Bryan Durdle lives and breathes everything 1970 Dodge Coronet. He said he had always wanted a 1970 FC-7 Plum Crazy Purple Super Bee since passing by one almost every day on his way to school as a kid. Over the years he would own no less than seven 1970 Coronets ranging from station wagons to 4-door sedans, including a 2-door 500, a R/T and a 440 model but those still didn’t satisfy his urge for a Plum Crazy Super Bee.
After selling his original-paint 1973 Dart Sport in 2007, Bryan and his wife started looking for his dream Super Bee. It turned out to be a tough find considering he was looking for an original FC-7 Plum Crazy Purple 383 4-speed car equipped with a Bulge hood, white top (painted or vinyl), white reverse “C” stripes and white bench seat interior. After looking for almost two years with no luck, in February 2009, Bryan came across a really clean 1970 Coronet 440 model for sale in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Coronet was powered by a 318 automatic and only had 53,299 original miles. It was at that point that he decided he would build what he couldn’t find and purchased the car that day and had it shipped east to his home in Nova Scotia.
Once the car was home, it was completely stripped and all of the windows, body parts and interior were removed. Being as it had such low mileage, the body on the car was very clean requiring only lower quarter patch panels, one drop down trunk extension and a small hole repaired on the driver’s side floor just below the high beam foot switch. The car retains all its original body panels except for the Super Bee bulge hood that he added.
The underside retained its original undercoating and even the trunk floor is original. It’s quite rare to find a Canadian car in this good of shape. The body and paint were handled by Bryan’s cousin, Jeff Pastuck with many hours of help from his father Steven. Together, they did an absolute stunning job laying down the Plum Crazy paint. Bryan had the bumpers re-chromed and the window trim polished. All other chrome including wheel opening moldings, rocker moldings, door handles, mirrors, tail light trim, emblems and antenna were replaced.
On the inside, the lower Coronet dash was removed and replaced with a correct Super Bee dash. From there, the gauges were restored including internals and front faces. The stock AM radio was sent out to Ward’s Classic Radios where the insides were removed and replaced with all modern components so it now has AM/FM which can be used for Satellite radio. It also features iPod and MP3 hook ups as well as it being linked to an NOS Spark-O-Matic under dash 8-track player running 250 watts/per/channel. Sticking up through the carpet is the un-mistakable legendary wood grain Hurst pistol-grip 4-speed shifter.
A custom bracket holds two small 2-inch speakers in the center of the dash and a set of aftermarket gauges also keep an eye on oil pressure and water temperatures. Bryan took the original stock black bench seat interior and completely recovered everything in white. All of the replacement interior pieces came from Legendary Interiors including seat covers, door panels, headliner, arm rests, sail panels and sun visors. The car is a factory A/C car but all original components have been replaced with a completely modern system from Classic Air. During the restoration, all of the wiring in the car from the headlights to the tail lights was completely replaced with new harnesses.
Under the hood is a 1971 HP 440 that Bryan dressed up with a period-correct 383 call-out air cleaner and matching fender badges. The stock-written rating on this engine was 370 horsepower at 4,600 RPM and 480 lbs-ft. of torque at 3,200 RPM. The thicker HP rods were balanced and spin on a forged crankshaft cut .0020 and balanced to match. The 440 has also been bored .30 over with cast flat top pistons, Mopar Performance “purple camshaft” kit with .474 lift and the heads are stock 906’s that are planed. New guides and a valve job with stainless steel valve seats and stock springs complete the build.
The transmission is a stock A-833 4-speed with the previously mentioned beautiful pistol grip shifter. The rear differential is a stock 8 3/4 unit fitted with 3:55 gears and a Sure Grip. Darrell Peck and Bryan’s father Donnie Durdle handled the mechanical side of things. Finishing up Bryan’s Super Bee is a set of chrome American Racing Thrust D (15×8.5 and 15×7 with 3.75 BS) wrapped in Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/T rubber (275/60/15’s on the rear and 225/70/15’s up front). Bryan extended a special thanks to his wife Shannon Durdle and their son Brady for their support during the restoration as well as Sandy, Roy and Dwyane at DSI Transmission in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for their help figuring out a bunch of bugs with the car. He also wants to give a shout out to Robin McQueen over at Automolove.ca who designed an awesome banner of the car which proudly hangs on the wall next to it!