Dodge Coronet Super Bee: The Buzzing Muscle of Dodge
Origins of the Dodge Coronet Super Bee
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee was born during an era of high-performance, high-speed muscle cars. It was a time when horsepower was king and the bigger and faster the car, the better. The Super Bee, introduced in 1968, was Dodge’s answer to the popular Plymouth Road Runner. Dodge, a division of Chrysler, wanted a piece of the muscle car pie and the Super Bee was their ticket to the party.
The Coronet Super Bee was based on the mid-size Coronet model and was only available as a two-door coupe. The name “Super Bee” was a play on the B-Body designation given to Chrysler’s mid-sized cars which included the Coronet, Charger, Road Runner, and GTX. The Super Bee logo, a cartoon bee with an engine on its back, was derived from the “Scat Pack” logo, a group of high-performance Dodge vehicles.
Interestingly, the Super Bee was nearly called the “Road Runner.” However, Plymouth had already secured rights to the name, along with the famous Warner Brothers cartoon character’s “beep-beep” horn sound. Thus, Dodge decided to use the “Super Bee” name and logo, which had previously been developed for a marketing campaign.
The Powerhouse: Super Bee’s Engine
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee was powered by a range of V8 engines. The standard engine was a 383 cu in (6.3 L) Magnum V8 that produced 335 hp. This engine featured a four-barrel carburetor and hydraulic lifters. It was built for performance with a high compression ratio, high-performance camshaft, and free-flowing exhaust.
For those who wanted even more power, there was the optional 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi V8. The Hemi was the king of all muscle car engines, with a whopping 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. It featured hemispherical combustion chambers, which gave it its name, and allowed for larger valves and a more efficient flow of air and fuel. This resulted in more power and better performance.
Another option was the 440 cu in (7.2 L) Six Pack V8. This engine had three two-barrel carburetors, hence the “Six Pack” name. It produced 390 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. It was less expensive than the Hemi, but nearly as powerful.
The Super Bee’s Design and Features
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee was a unique blend of performance and style. It was designed to be a bit more upscale than the Road Runner, with a more refined interior and additional standard features. However, it still had the raw power and performance that muscle car enthusiasts craved.
The exterior of the Super Bee was aggressive and muscular, with a prominent grille, hood scoops, and bold striping. The Super Bee logo was prominently displayed on the rear quarter panels and the grille. The interior was more upscale than many of its competitors, with vinyl bucket seats, a center console, and a full range of gauges.
The Super Bee also featured a heavy-duty suspension for improved handling, power brakes, and a Tachometer. All these features combined to make the Super Bee a true muscle car, capable of high speeds and thrilling performance.
The Super Bee’s Racing Legacy
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee made a name for itself on the drag strip. With its powerful engines and performance-oriented features, it was a force to be reckoned with. The Super Bee was a frequent winner in the Super Stock and Pro Stock classes, cementing its legacy as a true muscle car.
The Super Bee’s success in racing helped boost its popularity and sales. It showed that the Super Bee was not just a pretty face, but a serious performance machine. This helped to elevate the Super Bee’s status and reputation in the muscle car world.
Despite its success on the drag strip, the Super Bee was not as successful in the showroom. Sales were lower than expected, likely due to competition from the cheaper Road Runner and the more upscale Charger. However, the Super Bee’s rarity has made it a prized collectible today.
The End of the Super Bee Era
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee was only produced for a few short years, from 1968 to 1971. The Super Bee, like many other muscle cars of its era, fell victim to the changing times. The increasing cost of fuel and insurance, along with stricter emission regulations, made high-performance muscle cars less attractive to buyers.
The Super Bee was discontinued after the 1971 model year. However, the Super Bee name and logo were resurrected in 2007 for a high-performance version of the Dodge Charger. This new Super Bee was a limited-production model, with only a few thousand units produced each year.
Despite its short production run, the Super Bee left a lasting legacy. It is remembered as one of the true muscle cars of its era, a high-performance machine that was both fast and stylish. Today, the Super Bee is a highly sought-after collectible, with restored models commanding high prices.
The Super Bee Today: A Classic Muscle Car
The Dodge Coronet Super Bee is a classic muscle car that still turns heads today. With its bold styling, powerful engines, and high-performance features, it represents the golden era of muscle cars. The Super Bee is a favorite among car enthusiasts and collectors, with restored models often seen at car shows and auctions.
The Super Bee’s rarity adds to its appeal. With a short production run and low sales, there are not many Super Bees left. This makes them highly sought after by collectors. A well-maintained or restored Super Bee can fetch a high price, with some models selling for over $100,000.
The Super Bee’s legacy lives on in the modern Dodge Charger Super Bee. While it may not have the same raw power and simplicity as the original, it carries on the Super Bee name and spirit. It is a modern muscle car that pays tribute to its legendary predecessor.