Sunday, July 3, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: 50 Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle

Originally appeared on

Book Garage

Danielle and I often go out for coffee to get away from the demands of the work week. On a recent Friday evening, this was the case. It’s funny because I always look forward to putting on my “nice” clothes. This mean a t-shirt, jeans, and Detroit Lions hat.

One of my “nice” shirts is black, with the Scat Pack Super Bee racing across it. I wore that out for coffee recently and the barista commented on it.

Imagine if I had the actual car?

Big Power

In 1966, the Dodge Charger was the first Chrysler product marketed to the baby boomers. Even the name is synonymous with muscle, power, and rebellion. It looked good in the driveway reflecting the sun, it looked good burning rubber on the street, and it looked especially good on the big screens of Hollywood.

Charger inspired the rest of Chrysler’s B-Body muscle crew; the Plymouth Road Runner and Super Bee, particularly.

New Discoveries

Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: Fifty Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle follows the entire B-Body story, from the original Dodge Charger to the Charger of today. The glory days between 1966 to 1971 are highlighted, but the years between and current era are covered too.

There is a lot about the Charger I didn’t realize.

Did you know the Charger was once a personal luxury car? Yes, it’s true, with Corinthian Leather and all. And a hot hatchback inspired by Carroll Shelby? Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: Fifty Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle chronicles all of this, right up to the modern day return of the Charger in 2006.


James Manning Michels is a lifelong automotive enthusiast, accomplished road racer, and former acquisitions editor for Motorbooks, who we partner with for this series. He is the author of How to Repair Your Scooter and co-author of 365 Motorcycles You Must Ride.


Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: Fifty Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle is available through Amazon and Motorbooks. Don’t forget your Super Bee t-shirt either … of course, if you have an actual Super Bee, that’s much better.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.  

Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee Gallery

While Ford set its sights on Ferrari and Le Mans, Chrysler focused on American-born motorsports. None fit that description better than drag racing. Chrysler racing engineers developed engines, moved axles, dipped aluminum body panels in acid, and tried anything else they could think of in the quest for lower elapsed times and higher trap speeds. Archives/TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC A-990 Hemi drag cars with radically altered wheelbases started showing up at tracks toward the end of 1964. The idea originated as a design experiment by Chrysler research and racing engineers; 12 cars were built for Chrysler-sponsored drag racing teams. Here’s Dick Landy playing with his in a parking lot. Archives/TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC One day in 1959, a group of Chrysler engineers having lunch at the Chrysler Engineering Institute discussed GM’s big-block V-8. Somebody suggested they might pool their resources and privately build a MoPar capable of beating the dominant GM engine. Thus, for about thirty dollars each, did a group of Chrysler’s biggest engineering names go drag racing. Funny Cars, the 426 Hemi, even the Charger name are just a few parts of the Ramchargers legacy. Archives/TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC This 1966 Plymouth Belvedere convertible with its 426 Hemi automatic is one of only six built. Mike Mueller It might have just been a Coronet with an artistically grafted-on fastback, but the 1966 Charger was still a striking design. Mike Mueller What fun it must have been to be Elwood P. Engel. For example, if you were Chrysler’s vice president of styling and you wondered what a 1968 Charger would look like without a roof, you simply initiated a “styling experiment” with a ’68 Charger R/T donor car. The name on the official folder? “Charger IV El” (“Charger for El[wood]). Hot Rod The 383 Super Commando was the base engine for the Road Runner, but Chrysler wanted to make it unique to the car. So they took the cam from the GTX 440 and put it in the 383. Archives/TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC Here you can plainly see the differences between Superbirds and Charger Daytonas. Superbirds have vinyl roofs; Daytonas have wings that include the rear stripe’s paint. Mike Mueller Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: 50 Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle by James Manning Michels.

Last week in the Automoblog Book Garage, we ventured beyond the horizon with Airstream.

from Tumblr

No comments:

Post a Comment