To the unaware, it sounds like a new brand of beer or a workout method to produce sculpted 6 pack abs. But to the car enthusiast, there’s no mistaking it. Officially, it’s a Dodge Coronet Super Bee Six-Pack. Unofficially, it’s a late 1960s mid-size muscle car with a unique hood cover designed for enhanced fresh air intake resulting in more power.
Introduced as the Dodge Super Bee in 1968, the vehicle sold as a Charger model in 1971. It was billed as offering an “ultra-high-performance vehicle that could serve as both a daily driver and a weekend warrior at the track or drag strip.” It was only produced for three years, but it’s coming back. A special edition 2023 Dodge Charger Super Bee is expected to roll off just 1,000 cars — 500 Charger Scat Pack in B5 Blue and 500 Charger Scat Pack Widebody in Plum Crazy.
Jim Newberne of Blacksburg had been looking for a high performing vehicle when he discovered this one for sale in Hemmings Motor News. It had been completely restored. He flew to Los Angeles to take a look and purchased it in April of 1995, exchanging his 1967 Charger and some cash for the Super Bee. He flew home, and the car made the road trip safely tucked into an enclosed trailer.
Unique 1969 ½ Year Model
“This special 1969 ½ year model Six-Pack Super Bee has a code,” Jim relates. “The package was called A12 or A12 M-code. My son-in-law, Scott Mattox, and I drove the car to the 50th anniversary of the A12 in Carlisle, Penn., four years ago .” Readers will remember that Scott’s workhorse of a dump truck was featured in the MarchApril issue of New River Valley Magazine.
The three 2-barrel Holley carburetors gives it the six-pack reference. The Super Bee name comes from the B body designation for mid-size cars like the Road Runner and Charger. A Dodge senior designer named Harvey J. Winn won a contest to name the new car Super Bee, modifying B to Bee, and a new logo was designed to match.
There were only 1,907 of the mid-year models produced. This innovative vehicle sports a 440-cubic-inch block and produces 390 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a 4-speed manual with a Hurst shifter.
The unusual fiberglass hood cover is completely removed by sliding out four hood pin clips and lifting it away from the vehicle. Putting it back is not a 1- person task, but it’s not heavy and is easily lowered back on the T-clips and pinned in place.
“The car had 90,000 miles, and I’ve put on another 10,000 going to shows with it,” Jim states. “I had it painted professionally once, the same Hemi Orange original color, and I added the hubcaps. It came with all black steel wheels with lug nuts, and I prefer the look of the hubcaps with a matching orange stripe.” Hemi Orange is the color of the General Lee in the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard”, though that was just a plain ol’ 1969 Dodge Charger.
Having retired from a 25-year career in radio, Jim travels to several car shows in Carlisle and has appeared at some NRV Cruise-Ins and the Charlotte Auto Fair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His daily ride is a 2007 Buick or his Kawasaki Vulcan 1600.
The term Scat Pack refers to the car’s trim. It’s a combination of “get lost, scat” for its racing capacity and a play on Frank Sinatra’s “rat pack”. The group of powerful cars sold in the ‘60s – Dodge Coronet R/T, Dodge Charger R/T, Dodge Dart GTS – were affectionately dubbed “the hive”, from whence comes the Super Bee.
For a later Dodge to be included in the Scat Pack, it had to go ¼-mile in 14 seconds. Just for fun, note that it’s faster than a Quarter Horse, so named for covering ¼-mile in 21 seconds, also from standing still. This horse breed is a blend of the Chickasaw pony, known for superior speed and agility, and the refined and intelligent Thoroughbred, developed and famous for racing.
Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos by Tom and Christy Wallace