1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee: The Disguised Plymouth Road Runner

The Dodge Coronet, initially introduced in 1949, marked one of the company’s first post-war body styles. After several generations and a temporary discontinuation, the nameplate made its return in 1965 on the B-body platform, which it shared with notable Mopar vehicles like the Plymouth Belvedere, Road Runner, and Dodge Charger. While subsequent generations followed until 1976, it was the period between 1968 and 1970 that truly cemented the Coronet’s place in Detroit’s muscle car wars.

In 1968, the fifth-generation Coronet received a redesign, aligning it with the updated Dodge Charger also based on the B-body platform. This refresh brought forth a more aggressive design, enhanced appearance packages, and upgraded engines. Although Dodge introduced a station wagon variant known as the Coronet 500, it was the range-topping Super Bee trim that stole the spotlight. Produced exclusively between 1968 and 1971, the Super Bee became Dodge’s version of the highly successful Plymouth Road Runner.

Exterior

Externally, the Super Bee closely resembled the Coronet but bore a striking resemblance to its inspiration, the Plymouth Road Runner. However, it featured a longer wheelbase compared to the Road Runner, larger rear wheel openings, a distinct front grille, and unique taillight ornamentation. To differentiate itself from the regular Coronet lineup, the Super Bee boasted a special stripe package that varied each model year and the iconic bumblebee tail stripe. This distinctive stripe was based on the Dodge “Scat Pack” Bee medallion, further emphasizing its identity.

In addition, the Super Bee proudly showcased three-dimensional “Bee” medallions, prominently mounted in raised positions on the grille, hood, and taillight areas of the car. In contrast, the Road Runner sported simpler-looking decals. In 1969, Dodge introduced a conventional hardtop version alongside the existing pillared coupe body, offering an optional twin-scooped air induction engine hood known as the “Ramcharger.” This hood served as a response to Plymouth’s “Coyote Duster” hood featured on the Road Runner. Optional extras for the Super Bee included a vinyl top and Magnum 500 wheels.

A subsequent redesign in 1970 brought a more aggressive front fascia, twin-looped front bumper, and muscular rear haunches with distinct C-shaped stripe decals. The Ramcharger hood was also revised for this model year. The Super Bee was available in a wide range of colors, including the optional High Impact palette. Vibrant hues such as Plum Crazy, Sublime, Green Go, Go Mango, Butter Scotch, Panther Pink, Hemi Orange, and Citron Yella captured attention. Although the car depicted here features a Copper finish rather than a High Impact color, its appearance remains captivating.

Interior

The Coronet Super Bee’s interior reflected its focus on affordability, as was the norm for muscle cars of the 1960s. The Dodge brand aimed to deliver impressive performance at an accessible price point. Consequently, the Super Bee’s cabin was modest in its offerings. The simple front seats lacked any significant bolstering, akin to other sports cars of the era. The dashboard design featured a straightforward layout, with most dials and controls concentrated within the driver’s area. The absence of a center stack and console, along with minimalistic door panel design, exemplified the car’s no-frills approach. Nonetheless, the Super Bee did include a few enhancements compared to the standard Coronet.

Drivetrain

Upon its launch in 1968, the Coronet Super Bee offered two V8 engine options. The base model featured a 6.3-liter big-block V8 engine delivering 335 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. This four-barrel carbureted engine could be paired with either a four-speed manual or a three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.

For those seeking even more power, Dodge provided a 7.0-liter Hemi V8 engine generating an impressive 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Equipped with dual four-barrel carburetors, this engine stood as the most potent offering in the Super Bee lineup.

In 1969, Dodge introduced a third engine option: a 7.2-liter V8 powerplant. While larger in displacement than the Hemi, this big-block engine delivered slightly less power at 390 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Notably, this V8 utilized three two-barrel carburetors. The same transmission choices were available across the range.

Conclusion

While perhaps not as notorious as the Charger and Challenger, the Dodge Coronet Super Bee has undoubtedly earned its place in the muscle car hall of fame. Over the years, the value of the Super Bee has significantly appreciated, with well-maintained, low-mileage examples fetching prices exceeding $60,000 at public auctions. Compared to its Charger and Challenger counterparts equipped with high-output engines, the Super Bee remains a relatively affordable collectible.

The Coronet Super Bee’s legacy endures, a testament to its performance and enduring appeal. Its presence on the roads serves as a reminder of a remarkable era in automotive history, where power and style converged to create legendary muscle cars.

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