Dodge Super Bee

The original Super Bee was based on the Dodge Coronet. It was a two-door coupe model only and was produced from 1968 through 1970. It was the company's low-priced muscle car, cousin of the Plymouth Road Runner, and was priced at $3,027. The name "Super Bee" was derived from the "B" Body designation given Chrysler's midsized cars which included the Coronet (as well as the Roadrunner, Charger, etc.).

Plymouth Division had introduced the Road Runner first and the car sold well, prompting Dodge Division General Manager Robert McCurry to have the Dodge Styling office create a competitor. During that time, both divisions were competing to be the "Chrysler Performance Division". The designers were assigned the task of creating a name and identity for the Dodge version. Senior designer Harvey J. Winn won the "contest" with the name Super Bee and a new logo design around the Dodge "Scat Pack" Bee medallion. The first Super Bee was based on a 1968 Coronet convertible. The show car was built at Alexander Brothers Custom Shop under Winn's direction and was introduced at the 1968 Detroit Auto Show.

Although the two cars are very similar in external appearance, the Super Bee was slightly heavier (approx 65 lb (29 kg)) and rode on a 117-inch (3,000 mm) wheelbase compared to the Road Runner's 116 in (290 cm) wheelbase. In addition to the slight aesthetic external differences, such as larger rear wheel openings, the bumble bee tailstripe and fancier grille and taillight ornamentation, the Super Bee also used actual diecast chrome plated "Bee" medallions. These three-dimensional medallions were prominently mounted in a raised position in the grille/hood area and the trunklid/taillight area of the car throughout the first three years of production, and added a touch of class and panache.

The interior of the Super Bee borrowed the race car–inspired and more sophisticated gauge and speedometer dash cluster from the Dodge Charger while the four-speed manual cars received an actual Hurst Competition-Plus shifter with Hurst linkage, compared to the budget-minded Road Runner's less expensive Inland shifter and linkage. All these niceties added to the higher purchase price of the Super Bee compared to its Plymouth cousin, and ultimately affected its sales numbers over the years it was produced.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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