Mid-size madness afflicted the Dodge lineup for 1967 and began to roll out what became known as the 1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee Models, which included a 440 Magnum engine. As the name suggests, the new mill displaced a whopping 440 cubic inches -- this in a car that was typically thought of as supermarket and vacation transportation.
At least it didn't come as an ordinary sedan, but only in hardtop coupe and convertible dress, decorated by dual paint stripes and a hood scoop. Early R/T ads declared that the "rampaging" Magnum speaks softly, but carries "a big kick."
Dodge wasn't about to let Pontiac's GTO and other muscle-car rivals pull ahead in the marketplace, so the R/T package carried on when Coronets earned their 1968 restyling.
Ranking among the most attractive intermediates, the new Coronet wore rounded bodies in the popular "Coke-bottle" shape that enhanced its long, low silhouette. Like other members of the Dodge Scat Pack, the R/T came with "bumblebee" stripes wrapped around the tail, unless the buyer specified otherwise.
Standard again was the 440 Magnum V-8 with three-speed TorqueFlite. The 425-bhp Hemi engine and four-speed gearbox were available, too. Brakes were larger than on other Coronets, but front discs remained a $73 option.
So did special instruments, including a tachometer, which added $90. Exhaust gases exited through twin pipes, and a special handling suspension was standard. Both the hardtop and convertible wore all-vinyl bucket seats, and came in 16 colors.
"Acceleration is very rapid," declared Car Life after its test of an R/T convertible that rushed to 60 in 6.6 seconds, "yet the engine never seems to be laboring. The 440's brute torque makes high revving completely unnecessary."
Apart from a revised split grille and taillights, change for 1969 was minimal. R/T gear included a simulated woodgrain instrument panel, sill and wheel-lip moldings, Rallye suspension with sway bar, F70 x 14 Red Line wide-tread tires, and Power Bulge hood.
To satisfy shoppers who felt an R/T coupe's $3,379 sticker was too high for comfort, Dodge added a budget-priced Super Bee during the 1968 model year. This few-frills, back-to-basics muscle coupe carried a special 335-bhp, 383-cid V-8, serving as Dodge's answer to the hot-selling Plymouth Road Runner.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1969-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee models.
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1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee
The 1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee engine contained various components taken off the 440 Magnum, including cylinder heads and hot camshaft. Instead of bucket seats, the Super Bee came with a vinyl bench, in an interior more reminiscent of a taxicab than a near-luxury traveler. A four-speed was standard; TorqueFlite the option.
Both a hardtop coupe and pillared coupe made the Super Bee lineup, the latter with flip-open back windows instead of roll-up glass. Super Bee's Rallye instrument panel came out of the Charger. Hemi engines could be ordered.
Something new appeared on Super Bee engines for 1969: a Ramcharger Air Induction System that forced colder, denser outside air through the carburetor, selling for $73 (standard with the Hemi engine.)
Gathering even greater publicity was the Super Bee "Six Pack" option, consisting of a trio of two-barrel Holley carburetors feeding a 440-cid V-8, all hidden beneath a pinned-down, flat-black fiberglass hood.
Priced at $463 above the $3,138 hardtop base figure, the Six Pack delivered 390 horsepower, along with a brawny 490 pounds/feet of torque. That was sufficient to permit 0-60 mph acceleration times of 6.3 seconds or so. Strangely enough, an ordinary 383-equipped Bee could handle the job in less time: as little as 5.6 seconds as reported by Car and Driver.
Nearly all of the 10,849 R/Ts built in 1968 were Magnum-powered; a mere 230 had the Hemi, whose days were numbered. In 1969, fewer than half as many Hemis went under R/T hoods, as production shrunk to 7,238.
Price was part of the reason, since the Hemi added $604.75 to an R/T's cost. Super Bee figures tell a similar story. Of the 27,846 built for 1969, only 166 had a Hemi installed.
Both the Coronet R/T and Super Bee hung on for one more year. Although overshadowed at the end by Chargers and the winged if seldom-seen Daytonas, the final Coronets proved themselves to be true dual-purpose machines.
Serving as subdued family transportation most of the time -- just like their Coronet Deluxe and 440 brethren -- with the proper drivetrain on tap they were also able to turn into Mr. Hyde with a hard slap at the gas pedal. For both traits, they'll be fondly remembered.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee specifications.
For more information on cars, see:
1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee Specifications
The 1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee featured big engines and big power, which were more than enough for the many families that owned them.
Engines: all ohv V-8: Coronet R/T 426 cid (4.25 x 3.75), 425 bhp; 440 cid (4.32 x 3.75), 375 bhp Super Bee 383 cid (4.25 x 3.38), 335 bhp; 426 cid, 425 bhp; 440 cid, 390 bhp
Transmissions: 4-speed manual or 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic
Suspension, front: short/long arms, torsion bars, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rear: live axle, leaf springs
Brakes: front/rear drums, (front discs optional)
Wheelbase (in.): 117.0
Weight (lbs.): 3,440-3,721
Top speed (mph): R/T 123; Super Bee 117-129
0-60 mph (sec): R/T 6.6; Super Bee 5.6-6.3