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The night a Super Bee scared hell out of me (Ed Story alert...)

moparedtn

I got your Staff Member riiiight heeeere...
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Mini-Ed Story Time (with a question I've always wondered and hope someone can answer
for me here):

As many years as I've been playing with these critters, I know a LOT of you guys are far more
knowledgeable than I at such things as how gears make cars behave...
Here we go:
There was an instance one time, in the wee hours back in the early 80's....that I simply can't explain.
I hope someone can here now.
The scene:
My friend in his all original Challenger T/A and me in my '68 Super Bee (that was decidedly NOT all
original), headed up the highway to a NeHOA meet in Syracuse NY in springtime.
My Bee had a 440, quite tame and worn, short of the usual headers, Holley and a bit of a purpleshaft
in it, 18 spline and 3.91 SG 8 3/4 rear - and some rather loud-assed cherry bombs.
The car was obnoxious (like I liked 'em in those days) but far from a speed demon - it was just an
old car really.

Anyways - back to that night:
We'd both been driving several hours since northern VA that night, trying to beat traffic through urban places
and such (we'd figured out nighttime travel was best to get to big shows) - and we're
both getting a bit antsy, in need stopping for leg-stretching and of course - gas.
Then, after hours of drowsy driving and in the middle of somewhere south of Syracuse, ol' Tom decides
it's time to get a bit silly....
In my road haze, I suddenly hear that T/A open up about the time he buzzes by me at about 90.
That admittedly wakes me up a bit from the road hypno I was under - so in kind, I decide to return the favor
and blast by him at 100 or so. :)
(Man, the crap we used to pull on public roads in our youth, I swear...)
Of course, he answers with a 110 pass of his own and I'm thinking "my car tops out at 115 and I'm
a long way - both distance and money-wise - from home here."

Ah, the heck with it... (sort of like todays' phrase of "hold my beer") ... I tell my passenger buddy to hang on,
that something, good or bad, is about to happen.
I then proceed to pass Tom, the Bee floored, and the car dutifully does its' 115 and says "that's all I got"...
My buddy Tom also knows that's all the Bee has, so he figures he'll roll by at 120 and that'll be that.
That would have normally been the end of it....but noooo:
Tom then gives me one of those smug ****-eating grins as he goes by...
Oh, hell no he didn't! Yeah, yeah he did, the little ****...
Well, that did it. I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction, not this time.
Irked at his cockiness, I decided to push things a bit, potential carnage be damned.

So....I run the car back up to its' "limit" and it starts doing that weird vibration it did at top speed
(never knew what that was, guessing driveshaft balance or some such?) and it hit its' usual "wall"...
except this time, 115 wasn't going to be good enough.
Hell, I even lifted momentarily, then slammed the pedal right back down with emphasis, barking at the Bee
to go faster and probably bending throttle stuff in the process.
She shook, she resisted, she got quiet a moment - then suddenly, she practically lept forward with some sort
of other-worldly added vigor and took off!
My mind, shocked at first at what was going on, frantically scanned gauges...
Speedo clicked past 120...125....130....135...140. Holy ****!
It was really weird - like we'd entered another dimension or something...
All the vibration was gone; the thing felt like something freed up in the driveline and she got all
smooth and URGENT...and all this was happening on a strange deserted interstate far from home
at 5am!

With a panicked glance at the Super Tach II, which I could only catch a glimpse of (but I think it
said "north of 6 grand - you're gonna BLOW THIS THING UP!" or something to that effect...), it
took a second for me to digest what was going on.
Keep in mind, that old car had never been anywhere NEAR such speeds. Heck, it ate oil at a quart
per tank in those days. I'm saying, it was a tired old 440....
but that raggedy old 440 had lept into some sort of time warp and as quickly as it had happened, I was out
of the throttle and steering white-knuckled, trying like hell to keep her straight with worn suspension and
air shocks and all that.
"Woah, big girl....please woah.....for the love of GOD, PLEASE woah...."
Quite entertaining, trying to pilot that ancient thing back down....

