Dodge Super Bee I1968 - 1970
Model: Super Bee (1968 - 2009)
Wikipedia (Super Bee): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Super_Bee
The original Dodge Super Bee was based on the design of the Dodge Coronet, designed as a two-doorcoupe, and was produced from 1968 until 1970. It was the company's low-priced powerful muscle car, derived from the design of the Plymouth Road Runner, and retailed at USD$3,027 on the consumer market. The origin of the name, "Super Bee", has its basis in the "B" Body designation pertinent to Chrysler's mid-sized cars, including the Road Runner and Charger.
Plymouth's Road Runner sold well enough to prompt Dodge Division General Manager, Robert McCurry, to request the creation of a competitor from the Dodge Styling office; at the time, both divisions were competing to be the Chrysler performance division (later known as "Street and Racing Technology – SRT"). The designers were assigned the task of creating a name and identity for the Dodge version, with senior designer, Harvey J. Winn, winning the "contest" with the name "Super Bee" and a new logo design based on the Dodge "Scat Pack" Bee medallion. The design of the first Super Bee was influenced by the 1968 Coronet convertible and the show car's interior was built by the Alexander Brothers. The show car was eventually introduced at the 1968 Detroit Auto Show.
Although the two cars are very similar in external appearance, the Super Bee was slightly heavier (approx 65 lb (29 kg)) and rode on a 117-inch (3,000 mm) wheelbase compared to the Road Runner's 116 in (290 cm) wheelbase. In addition to the minor external aesthetic differences, such as larger rear wheel openings, the bumblebee tailstripe and fancier grille, and the taillight ornamentation, the Super Bee also used actual diecast chrome-plated "Bee" medallions. These three-dimensional medallions were prominently mounted in a raised position in the grille/hood area and the trunklid/taillight area of the car throughout the first three years of production.
The interior of the Super Bee borrowed the race car–inspired and more sophisticated gauge and speedometer dash cluster from the Dodge Charger, while the four-speed manual cars received a Hurst Competition-Plus shifter with Hurst linkage; this shifter compared to the Road Runner's less expensive Inland shifter and linkage. Due to the higher-quality accessories attached to the Super Bee, the car was sold at a higher price in comparison to its Plymouth cousin; this ultimately affected the model's sales numbers during the years it was produced.
The Super Bee, like nearly all Chrysler muscle cars of that era, was available with the Hemi engine;although, this option raised the price by 33%, and only 125 were sold. The 1968 model was only sold as a two-door coupe, with two engine options, the base 335 hp (250 kW) 383 Magnum, and the 426 Hemi, rated at 425 hp (317 kW).
The Super Bee included a heavy-duty suspension, an optional Mopar A-833 four-speed manual transmission, and high-performance tires. Outside, a stripe (with the bee logo) was wrapped around the tail.
A hardtop version joined the existing pillared coupe body in 1969 and a new optional twin-scooped air induction hood, the "Ramcharger", became available. This particular option was coded N-96 and was the counterpart to the Plymouth Road Runner's "Coyote Duster" air induction hood. The "Ramcharger" hood featured forward-facing scoops that were more efficient than the Road Runner's "twin vents", as the latter merely lay flat on the hood and did not force air into the carburetor(s) as the Super Bee's did.
A "six-pack" (three two-barrel carburetors) version of Dodge's 440 cubic-inch engine was added to the offering list mid-year. This option fell half-way between the standard engine and the Hemi as a USD463 option. The 1969 model year gave Chrysler customers several engines from which to choose—the base 383 Magnum (high performance), 440 Six Pack, and the 426 Hemi. The 440 Magnum (4bbl) was not an available option, and was reserved for the Coronet R/T.
For the 1970 model, the Super Bee received a cosmetic redesign and a new front-end was designed that consisted of a twin-looped front bumper that Dodge Public Relations referred to as "bumble bee wings". However, sales plummeted for the year from 15,506 in 1970 to 5,054 in 1971—because of, or in spite of, this new look, with another sales pressure coming from higher insurance rates for performance cars; the similar Plymouth Road Runner and Plymouth Duster both experienced similar sales issues. In addition to the new looks, engine choices and "ramcharger" hood carried over from 1969, the 1970 cars from Dodge featured several new or improved options. For example, a "C- stripe" variant of the bumble stripe was offered, in addition to new high-back bucket seats, a steering column-mounted ignition and a "pistol-grip" Hurst shifter on four-speed models.
Rumors have surfaced regarding the many concept and show vehicles that Chrysler produced during the muscle car era, including the production of four concept Super Bee convertibles. The whereabouts of one 1970 Coronet Super Bee Hemi Convertible in In-Violet is known to exist in Ontario Canada, while the other three cars are unknown, but, in the following year, the company reintroduced a limited run of approximately 5,000 of the concept vehicles before permanent discontinuation.
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