The Dodge Coronet Super Bee owe’s its existence to the intra corporate rivalry between Plymouth and Dodge to become parent company Chrysler’s performance brand. Plymouth took the lead in that rivalry when it introduced the Road Runner in 1968 and under the of Dodge General Manager Robert McCurry Dodge responded with the first Super Bee later the same year.
Senior Designer Harvey J Winn is credited with coming up with the name and Super Bee logo which was also turned into a diecast medallion which identified Dodge’s performance model.
The face lifted 1969 model, seen here at Shakespeare County Raceway, is powered by the standard 335 hp 6276 cc / 383 cui Magnum V8, which was advertised with the “Cool It” strap line, as being fitted with 440 Magnum heads, valve gear, hot cam and manifolds.
Introduced for the 1969 model was this option, coded N-96, twin “Ramcharger” air induction hood that forces air into the carburetors, unlike the scoops on the “Coyote Duster” option hood for the Road Runner which ‘merely’ acted as vents.
Back in the day the N-96 hood commanded respect at the light’s today it command a premium over Super Bees not carrying this performance enhancing option.
Sitting on a 117 inch wheel base, one inch longer than the Road Runner, the Super Bee was 65 lbs heavier than it’s rival from Plymouth.
Inside the 1969 Coronet Super Bee featured a Dodge Charger Rallye instrument panel, and manual versions had a Hurst Shifter to operate the four speed transmission.
So far as I know the side vents unlike the bonnet vents are purely decorative, as they were on many contemporary vehicles like the Mustang.
Like the Road Runner the tail featured a wrap around strip, unlike the Plymouth, Dodge did not have to pay Warner Brothers a royalty for their logo.
Heavy duty features that came standard with the Super Bee included the clutch, suspension, shock absorbers and brakes which ensured that safety was no accident and that owners could drive with care as encouraged in contemporary sales literature.
1969 was the zenith of Dodge Coronet Super Bee production with 25,727 ‘383’ units produced, an additional 1,907 1969 models were manufactured with the Magnum 440 Six Pack and 162 with the 426 Hemi motor.
Thanks for joining me on this “Drive With Care” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !