Written by independent automotive journalist Tom Jensen
Vintage Mopars are always among the most sought-after muscle cars at any collector car gathering, and that certainly will be the case at the 3rd Annual Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction, June 20-23 at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
By themselves, vintage 1960s and ’70s Dodges and Plymouths already have plenty of street cred with enthusiasts and collectors. But when you mix in a Hollywood connection and a series of tasteful high-performance modifications … well, then you’re really onto something.
At the Northeast Auction, some lucky Mopar collector will get to go home with a classic 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee that is a true movie star. Lot #649, which will be selling at No Reserve, appeared in multiple scenes in the 2002 Spike Lee film called “25th Hour.”
That film, one of the first to deal with New York in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, received rave reviews. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert gave it 4-1/2 stars, while The Washington Post called it “stunningly true to its time. … the film’s setting of New York immediately following the events of Sept. 11, 2001 – a city knocked back on its heels, in deep mourning and shock.”
The New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote of the film, “This particular skyline is dominated by the twin columns of light that illuminated downtown as a tribute to those who died in the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. … Mr. Lee exercises his prodigious visual talents with unusual restraint, and keeps some of his more confrontational urges in check. Because the movie is so measured, so melodic, its bursts of wild invention, which might otherwise be irritating, are electrifying.”
In the film’s opening scene, the bright yellow Dodge is prominently featured, as lead actor Edward Norton drives through the streets of New York at night in the Super Bee, only to stop and rescue a dog badly wounded in a fight.
Interestingly, according to the consignor, the car crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson Northeast was the only one used in the filming of the movie, which is unusual given that filmmakers often will use multiple versions of a car in a given film.
As for this car itself, the consignor says it began life as a 1970 Dodge Coronet, with a 383 V8 engine and a 4-speed transmission before receiving significant Super Bee upgrades to enhance both performance and drivability.
Purchased by the consignor in 2008, this Coronet Super Bee received a comprehensive restoration mechanically and cosmetically, both inside and out. The body recently received a recent full repaint in Bright Yellow, an original Dodge color in 1970. Super Bee stripes were added in the rear, along with a new black vinyl roof, which contrasts nicely with the professional paint job.
The classic vintage look is enhanced further with powder-coated Rallye steel wheels with stainless beauty rings and center cap, riding on new Goodyear Eagle GTII tires. The car is the right color, the right look and has the right attitude.
Under the hood, things get even better. This Coronet Super Bee now is powered by the thundering 440ci Magnum V8 engine, which is fed by three two-barrel Holley carburetors perched atop an Edelbrock aluminum Six-Pack intake manifold.
Other engine upgrades include a COMP Cams hydraulic cam with 270/270 duration and .470 lift, COMP Cams timing chain and gear set, Mopar distributor cap and rotor, an electric fan, Hedman Elite thermal-coated headers, dual exhausts, electric water pump, Holley fuel pump, MSD ignition, Mopar aluminum valve covers, March Performance 1-serpentine belt drive and aluminum pulleys.
To get all that power to the ground, there’s a rebuilt 4-speed transmission stirred by a floor-mounted Hurst shifter. The clutch and clutch plate also have been rebuilt. All that muscle drives a massive and almost indestructible 4.10 gear ratio Dana rear end.
And with all that performance comes a little love for film fans: Spike Lee and Edward Norton both signed the dashboard with, “Thanks for the cool ride – 25th Hour.” And the winning bidder at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction will also receive a signed copy of the original “25th Hour” script, two original theatrical posters and an original Touchstone Pictures press release kit.
For up-to-date information on this vehicle, click HERE.