After a bit, adrenalin began to settle in both myself and the car - and the next exit thankfully had an open gas
station with suddenly VERY important restrooms.
I managed to exit, then get the car stopped at the deserted pumps and got it started filling up the now-empty tank.
When Tom finally comes rolling in, slowly - his eyes big as saucers - he's incredulous at what he's just witnessed.
I just hold up my index finger as if to say "gimme a minute" and practically run to the bathroom. :)
Later, sitting on the curb of the gas station and guzzling some cola (probably Jolt cola in those days?), I was able to discuss
what had occurred with Tom - but I couldn't quite explain it.
I didn't believe what the speedo and tach had told me, but he shook his head and said "you were definitely well over 130
because I couldn't keep up after that - what did you do to that thing?"
Not a dang thing, Tom. Honest....
"Damndest thing I've ever seen...." he says...and I never did that again, instead babying and taking the best care of the car
I could, sort of hoping it didn't punish me for what I'd done to it as well as rewarding it.

Now....that story told, I've never been able to explain what happened that night.
How in the hell did that old 440 spin that fast and not grenade? Hell, how did the admittedly geriatric original chassis car
not shake to pieces? How the heck did it do all that with 3.91 gears and no overdrive?
Beats hell out of me....but I tell you what:
I still remember it vividly to this day, 40+ years later.
Oh, I suppose I could give you a pic of the two cars in question, so here:
478403_3355960628373_947429247_o.jpg
Tom's still got his T/A. I foolishly sold the Bee sometime later to buy another, more original one....
Wish like hell I could get it back, of course. No idea where the car is (or even if it still exists).

Well, there ya go. Experts, let me have it!
 
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Just like an old girlfriend, all sweet and sassy but never quite enough. And then the prom gown comes off, and it's never the same. The Super Bee would never be able to put the cork back on the bottle after that. It just had to show that flashy T/A who was really the boss.
 
Lol, except for the bumper guards, you stole my car back in the 80’s. Mine did go 145mph(with 383&3.23’s). It took awhile to get there. Now I know why you like mine.
 
Maybe just like alot of horses. Real horses. You call for gallop they oblige. Then you ask them for a little bit more, bam your off to the races now.
Maybe your old 440 had just been giving you the regular gallop. That night you asked for that little bit more.
 
Yes a great story...I have 2 theories: A---your car indeed has a soul and gave you what you needed. or B---when you mashed that pedal you finally loosened up your poorly adjusted throttle cable and fully opened up your secondaries. Hey-you were young.
 
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Similar story; different outcome. I bought a new 383 SuperBee in February, 1969. The car came from the factory with automatic and 3.91's on a Suregrip. By that summer, it had enough miles on it to be broken in. My girlfriend (now wife) lived about 20 miles away, and I had just dropped her off, after a date. I was about halfway home, when another car came up behind me and flashed past. A fellow I worked with was going with my girlfriend's younger sister, and it was he who had passed me. He was driving a 1966 Chevelle with a 283, 4-speed, and likely 3.08 gears.
I was not going to let this challenge go unanswered, and jumped on the GO pedal. I caught up to and passed the Chevelle with the tach needle sitting on 6200, and the speedo nearing 125. This was all she had! When I slowed down to sane speed, I could hear an ominous clatter from under the hood. My gauges all read OK, I was almost home, so I decided to carefully limp home, figuring I had bent a pushrod. Since my 'Bee was still under warranty, I limped into the dealership on Monday, to await their diagnosis and repair. On Wednesday, I was called to come and pick up my repaired car. At the service department, I asked if it had been a bent pushrod. They said, no, it had been a bent connecting rod and cracked piston. The service manager went on to say that Chrysler had sent out a bulletin that some of the 383HP engines could have been assembled with too tight clearances, and mine must of been one of these. No questions, just apologies. I never drove that car that fast again.
Ed's old 440 must have been heading for 7000 rpm!
 
Really enjoy your reads!

