Rich and Mike Boswell’s Hemi Super Bee

The Rarest Bee in the Colony

Chris Holley

Mike Boswell has owned this 1971 HEMI Charger Super Bee since 1981, but the Super Bee has been in the family since day one when his brother, Rich, purchased it new in 1971. Rich ordered the Super Bee in June of 1971. On the day the Super Bee arrived at Kirkwood Dodge, 11-year-old Mike was there to ride shotgun in the Super Bee on the initial trip back home with Rich.

The stings of most species of bees can be extremely painful and therefore are wholeheartedly avoided by most people. Similarly, the sting of a loss of an illegal acceleration contest on the street or a legal contest at the track to a razor-sharp tuned HEMI in a Super Bee may as well be very painful; the soreness, nonetheless, is not a tangible but rather a serious sting to one’s pride. Moreover, the accompanying burning and redness (of one’s face) is not from the body’s physical reaction to the bee sting venom but more exactly the embarrassment of the loss.

The Dodge Super Bee’s roots can be traced back to 1968 as a mid-season additional offering from Dodge in an attempt to capture some of the youth market that Plymouth had tapped into with the popular Road Runner. The ’68 Super Bee was added to the b-body Coronet platform as a performance-oriented but cost-effective version of the Coronet R/T. The Super Bee remained part of the Coronet platform until the end of the 1970 model year. For the 1971 model year, the Coronet was relegated to grocery getting four-door sedans and station wagons, and nobody in their right mind would purchase a muscle car with four doors…would they? So the all new for 1971 Super Bee moved to the two-door Charger platform. It remained the low-cost, high performance package vehicle placed just under the top of the line Charger R/T within the Charger’s hierarchy.

Through the years, the Super Bee was available with a stock 383 Magnum engine (1968-1971) or optional with, depending upon the year, a 340-4bbl (1971 only), a 440-4bbl (1971 only), a 440 Six Pack (1969-1971), or a 426 HEMI (1968-1971) just like the Road Runner, but unfortunately it was never able to achieve the same sales success. However, the Super Bee was part of the very successful Dodge Scat Pack program (introduced with the 1968 models that included the Charger R/T, Coronet R/T, Dart GTS, Swinger 340, and Super Bee and ending with the 1971 models that included the Dart Swinger 340, Demon 340, Charger Super Bee, Challenger R/T, and Charger R/T). The one-year only Charger Super Bee, as well as the Dodge Scat Pack, met its demise at the end of the 1971 model year. The Super Bee name and some of its former glory was resurrected on the LX platform four-door Chargers (times have changed since 1971) in 2007-2009 with a 6.1L HEMI and again in 2012-2013 with a 6.4L HEMI.