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The Dodge Magnum name has been used on a number of different automobiles. The most recent is a large rear-wheel drive station wagon introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year. This new Magnum is Dodge's first car to use the new Chrysler LX platform, shared with the Chrysler 300 (of which the Magnum is essentially a wagon version) and the Dodge Charger. The LX Line is assembled at Brampton Assembly Plant, near Toronto, Ontariomarker, Canada.

.Historically, the Dodge Magnum model name had been used from 1978 to 1979 for a large coupe in the United Statesmarker. In Brazilmarker, the Magnum name was a version of the local Dodge Dart from 1979 to 1981. In Mexicomarker, the Magnum was a K-car from 1983 to 1990.

1978-1979

The 1978 and 1979 Dodge Magnum in the United States and Canadamarker was an addition to the Chrysler line up that allowed Richard Petty to continue racing with a Mopar. The Magnum replaced the Charger SE in Dodge's lineup in two forms; the "XE" and the "GT". It was the last vehicle to use the long running Chrysler B platform. The appearance was somewhat of a rounded off Charger, and was in response to getting a car that would be eligible for NASCAR that would be more aerodynamic, something the 1975-78 Charger was not. Styling features included four rectangular headlights behind retractable clear covers, with narrow opera windows, and an optional T-bar or power sunroof. The Magnum was well-featured with power steering, brakes and seats; the suspension included Chrysler's standard adjustable, longitudinal torsion bars, lower trailing links, and front and rear anti-sway bars. The base engine was the 318 in³ V8 with Lean Burn, while two and four-barrel carbureted 360 and 400 V8s were also available; weight was nearly . The 400 was dropped from the option list in 1979 as Chrysler stopped production of big-block V-8's in production cars at the end of 1978. A performance model, the "GT" was available with the 400 V8 in 1978 and the "E58" police interceptor (360 V8-195 HP) engine in 1979 along with HD suspension, special axle, special "GT" badging and a "turned metal" dash applique. Technology was advanced for the time with an onboard spark control computer from inception, electronic ignition, and a lockup torque converter. The Magnum name was discarded quickly in favor of the Mirada, a smaller car that was also a rebadged Chrysler Cordoba. The Magnum has something of a cult following today, with several clubs and enthusiasts who are dedicated to the recognition and preservation of Chrysler's "last B-body". In 1979, they made 3,704 Dodge Magnums with the T-Top.

NASCAR

For the 1978 NASCAR season, the 1974 Charger that Chrysler teams had continued to use was no longer eligible for competition. Chrysler worked on several car designs to smooth out the current 1975 bodied Charger into something that would be reasonably aerodynamic for the big racetracks and the Magnum design was settled on early in 1977 for use in the 1978 racing season. While not as aerodynamic as the previous 1974 Chager body, the shape of the Magnum showed promise, with the Petty built test cars easily reaching 190 mph on test runs. Once out on the tracks the cars ran well with Richard Petty almost winning his Daytona 125, and lead 30+ laps of the Daytona 500 until a blown front tire caused him to wreck. However, the lack of factory support of continued development of the small-block Chrysler 360 V8 as a race engine was becoming more of a problem, and in high speed racing traffic the Magnum did not handle well. Richard Petty was particularly harsh in his criticism of the car. By the latter half of the 1978 season, Petty and Neil Bonnett (the two top Mopar teams) gave up on the cars inconsistent performance and switched to Chevrolets, leaving independent drivers Buddy Arrington (who bought a few of Petty's Magnums, along with some parts) and Frank Warren to soldier on without any substantial (Chrysler did provide sheetmetal and some engine parts to teams driving Magnums) factory support. From August 1978, 2-5 independent teams showed up with Magnums in NASCAR races until January 1981, when NASCAR switched to smaller bodied cars. The Magnum never enjoyed the racing heritage of its predecessors, but it was not without its own glorious moments. Petty scored 7 top five finishes in his 17 races with the car, and Neil Bonnett won three poles and scored 5 top five finishes with his. Richard Petty recognized the Magnum with a commemorative decal, depicting his famous number 43 emblazoned on a Magnum for his 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour. Though he never won a race in a Magnum, Richard Petty's son, Kyle Petty drove one of his father's old Dodge Magnums in his first super-speedway race (1979 Daytona ARCA 200), and won! Kyle raced in 5 NASCAR races using the left-over Magnums in 1979, but by the end of that year wrecked them beyond reasonable repair. As of now (JUL 2008) only two NASCAR Magnums still exist; one (an ex-Petty car) resides in the Talledega NASCAR museum, and the other; (Marty Robbins' 1978 Magnum #42) has been superbly restored and is owned by a private party in southern CA. The owner plans on racing it in the vintage NASCAR series.