Just like an old girlfriend, all sweet and sassy but never quite enough. And then the prom gown comes off, and it's never the same. The Super Bee would never be able to put the cork back on the bottle after that. It just had to show that flashy T/A who was really the boss.

Ed,
Great read, love it!

another great Ed story. Thanks Ed.

A very good story to read. The car just had to show you it still had it.
Terry W.

Maybe just like alot of horses. Real horses. You call for gallop they oblige. Then you ask them for a little bit more, bam your off to the races now.
Maybe your old 440 had just been giving you the regular gallop. That night you asked for that little bit more.

Yes a great story...I have 2 theories: A---your car indeed has a soul and gave you what you needed. or B---when you mashed that pedal you finally opened up your poorly adjusted throttle cable and fully opened up your secondaries. Hey-you were young.

Similar story; different outcome.
Ed's old 440 must have been heading for 7000 rpm!

Great story Ed, thanks:thumbsup:
Thank you all very much. As much as I always say I write these things as a form of therapy in the middle of a typical
sleepless night, I'll go ahead and admit it:
It does matter what folks think of my efforts and it means a hell of a lot to a fella when you all like them, especially
in these days. :thumbsup: :luvplace:
 
Similar story; different outcome. I bought a new 383 SuperBee in February, 1969. The car came from the factory with automatic and 3.91's on a Suregrip. By that summer, it had enough miles on it to be broken in. My girlfriend (now wife) lived about 20 miles away, and I had just dropped her off, after a date. I was about halfway home, when another car came up behind me and flashed past. A fellow I worked with was going with my girlfriend's younger sister, and it was he who had passed me. He was driving a 1966 Chevelle with a 283, 4-speed, and likely 3.08 gears.
I was not going to let this challenge go unanswered, and jumped on the GO pedal. I caught up to and passed the Chevelle with the tach needle sitting on 6200, and the speedo nearing 125. This was all she had! When I slowed down to sane speed, I could hear an ominous clatter from under the hood. My gauges all read OK, I was almost home, so I decided to carefully limp home, figuring I had bent a pushrod. Since my 'Bee was still under warranty, I limped into the dealership on Monday, to await their diagnosis and repair. On Wednesday, I was called to come and pick up my repaired car. At the service department, I asked if it had been a bent pushrod. They said, no, it had been a bent connecting rod and cracked piston. The service manager went on to say that Chrysler had sent out a bulletin that some of the 383HP engines could have been assembled with too tight clearances, and mine must of been one of these. No questions, just apologies. I never drove that car that fast again.
Ed's old 440 must have been heading for 7000 rpm!
Ed's motor was tired - so no tight tolerances!!!

Yours was certainly "broken" in that night! Great story too!
 
Good story Ed. Were you a NeHOA member or your buddy? I join in 82, went to a Syracuse meet between 85 and 92. My work schedule was tough to get holiday weekends off, no seniority.
 
Good story Ed. Were you a NeHOA member or your buddy? I join in 82, went to a Syracuse meet between 85 and 92. My work schedule was tough to get holiday weekends off, no seniority.
He was first; I followed shortly thereafter by joining after a meet.
I really need to fetch one of those photo scanner devices - I have tons of pics of several meets in the 80's!
 
Service manager told me if I had any more trouble with this engine, they would put in a new short block. My immediate thought: What about my matching numbers? LOL Not really. Back then we did not know or care what matching numbers were.
 
Bravo, Ed! ........perhaps you emptied the hidden, unknown nitrous bottle secretly installed by a previous owner
 
Bravo, Ed! ........perhaps you emptied the hidden, unknown nitrous bottle secretly installed by a previous owner
All I can possibly chalk it up to was that the engine in the Bee, a 440 reputedly out of a '70 Challenger R/T,
was just in that sweet spot of never having been taken apart and aged to about 80k miles.
They must have been screwing them together especially well in those days - and they're only original once,
eh?
 
Wonderful story sir, thanks! Some think a car has a soul, but I think some cars can feel your soul. That's what I think happened that morning and I would think that you couldn't have recreated that situation if you wanted to. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
 
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