4
  9. luckylugnut

    Fresh air vents courtesy of Mother Nature. Yikes !

    Like 2
  10. Charles Sawka

    Graveyard Cars, they could get 10 episodes from this one.

    Like 5
  11. GCS Member

    It that the total lack of a trunk floor and fuel tank? It’s a shame. If it had less rust, it would be a start. Yes, a tech school project now. Too bad.

    Like 2
  12. Jay McCarthy

    This is one crispy critter that chalked up 83k miles in 6 years and then parked, I’m thinking bad engine too

    Like 2
  13. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    Owner ought to hide a few pounds of tannerite somewhere in the remains and charge some money for raffle tickets with a rifle shot per ticket and the one who hits the tannerite gets a prize when the super bee goes boom.

    Like 1
  14. Skorzeny

    Okay okay okay, I get it, not THIS car. But if I could have three muscle cars, it would be this, a ‘70 Buick GS, and a ‘70/71 Trans Am.

  15. HowlingCricket

    Yep. Seen better days. At least I have the memories of riding in the back seat with my sister. Remember when my Dad would pull up to a friend with another muscle car and he would say…kids get on the floor… Cause back then seat belts were only for serious racing.

  16. DON

    $8000 for this ? Somewhere in the country, there is a nice 318 powered Coronet thats going to disappear from this earth and this Super Bee will mysteriously rise from the ashes .

    Like 1
  17. Curtis

    A 57 Plymouth fury was buried then dug up 50 yrs later and looks better than that.

    Like 1
  18. Robert

    Too rotted out for me.

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