1969 Dodge Superbee reminds Illinois man of his high school years

February 28, 2009/Steve Tackett


Chuck Hogan graduated high school in 1971. He remembers high his school years as being the heyday of American muscle cars.
A couple of years after graduation he purchased a used 1969 Dodge Superbee. He still remembers that the turquoise car with a white interior had 35,000 miles on the odometer. In 1973, Hogan paid $850 for the Dodge and kept it about three years before selling it and moving on with his life.
More than three decades later, Hogan started to look for another 1969 Dodge Superbee like his first one. Only later did he learn that in 1969 just 15 turquoise Superbees were made with the four-speed manual transmission.
“I searched the Internet for a couple of months and found a red one in St. Louis,” Hogan says.
On a Saturday in November 2006, Hogan and his wife took a five-hour ride downstate from Kane County in Illinois and over to St. Louis, Mo., in order to inspect the red Dodge.
“We took it for a ride,” Hogan says. “There was some rust in the trunk, the lifters knocked and it was all over the road,” he recalls. A disappointed Hogan returned to his Batavia, Ill., home.
“Sunday morning I was back on the Internet and found a yellow one in St. Charles, Mo.,” he says. The yellow car was located about 20 minutes away from where he had seen the red one the day before.
“The next Saturday we were off to Missouri again,” Hogan says. “It was the same 300-mile trip in a week.”
The yellow Dodge was as good as the red one was bad. Hogan bought it on the spot and went home to await the delivery truck. It arrived the week before Christmas.
Hogan learned that his 1969 Dodge was one of the 27,846 Superbees produced and had a base price of $3,138. The hardtop coupe could have been ordered with a variety of engines. Most Superbees were built for speed. This one left the factory with a 383-cubic-inch V-8 under the hood. It produced 335 horsepower.
Hogan’s car had recently been restored in Tennessee and had been resprayed in the original yellow with the distinctive black stripe around the tail. From the headliner down to the carpet, the interior is totally black.
Beside the AM/FM radio and heater, Hogan’s car is equipped with power steering to help turn the B.F. Goodrich white letter tires.
“I drove it about a year,” Hogan says, “then it started using some oil and the front end needed new ball joints and tie rod ends. It was getting a little worn out.”
In December 2007, Hogan pulled out the worn engine and was pleased to discover that it was a numbers matching engine that was original to the car. “I debated on whether to have it rebuilt or put a Hemi in it,” Hogan says. “The Hemi is a lot more fun.”
He decided to have his cake and eat it, too. He stored the original engine (to be rebuilt later) and installed a 472-cubic-inch Hemi engine in the ’69 Dodge. Hogan says it now develops 525 horsepower. “It still has the factory ram air,” Hogan says. “It operates by pulling a lever under the dashboard.”
The engine swap was completed by the end of January 2008. Hogan says his Superbee is equipped with a “tick tock tach,” a combination clock/tachometer on the far left end of the dashboard that someone must have thought was a good idea. The 8,000-rpm tachometer has a red line of 5,000 rpm.
The speedometer tops out at 150 mph. Hogan says a reliable source reports that 135 mph is easily attained. Driving in modern day traffic necessitated the addition of a right side mirror.
“For safety I had to put it on,” Hogan says. “It comes in handy.”
The handsome wheels are actually replicas of the original factory wheels, Hogan says.
“They love me to no end at the gas station,” Hogan says. He reports highway mileage of 12 mpg and 8 mpg in town. The gas cost is not really so prohibitive because the car is only driven on sunny summer says. The muscular engine does require premium gasoline and Hogan uses a fuel additive.
The four-speed gearshift lever sprouts from the floor through the asymmetrical console. Because the Superbee is based on the 117-inch wheelbase Coronet platform, it has a fairly comfortable ride. Headrests were first being required at the time and Hogan’s car is so equipped.
Hogan enjoys listening to the music tumbling from the dual exhausts. “It’s not that loud,” he says but even so, “you really can’t hear the radio.”

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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009