Why the 1970 Dodge Super Bee Gets Top Dollar in the Collector’s Market
In our second installment this week of May 2016’s Ride of the Month we feature the 1970 Dodge Super Bee presented by nominee David Liesch. Here is some general information about the vehicle.
Note: This is not information about the actual vehicle nominated for May’s Ride of the Month, just general information on the vehicle itself. Please check the link at the bottom of today’s article to view all the actual vehicles nominated for this month’s Ride of the Month.
The first-generation Dodge Superbee, produced from 1968-70, was a beefed-up incarnation of the fifth generation Coronet two-door coupe. The “Super Bee” moniker derived from its “B” body platform that it shared with the Dodge Charger and the Plymouth Road Runner. However, the Dodge Super Bee is slightly heavier than its Plymouth counterpart, the Road Runner. It also sports a 117-in wheelbase, one inch more than that of the Road Runner.
Super Bee Branding
Once the Road Runner posted impressive sales figures, the Dodge designers received a request to come up with a low-priced Dodge muscle car. Senior designer Harvey Winn received credit for the Super Bee name and the logo with by the “Scat Back” Bee medallion.
Engines and Performance
Dodge sold the Super Bee with three different engines. The 383 cu-in big-block V8 was rated at 335 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque, while the 440 cu-in big block V8 could generate up to 390 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. The 440 cu-in option became known as the “Six Pack.” The name came from the three Holley two-barrel carburetors fitted on the Edelbrock manifold.
Only 125 Super Bees were delivered with the third engine option, the 426 cu-in Hemi. It could produce an eye-popping 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Choosing the Hemi engine drove the price up by a third, perhaps deterring other would-be buyers. However, that extra investment paid off handsomely when the red light turned green. A Super Bee with the Hemi engine and TorqueFlite could hit 60 mpg from a standing start in just 5.2 seconds.
The heavy-duty suspension and high-performance tires were consistent with the Super Bee’s high-performance functionality. Dodge also offered an optional Mopar A-833 four-speed manual.
The Super Bee enjoyed design upgrades for the 1970 model year. Most notable was the introduction of a twin-looped front bumper allegedly inspired by bumblebee wings. New options for 1970 included a pistol grip Hurst shifter, high back bucket seats and an ignition mounted on the steering column. For 1970, Dodge also introduced a bumblebee stripe variation consisting of a new design that became known as the double hockey stick stripe.
One mystery surrounds the 1970 Super Bee. Although Dodge purportedly built four Super Bee convertibles, their whereabouts remain unknown.
In today’s collector’s market, nicely restored Super Bees command premium prices. Those powered by the standard 383 four-barrel often bring $35,000 and up. The very rare 426 Hemis command prices occasionally approaching six figures.