Six Pack Fiberglass

The 1969 1/2 Super Bee and its cousin, the Plymouth Road Runner, equipped with the 440 Six Pack (“Six Barrel” for the Road Runner) engine option were the first production cars to feature an all-fiberglass, lift-off hood. The Six Pack 440 was introduced as a midyear option, and with it came the mandatory addition of the Super Track Pack and its 4.10:1 gears in the Dana 60 rear, either the A-727 automatic or 833 manual transmission, and no wheel covers on the black-painted (regardless of body color) steel wheels with chrome lug nuts. Models ordered as such are commonly referred to as “A12” cars, for the option code, and are a rare find, with only 1,907 Super Bees (and 1,412 Road Runners) built, 29 of which were exported to Canada (and 21 Road Runners). Disc brakes, wheel covers, cruise control, and air conditioning were not available for your 440 Six Pack Super Bee, making the cars true performance beasts from the get-go.

 

Super Bee

 

Adding to this list of hard-core performance insanity was the fiberglass hood mentioned earlier. Finished in non-reflective “Organosol” black paint, the hinge-less, scooped hood was held in place by four chrome bezel-equipped pins, and had an open fresh air scoop. Keeping with the budget theme of these cars, as well as the short lead time from the introduction of the A12 option, the decision was made to manufacture the hoods in lightweight fiberglass rather than the standard stamped steel. While all of this reads as “good times” for the performance-minded enthusiast, it came with a caveat: The driver had no way to shut out the weather from the air cleaner element. That wide-mouthed scoop was open for business at all hours, in all weather. If you wanted to fight Mother Nature, you could always order three-speed windshield wipers and consider it a partial victory. The hood was attached to the car with four stud pins, and the “Hair Pin” fasteners were attached to lanyards, which were glove box door cables sourced from A-body cars.
 
Along with these oddities, the A12 cars (which were built at the Lynch Road Assembly Plant) all showed an engine sales code of E-63, which denotes a 383 4-barrel. The special 440 Six Pack engine was provided by the Trenton engine plant. To clarify things, the VIN contains the letter “M” in the fifth digit to signify a special-order V-8 engine, versus the “H” that a 383 high-performance model would carry.
 
These very desirable cars are often tremendously well documented, and finding a numbers-matching example is a rarity, considering that these were purpose-built, drag race–ready cars. I had stumbled across a few examples at the All-Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle this past summer, ranging from the wonderfully preserved and meticulously restored to the barn-find, ready-to-restore, and I delighted in the story that all of these cars had to tell.


15 Comments

  • Kurt
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    That is some great info. The Super Bee and the Road Runner have always been at the top of my favorite Mopar list and I knew they were rare, but didn’t realize how rare. I never really thought about how basic they were before either, but the car had only one purpose, and that was Speed. Bells and whistles may draw a lot of attention, but they don’t get you down the 1/4 mile of asphalt first. Great read.

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Thanks! Yeah, the ’69 1/2 A12 cars are a rare breed indeed, and the epitome of the “back to basics” muscle car. In my dream garage, you can bet that a Six Pack would be headlining!

  • Del Swanson
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Huh, I didn’t know how rare they were. Nice read!

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      The A12’s are certainly rare! It was a unique experience to have stumbled across some very well-restored examples (like the one pictured above), and even a few well-weathered ones, as well that weekend in Carlisle. Thanks for the kind words!

  • Joe Bortz
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I was in my teens when those awesome vehicles were pounding the streets from light to light and never knew the “story behind the story”. Glove box lanyards……….unique! Guess in the short amount of time the guys at Chrysler couldn’t come up with another method. American ingenuity at it’s best. Please continue to write more articles.

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      …and thank you! There certainly was some creative use of the parts bin in these cars! What’s great about that is how it closely ties to what was happening on the dragstrips at the time: Ingenuity and resourcefulness meeting brute power. I’m stoked to have been able to bring back some memories for you, and to have enlightened, as well! Big thanks for reading along and enjoying my entries here!

  • Edski1943
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Have to agree with Del and Kurt, this was a great read. I appreciate you digging in with all the tidbits that provides a deeper appreciation for these speed wagons. And like Joe, I’d like to think I was in my teens when these vehicles were on the road.

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much! What makes this whole thing so fun are those little bits of trivia that can spark a whole other conversation once you get past the “Is that a…” moment. …and classic Dodge muscle has a way of keeping us all young (do I mention that these were just a bit before my time? Nah.) !

  • DeBest
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the very informative blog. I have been a Mopar fan since buying my first new car….a 1966 Charger. I never knew they were the first to offer a fiberglass hood on a production vehicle. Great job Brian….I’m a fan for life!

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it… My Father’s first new car was a ’66 Charger as well, very cool! Big thanks for following along… it’s been a fun ride.

      • Edski1943
        Posted December 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Like DeBest and your dad, my first new car was a 66 Charger. As a matter of fact so was my adopted brothers. For its 50th anniversary, it would be great to see some of the 66 Chargers lines incorporated into the 2016 edition.

  • craig
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I had one of these for several years…superbee 440-6..RAN LOW 13’S with no mods..Slapped on Hooker headers, 8″ goodyear slicks, and tuned up the spring set in the Holley sixpack, and ran consistent 12.0’s- with four speed stick…this is the one that “got away” when I was forced to sell in 1975…for a measely $1,600.
    Pic available when running as C-stock at Maple Grove dragstrip, Reading PA..
    Car was perfectly equipped- Manual steering, bench seats, no radio, 4:10, Dana, 833 w 11″ clutch..hemi fuel pump, oversize radiator, battery, fuel lines, and 3X11″ brakes..

    • Posted December 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Very cool, Craig! Always a bittersweet experience to hear about the ones that “got away”. Running 12’s is amazing, and tremendously respectable, even by today’s standards! Thanks for taking time to read along here, and for sharing your story!

  • epicurus
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I had a standard 440 1970 Plymouth GTX. I always dreamed of of putting a 6 pack setup on it but I was a broke teenager and it just never happend.

  • wup
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    am restoring an A12 now. car has new quarters on it now will be in color this winter, hope to have it road ready summer of 15. I grew up with these cars back in the 70’s. Adding to my collection.

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