Back in 1969, a fellow by the name of Mr. Miller made the 8 hour and 700 kilometer (435 miles) drive from his house in Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Prince George Chrysler to purchase the new family car, a brand new Bright Green Metallic 1969 ½ Dodge A12 Super Bee. After purchasing his new Super Bee, Mr. Miller drove the car back home to Prince Rupert. Once he got it home, he took his wife for a ride and much to his dismay, she told him he was selling it and to take it back to the dealership. Disappointed, a week or so later, Mr. Miller took the Super Bee back to Prince George Chrysler and traded it in on a more normal and subdued family car.
Around this time, a young couple named Gord and Diane Miller (not related to the first Miller) came up to Prince George Chrysler from Williams Lake, British Columbia to purchase a ’69 Dodge Coronet R/T with a 426 Hemi for Diane to daily drive. At the time, Diane was 19 years old and around 90 pounds soaking wet. Upon taking the elephant-powered Coronet R/T for a test drive; the couple realized it just wouldn’t be possible for Diane to comfortably drive the car daily with manual brakes and manual steering. When they got back to the dealership, Diane noticed the freshly returned A12 Super Bee sitting on the lot. After driving the car, the couple realized it was much more suitable for daily driving duties so they purchased the Bee and took it home to Williams Lake.
For the next 18 years, Diane daily drove the Super Bee and used it as the family car. She would drive it to the grocery store, take her kids to school, go camping, you name it; she even brought her kids home from the hospital in the car! Around the late 1980’s, the car was starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear so the Millers decided to list it for sale. A gentleman named Rob Buchanan purchased the worn out Super Bee and brought it down to the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia. Once getting it home, rather than driving it as-is, he tore it apart and started restoring the A12 back to its former glory. With the car all torn apart, he sent it to a local body shop in Abbotsford to start the body and paint process.
In the early 1990’s, a local Mopar enthusiast and restorer named Ray Myles took a friend’s 1967 Plymouth Hemi GTX to the same body shop to get painted. It was here Ray saw the Super Bee for the first time as a stripped down shell mounted on a rotisserie. “It was ugly and old with no quarter panels on it or trunk floor in it. I didn’t think much of it. Rob wouldn’t put quarter panels on it until he found the right ones. The Jobber quarters that were available at the time had the wrong body lines on it so he refused to use them. Sometime over the next couple years, they found NOS quarters and a clean used trunk floor from a California car. The car was reassembled using those parts and then painted,” says Ray.
He continues, “With the car painted, Rob then took the car home. He actually cut a hole in the side of his house and put the car in his rec room. Now there’s a dedicated car guy. Over the next little while, some situations happened in Rob’s life and he needed to sell his cars. The Super Bee hadn’t been touched since bringing it home from the paint shop and it was sitting in his rec room without a nut or bolt on it. Six different people came and looked at it and passed on it because it was too big of a project for them.”
Ray went and looked at the car and decided to purchase it and bring it home. Over the next 7 weeks, he did a full rotisserie restoration and completely assembled the car in his garage at home before driving it to its debut show at the 15th Annual Mopar Spring Roundup in Bellevue, Washington in 1996 where it brought home quite a few awards. “We begged and borrowed parts from all of our friends to get it to the show,” shares Ray. Now that’s an amazing feat!
Being as it was restored on a rotisserie, the underside of the Super Bee is just as shiny as the top side. Every inch of the car has been restored. “I don’t leave anything untouched. I try to do everything as detailed and correct as possible. With a car like this, it needs to be correct,” says Ray. Most of the parts on the car are the ones it left the factory with. Ray tried to keep as much of the original parts on the car as possible. The original hood had some minor damage but was restored.
The vinyl top is the original one to the car as are the door panels and dash assembly including the dash pad. The door handles, arm rest pads and bases are also the original. The seat covers were replaced with Legendary parts during the restoration as the seats had been redone incorrectly at some point in its life and new carpet was installed too. Ray tells us that the headliner had to be replaced as the body shop got paint on it that couldn’t be removed which was a bummer as it was in great shape still.
All of the trim is the original pieces that have been restored and polished. Under that legendary lift off hood is the numbers matching 440 Six-Pack engine and A833 4-speed transmission that were completed redone when Ray purchased the car. Out back is the Super Bee’s original 4:10 equipped Dana 60 rear end.
In 2011, Ray and his wife Rachelle towed the car up to a car show in Williams Lake with the recommendation of a friend named Ron Lynd who expressed interest in the car making a trip back home. “While we were at the show, a woman driving past noticed the Super Bee parked in the show. She hit the brakes at the end of the road, turned around and came back. She parked and came up to us and said, “That’s my old car!”
As it turns out, it was Diane Miller. He retells, “After talking to her for a bit, she went home and brought back some old photos of the car, the original registration papers, original keys and the Super Bee emblem that was broken off the trunk lid. After the show, we took her and her grand kids for a ride in the car. It was really cool! Since then, we’ve kept in touch with the family and always send them photos of the car to let them know it has a good and pampered life.”