Chrysler was late to the muscle car race but the contributions were still impressive. The powerful cars coupled with lightweight bodies and finished in radical colors definitely turned heads. Plymouth had their Road Runner and Dodge had their SuperBee. In 1970 Dodge offered the 440-6 Pack SuperBee as an option on their Coronet vehicle. The six-pack represented the three, 2-barrel carburetors while helped the engine in producing nearly 400 horsepower. Since MOPAR was late to the supercar race, they did not sell as many of these high-performance vehicle as did Ford or Chevy. The decline of the muscle car era came about in the late 1960's and early 1970's due to safety concerns, growing government regulations, and an impending oil crisis. The 1970 Dodge 440-6 Pack Super finished in Plum Crazy paint and 'Bumble Bee' stripe wrapped around the rear was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island. It was offered without reserve and expected to fetch between $90,000-$100,000. It has a records-matching engine and A727 Torqueflite Automatic transmission and a rare 4.10 Dana Super Drag pack. At the conclusion of the bidding it had found a new owner for the price of $88,000. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
The R/T option added dummy rear fender vents and a hood scoop, plus R/T emblems. There were heavy duty front and rear shock absorbers, an extra-heavy duty suspension, all-vinyl bucket seats, carpeting, and more. Outrageous color schemes were not uncommon on the R/T models, such as Plum Crazy, Hemi Orange, Go-Mango, Sublime Lime, and Banana Yellow. Both the standard and optional list of equipment were extensive and impressive.
This 1970 dodge Coronet 'Hemi' R/T Hardtop has the optional Track Pack, Rallye Cluster instrument panel, a console, four-speed transmission, Stereo Tape with AM radio, F70x14 tires with raised letters and High-Impact paint colors and front disc brakes. There is a High performance Axle Group, a Sure-Grip Differential and the Air Scoop Ram charger Hood. The most impressive option was the one that lurks under-hood. It is a 425 horsepower, 426 cubic-inch Hemi engine. The original sticker price on this car was a staggering $4,832.95.
This car is painted Plum Crazy and there is no racing stripe. At the 1997 Mopar Nationals in Indianapolis, this car scored 1923 points out of a possible 2000 and was awarded a Gold Certificate.
1970 was the last year for the Dodge Coronet R/T hardtops and only 2,319 examples were built. Just thirteen Hemi hardtops were built and only four hardtops came equipped with the Hemi engine and a four-speed transmission.
In 2008, this vehicle was offered for sale at the 'Sports & Classics of Monterey' presented by RM Auctions. It had an estimated value of $200,000 - $300,000. The lot was sold for a high bid of $156,750, including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
The Dodge Super Bee was produced from 1968 through 1971, during which time a little over 53,000 were produced. The Super Bee was based on the Coronet 440, and included improved shocks and suspension components, larger brakes and a revised hood. It featured a bee wearing a helmet. Also in the image were a stinger, fat tires, and headers.
There was an internal rivalry between the two MOPAR divisions, Dodge and Plymouth. Plymouth had produced their Road Runner, a vehicle that focused on acceleration and speed and was stripped of amenities such as carpet, radio, ac, and cruise control. Out of the two cars, the Road Runner enjoyed greater success.
When introduced in 1968, the SuperBee sold for $3,030. In comparison with the Road Runner, the Super Bee was just over $100 more expensive, about the same weight, identical engines, had interior carpeting, and closely mirrored it in performance. An optional 426 Hemi engine was available for an extra thousand dollars. Bumble bee racing strips circled the tail of the vehicle and a Super Bee emblem was placed on the rear fenders. The base 383 cubic-inch V8 produced 335 horsepower and 425 ft-lbs of torque while the 426 Hemi produced 425 horsepower. During its introductory year, 7842 examples were produced.
In 1969, Dodge placed a 'Scat Pack' emblem on the front and rear of the vehicle. A new cold-air induction, Ramcharger system became standard on the cars equipped with the Hemi engine. The 440 Six Pack V8 engine was offered and produced 390 horsepower and 490 ft-lbs of torque. Although not as powerful as the Hemi engine, it did provide an excellent alternative and cost about half as much. A two door, hardtop bodystyle was added to thel ine up. There were 7,650 coupes and 18,475 hardtops produced during the 1969 model year.
In 1970, the Super Bee received minor styling changes. A hood tachometer and spoiler was now offered as optional equipment. Sales were not as good as the prior year, selling a little more than half when compared 1969. There were 3,740 coupes and 10,614 hardtop sold for a combine total of 14,254.
