|Vehicle:||1970 Dodge Super Bee|
|Years Produced:||1970 Dodge Super Bee|
|Number Produced:||15,506 (1970), 1,268 (1970 440 Six Pack)|
|Original List Price:||$3,074|
|SCM Valuation:||$32,900 (plus 15%–25% for 4-speed)|
|Tune Up Cost:||$300 (with Six Pack)|
|Chassis Number Location:||Driver’s side dash under windshield|
|Engine Number Location:||Passenger’s side of block by oil pan|
|Club Info:||The Super Bee Registry|
|Alternatives:||1968–70 Plymouth Road Runner, 1968–70 Dodge Coronet R/T, 1968–70 Dodge Charger|
This car, Lot 104, sold for $39,600, including buyer’s premium, at The Finest Collector Car Auction in Boca Raton, FL, on February 11, 2017. It was offered without reserve.
In 1970, the Super Bee was offered as a pillared coupe or hard top and could be had with three different engine choices. Buyers could opt for a 383, 440 Six Pack or the thundering 426 Hemi. Our subject car came with a V as the fifth VIN digit, which denotes the 440 Six Pack engine. The package put out 390 horses.
The Hemi only ratcheted up the ponies to 425, so the cost per horsepower for that engine was disproportional. As such, a total of 1,268 Super Bee V-codes were ordered in 1970 versus 42 Hemi cars. Total Super Bee production came to 15,506 units, so the V-code option represents just over 8% of production.
I’ve seen this BEEfore
This is my second swat at this particular 1970 Dodge Super Bee. I first profiled this car in ACC’s sister publication, Sports Car Market, in the July 2011 issue. This gives us a great opportunity to chase this Bee around for a second spin.
Dodge Super Bees (and Plymouth Road Runners) are not all that difficult to find. They were built in big numbers, and most of the larger muscle sales will include at least one — and oftentimes far more than that. The difficult part is finding a great example. The 383 models (the base model) are rather common. There’s nothing wrong with that, as they are affordable muscle cars that are also affordable to own. As you dig deeper into the hive, they become a bit scarcer. Obviously, the Queen Bees of the model run are the Hemi cars, which are the rarest of the bunch.
Our subject car is one of those 1,268 “V-code” 440 Six Pack Super Bees. While that may sound like a healthy number, many have been lost to age attrition, meaning rust, wrecks and lead-foot disease. The V-code machines are sought after — many a Mopar guy would rather own the triple-deuce 440 than a finicky Hemi (if he actually wants to drive it). Plus, the cool factor of three 2-bbls lined up over the potent 440 is a killer setup.
Our subject car appears three times in the ACC Premium Auction Database. It first shows up in 1991 at a Mecum sale, where it failed to sell with a high bid of only $13,500 (ACC# 457) with 75,000 miles on the clock. In the next outing, VIN 145036 sold for $38,500 at a Worldwide sale in 2010 with the mileage creeping up to 80,625 (ACC# 162658). And, finally, our last sighting was at the Barrett-Jackson West Palm Beach sale in 2011, where I first looked over the car. That’s our highest sale to date at $48,400 (ACC# 178134). The mileage between the Barrett-Jackson sale and The Finest sale has just about remained unchanged at approximately 85,000 from 2011 to 2017.
The intrinsic value of using the ACC data points is great. Tossing out the 1991 sale (before the explosion of muscle car values), we can follow our subject Super Bee from 2010 through 2017. The car has likely changed little since the Worldwide sale in 2010 — and less than 5,000 miles have been put on the car over the past seven years.
If anything, the probability that the restoration has mellowed from static storage is relatively high. By the numerous and very high-quality photos displayed at The Finest’s website, you can see that the car remains in very nice condition. The 440 Six-Pack workhorse was also reported to be the original engine, and for the most part, the car is exactly as seen by yours truly at the 2011 Barrett-Jackson sale in West Palm Beach. It’s a very nice driver-level example — one that you can buzz around in and not feel like you’re squishing the value of the car into the pavement.
To Bee or not to Bee
When I wrote about this car in 2011, I concluded that the value in the car was solid — but not to expect a bunch of appreciation.
By my observations, the muscle car market has been showing signs of some sideways movement lately. Sellers need to work harder to make a great first impression. Buyers appear to be more cautious before opening their checkbooks — which is a good thing. Also, the rush to purchase just any muscle car is waning. Don’t get me wrong — great cars that are rare and airtight are still bringing strong interest — but I think the buyers are being more vigilant.
While the car may have changed hands since 2011 and this sale, the easy math shows an $8,800 hit from sale to sale. This does not account for carrying costs such as insurance and simple maintenance costs — and the big one: auction fees. One would also have to suggest that there was some transportation expense from one sale to another. Even without hiring a disheveled math professor, you’re at a $10,000 loss from 2011 to 2017. I’d chalk that up partially to the aformentioned sideways market.
The bonus on this Super Bee is the obvious big plus: the V in the VIN. On the other hand, you’ve got a muscle car with an automatic on the column and a bench seat in a coupe configuration (rather than a hard top). That’s never going to wind up a bunch of muscle car buyers. I know plenty of very thoughtful collectors who simply won’t buy a column-shift automatic muscle car — even if the deal is well into the plus column. It just doesn’t push the right buttons for many buyers. There’s another strike.
Of course, the real value with any classic car is in the experience of owning it. So if a Banana Yellow 440 Six-Pack 1970 Super Bee is the honey in your tea, then by all means, have at it. This one appears to be a fine example, provided you can live with the column-shift automatic.
However, if your quest is to seek out an asset with the potential of appreciation down the road, I stand by my 2011 comments: It’s still a solid buy — and more so this time around — but with limited upside.
(Introductory description courtesy of The Finest.)