Beware The Scat Pack; The Cars With The Bumblebee Stripes

There is a phrase in business that says, “Everything is marketing, and marketing is everything.” In the late 1960’s the muscle car boom was in full swing. Big Block Mustangs, Chevelles, and Chargers were literally everywhere and the Big Three were desperately trying to grab the attention of potential buyers in any way they could.

Aside from stuffing big cubes under the hoods of sexy-sheetmetal cars they turned their focus on establishing ad campaigns that would help the buyer link “fun, cool, fast, and performance” with the cars there were trying to sell.

The color “Hugger Orange” that Chevy put out was not namesd as such simply for it’s health; it was to correlate corner hugging ability with the color on the Camaro Z/28. The original imaging of the GTO was done by Bill Wangers, a marketing guy that worked as a consultant for Pontiac.

In 1968, Dodge took a unique approach in creating a marketing pitch for all of it’s high performance cars, and called it the “Scat Pack.” We can only assume that the name was a play off of the “Rat Pack,” to group of legendary crooners led by Frank Sinatra, but it need not matter, it worked!

Dodge did put requirements on entry into Scat Pack status. First, the car had to prove it’s mettle by being able to run the quarter mile somewhere in the 14-second mark or better, and in 1968 that limited the qualifiers to the Charger R/T, the Coronet R/T, the mid-year Super Bee (based on the Coronet), and the new Dart 340 GTS.

While the first three cars listed were all B-Body cars, the Dart was the only A-body that made the list. It came with a small block 340 as standard equipment and could be had with an optional 383 Magnum. The 340 was a new small block for Dodge and would become the hottest small-block in the Mopar lineup.

In addition, Dodge contracted Hurst Industries to build special Darts with lightweight panels and 426 cross-ram equipped Race Hemis which have continued to dominate the top echelons of NHRA Super Stock to this day. These Darts were not “officially” members of the Scat Pack, though.

With a 4:10-geared rear and a 440 Magnum under the hoot, the Charger, Coronet, and Super Bee could all break into the 14’s with ease guaranteeing their Scat Pack title. That being said, with the HEMI option there was never a worry about whether the cars would be quick enough as it was more a matter of how quick they’d be! The Super Bee model was released mid-year and was literally given it’s named based on the famous racing bee logo that had been created to promote the Scat Pack.

A standard equipped Super Bee came with the new 335hp 383 engine that had been created with the Plymouth Road Runner initially in mind. Like the Road Runner, the Super Bee was created to give younger buyers a cheaper option to enter the muscle car market, and both the Super Bee and Road Runner were light enough to get them into Scat Pack performance requirements with their 383’s.

For 1968, identifying a member of Scat Pack was a fairly easy one as these cars received dual stripes wrapped around the rear fenders and deck lid, and though the stripes themselves were standard equipment they could be deleted if the car was ordered as such.

Unfortunately, buy 1971 the muscle car era was dying a quick and painful death and the Scat Pack program ended almost as quickly as it had began. Other models had joined the fray by 1971 including the new 340 Swinger in 1969, the Demon 340 in ‘71, the E-body Challenger R/T and T/A, the race-bred ’69 Charger 500,and the special winged Charger Daytona.

The bee logo itself became somewhat iconic and was instantly identified as the logo of the Scat Pack. Dodge even created a Scat Pack club for owners of the special cars that gave them special premiums, a newsletter subscription, day-glow orange windbreakers and parts deals.

Today, Frederick Dodge in North Carolina has re-used the original Scat Pack logo and created their own Frederick Scat Pack Club for their performance buyers. Hopefully with the new Dodge SRT8 and R/T models the Scat Pack will return, but this time to stay forever!

About the author

Robert Kibbe

Robert Kibbe is the owner of TheMuscleCarPlace.com and host of the weekly Muscle Car Place podcast show. He's based in Ames, IA, is married with 3 kids, and still thinks the General Lee is cool.
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