In 1971, sales continued to decline. The hardtop was the only bodystyle offered. Only 5,054 examples were produced. The Super Bee was now being built on the Charger platform. For $3,271, the Super Bee came equipped with the standard 383 cubic-inch V8 and produced 300 horsepower. The three-speed manual gearbox was standard. The 440 Six Pack and 426 Hemi were still available, but had been detuned and now produced less horsepower than prior years. Increasing government safety and emission regulations was to blame. The entire muscle car arena was being 'phased out'. Fuel prices were increasing, insurance costs were becoming more expensive, and the government was implementing strict regulations for how vehicles were to be built. In order to satisfy these requirements, many muscle cars, such as the Super Bee were no longer being offered. 1971 was the final year for the Super Bee. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
In 1949 Dodge introduced the Coronet which was the top trim level offered by Dodge. It was similar to the Meadowbrook models in many respects, deviating in their interior appointments and minor differences with trim. The base level four-door sedan bodystyle was offered for under $1930. The top of the line version was the two-door station wagon which had seating for six and cost $2865. An L-head six-cylinder engine produced just over 100 horsepower could be found under the hood. A three-speed transmission with Fluid-Drive was standard equipment.
For 1950 the Dodge Coronet continued to be Dodge's top-of-the-line vehicle. It still was very similar to the Meadowbrook; it include all of its features plus added addition chrome trim on the wheels, rear fender guards and was adorned with the 'Coronet' name proudly displayed on the exterior of the vehicle. Little changed for the following year. For 1952 the eight-passenger sedan was no longer offered. In 1953 the Dodge Coronet incorporated an air scoop on its hood. Under the Ram hood ornament could be found the word 'Dodge V-8' for the eight-cylinder variants. The Hemi head overhead valve V8 engine was capable of producing 140 horsepower. The six-cylinder unit produced 103 horsepower.
In 1954 the Coronet name was used on the intermediate trim levels. Chrome trim could be found throughout the exterior of the vehicle including a chrome strip that ran along the middle of the body. In script letters, the name 'Coronet' could now be found on the sides of the rear fenders. The base price for the four-door six-passenger sedan was $2110. The top of the line bodystyle was the four-door Sierra with seating for six and would set the buyer back $2695. The Coronet made an appearance at the Indy 500 where the convertible body style was the official pace car.
In 1956 the Dodge Coronet was restyled and grew by six-inches, became wider, and now sat closer to the ground. They were now the base trim level for Dodge. Both the six and eight cylinder engines now produced more horsepower. The eight-cylinder unit was capable of 175 horsepower. Tri-colored paint schemes were not uncommon. In the front was a new grille that was divided intro two separate openings. The parking lights were incorporated into the grille. The windshield was a classy wraparound design. Sales were very positive as the public agreed with the design and the vehicles mechanical abilities. Riding on the wings of success, Dodge made the wise decision to not mess with the design for 1956. The side trim and taillights were slightly modified. Tail fins could now be found protruding from the rear. A push-button transmission was now offered as optional equipment. This technology had been borrowed from Chrysler and proved to be rather popular with many.
In 1956, Dodge created a true 'sleeper' car. The Coronet D-500 appeared to be similar to other Coronet's but hidden under the hood was a 315 cubic-inch V8 that could pump-out 260 horsepower. It was able to go from zero-to-sixty in under nine seconds. One of the rules to compete in NASCAR was that at least 500 identical models had to be produced. The Coronet D-550 was a purpose-built vehicle intended for the NASCAR circuit. It featured a 315 cubic-inch Hemi V8 that produced 285 horsepower. In addition to a larger engine, the suspension, tires, brakes, and transmission were all modified to create a highly competitive, very effective muscle car / racing machine.
The Coronet was again restyled in 1957. Dodge began incorporating its 'Forward Look' design. The wheelbase grew, as did its length. The car was lowered and now sat even closer to the ground. One of the most recognizable features were the large tail fins. The front headlights were placed below headlight 'brows'. A chrome strip ran the entire length of the vehicle on both sides. Chrome trim could be found throughout the vehicle, encompassing lgihts and grille openings. The base engine was the L-head six-cylinder engine that produced 138 horsepower. Eight-cylinder engines were available.
In 1957 the D-500 was replaced by the D-501. The '500' series was a high-performance option offered on all series. The Coronet D-501 featured a 354 cubic-inch Hemi V8 that produced 340 horsepower. Only 101 examples were produced. The suspension was updated to include torsion bar front suspension and a rear, heavy duty shock absorbers and leaf spring suspension.
The grille and headlights were the most significant changes for the Dodge Coronet for 1958. The headlights were now quad units. Dodge focused on improving the engines, which they did, with all engines of the 'wedge' single rocker head design. The top of the line engine was the 361-cubic-inch V8 with fuel-injection which was capable of an astonishing 333 horsepower. The Dodge name could be found in block letters along the front edge of the hood.
In 1959 the Dodge Coronet was given even larger fins. The brows over the headlights became even more exaggerated. They grew in length, width, wheelbase and were lowered, closer to the ground. A 383-cubic-inch V8 engine was available which produced 345 horsepower in its Super D-500 format. The buyers were treated to an extensive list of options, one of them being the Swivel-Seat option. The seat, with the push of a lever, could swing out to meet its occupant. Another option offered by Dodge was the self-leveling rear air suspension called LevelFlite. The name 'Dodge' could be found in block letters on the trunk lid. The 'Coronet' name was in script and appeared on the front fender.
