Want a muscle car that delivers ’60s looks to match its performance? After Plymouth shook up the market with the low budget Road Runner, Pontiac answered with The Judge and Dodge with the Super Bee. Both models combined big engines and stripped down interiors with a heavy dose of pop art graphics to create cars that looked flashy but were still affordable. Which one was better?
“Here Come De Judge”
The Judge took this a step further, giving buyers the choice of 400-cubic inch engines officially producing 366 hp in Ram Air III tune or 370 hp in Ram Air IV tune without needing to buy a lot of extras. This was coupled with psychedelic lettering proclaiming the car’s title as well as curvy side stripes, a huge spoiler and, in manual transmission cars, a unique T-shaped shifter. With Laugh In’s “Here Come De Judge” being the catch phrase of the moment, it gave Pontiac plenty of leverage for their advertising campaign using slogans like “The Judge can be bought.”
Like a Road Runner
Making a copy of the Road Runner for Dodge was a no-brainer, as was the choice of a non-copyrighted character, eliminating the need for licensing agreements. The ’68 Super Bee didn’t have the “meep meep” horn, but it used the same B-body platform and added only minor additions to reflect Dodge’s hierarchy in Chrysler’s lineup. The body was slightly larger, and it could be equipped with a gauge cluster from a Charger and a Hurst shifter, but if it didn’t make the car go fast, it probably wasn’t included.
The base engine was a 383, but buyers could opt for a 440 Six Pack or the legendary 426 Hemi. Output was underrated even more than the engines in The Judge. With the factory claiming 390 hp for the Six Pack and 425 hp for the Hemi, there’s no denying that these were two of the most potent engines on the market. The 1970 redesign added a functional Ramcharger air scoop to go with the car’s distinctive helmeted drag racing bee logos and big vertical stripe on the rear end, making the Road Runner look staid in comparison.
Yes, everyone knows what a GTO is, but the Super Bee is back in the public consciousness thanks to numerous revivals by Dodge with the modern day Charger. The Mopar big blocks easily trounce the Ram Air engines, yet current market prices are much lower than Pontiac’s more famous car. For buyers past and present, the Super Bee is the clear winner.
Which car is the the winner in your opinion. Let us know in the comments below or in the Cool Rides Online Facebook Page.
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