Welcome to another Hooniverse Fastback Friday Feature, only this time it’s an “Antti-Fastback” feature because I found the most delicious Malaise Era Dodge ever. This particular feature started when our own Antti Kautonen highlighted a Dodge Mirada hibernating in Finland, and I decided to try and find one that is for sale on eBay, or some other special interest car site. When this Dodge Magnum appeared within one of my searches, I knew it was time to show it off to the rest of the Hooniverse Fans, and name the feature in honor of the guy who inspired it…
The Dodge Magnum came about because Chrysler needed a more aerodynamic car to compete in NASCAR. The 1974 Charger bodies the Dodge teams were using would no longer be eligible to race after the 1977 racing season. The 1975-78 Dodge Chargers, which were really nothing more than slightly restyled Chrysler Cordobas, were about as aerodynamic as bricks and the Magnum was a response to that problem. The design was settled in 1977 for the following race season, and featured a grill treatment reminiscent of the Cord 810 coffin-like nose, with rectangular headlamps housed behind retractable clear covers. The cars showed promise on the track, but did not handle all that well in high speed traffic conditions. (To be honest, none of the “Personal Luxury Cars” that were on the high banked track handled especially well). Chrysler reduced factory support after the 1978 season, and most of the Dodge teams switched over to Chevrolet.
The Dodge Magnum, in this configuration, soldiered on for two years. It really is a great looking car, and this particular Magnum is a truly outstanding example. According to the listing:
You are viewing my 1979 Dodge Magnum GT. It is white with red interior and is in marvelous condition both inside and out. It was originally purchased by a couple from Garden City, MI in December of 1979 at Crestwood Dodge also located in Garden City. It was owned by this same couple until around 2001 when it was purchased by a collector who owned a restoration shop in Dearborn, after which it was driven very little. This shop performed a beautiful, smooth-as-glass repaint of the car, but otherwise it is, to the best of their recollection, original. The original window sticker, owner’s manual and other initial paperwork were still in the glove compartment! Like many people, when I first laid eyes on this car I was completely unfamiliar with this particular model, but its condition really peaked my interest.
The GT was a low production option, and mine may be only one of two in this color combination with a moonroof. The silver dash, wheel flares, 360 cu in engine and the wheels are all elements of the GT package. It also carries the correct “A75” on the data plate. The paint is as flawless as any I’ve seen and the interior feels, looks and smells like new, as you can see from the photos. And speaking of the photos, please make sure to use the scroll tab just to the right of the large photo panel to scroll up and down through all of them. If you don’t do this, then you only see about a third of the pictures, and you miss the ones I think are the most spectacular, those of the interior. This Magnum drives with a smoothness and tight feel that are a real joy to find in a classic.
Every time I take it out I end up driving a lot further than I’d planned to just because it is so much fun, especially with the moonroof open and the AM/FM/CB radio on my favorite station. The body lines are distinctive, and twinned with the period GT wheels and tires it looks like the showroom racing car that it was intended to be as an aerodynamic replacement for the Charger that would be eligible for the NASCAR circuit.
This car shows a little over 42,000 miles, and the asking price is a reasonable $15,000. I expect more that a couple of you to call this a crappy Malaise mobile, but let me point out a few joys to owning a gem like this:
– Where else can you get an interior in this shade of Red anymore?
– It is equipped with a 360 CID V-8 that is begging for some performance upgrades
– It has a Factory Sunroof, and it has what the American Car Companies excelled in, Factory A/C.
– There is enough room in this car for six full sized adults.
– It is equipped with the bullet-proof Chrysler Torqueflite Automatic, only this time it has a lockup torque converter.
– There is no car offered today with this much surface detailing, unless you want a 5-series BMW.
– It’s a Magnum, you know, for your pleasure….
Take a look at the eBay listing, and tell me what you think.