Even though adding a Hemi to your purchase in '69 was cost prohibitive, the result was a c
Unavailable with A/C due to the giant powerplant under the hood, the interior of this Supe
The floors of Chrysler were a flurry of motion in late 1967. Corporate marketing demanded that new and exciting shapes be implemented in the Dodge lineup, primarily due to the sweeping changes in design by their competitors. Corporate bigwig, Bill Brownlie, had pushed from the inside to get the Coronet a much needed redesign earlier as the B-Body's platform was nearly identical to the '65 model. Additionally, the Charger was basically a fastback version of the Coronet and shared nearly the entire front clip and doors with the Coronet from '66 and '67. Brownlie, tired of the squared, boxy design of the Dodge model lineup, opted for a total retooling of both cars, starting with the Charger. What resulted was automotive history.
True race inspiration crafted the shape of the '68 Charger. From there, the Coronet received the same treatment, sharing the same underpinning as the Charger but with more subdued styling. Amazingly, despite the family resemblance, neither car shared an inch of sheetmetal.
The sister vehicles at Plymouth were undergoing the same maturation, but word leaked to Dodge that Plymouth was looking at adding a new line to its stable of vehicles, namely the Road Runner. Cheap, bare-bones, powerful, and aimed directly at the youth market, the Road Runner was definitely intended to be a musclecar. Brownlie scrambled to provide a comparable car, resulting in the Super Bee. This late start by Dodge meant the Road Runner was cleaning up in sales by the time Dodge had the Super Bee ready for production. In an effort to spread publicity, Dodge blitzed the media will full-page color spreads in Hot Rod, Car and Driver, Super Stock and Drag Racing Illustrated, Mopar Trend, Car Life, Road and Track, Popular Hot Rodding, Drag Strip, Auto Racing, and Cars, as well as 250 college newspapers.
Unlike the distinguishable Runner, the Super Bee shared everything with its siblings. Based upon the Coronet 440 two-door post coupe and designed to carry a little more trim and chrome than its Road Runner counterpart, the Super Bee was available its first year with the standard 383 Magnum found in virtually all Dodge vehicles that year. The standard gearbox was the four-speed manual A833, the 727 TorqueFlite was optional, and like the R/T, the Hemi also was available. The Super Bee borrowed the Coronet's bubble hood and using the Charger's aircraft-inspired dash gauges. Interior trim was kept to a bare minimum with neither bucket seats nor a center console.
The following year, the Super Bee maintained its previous Spartan accruements but also offered improved interior accommodations, such as better seat options like dual buckets and an interior light package. In addition to the standard bulge hood, the Super Bee could be ordered with an aggressive Ram Charger hood, a special hood with cutouts that enable fresh cool air to enter through dual wedge-shaped scoops. A greatly improved grille treatment and taillight valance was also new for the '69 model. The grille featured a deep delta shape surrounded by chrome trim and accented with a polished and painted bumblebee badge.
New for 1969 was the Ram Charger fresh-air induction hood. A cable-operated flap controlle
Needing all the stopping power it could muster to bring the massive front-heavy Hemi-equip
The Super Bee icon was a cartoon bee sporting fat drag slicks, racing goggles, and a helmet. The infamous Super Bee would later manifest itself in the form of plush stuffed toys and branded jackets, T-shirts, and baseball caps for years afterwards.
As the Charger was dominating the fields of NASCAR, the Super Bee Coronet and its sister, the Road Runner, were claiming the streets and drag strips as the victors. With both B-Bodies at the lowest pricing end of intermediate-size muscle machines, most add-ons or extra options to the base Bee or Runner were still within the range of youthful enthusiasts. However, the addition of the 426 Hemi shot the price of the standard 383-powered Super Bee upwards toward the budget of a GTX or Charger.
This particular Y2 Yellow Super Bee had exactly that-the Hemi. Checking the Hemi box not only dropped the infamous elephant between the fenders, but also added stiffer suspension components, larger leaf springs, power brakes, and factory torque boxes that were usually reserved for convertibles. The Hemi option wasn't just an engine selection, but a totally different car from the assembly line.
Michael Giorgio of Altamont, New York, is one of those guys that has had his hands on nearly every kind, make, and model of collectable Mopar, including a '68 Hemi Road Runner, '68 Hemi Charger R/T, '69 Dodge Daytona,'70 Hemi 'Cuda, '70 Charger R/T, '70 Challenger R/T, '70 GTX, '70 AAR 'Cuda, '70 T/A Challenger, '70 440 Six-barrel Superbird, '70 440 Six-barrel 'Cuda, '71 340 'Cuda, '71 Hemi 'Cuda, '71 440 Six-barrel 'Cuda, and a 383-powered '71 'Cuda.
Michael hunted down this nearly perfect Super Bee for both show and drive. This particular Super Bee is one of only 38 post cars built that year with a four-speed, as well as other options like a 4:10 Super Track Pack Dana 60 and an AM/eight-track radio.
Michael spared no expense to have Rocket Restorations completely resurrect the originality of this B-Body. Michael even had renowned Mopar restoration expert Dave Wise take a pass over the it and recreate all of the factory inspection marks. The immaculate condition of the car runs true down to the H-code 15x7 color-matched steel rims with Redline tires.
Though a latecomer to the race and never ultimately outselling the super-successful Road Runner, the Super Bee stayed true to the bare-bones spirit of its beginnings. Dodge engineers never offered the Super Bee as a convertible, saying "the convertible is on its way out. They are leaky and drafty, and government regulations are killing them." Even a topless Charger concept was built for the auto show circuit, but the Super Bee retained its rigid roof and no-frills/all-thrills design. To most Super Bee enthusiasts, that's the way it's meant to be.
Owner: Michael Giorgio, Altamont, NY
Body: '69 Dodge Coronet Super Bee
Color: Y2 Yellow
Engine: 426 Hemi, dual-quad intake, twin Carter AFB carburetors
Transmission: A-833 four-speed manual transmission, Hurst shifter
Rearend: Dana 60, Super Track Pack, 4:10 gears, Sure Grip
Wheels/Tires: H-code color-matched steel rims 15x7, 15-inch Redline tires