Bee Down Under: Adrian Mason’s 1971 Dodge Super Bee

“The Super Bee I own and drive most days came into my life in an unusual way. It really was just a spur of the moment decision. Thinking back now, if I had thought practically about it when I purchased it, I would never have done it. That being said, I’m very glad I bought it,” recalls Adrian Mason from Australia.

Adrian grew up as an independent trailblazer and really forged his own path through-out the years. “Sometimes I’m different from the norm just to be different.” Over the years, Adrian has participated in a a lot of sports such as hockey, volleyball, middle distance and cross country running, body boarding, surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, bungee jumping and stand up jet-skiing.

After an unfortunate wave jumping accident on a jet ski, a snapped left Achilles tendon left him spending a lot of time on the couch recovering. He tells us, “I was getting really miserable with no active outlet. One night while surfing the web in April 2016, I came across a website I had been on before while looking at getting a Jeep from the U.S. It was at this moment I spotted a sweet looking muscle car for sale in the U.S.”

Wanting to know more, Adrian emailed a sales guy to get his advice between a Jeep and the muscle car in particular; a Hemi Orange ’71 Dodge Super Bee. The sales guy suggested the Super Bee because it was numbers matching and would be a lot more collectible than a modified Jeep. “It had it’s original dealer window sticker, broadcast sheet and owners manual still. I considered his advice but two things actually made up my mind. One was that the Super Bee was a whole lot more ‘family friendly’ and my kids wouldn’t freeze to death in the backseat when I took them to school. The other deciding factor was the Super Bee was a ’71 and I was born in ’71. This was a match made in heaven,” shares Adrian.

Once he decided that he wanted to purchase the Bee, Adrian sprung into action filing out forms, sorting out shipping for the cars 3,500 km trip across the States to the boat in California and then the 15,000 km trip across the water to Australia. On top of that, he also had to organize permits for customs and insurance. While Adrian bought the car sight unseen, he felt comfortable purchasing it from the dealer in Atlanta, Georgia as it seemed a whole lot safer than buying a car privately with no recourse if there were issues.

The Super Bee arrived in Australia in August 2016 and was licensed by October. There was one thing Adrian didn’t do though; he didn’t tell his wife. “My wife and I were heading down south on a holiday and had to drop into the warehouse at my work where the Super Bee had been stored for a few months. I had completely forgotten that I hadn’t told her until we nearly got there. I thought quickly and decided to come clean. I said to my wife “uh, honey, I have something to tell you… I bought a car, actually, it’s really an investment”. With fear and trembling, I let my wife into the warehouse to show her. She exclaimed, “you bought a car THAT color?!?” Outwardly, I was defending the looks and coolness but inside I was jumping for joy. I had just purchased a car and hid it from my wife for six months and all she had to complain about was the color. Phew, I was off the hook,” laughs Adrian.

Having survived telling his wife about the car, Adrian quickly started driving the car and enjoying it. Since it is numbers matching and mostly original, he has no plans to modify it or restore it. He says, “I don’t want to mess with the originality. I just want it to be reliable. I just want to drive it and plant my foot into it whenever I get the urge. It brings a smile to my face every time!”

When talking about the history of the car, Adrian tells us that it has quite an interesting one. “In August 2002, the car caught on fire. While it was parked in the owner’s driveway in Georgia, the horn starting blaring loudly. The owner ran outside and tried to turn the ignition switch to shut the horn off but when she did, smoke started billowing out of the dash. The fire was able to spread through the dash and caught the front seat on fire before the fire department put it out, thankfully saving the rest of the car.”

After the fire, the car was given an overhaul to repair all of the fire damage. In 2010, the original 383 engine was taken out and rebuilt. It was fitted with an Edelbrock four barrel carburetor and intake manifold along with a Comp Cams camshaft for a nice lope. The exhaust has been upgraded as well with custom headers from Tube Technologies and a full 2.5″ Flowmaster exhaust system. It still also retains its original A833 4-speed transmission and 8 3/4 rear end that were both rebuilt as well. It rides on 15″ Torque Thrust wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires (225/60 front & 295/60 rear).

Since bringing it home, Adrian tells us that he has just done simple maintenance to it such as replacing rubber suspension parts, installing a new fan, rebuilding the steering box and doing a few other necessary things. “I had a few issues with dodgy wiring but that appears to be all cleared up now thankfully considering it’s history with bad wiring,” laughs Adrian. Otherwise, he tells us that he just plans to continue putting miles on it and enjoying every second behind the wheel. Adrian also has an Instagram account dedicated to the Super Bee if you’d like to follow it!

Special thanks to Leon Damon for usage of some of his excellent photos!

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Cody Krueger

Car Feature Editor – Since the age of 4, Cody has been obsessed with everything Mopar. On Christmas of 1998, Cody's parents gave him a rusty '69 Charger shell that his father saved from a field. Cody's garage still features that '69 Charger as well as the additions of a '71 Charger R/T, '71 Super Bee, '73 Duster, '08 Challenger SRT8 and a '13 Ram 3500. Cody can truly and proudly say that he is a true Mopar nut in love with all types of Mopars!

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