Custom Cruise Friday
There used to be a time when every young man followed the same steps in life. Step 1: Finish schooling. Step 2: Get a job. Step 3: Buy the hottest car he could afford. This is exactly what former teacher and current Don Wheaton sales professional Fred Nordstrom did around 1968. This week’s Custom Cruise Friday feature profiles the fond memories he has with the three years he owned a 1968 Dodge Coronet Super Bee in Medium Dark Turquoise and a Navy Blue interior.
“I had just started teaching and I was making some money,” Nordstrom said. “I think that first thing you wanted to do was get a new car.”
The late 1960s were a prime time for people looking to buy what would become some of the most collectable cars ever built. In fact, Nordstrom’s Super Bee is a bit of a rare animal. It is actually a half-model year which means production numbers for it would have been on the low end. Nordstrom believes, anecdotally, that most of the Super Bees that are seen on the road today are of the 1970 class.
Car owners of this era placed a high premium on performance. The 1968 Super Bee was all too willing to provide it. Under the hood sat a 383 cubic-inch Magnum V-8 making 335 horsepower. It also had dual exhaust, a heavy-duty suspension and brakes. Nordstrom had Firestone Red Line tires wrapped his wheels. Since horsepower and overall quick acceleration was the focus of the Dodge Super Bee, interior options weren’t much of a consideration with this model. However, it did have the iconic Bumblebee tail stripe with a blacked out grill and power bulge hood as exterior features.
“The speedometer went to 150 miles per hour at that time,” Nordstrom said. “We have a few stories I don’t know if we should tell them or not.”
Shortly after completing the third step and picking out the Super Bee, Nordstrom married his wife Carolynne. The couple even took the car on their honeymoon (top photo) to one of the fancier resorts of the time and made another trip in the high performance Dodge coupe for their first anniversary.
In many cases cars like these end of finding a new home when the original owner hits a point where a 335-horsepower rocket sled isn’t as practical anymore. For Nordstrom this point came after driving the Super Bee for about three years.
“I decided to get rid of it when I was pulling up to the gas pumps on Highway 14,” Nordstrom said. “The RCMP went by, then turned around and came back and followed me to my driveway. I thought, ‘It might be time to get rid of this car.'”
Nordstrom traded it in for something a little smaller, conservative and, certainly, not quite as fast. He mentioned that the day the Super Bee drove away without he and his wife behind the wheel was an emotional day for Carolynne.
“Carolynne cried when we got rid of the Super Bee,” Nordstrom said. “It was our first car. We didn’t have money but we had fun stuff.”
If you have a vehicle you are currently working on or even old photos of a favorite car from another lifetime, Don Wheaton would love to hear from you and tell your story. Send an email to Don Wheaton Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki, firstname.lastname@example.org; and you could be featured in a Custom Cruise Friday Blog.