1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee

The Super Bee was a stripped-down model featuring a 383-cid V-8 engine. See more classic car pictures.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

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.

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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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Continued

The Dodge Coronet R/T came with a standard 440 V-8 engine.
The Dodge Coronet R/T came with a standard 440 V-8 engine.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

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.

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1968-1969 Dodge Coronet R/T and Super Bee Specifications

Dodge's mid-size muscle car was the Coronet R/T, which came standard with a 440 V-8.
Dodge's mid-size muscle car was the Coronet R/T, which came standard with a 440 V-8.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

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.

Specifications

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

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