Brazil

In Brazil, the Dodge Dart was produced until 1981 with minor changes from the original model, released in 1969 and largely based on the 1967 Dart. For its last three years of production, a 2-door upper trim level version of the Dart was sold as the Magnum, featuring the 318 in³ V8 engine and a fiberglass front fascia that included four headlights, while the rear end was very similar to the American Dart. The Magnum was sold as a separate model from the Dart, despite being almost identical to the Dart.

2005-2008

The Magnum name was revived in 2004 as a 2005 station wagon on the Chrysler LX platform. The new Magnum was essentially a station wagon version of the Chrysler 300, with minor cosmetic changes. It was built in Brampton, Ontariomarker, Canada.

The Magnum was Dodge's first station wagon since the discontinuation of the Dodge Colt wagon in 1991, and though it was the largest American-brand station wagon introduced since the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Caprice/Buick Roadmaster Estate wagons in 1996, it is smaller than "traditional" players in the full-size category(roughly 4" narrower and 15" shorter than a Ford Crown Victoria). Based on the similar size and styling, the Dodge Magnum could be considered by some a spiritual successor to the AMC Concord.

The Magnum had four engine options; the SE features the 190 hp 2.7 L LH V6, the SXT had the 3.5 L V6, and the RT had the new 340 hp 5.7 L Hemi V8. The SRT-8 has a 425 hp 6.1 L Hemi engine.

All-wheel drive became an option in 2005 on SXT and RT models. The SRT8, AWD SXT, and the RT use a Mercedes-Benz-derived 5-speed automatic transmission, while all other models use a four-speed automatic.

Unlike the Chrysler 300, the new Magnum has not been a stunning success for the company , with sales trailing its predecessor, the Dodge Intrepid ; this may have to do with the fact that wagons like the Magnum have sold less than comparable sedans in the US.

The Magnum was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2005.

Police Version

As with the Intrepid, the Magnum was made available as a police car. Although it was a wagon without body-on-frame construction, it was the only rear-wheel drive police car that was not the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor and hoped its rear-drive handling would appeal to departments retiring their few remaining Caprices. Available only to law enforcement, emergency agencies, and government agencies, the vehicle has the SXT's V6 as the base engine and the Hemi as an option, along with police-specific options such as a steering-column mounted shifter, deactivated interior rear windows and locks.

SRT-8

A high performance SRT-8 version debuted at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show. It went on sale in 2005 as a 2006 model. Like the 300C SRT-8, it featured the new Hemi engine, which produces 425 hp (317 kW). 20" wheels, firmer suspension, bigger brakes (Brembo), new lower-body treatment, and a revised front and rear-fascia completes the transformation. The SRT-8 was named Best New Modern Muscle Car in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year contest.

Motor Trend Test Results:
  • 0-60 mph: 5.1 sec
  • 0-100 mph: 11.7 sec
  • Standing 1/4-mile: 13.1 sec @


2008 changes

2008 Dodge Magnum SRT-8
the 2008 model year, the Magnum received a facelift as well as an updated interior in line with that of the Dodge Charger. The front fascia sported new aggressively squared off headlights and a smaller rectangular grille more reminiscent of the Charger. The SRT-8 variant gained a new hood scoop. A new bright red paint scheme was introduced. The new changes brought the car closer to its Charger platform mate, away from the Chrysler 300.

Cancellation

On November 1, 2007, Chrysler announced that, as part of its restructuring plans, the Dodge Magnum would be one of four models discontinued after the 2008 model year. In Chrysler's words: "The Magnum, along with the PT Cruiser convertible, the Crossfire, and the Pacifica were not earning their keep". The production ended in late March, 2008. The Dodge Magnum, (along with the short wheel base Dodge Caravan), has been replaced by the Dodge Journey.

Europe and Australia

In Europe and Australia, the Magnum is sold as the Chrysler 300 Touring. It is essentially the same as the U.S.-market Magnum, but with the Chrysler 300C's front end and interior, and right-hand-drive for Australia and the U.K. The 300C Touring adds an available 3.0L CRD Turbo Diesel version. The 300C Touring is assembled in Austriamarker.

References

  1. CNNMoney.com: Car and Driver names 10 best cars
  2. Motor Trend Comparison Test: Dodge Magnum SRT-8
  3. Automobile Magazine: 2008 Dodge Magnum


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