The Dodge Superbee (1968-1971)
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 Superbee. 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 Superbee and only 125 were ordered. The low price meant minimizing amenities, and although the Superbee 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 Superbee had bumble bee racing strips circling the tail, and a big Superbee 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 Superbee 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.
A two door hardtop joined the existing pillared coupe for 1969. The Superbee 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 under-hood 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 Superbee. 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 Superbee Six Pack came with one of the wilder hoods in muscledom. 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 Superbee 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.
The Superbee was restyled for 1970. To differentiate it from the Coronet that it was based on, the Superbee did not get the dummy rear fender scoops as standard equipment. It also had horizontally divided (rather than individually segmented) tail lamps. 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 Superbee decal between them.
The Superbee 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 Superbee 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.
The Superbee 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 Superbee 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.