"You know you have something special when a Ferrari F430 pulls into the gas station and people pass it by to check out your car," owner and builder Ben Grasso tells us through a huge grin. This is something Ben would have to get used to. In 2007, this car was unveiled at SEMA, and drew a crowd every time the key went to the run position. "It's just something about the X-pipe Boom Tube exhaust and the individual throttle bodies that give it a wild sound," Ben says.
"This car started with a dream that the ugly duckling of Mopars could become something spectacular," Ben explains. In the fall of 1967, Dodge watched Plymouth release its budget musclecar, the Road Runner. Dodge's answer back was a redesign of its third-generation Coronet. They were not as successful as the more common and lower-priced Road Runner, but production didn't stop. Despite trailing in sales to its sibling, Dodge took another swing with a love-it-or-hate-it front-end change. It seemed that style was what hurt Super Bee sales the most, since all the options were nearly identical to the Road Runner's. Ben saw this as an opportunity to turn some heads with his forgotten contender in the musclecar battle. "I wanted to build a car like Dodge would have if the consideration of mass production and government interjection didn't exist, and I think I've achieved that," Ben says proudly. Ben's plan for the car was to build it as a high-speed, all top-end car, but with the involvement of Steve Enochs of Paintshop101, the direction changed. Now with a body shop on board, Ben was able to let his imagination run wild, with styling cues borrowed from other Mopars that he adored so much.
Originally equipped with leaf...
Originally equipped with leaf springs, Lateral Dynamic's B-body three-link suspension components, complete with Watts link, clean up the rearend. This setup is designed to be beaten on at the track-exactly Ben's intentions.
Most people start a shop with the intention of building supercars like this one. Ben had it a little backward, or forward, depending on how you look at it. The car had been bounced around friends' houses for storage for over seven years when Ben decided to tackle this build. Originally wearing purple paint, this Coronet inspired the name and theme of his new business, Plum Floored Creations. He specializes in Mopar muscle rejuvenated with modern powerplants, suspensions, and electronics. This car obviously is no exception. He has removed the entire rear suspension to make room for Lateral Dynamic's three-link suspension, and replaced all the front suspension components to optimize the torsion-bar setup.
He had been looking for the perfect motor for this car to power through the turns of a road course, along with all the modern suspension goodies. "I see the old Chevys updated with the LS motors, and the Fords with their mod motors; I was always jealous. I've been waiting for the day us Mopar guys would have a small-block to modernize our drivetrains. My prayers were answered, and in my opinion, the 6.1L Hemi is the best small-block Dodge has ever produced, second best to the 426 all around." Those are strong words from such an avid Pro Touring Mopar enthusiast. This motor meant Ben could carry the current technology theme through the engine bay of this project, and many more in the future. Now that the 6.1L Hemi has been around a couple years, the aftermarket industry is catching up with parts to make them perform. Ben's next project will use Vortech's supercharger kit in his 6.1L-based 426ci stroker that will power a '69 Road Runner called "Dark Runner."
Beyond all the bells and whistles installed throughout the engine bay, interior, and undercarriage, the most impressive modifications lie beneath the paint. Ben started off with a stock-bodied car, that needed a little help. The guys from Year One came to the rescue with fresh quarter-panels, a rear window filler, and trunk floor. This sheetmetal freshening gave Ben a clear vision of the car's potential. Coupled with Plum Floored Creations, Paintshop101 gave the Super Bee a whole new flair with a relocated and heightened hoodscoop, Coronet R/T-inspired sidescoops, and most striking, the modified front fascia. Considering how it came equipped, it's hard to imagine that Dodge wouldn't employ this design if they had the chance back then. Ben and company elegantly grafted foglights and a chin spoiler to the front sheetmetal to give it that Pro Touring look he sought. For further cleanup, Ben shaved the door handles, revised the driprails, and tightened up the weatherstripping. These modifications don't jump out at you like a large rear spoiler or complicated graphics would, and that's how he imagined it.