Welcome to another instalment of what is officially Linday Lohan’s favourite thing to read in the bath. It’s R.A-S.H.
Two of the brochures I dredged out of the archive last week were met with only a lukewarm reception; but at least I’ve established a datum point in terms of where the interest boundaries lie. I’m pleased I didn’t try to post about my 1995 Chevy Cavalier brochure; a document (and car) so tedious I could barely think of anything to write whatsoever. The corresponding slump in Hooniverse page-views could well have made it the last thing ever posted here by me or anybody else.
So: I will never, ever post the ’95 Cavalier brochure. Unless I’m feeling especially mischievous. Today, though, B-Body MAGNUM!
This is a car that I have always nursed a trouser-firmness for, despite having seen precisely zero of them on UK roads.
The Magnum was a fascinating machine from day one and its motorsport-inspired inception. It was basically a more streamlined cosmetic reskin of the square-rigged Charger, something MOPAR were forced to do in order to have the basis of a vehicle that might stand half a chance in NASCAR. They were no longer allowed to use the naturally aerodynamic but discontinued ’74 Charger and the ’75 that replaced it had the same aerodynamic characteristics as the Sears Tower. So they chamfered the edges of the Charger, blessed it with semi-concealed headlamps and a long list of standard-fit benefits, and the Magnum XE was born.
“Magnum XE…The totally personal approach to driving excitement”.
The big double spread at the opening of the brochure allows us to drink in the styling features of the Magnum, and makes a stark comparison against the similar-era Thunderbird featured a few weeks back. The Dodge Boys did some solid work here, skilfully disguising the fact that the grille itself was still as bluff and vertical an edifice as ever, and those retractable acrylic screens for the headlamps were a masterstroke. Also noticeable are the pronounced castellations at the fender edges; you can follow this line back to the end of the door where it abruptly, but neatly, flicks up to the window line. It’s an impressive looking machine and no mistake.
“Somebody thought a long, hard time about this new Dodge.”
Interestingly, the brochure makes absolutely no reference to NASCAR anywhere within this publication, possibly hedging their bets until they knew how successful it would be with Petty behind the wheel. In answer; not terribly.
Instead they went full tilt at promoting the “Personal Luxury” attributes of the new car.
“… the car that makes everything happen the way you want it to happen. Your own private island.”
Weird stuff. Within this exclusive blacktop-bound land mass you sat on “smart, new thin-back low profile bucket seats” in “soft, tailored vinyl” with colour-coordinated door panels and shag carpet. I’ll take mine in G-String Red, please.
“Introducing Magnum Gran Touring… A personal car turns into a personality car”
If you ponied up for the Gran Touring package you would be sitting behind “new engine-turned instrument panel appliques”. Your Magnum XE would have become a Magnum GT and would wear a set of flares on each of the wheel apertures, together with white-lettered tyres on Magnum road wheels. There would also be heavy-duty shocks underpinning it all.
As ever, the list of optional equipment was mind boggling, running beyond a choice of cast aluminium wheels, CB radios and a proto-space age electronic search tune AM/FM stereo radio; albeit one with no capacity to deal with tapes of any description. What does seem odd, though, is Dodge’s decision to put the tachometer only on the options list. I mean, I know that pushrod V8s in the late seventies were big lazy buggers, and most Crown Vics didn’t have a Tacho right to the end, but, man, this was Richard Petty’s car.
Still, at least you could have T-Tops. My order would be for an XE in Charcoal Grey with Red vinyl buckets, the 400, T-Tops and the incredibly advanced Intermittent wipers.
These days, Magnum enjoys a bit of a cult status mainly as it represented the end of the Chrysler B-Body before the Mirada and Cordoba took over Chrysler’s coupe duties on the J-Platform. As I said at the top, these are seriously few and far between in my neck of the woods.
As this series matures I really ought to drop the habit of ending each feature with the catchphrase “At Least I Own The Brochure”. But in this case, I really am glad I do.
<Disclaimer:- All photos were taken by the author and are of genuine original manufacturer publicity material, resting on a Hotpoint electonic halogen cooker. All copyright rights remain in the possession of the manufacturer. The coffee was good, by the way>