Since its inception as a two-door coupe in the late 1970's, the Dodge Magnum has undergone a complete transformation for its release in 2004. The Magnum of the 1970's was a muscle car powered by an oversized engine that made it roar through the highways of America. This car was the stuff that American dreams were made of. The Magnum of the twenty first century was a stylish station wagon that oozed class.
1978: First Generation
The first Dodge Magnum released had an engine lineup that included the 145-horsepower 5.21-liter V8, the 155-horsepower 5.9-liter V8 and the 190-horsepower 6.6-liter V8. The Magnum was available in the standard XE model and the performance GT, which came with an improved heavy-duty suspension and a special axle. GT's had a special badge attached to it to set it apart from the base Magnums. After just two years, the Magnum was scrapped by Chrysler.
A modified Magnum was used for the 1978 NASCAR. The Chrysler team used it to replace the Charger, which was deemed ineligible to compete. The performance of the Magnums was inconsistent at first, to the chagrin of a number of drivers. During its NASCAR run, the Magnum managed to rack up a respectable number of wins.
1979: Other incarnations abroad
The Magnum may have been scrapped in the United States, but other versions of the vehicle were being sold abroad. In Brazil, Magnums were modeled from the Dodge Dart and sold from 1979 - 1981. In Mexico, two generations of the Magnum have been sold from 1981 to 1988.
2004: Second Generation
The second generation Dodge Magnum was released as a station wagon. The vehicle came in four trims, the SE, equipped with a 200-horsepower 2.7-liter V6, the SXT, equipped with a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the RT, equipped with a 340-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, and the SRT8, with a much larger 425-horsepower 6.1-liter V8. Lower trim levels had a four-speed automatic transmission while the better trims had the five-speed automatic. All-wheel versions of the Magnum were offered for the SXT and RT trims.
Reviews of the Dodge Magnum were mostly favorable. Many praised the handling capabilities of the Magnum, its superior build quality and excellent performance. The V8 engines were powerful though they consumed copious amounts of fuel.
Unfortunately, memories of the old Magnum have embedded themselves deep in the psyche of many Americans. This left many disappointed with the new Magnum, leading to very slow sales and its eventual demise.