GM divisions had practiced it for years, but it took the competitive fervor of the muscle car years to spark a sibling rivalry between Dodge and Plymouth. The 1968 Dodge Super Bee carried the colors for Mopar's Scat Pack division.Plymouth had struck first, with the fall-1967 introduction of the budget-muscle 1968 Road Runner. Dodge -- already irked that it had coined the "road runner" name in a '67 Coronet R/T advertisement -- scrambled to respond. Its answer was a bang-for-the-buck stripper based on the redesigned Coronet pillared coupe. The inspiration -- and the drivetrain -- were pure Road Runner. For the name, however, Dodge looked to its Scat Pack symbol and released its new model in the spring of '68 as the Super Bee.
The $3,027 base price was $131 over that of the Road Runner, which used the same basic chassis. Curb weight was nearly identical, so performance was a wash. Base engine for both was the 335-bhp four-barrel 383-cid V-8 that borrowed cylinder heads, camshaft, and induction system from the 440 Magnum V-8.
The 426 Hemi was the only engine option, but at nearly $1,000, it clashed with the Super Bee's budget appeal and only 125 were ordered. A Hurst-shifted four-speed manual was standard, with the three-speed TorqueFlite automatic optional.
Holding the price meant minimizing amenities, and while Super Bee borrowed the Charger's Rallye gauge layout to edge the Road Runner in instrumentation, a tachometer still cost $38 extra. Heavy-duty suspension and brakes and red-line wide-oval tires were standard, though.
Low priced didn't mean low profile. Bumblebee racing strips circled the tail, and a big Super Bee emblem hovered on the rear fenders. The grille was finished in black matte, and the hood held a decorative power bulge.
Dodge was proud enough to name names in Super Bee advertising: "It's the super car for the guy who doesn't want to shy away from GTOs...only their high prices." But finishing far behind the Road Runner in sales surely must have stung.
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