ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- In 1971 muscle cars were loud and proud. They carried special edition names like The Judge, Road Runner and Super Bee and were available in bold colors like Plum Crazy purple (Dodge Challenger) and Orbit Orange (Pontiac Judge).

Dodge's contribution was the Super Bee, a special edition Charger that was originally produced from 1968 to 1971 before being resurrected again in 2007 for the U.S. market.

Richard Stump of Flemming Island is among those that fell in love with the Super Bee's looks and performance. He bought his Green Go colored Super Bee 27-years-ago at age 23 while stationed in the Navy in Oakland, Calif.

He's happy to talk about the Super Bee's performance and restoration, but his favorite memory is bringing his son home from the hospital in the Charger. "He was born in Oakland Naval Hospital in 1985. I've owned it so long but I had it in storage for a long time because I was in the service and I had it in storage for 17 years," said Stump.

Stump's Super Bee is an original California car with no rust. It's been lovingly maintained and restored over the years. His 383 cubic inch, 6.3 liter V8 has been rebuilt, along with the 3-speed Torqueflite automatic and rear-end. The chrome has been re-plated, the interior has been redone and the exterior received a paint job.

Stump says his Super Bee will do the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds. He's taken it to tracks in Gainesville and Adele, Ga. But these days the Super Bee enjoys a gentler life. Stump primarily limits its use to cruise-ins and car shows. Last Saturday he joined the Clay County Cruzers at Big Dawgs Family Sports Restaurant at 1330 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park for the group's monthly cruise-in.

Stump's Super Bee marks the end of an era. Dodge dropped the Super Bee name the next year as muscle cars began their decline in terms of performance and sales as the energy crisis settled in. But you can't keep a good muscle car down.

Dodge brought back the Super Bee in 2007. As with the original, it was a special edition. For 2012, the Super Bee made the leap to the current generation Charger SRT 8, featuring a monster 6.4-liter Hemi that could smoke through its rear tires to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and make it through the quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds, according to Motor Trend. It came packed with 470 horsepower and was painted Stinger Yellow, thrilling a new generation of muscle car fans.


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