“Is it really an offical project car without a professional rendering?” Mopar Connection‘s Staff Editor, Gavin Wollenburg teased. The plan for our ne’er-do-well 1970 Dodge Super Bee was a bit of a mystery to me, even after a year’s worth of planning, discussions, proposals and subsequent re-planning. It was 7 years since I had an artist’s rendering for Brazen made, and is with most builds, had veered from the final goal further than I had wished. ZomBEE wasn’t even a complete body anymore and the end zone was further than when I had started.
Through a series on conversations with friends at Holley, I was introduced to famed graphic artist Brian Stupski of Problem Child Kustoms. Having developed a “number of vehicles which have won […] many top awards at events like the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Barrett-Jackson Cup in Reno, as well as Ridler Award Great-8 and Goodguys Street Machine and Custom Rod of the Year,” Stupski’s work has even appeared on TV and in movies like The Fast and the Furious.
And while certain details will remain in flux for many more months and even years to come, the final plan for our farm shed-found, rotted-beyond-belief ‘Bee has begun to gel. Only after partnering with Classic Muscle Metal, Auto Metal Direct and USCT Motorsports could the restoration process even begin. So much of the ‘Bee was corroded and cancerous rot that I wasn’t sure if even the car could be returned to a solid body. A chance meeting with Dave Chamberlain of All Classics Restorations assured me that yes, ZomBEE could roll again, and so it went to Dave’s garage.
Thus far, much of the metalwork still remains to be done. Dave’s got paying customers after all, and ZomBEE will be taking up a large portion of his shop during the wintry months once he finishes up on some other cars. New floors, trunk pan, firewall, quarter panels, transmission tunnel (to fit the beefy 6-speed Magnum from Silver Sport Transmissions), deepened wheel tubs, sub-frame connectors, and the rest of the Stage 3 chassis stiffening kit will tie the unibody frame together. Shaving some weight, a lift-off fiberglass hood from VFN Fiberglass will have a modern Demon scoop grafted to it.
Once straightened, squared, block sanded and prepped, the newly revived B-body will be painted in 2005 Dodge Ceramic Blue, a semi-flat gray-blue used on specially-opted 2005 Dodge Rams and later on a select few Viper ACRs (not the baby blue shown in Stupski’s rendering). The hood will be shot in factory-textured Organisol to give our lift-off, four-pin hood a little of that 1969 1/2 A12 Super Bee feel. Thanks to a little creative effort, our “Zombie ZomBEE” design – a rotted blended of both the original Super Bee and the modern Scat Pak bumble bee – will be featured in a customized C-stripe on the quarters.
The freshly painted body will then be whisked a short drive to Hotchkis Sport Suspension’s Mooresville, NC headquarters, not too far from Dave’s Statesville shop. There, the ZomBEE will be properly fitted with its TVS (Total Vehicle System) package – including Hotchkis-tuned shocks, massive front and rear sway bars, huge front torsion bars, adjustable control A-arms, sporty leaf springs, and all proper linkage; ensuring the Bee’s capability at sporty cornering and high mile road-worthiness, all without re-engineering the car’s natural suspension architecture.
Regarding ZomBEE’s rolling stock, some changes needed to be made. Given the original plan to infuse this ’70 Super Bee with modern Mopar DNA, we dreamed up rolling on a set of factory 18-inch 5-spoke Demon Challenger rims. Unfortunately, incremental differences in the LC-based Demon’s 5 x 115mm lug pattern from the Super Bee’s 1970 5 x 4.5-inch (or 114.3mm) was enough to scrap that idea. Thankfully, our friends at YearOne offered a very attractive solution: their own 17-inch cast aluminum Mopar Rallye rims. Available in 17×8 and 17×9, the larger diameter rims are a smart take on the 1970s Rallyes using the machined lip to hide the larger overall diameter.
Part of that “modern Mopar DNA” includes some serious stopping power in form of a complete Baer Brakes braking system; specifically, their billet Remaster master cylinder, and Baer’s Pro+ bright red 6-piston, 6P calipers mounted to 13-inch, two-piece slotted, drilled, zinc plated rotors up front, with similar Pro+ discs in back. In fact, we’ve already got our rear brake kit, as they came equipped on our awesome Currie Enterprises Dana 60 rearend back in September. Filled with all the best stuff, including Currie’s 35-spline performance axles fitted with Timken Bearings, and an Eaton Detroit Locker True-Trac spinning a highway-friendly 3.54 ratio ring gear and pinion.
Right now, Mopar Connection Magazine is working together with Painless Performance (y’know, the leader in performance aftermarket wiring kits) to create a B-body harness that not only works to modernize your running-and-driving Dodge or Plymouth with superior connections and materials, but uses a factory-sized (but much improved) firewall block. It’ll also retain the use of your factory ammeter, all while letting you radically up the voltage with a big one-wire alternator and/or relocate the battery to the trunk. When ready for the public, this harness will be used in ZomBEE (as well as other MCM project cars – so stay tuned for updates).
This means ZomBEE will be stepping up to a big ol’ Flaming River 150amp alternator to supply all the juice we’ll need. Because moving all that meat up front is a lot tougher than a pair of skinnies, we’re gonna step up to a Borgeson close-ratio power steering box and pump – knowing that we want to keep the factory big block K-member, after all. For cooling, we’re going with a Proform Slim-Fit aluminum radiator and progressive-speed fan will replace the factory core. In front of that will be a new AC condenser for our Vintage Air air conditioning/heater/defroster unit that takes up half of the space as the factory unit. Although the factory burnt orange interior is pretty cool, we’re going to keep it simple with factory-style black interior and high-backed modern racing buckets to keep us planted.
Of course, the elephant in the room that we’ve yet to address is what will be powering ZomBEE? Well first, we still stand by the maxim, “If you can’t beat what’s on the showroom floor, you gotta pack it in.” And for us, that means we’ve gotta build a supercharged G3 Hemi that out performs the Demon. That’s why we turned to Edelbrock’s 426-cubic-inch, supercharged G3 Hemi crate engine. Although sharing the same displacement as Mopar’s Hellephant 1,000HP crate, the Edelbrock offering matches the stock Demon 6.2-liter’s 808 horsepower. Thankfully, the Edelbrock’s 762 ft-lbs. of torque outpaces the Demon’s 717 ft-lbs…but again, is that really enough for us?
The short answer is no way. Working together with Edelbrock, we’re going to push this 426 Hemi towards 900-horsepower, all while doing so on street-friendly pump gas. We’re still a long way away from finalizing the details with Edelbrock, and there’s some secret sauce and tricky voodoo that they’re not ready for us to share; but know that a 7-liter, blown elephant will be resting between the shock towers of our ’70 Dodge Super Bee. And that’s pretty exciting stuff. Of course, there’s stuff like a modern fuel delivery system capable of the necessary 70psi of fuel pressure, which will all follow.
Lastly, the big Hemi will be backed by Silver Sport Transmissions’ awesome T56 Magnum 6-speed, providing us with not one but two overdrive gears – ensuring some serious highway mileage. Plus, we can’t wait to see that big dogleg shifter and woodgrain pistol grip shifter jutting out of the floor! And that will complete this rotted-to-roadworthy resto-modification. It’s literally going to take years to complete as we’re meticulously chipping away at a rather extensive build, and have four other project cars to juggle in between updates, but we wanted to reveal all of the plans we’ve got for ZomBEE publicly so that all of you can hold our feet to the fire if we start to sway from the plan.