The first generation Super Bee was made from 1968 to 1970 and introduce to the public at the Detroit auto show in 1968. Plymouth Road Runner was selling so well that Chrysler Corporation decided the model needed some competition within the company. The Dodge division saw this as a chance to break into the muscle car market. The “super Bee” became the lowest priced vehicle offered by Chrysler Dodge Division - it was styled along the same lines as the Road Runner.
Outwardly the two cars are very similar; the Super Bee is slightly heavier - about 29 kg (65lbs) with a wheel base slightly longer at 300 c m (117”) as compared to the Road Runners 290 cm (116”).On the outside the Dodge has large wheel openings, fancy grill, and in the rear the Bee stripe with ornate tail lights. One other feature distinguishes the Dodge “Bee” and the Plymouth “Road Runner” the “Super Bee’ has three die cast chrome plated logo medallions; one on the rear of the car and two in front.
The dashboard instrument cluster and sophisticated gauges are similar to the Chargers. The car has heavy duty suspension on the high performance tires while on the body the tail section sports the distinctive Bee logo and racing stripe. The 1968 model came in a coupe body style only and was basically equipped with an automatic or you could have chosen the Mopar A-833 four speed or a floor mounted four speed with a Hurst Competition-plus shift stick and Hurst linkage. The basic engine available was a bi block 335 hp (250kW) 383 magnum developing 335 hp (250 kW) or you could kick it up a few notches and install a 426 Hemi with a 425 hp (317 kW) rating. There were only 125 of the hemi engine sold. For the big buck a big block 440 cu in (7.3 L) was also available with 390 hp (291 kW).
In 1969 a hardtop was offered besides the coupe along with an optional functional twin-scope air induction system mounted on the hood. The base engine remained a 383 high performance or you could choose from two optional engines; a 440 with three two barrel carbs or “Six-pack” and the high end 426 Hemi. This year saw a tax applied to all the muscle cars as well as any other vehicles with large fuel consuming engines. The sales went down in 1969 and continued a downward spiral into 1970 models.
With the 1970 model Super Bee came some cosmetic changes such as a twin loop front bumper Dodge christened “bumble bee wings” as well an optional - “c-stripe” variation of the bumble bee stripe on the trunk lid. Interior changes included high back bucket seats, a column mounted ignition switch, and a pistol grip style shifter handle on the optional four speed.
The second generation “Bee” saw a slight increase in sales over the first generation for the budget priced muscle car although only 22 units were sold with the hemi option; this option was shelved until it became available again in the 2007 Super Bee. This was the only year to offer a small block 340 cu in (5.6 L) which had 275 hp (205 kW) with only 26 units built.
Another very cool Muscle Car Fan Member story from
Your Muscle Car Story
It was about 4 years ago while checking out some local car ads when I came across and ad about a 1970 Ford Galaxie. The pictures shown were of a car that was barely recognizable because of the terrible photo's. It peaked my interest so I gave the number a call. It so happens that the car was a 1970 Ford XL that was being sold by the original owner. It had been put away for the last 16 years and he was ready to let it go. We talked some more and I found out that it had the original 429 4 barrel engine in it...in fact the car was completely original except for a paint job done sometime in the 1980's. It had the horseshoe shifter, high bucket seats, C-6 transmission, horn blow steering wheel etc. It was actually outfitted as a 1969 Ford XL-Gt would have been.
It was located about 2 hours away but I still made the trip the next day. When I pulled up to the house, there it sat in all it's glory. It looked amazing for a car that had been sitting around for the last 15 years and it was starting to steal my heart. I could see it's amazing potential and really, where do you find a car like this and buy it from the original owner..I had to buy it.
We settled on a great price and because I traveled 2 hours to see it, I couldn't take her home that day as I couldn't obviously drive both cars but the owner happily agreed to drive it to me the next day.
Over the last few year I have had the engine rebuilt to factory specs, changed the gears and really just prettied it. I added Magnum 500 wheels, some cool striping and a functional scoop on the hood.
It is a big and beautiful car that is now my summer daily driver as well as my track warrior on the weekends (14 second car). This is a rare, underappreciated full size Ford that you don't see often (1640 XL's made in 1970) but when I get in it, there is no way anyone could wipe the smile off my face. That's my Ford barn find story. Cheers!
The second generation Firebird was late because of tooling problems; the car did not hit the showrooms until February 26, 1970. The sales literature from late ’69 early ’70 is unique because it has no date mentioned and a diligent collector will refer to the “Firebird 1969 ½” as a separate model.
The new generation Firebird has a swooping body style with a long rear window extending almost to the trunk lid. The weight of the car went up because of the newly integrated safety laws and structural changes to strengthen the body and frame. The 1970 had a different body style but the power options were the same as the previous years; however the 1971 model offers a 455 cu in (7.5L) V8 the - 455 H.O. option which is continued through 1973.
Two additional engines were added in 1970 – the Ram Air III producing 335 hp (250 kW) and the 345 hp (257 kW) Ram Air IV. Those horse power ratings are actually for the GTO version of the Rams and the Firebird can achieve the same ratings by bending the carburetor linkage and allowing the carb jets to open fully
The 1974 version of this engine, the SD-455 has heavier cylinder block with four bolt main bearings making a heavier but stronger cast block. The SD version is equipped with higher flow cylinder heads, forged push rods, and forged aluminum pistons. The prototype of the SD-455 was tested with functional hood scoops, a hot cam, and a different rocker- cam ratio than the engine that was offered to consumers. The marketed version had none functional hood scoops, a milder cam, and 1.5:1 rocker ratios with a low actual compression ratio of 7.9:1 however barely passed ever tightening emissions regulations but it still yielded 290 SAE net horse power measured at the crankshaft. The street ready engine can do the quarter mile in less than 15 seconds reaching 98 mph.
The body changed in 1974 with a “shovel-nose front end and wider slotted tail lights. The entry level engines are two in line six cylinder offers. The basic V8 is a 350 cu in (5.7 L) with a 400 cu in and depending on power options will produce 215 hp (160 kW) or 250 hp (190 kW). Next on the agenda is the 455 cu in (7.5 L) producing 215 hp (160 kW) or a 250 hp (190 kW) version as well the SD-455 was an option producing 290 hp (220 kW). The larger engines are stock equipment only on the Trans Am and Formula models in ’74.
The 1975 models featured a new wrap around rear window with a revised roof line and the turn signals were moved from the valance panel to the grill which distinguishes the ’75 from the previous model year. The Muncie four speed and the TurboHydramatic transmissions were no longer available in ’75. The 400 engine was the basic V8 for both 1975 and 1976 in the Trans Am. The 455 is the power option. With 7,100 units produced in ‘76 but ever tightening emission controls regulations meant that this was the last year for the “big cube birds”.