Photographer: Wes Allison Model: Kate Everard Stylist: Sarah Ellis Makeup/Hair: Valc@iconi
Has anyone seen a car like this before? It looks like a B-body with wheels and a dark-cherry paintjob, so what’s the big deal? If you look again, you’ll notice the paint has metalflake and highlights that only come out in the sun. Staring longer, you’ll see the car is part ’70 Plymouth and part ’69 Dodge. With such a seamless merger, it’s hard to know. Inside is creamy leather that fits and smells like a new Ferrari. What it all amounts to is a Roadster Show–caliber build on what should be a pedestrian Mopar. It’s leaning toward a 100-point street-machine restoration, if there is such a thing. First of its kind.
“This car just looks like an ’80s to ’90s street machine with candy paint and Center Lines,” says Steve Strope, builder of the car he calls the Road Bee. “At fast glance externally, it is reminiscent of a cool street machine.” And that was the point. Steve was standing in the dark cavern of the Car Craft photo studio with photographer Wes Allison and your author. We were trying to figure out exactly who would notice the ’70 Plymouth Sport Satellite body with a ’69 Dodge Super Bee front end, and who would want to build one.
“The owner of this car isn’t really a car guy the way we think of it,” Steve says. “He looked at models and decided he wanted a B-body Mopar, but he liked the tail section of the GTX and Sport Satellite and the front end of the ’69 Super Bee with the Ramchargers hood. He asked me if I could put the two together.”
We spoke to owner Mike Jadon about the unusual combination. “I was liking the ’70 Roadrunner and the ’69 Super Bee after seeing the Petrol Charger [also built by Steve], so I gave him a call,” Mike says. “I was raised in the Canoga Park area of California, which was filled with street machines like this one. To me, that early ’80s look has always been the quintessential look for a muscle car.” Mike also remembered doing a little street racing with his uncle in a ’69 Charger in the late ’70s. They got beat by a four-speed Coronet, so Mike made sure his build had a stick.
After a long conversation about Mopar B-bodies, Steve found out about what he calls the magic door: the ’69 Dodge Coronet/Super Bee door was the ’70 Satellite/Road Runner/GTX door over at Plymouth. That allowed Steve to add the frontend to the rest of the car—as a bolt-on—to create something you really have to stare at. Bolt-on. Yeah, right.
The base car is a ’70 Sport Satellite from the Bay Area, which had more rust than Steve hoped it would. The roof came off and was replaced with parts from Daryl Finch from Wrightwood, California. Daryl also provided the frontend from a field nicknamed Mopar Flats. The parts were finagled over the next two years at Steve’s shop, Pure Vision Design in Simi Valley, California. Is this the first of many street-machine restorations? Is there space in the concours for a wine-and-cheese street machine to be haggled over by guys who flew in by helicopter? We hope not.
Who: Mike Jadon
Builder: Steve Strope, Pure Vision
What: ’70 Plymouth Satellite
Where: Simi Valley, CA
The Body: There is a lot of work on the body of this car. It’s easy to say the shape of the door allowed the frontend to bolt on, and that’s all there is to it, but there is a year’s worth of panel alignment and block-sanding to make the Road Bee look great. We’re just saying that most of the boltholes are there, and nothing was chopped and rewelded. The rear quarter-panel is a different story: The factory wheeltub was split, moving the inner portion to the edge of the frame, and the outer wheelhouse wall was rebuilt so it goes dead vertical, providing plenty of room for a tall tire.
The Paint: Mike picked the Pearl Brandy after seeing it on a Corvette parked in a shop in Texas, only to discover the owner of the shop wouldn’t give up the formula. After months of harassment, they finally agreed to give him two gallons of paint and no more. Usually, candy paints are done in at least three stages, with the candy color painted in the second or third stage. This stuff is a simple basecoat/clearcoat two-stage with a secret ingredient that will go with someone to their grave.
Interior: The interior was crafted by Eric Thorsen in Agoura Hills, California. Eric stitched the Corbeau GTS seats with Tango leather from Italy, using French seams instead of piping. He also notched and shortened the rear seat to clear the wheeltubs. You can also see where the car has been fitted with three-point, OE-style shoulder harnesses instead of lap belts—you know, for the family. The rest of the interior panels are stock replacements with stock patterns. The stock gauge panel was stripped of the stock speedometer and replaced with a set of Auto Meter gauges. The dash itself was modified to allow the tach and speedometer to fit correctly, and a small cove was created to hide the Vintage Air controls. “There is a lot of work in just the dash to make it look this simple,” Steve says. If you look at the doors, you might not notice the perforations that cover the 51⁄4-inch speakers that are housed in their own custom made recessed cups.
Engine: These aren’t drag racing guys, but they knew this car needed big-block power. Hawaii Racing in Simi Valley happened to have a 0.030 over 440 with a 4.375-inch crank for 520 inches. The top end is all Edelbrock, meaning it’s all made in the USA. The cam is from Comp with 275/287 advertised duration and 0.525 lift.
Transmission: The trans is Tremec TKO five-speed that was part of a kit from Modern Driveline. The long shift arm is from Hurst (now discontinued). The floorpan was modified, and the tunnel was rebuilt to fit.
Chassis: The subframe connectors come from XV Motorsports already laser-cut to tie the body to the frame and the front and rear subframe of the car. They are welded in. There is also an inner fender brace from XV Motorsports that ties the upper shock mount to the cowl. The tubular upper control arms are from Hotchkis, and Steve boxed the lowers. The springs are from Hotchkis, and the shocks are from KYB. All of this is on Fatman Fab 2-inch-drop spindles.
Wheels/Tires: Those are Center Line Auto Drags! The fronts are 15x8.5 with a 35⁄16-inch backspacing and the rears are 16x9.5 with 31⁄2-inch backspacing. The tires are 31x12.5-16LT Hoosier Pro Street and Yokahama Avid Touring 215/60R-15s.
Brakes: You can’t see them, but there are Baer 11-inch Serious Street discs in the rear and stock Mopar 113⁄4-inch discs in the front.
Rearend: Red Zone Race Fab narrowed the 83⁄4-inch rearend and added 3.55:1 gears and 31-spline axles.
What Now? “I have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old who are going to go cruising with us. There are hooks installed for the car seat,” Mike says.