A few years ago, a friend mentioned a collection of cars he’d heard about sitting in a guy’s yard, south of where I reside. The pictures showed a 1970 Super Bird, 1969 ½ Super Bee, and other rare vehicles. Unfortunately, the distance made it unfeasible for me to see the cars, but fate knocked on my door a few years later, leading me to this very collection.
Searching Instagram for cool “Barn Find” pictures, we ran across a picture of the same 1970 Super Bird my friend showed me years ago. After inquiring about it with the young lady named Faith, she confirmed it was indeed the same gentleman’s collection. The unfortunate thing was that he’d been battling cancer. I asked her if it would be possible to ask the gentlemen if I could document his collection and hear his story. She did, and, ecstatic that I was interested, he invited me down.
En route to the collection, I found out that the owner’s condition was worse than I was originally told. Nonetheless, he was so excited for me to be there to document his cars that he rearranged his chemotherapy so we could meet in person. When we arrived at the property, he called to let us know his treatment had run longer than expected, but he allowed Faith to show us around outside the property.
From the road, you couldn’t tell there was anything other than some car parts scattered around. The only classic we could see was a 1969 Dodge Dart. But the view opened up around the fence; there were cars everywhere. On the other side of the fence sat a 1969 ½ Dodge Super Bee 440 Six-Pack, and next to it was a 1972-ish Dodge Challenger drag car. The collection of cars included a 1973 Road Runner, and a few Dodge Darts of different years. Behind the storage building, precariously perched on the edge of a hill, was the most unique among them—a 1969 Dodge Coronet R/T. Now that in itself isn’t a rare vehicle, but under the hood was the original Six-Pack setup from the Super Bee and extremely rare 1963 Mopar Max Wedge exhaust manifolds.
By this time, the owner had arrived, and I finally got to meet Terry Sevener in person. We went inside his home with his girlfriend, Penny. It was a small home filled with die-cast cars and a lifetime of acquisitions. It wasn’t until we started talking and he pulled out photo albums that I began to realize Terry was a drag racer, constantly chasing speed.
During the week, he’d work from dawn to dusk, all with the goal of getting him down the race track faster. Trading, buying, selling—he would do it all to get the parts or cars he needed to keep going faster. He said, “I would get faster through the year, then the other guy would spend a bunch of money and go a bit faster than me. Then I would start it all over again.” It wasn’t about the rarity or quality of the Mopars—he would do whatever it took to make it go fast. That’s why the 1969 Coronet R/T was a hodgepodge of different speed parts.
Until recently, he had a long, scruffy beard and long hair down to his back. It made him look like a typical hippie from the 1960s. And he owned it. He was known as the “Hippie Drag Racer.” His home track was the famous George Ray’s Wildcat Drag Strip in Paragould, Arkansas. He and the owner were such good friends that the owner put up a “No Hippies Allowed” sign at the track as a joke.
He was well-loved by the drag-racing community. When people heard I was writing this article, they emailed me stories how Terry had helped them through the years, mostly without wanting anything in return, and how he guided the younger drag racers to be better. He let other people drive his cars, he would take kids to car shows to get them interested in the hobby.
Terry eventually mustered enough energy to take us out to the storage building. He guided us through the piles of car parts to the door, and opened it up slowly. It was like an Indiana Jones movie. You had a small path to walk down, and at any moment the stuff piled up well above your head on either side could come crashing down on you. Straight ahead was the cherry on the top of the sundae that was Terry’s collection. It was his 1970 Super Bird. He did everything and anything with that car, regardless of how rare it was. He even had Richard Petty sign the nose cone.
In addition to the Super Bird, there were three other cars in the building. It was hard to detect them, as they were covered in car parts and boxes. Some of the boxes were empty, others full of Hot Wheels cars. Terry’s other passion in the last years of his life was collecting Hot Wheels, and this is where he stored many of them.
Also inside the building I found a 1968 Dodge Coronet R/T tucked up against the far wall and a 1963 Dodge Polara Max Wedge car. It was in “as-raced” condition from the 1960s, with original painted signage on the car, including a donkey kicking the Chevy name on the trunk! Terry also had a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S and Max Wedge heads piled in old oil barrels, and a 426 Hemi intake with carburetors. The place was a treasure trove of Mopar engine parts. One of the most unique pieces Terry pointed out was an original Penney’s Cheater Slick that he used to run—something I’d never seen before.
As the sun set, time had run out for our visit. We parted ways with Terry and Penny. I wished him well and hoped to see him again soon. It wasn’t to be though, as Terry passed away a short while later. His collection was dispersed to the winds, thankfully to good homes. Those who knew Terry said that my visit and the fact that I had an interest in documenting his life and collection was a highlight near the end. This was one of the hardest—emotionally speaking—adventures I had ever gone on. It was just fortunate that everything came together for me to meet such an incredible individual—the Hippie Drag Racer.
Real 1969 ½ Dodge Super Bee 440 Six-Pack car was sitting in Terry’s front yard so long that there was mold and moss growing on the exterior.
You can clearly see the Bumble Bee stripe under multiple generations of leaves and dirt that cover the Bee now.
The Challenger has been sitting here for quite a while. From all the evidence, it was originally a 1970 or 1971 Challenger converted into a 1972.