One of the best Mr Norm’s Dodge A12 Super Bee muscle cars we’ve ever seen was just listed for sale this week on the Cars-On-Line.com website. It’s a rare one. The 1969 1/2 Dodge A12 Super Bee you see pictured here was sold new at Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago. Mopar fans know that means the owner became a member of Mr Norm’s Sport Club, where horsepower was on sale.
While all the other new car dealers in Chicago were marketing full size family cruisers or station wagons to an older generation, Norm Kraus had a differernt idea. He decided to sell performance cars to a new generation of Baby Boomers who were looking for some action. He set up shop at the corner of W. Grand Avenue and Spaulding Avenue in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago in 1962. They called it Grand Spaulding Dodge, which quickly became known as Mr Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge as his reputation for drag racing prowess became known. It wasn’t long before the radio would be blasting “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday” with the staccato of the announcers voice tempting you to come out and see the “Chi Town Hustler, Dyno Don Nickelson and Mr. Norm” do battle at the local dragstrip of your choice.
By Monday morning Mr Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge would be bustling with buyers. And Mr Norm would sell them more than a new car. You became a member of Mr Norm’s Sport Club, with access to his dyno machine and the comraderie of the hot rod shop atmosphere surrounding this Mopar dealership. They were buying Mopar parts, accessories and, more important, they were buying into the lifestyle.
Here is an opportunity to buy into that lifestyle today. A Mopar collector in Scottsdale, Arizona just listed this real and rare Mr Norm’s Dodge A12 Super Bee (follow this link to review the ad and photos.) The Super Bee was the first Dodge product to come from the factory equipped with a lift-off hood (A12 code) and the legendary 440 Six Pack. These were purpose built drag racing cars. Anyone who has ever seen them run at the track will attest to the fact that they can do an incredible burn out coming up to the line. At midyear in the 1969 production run, Chrysler produced a special run of these A12 optioned cars. They were purely meant for running at the track. They came with no hubcaps, now power steerig or brakes. The torque came from a Super Track Pack option and 4.10 geared Dana 60 rear end.
The Arizona A12 comes documented with its original broadcast sheet, original fender tag, original radiator support and trunk lip VIN stampings. The seller says it still has its original body panels and still has its numbers matching 4-speed. Although the original 440 Six Pack is long gone, it comes with a date coded correct engine, correct H Code wheel and red streak tires.
You may note that the paint color is an original Scat Pack special promo color for 1969. It is signed by Mr. Norm Kraus himself. Like many of the big block purpose built drag cars of its day, they say it still has just 32k miles.
The 1969 Factory Bulletin stated, “Hot new Haymaker for You from the Scat Pack Bee Hive.” A Six Pack (three two-barrel Holley carburetors) in previous times might have been called a Tripwer or Three Deuces. It was an old hot rodder trick to get more oxygen into the mixture to create more horsepower. When the Six Pack was added to the big block 440 ci Dodge Magnum engine it created 390 horsepower and 490 foot-pounds of torque. The option code was designated A12. That option code changed the fifth digit in the VIN number to an “M.” So you will here Mopar collectors refer to the 1969 1/2 Dodge Super Bee’s as A12 M Code cars.
Included in the A12 package was the Sure Grip Dana 60 rear axle and 4.10 gear ratio, a heavy duty Torqueflite automatic or an A-833 4-speed manual transmission. The big A12 440 would have special heavy duty internal parts, an aluminum intake, a heavy duty suspension, heavy duty 11″ drum brakes and the car would be fitted with a flat black fiberglass lift-off hood with metal tie-down pins much like a drag car would have.
Only 1,907 A12 M Code Six Pack Super Bees were produced. However, only 1,487 were hardtops with the rest being post coupes. Only 267 of the special Super Bees came with 4-speed manual transmissions.
As Kraus fielded a drag racing team featuring a Max Wedge Dodge and a Hemi car in 1964, their success generated notoriety and they doubled their sales. They repeated that growth rate for the next seven years. Mr. Norm’s Sport Club became so popular they sponsored dances with big name music groups at the dealership. The service department had to be doubled in size. And Mr. Norm’s radio ads were prominent on WLS out of Chicago, the most powerful AM radio station in the U.S.
Kraus sold Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge in 1977. The dealership closed for good in 1980. But Mr. Norm fans would not let him retire. He has since been a prominent figure at collector car events around the country. With the recent re-emergence of the retro Dodge Challenger, Mr. Norm has come out with his own line of branded Performance Challengers, including partnering with Kenne Belle Superchargers and Hurst Performance. You can visit his website at MrNorms.com.