The Coronet name did not appear on a Dodge vehicle in 1960. It re-appeared in 1965 as a mid-sized muscle car featuring a 426 cubic-inch Hemi engine that produced 425 horsepower. It was now an intermediate-sized vehicle. The bodyshell rested on a 117-inch wheelbase. The base trim level for the Coronet was outfitted with a 224-cubic-inch six-cylidner engine. The Dodge name was proudly displayed in block letters across the front of the hood. The Coronet name was in script along the front fender tip.
In 1966 the Dodge was restyled and was shortened by an inch. In 1966, the vehicle came with the Race Hemi making it more suitable for the drag strip rather than street driving. It was the most powerful production car engine ever built. Dodge offered fifteen exterior color choices all in acrylic enamel finish. Bucket seats were standard but the choice of vinyl or vinyl-and-fabric upholstery was left up to the buyer.
For 1967 Dodge placed the grille from the Charger onto the Coronet. The rear end received a little attention as well. The R/T version, short for Road/Track, was introduced and priced under $3200 for the two door hardtop version. The 2 door R/T convertible was offered for $3,440. The R/T version sold well - over 10,000 examples were produced. The 440 cubic-inch V8 engine was capable of propelling the car from zero to sixty in seven seconds. The 375 horsepower engine was very popular at the drag strip. If that was not enough, a 426 cubic-inch Hemi engine could be substituted for just $460. Only 238 vehicles were equipped with this 425 horsepower engine. Fifty-five vehicles were built to comply with the Hot Rod Association Super Stock B rules. These SS/B models were equipped with the 440 cubic-inch V8 engine and produced 375 horsepower and 480 ft-lbs of torque.
In 1968 the Coronet was restyled and given a smoother, rounder profile. Quad headlights were incorporated into the full-width grille. In the rear the taillights were incorporated into a full-width panel. 10,456 Coronet R/T versions were sold. 230 examples of the Coronet 426 cubic-inch V8 were produced. The Coronet was completely restyled. Bucket seats, dual exhaust, heavy-duty suspension and brakes, were all standard equipment.
The 440 cubic-inch V8 Six Pack became available in 1969. With this 390 horsepower engine, a zero-to-sixty time of 6.6 seconds could be achieved. The 426 and 440 horsepower engine were still available offering 425 and 375 horsepower respectively. Unfortunately, sales continued to fall - less than 7,240 examples were produced in 1969. Styling remained unchanged from 1968. The Coronet Super Bee and R/T versions were outfitted with the 426 cubic-inch Hemi V8. They were offered in two-door coupe configruation of which 166 examples are estimated to have been produced. 90 two-door hardtops were also constructed. In the R/T configuration, there were 97 constructed of these two-door hardtops and 10 convertibles.
In 1970, visual improvements were added to the vehicle. The engine options remained the same.
For 1971 Dodge wanted to create distance between the Coronet and the Charger, which had been sharing many mechanical components, designs and options. So for 1971 the Coronet now sat atop a 118 inch wheelbase and the design became more rounded in comparison to the prior year. The Dodge triangular symbol could now e found incorporated into the front grille, which featured horizontal bars. The intermediate-sized Coronets were offered in four-door configuration in either sedan or station wagon bodystyles. The sedan cost $2770 while the station wagon was just over $3100. The base engine was the 225-cubic-inch Slant six-cylinder engine producing 125 horsepower. V8 engines were still available. The Coronet Custom Series was also offered in six- and eight-cylinder engines. They included all the standard options as the base Coronet plus color-keyed carpeting, dual note horns, wheel opening, and drip rail moldings. On the interior there was a padded horn in three-spoke configuration. The base price for the four-door sedan was $2950. The four-door station wagon was $3450.
The muscle car era was coming to a close and things were fading fast by the early 1970's. Government regulations, safety concerns, and an impending oil embargo meant that engine sizes were declining. Manufacturers responded by incorporating the new government safety items to their vehicles, detuned their engines, and tried to figure out what the American public would want next. For the Dodge Coronet, Dodge decided to simplify their line, now only offering the vehicle in four-door configuration as either a sedan or station wagon. The exterior molding and much of the trim had been removed. The Coronet was Dodge's base trim level vehicle with the introductory price costing $2720 in 1972. The 198 cubic-inch slant-six engine produced 100 horsepower while the 225-slant six produced 110 horsepower. The 318 cubic-inch V8 produced 150 horsepower. The top of the Coronet line was the Coronet Custom which included all standard Coronet features plus color-keyed carpeting, wheel opening, and three-spoke steering wheel, among other options.
Many marque's felt that the American public would want larger vehicles outfitted with luxurious amenities. The Coronet followed suite. Dodge did much to improve the ride for the occupants such as improving the suspension and adding sound deadening material and extra insulation material. Though the design was similar to the prior year, Dodge took the opportunity to restyle the grille and taillights. New colors and interiors were offered.
Little changed in 1974. For 1975 a two-door model was added to the Coronet lineup. The grille sand front engine was again changed. The headlights were now single units while the grille was dived in the center to form two separate units. The 225 Slant Six engine produced 95 SAE Net horsepower while the 318 cubic-inch V8 produced 145 SAE Net horsepower.
Production of the Coronet continued until 1976. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
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