Super Bee History
Introduction: GM divisions had been doing it for years, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the two MOPAR divisions, Dodge and Plymouth, began to engage in a bit of sibling rivalry. The result was the Dodge Super Bee, a direct competitor to Plymouth’s Road Runner. Although a capable budget muscle car, it never was as successful as the Road Runner, which truly must have hurt.
1968 Dodge Super Bee
Comments: Dodge watched as Plymouth launched their budget muscle car, the Road Runner, in the fall of 1967 as a 1968 model. Already upset that Dodge had coined the “road runner” name in a 1967 Coronet ad, Dodge responded by launching its own budget muscle car. Based on the redesigned Dodge Coronet pillared coupe, Dodge looked to its Scat Pack symbol and released its new model in the spring of 1968 as the Super Bee. The $3,027 base price was $131 more than the Road Runner, which used the same basic chassis. Curb weight was nearly identical, and both used the same engines, so performance was almost identical. The standard engine was the 335 bhp four barrel 383 cid V8 that borrowed cylinder heads, camshaft and induction system from the Magnum 440. The 426 Hemi was the only engine option, but at nearly $1,000 more, it clashed with the budget nature of the Super Bee and only 125 were ordered. The low price meant minimizing amenities, and although the Super Bee borrowed the Rallye gauge package from the Charger to edge out the Road Runner, a tachometer was still a $38 extra.
A heavy duty suspension, brakes, four-speed manual transmission with Hurst Competition Plus shifter, and red-line wide oval tires were standard. The low price didn’t mean low profile, and the Super Bee had bumble bee racing strips circling the tail, and a big Super Bee emblem hovering on the rear fenders. The grille was finished in black matte and the hood had a decorative power bulge. The wheel lips and the rear body panel were accented with thin bright moldings. Inside, the Super Bee had door-to-door carpeting, pleated vinyl seats and door panels, and a standard bench seat.
Production: 2D Pillared Coupe w/ 383: 7,717. 2D Pillared Coupe w/ Hemi: 125.
Engines: 383 V8 335bhp@5200rpm, 425lb-ft@3400rpm. 426 Hemi V8 425bhp@5000rpm, 490lb-ft@4000rpm.
Performance: 383/335bhp: 0-60 in 7.1 sec, 1/4 mile in 15.0 sec @ 96mph. 426/425bhp: 0-60 in 5.3 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.55 sec @ 105mph.
1969 Dodge Super Bee
Comments: A two door hardtop joined the existing pillared coupe for 1969. The Super Bee also received a single wider rear bumble bee stripe and a Dodge “Scat Pack” badge on the grille and trunk, plus front fender engine callouts. Also new was a new Ramcharger cold-air induction system, which was standard on Hemi cars. The Ramcharger system featured two large hood scoops, an underhood air plenum and a switch to select between warm and cold air.
But the big news for 1969 was a new optional engine in the Super Bee. MOPAR engineers took the existing 440 cid V8 and replaced the single Carter four barrel carb with three Holley two-barrel carbs on an Edelbrock Hi-Riser manifold, creating the Dodge 440 Six Pack (Plymouth called it the 440+6). Only the center carb was used for normal driving, but slamming on the fun pedal opened all six carbs for a combined 1,375 cfm rush. Hemi valve springs, a hotter cam, magnafluxed connecting rods, and other improvements helped boost output to 390 bhp. A Hurst four speed manual transmission was standard. Torqueflite automatic was optional, but disc brakes, air conditioning, and cruise control were not allowed. The Super Bee Six Pack came with one of the wilder hoods in muscledoom. The lift off hood was made of fiberglass, had a matte black finish, four NASCAR tie down pins, and a large air scoop molded right in with “Six Pack” written on the sides. The all business look was completed with standard black steel wheels, unadorned except for chrome lug nuts. The 440 Six Pack cost $463, about $500 less than a Hemi. The Six Pack could keep up with a Hemi up to 70 mph and came with a Hemi grade suspension that turned the Super Bee into a decent handler.
Production: 383: 25,727. 440 Six Pack: 1,907. 426 Hemi: 166
Engines: 383 V8 335bhp@5200rpm, 425lb-ft@3400rpm. 426 Hemi V8 425bhp@5000rpm, 490lb-ft@4000rpm. 440 Six Pack V8 390bhp@4700rpm, 490lb-ft@3200rpm.
Performance: 440/390bhp: 0-60 in 6.3 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.8 sec @ 104.2 mph.
1970 Dodge Super Bee
Comments: The Super Bee was restyled for 1970. To differentiate it from the Coronet that it was based on, the Super Bee did not get the dummy rear fender scoops as standard equipment. It also had horizontally divided (rather than individually segmented) taillamps. New options included a hood tach and spoiler. Buyers could order the R/T type bumble bee stripe or pipe-shaped upper and lower rear fender stripes with a circular Super Bee decal between them. The Super Bee was available in a number of wild colors, such as Plum Crazy, Sublime, and Go-Mango. Extras included the “Kruncher” and Bee-Liever” performance options. Base prices fell $64 but sales dropped to about 15,500 units. Hemis were installed in just 32 hardtops (21 with four speed) and 4 pillared coupes (all with the four speed). This was the last year that the Super Bee was based on the Coronet.
Production: 2D Pillared Coupe: 3,966. 2D Hardtop Coupe: 11,540.
Engines: 383 V8 335bhp@5200rpm, 425lb-ft@3400rpm. 426 Hemi V8 425bhp@5000rpm, 490lb-ft@4000rpm. 440 V8 375bhp@4600rpm, 480lb-ft@3200rpm. 440+6 V8 390bhp@4700rpm, 490lb-ft@3200rpm.
Performance: 383/335bhp: 0-60 in 7.1 sec, 1/4 mile in 15.0 sec @ 96mph. 426/425bhp: 0-60 in 5.3 sec, 1/4 mile in 13.49 sec @ 105mph. 440/375bhp: NA. 440/390bhp: NA.
1971 Dodge Super Bee
Comments: The Super Bee switched over to the Charger platform for 1971 but still represented a low-cost, high performance package. Priced at $3,271, the Dodge Charger Super Bee included a 383 cid Magnum V8 with a single four barrel carb rated at 300 bhp (down 35 bhp from the year before due to detuning), three speed floor shift, power bulge hood (black finished), tape stripes, bee decals, and a Charger 500 interior, except with a standard bench seat. The Super Bee also came with a heavy duty suspension, fat F70-14 tires, and a long list of optional equipment. Still optional was the 440 Six Pack and the mighty 426 Hemi, rated at 385 bhp (down 5 bhp) and 425 bhp respectively. Only 22 Hemis were built, nine with four speeds, and 13 with the Torqueflite.
Engines: 383 V8 300bhp@4800rpm, 410lb-ft@3400rpm. 426 Hemi V8 425bhp@5000rpm, 490lb-ft@4000rpm. 440 Six Pack V8 385bhp@4700rpm, 490lb-ft@3200rpm.
Performance: 440/390: 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, 1/4 mile in 14.7 seconds. 426/425: 0-60 in 5.7 seconds, 1/4 mile in 13.7 seconds.