Throwback Thursday: Dodge Super Bee

Chrysler-Plymouth had a pretty good lineup of full-size muscle cars in the 60s, and today the Super Bee is one of the hardest to come by. The Super Bee was a hot-rodded version of the Coronet two-door, only around for two years; its name came from the Coronet’s B-body designation. While similar to the Plymouth Road Runner, the Super Bee featured a special graphics package and a dashboard/instrument cluster borrowed from the Dodge Charger.

The base engine for the Super Bee was the 335 horsepower 383 V8, with the 425 horsepower 426 Hemi available as an option (only 125 were sold). The Super Bee also featured a beefed-up suspension, high-performance tires and optional Mopar 4-speed transmission. One of the car’s more novel features was the &l ...[more]

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2015 Ford F150 Uses Aluminum Body Panels

In an effort to wring more fuel efficiency out of the F150, the 2015 model from Ford will use aluminum body panels on top of a high-strength (yet lighter) steel frame. The move has shaved 700 lbs from the truck’s curb weight, but it has had its detractors along the way, as people still tend to think of aluminum as beer-can material. Ford did their homework, however.

It turns out that Ford has been testing all-aluminum F-series trucks since 2009, running them in torture tests like the Baja 1,000 and not finding any body cracks or defects at the end. The company has also taken 2014 models, fitted them with aluminum, sent them to fleet buyers and tracked the results; even with extreme usage (like dropping an oilfield drill bit into the bed), the aluminum body panels held up as well as or better than steel.

While aluminum is more e ...[more]

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Aerodynamics and Design

As manufacturers squeeze all the fuel efficiency they can out of their designs, aerodynamics have been a huge concern –as well as looking sleek and advanced, an aerodynamic car cuts wind resistance for enhanced fuel efficiency. Modern designs are a pretty far cry from the boxy sedans of the 70s and 80s, but aerodynamics is hardly a new concern.

All the way back in 1923, Romanian engineer Aurel Persu ruminated on the ideal aerodynamic design; Persu decided that the ideal aerodynamic shape found in nature was a raindrop as it falls to the ground, with a super-low drag coefficient of 0.04. With that as a target, he began to draw up an aerodynamic sedan, with tall wheels mounted flush with the body inside fender wells, a steeply-raked front end, rear wheels spaced much more closely than the front, rounded contours and a rear end that tapered sharply. The Persu ...[more]

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Today in History: Six Millionth Honda Civic

The word “ubiquitous” might have been coined specifically for the Honda Civic. Civics are so common, such an everyday sight that you don’t even notice them anymore…until you actually pay attention and realize that there are a LOT of Honda Civics on the road.

On July 23, 2007, the six millionth Civic rolled off of Honda’s production lines; the Civic was introduced in 1972 and has been through numerous generations and nine separate design iterations along the way. The tiny two-door first-generation Civic couldn’t have come along at a better time; in ’72, the American auto industry was being shaken up by the first oil crunch as the Middle East turned off the spigot. Big, wasteful cars were suddenly on the outs, American companies were scrambling to introduce (very mediocre) small cars, and in no time the ...[more]

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