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.
The Belvedere based Road Runner was created by Plymouth to give its customers a lower priced option than the uptown Satellite based GTX. The goodies are left on the shelf, although every power option in Mopar's arsenal could be had, and, the new model has a rock bottom sticker price. Initially the Road Runner is only available as a two door coupe, with a "B" pillar, but this was so successful a two door hardtop (without the "B" pillar) is in showrooms later in '68.
The first Roadrunners off the assembly line were spartan indeed with vinyl mats and only a rubber boot to cover the four speed floor shifer-no console was even available, but all units did have the unique and easily recognized "Beep-Beep" horn from the Road Runner cartoons. Plymouth did pay Warner Brothers a bundle of cash for the rights to use this sound and the Roadrunner logo. The options originally available did include, P/S, P/B, front disc brakes, power steering and AM radio. although the cost goes up with each addition.
The Oldsmobile Cutlass base model in 1970 is the F-85 and could be a two door sedan, a two door hard top, four door hard top or four door sedan. The more uptown trimmed and classy "Cutlass Supreme" has a notch back or the sporty fastback "Cutlass S" are also on the options sheet. The basic 4-4-2 in 1970 is equipped with the 455 Rocket 88 engine and a four speed with a Hurst shift kit. There are seven body styles in all in 1970, additionally including a convertible and two different station wagons.
The Chrysler "B" body, mid-size platform, is the source of the moniker "Super Bee", The success of the mid-sized Roadrunner and Charger models led to the introduction of the SuperBee in 1968. The first year it is only available as a pillared hard top, but in '69 a pillerless version is also an option. A factory correct 1969 SuperBee is powered by the base 383 Magnum, 440 six pack or the 426 Hemi.
MCF would like to thank Gateway Classic Cars for the images displayed here.