The cars we loved.
In the horsepower wars of the first muscle car era (they were actually called supercars then), every major manufacturer had some weapon to wield straight from the factory. By 1968, Ford had its 428 Cobra Jet, Chevy any number Camaro or Chevell SS and the list went on and on.
Chrysler was no draft dodger in these wars as its Plymouth and Dodge divisions each had powerful Barracuda and Charger models on the market. The constant horsepower leapfrogging meant that each year more powerful versions of the competition would appear. Dodge would attack with a range of cars that were part of its ‘Scat Pack’. Today that word might evoke laughter in some circles, but this was the late 1960s and the sexual revolution was just getting started. The pack was no laughing matter and included the Charger and Coronet R/T.
In this heated no replacement for displacement environment, Dodge would be one of the first to remove the gloves and launch an all out version of its ultimate stripped down hopped up muscle car. The B body based Coronet line had just got a makeover in 1968. Not a year went by before Dodge would stuff a limited number of Super Bee (as in B body) Coronets with the 7.2-liter (440ci) HEMI. To accommodate the huge engine up front, the Super Bee was fortified with a heavy duty torsion bar suspension and special rear end axle designed to handle the added power.
The three two-barrel Holly carburetors (Six-pack) featured a system where only the center one worked at part throttle. When the gas peddle was floored, all three would kick in on the engine’s way to generating as much as 390+ hp. At a bit over 4,000lb, the Super Bee was considered light, but with this special configuration it offered a spectacular power to weight ratio and could reach 60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
The list of heavy duty items included a four speed manual transmission and a free flow dual exhaust. The 440 engine alone added over 30% to the bottom line, before other performance options could be added. By placing its biggest engine into the body of an intermediate, Dodge had created an expensive track monster capable of burning up the quarter mile in 14 seconds. Expensive or not, all the Super Bees Dodge built with the 440 engine were accounted for.
Super Bees had a distinctive front end starting in 1970, but would feature two paint/graphics schemes. Like most Dodge cars, the Super Bee came in many varieties, most with 426 Hemi V8. For 1969 as few as 125 examples of the Super Bee with the 440 Magnum. The 440 was usually reserved for the usually more expensive and luxurious R/T. Sales were declining across the board, even for the popular lesser models of the Coronet.
Things would cool off as Chrysler would redesign its new B bodies once again. The new cars were larger more posh and less powerful, although they did feature attractive new coke bottle styling. Next to the boxy 5th generation car, the 71′ looked thoroughly modern, if not incredibly boring.