Rough Start: This 1979 Dodge Magnum Is A Cheap Mopar Build On A Silver Platter!

Rough Start: This 1979 Dodge Magnum Is A Cheap Mopar Build On A Silver Platter!

Admission 1: Over four years of Craigslist hunting, eBay searching, Racing Junk scanning and other assorted classified hunts that normally would’ve been a great way to kill a late evening have numbed me to most kinds of listings that prior to working here, would’ve had me immediately looking right at my bank account to see just how long Ramen would be on the menu if I pulled the trigger.

Admission 2: Right now, I’m foaming at the mouth and if you’ve been around BangShift for longer than a few days, you all know why.

Before the name was attached to the rear-drive retro wagon of the mid-2000s, the Dodge Magnum was the final call for a performance-oriented Chrysler B-body platform. Truth be told, it was actually very unnecessary for Chrysler to have another model on the platform. They already had the Dodge Charger and Charger SE (two different body styles entirely), the Plymouth Fury, the Dodge Monaco, the Chrysler Cordoba, and for 1979, a re-imagined Chrysler 300, which was a Cordoba painted white for the most part. So what, exactly, was the Magnum for? One of the few things Chrysler Corporation had going for them in the Seventies: Richard Petty. With the 1974 Charger body aging out of NASCAR and either version of the current-model Charger as aerodynamic as a thrown brick, Chrysler knew that if they didn’t do something and fast, that Petty would jump ship to whoever would keep him winning races. That’s why the headlights were hidden behind clear covers, that’s why the front end is a bit rounded and sloped, and that’s probably why the dominant feature of the front end is a massive air tunnel straight to the radiator. So how did it do? It didn’t do that well. Petty himself built and tried to race one, but without factory support for engines and the Magnum’s handling woes in high-speed traffic earning his ire, they gave up and jumped ship to GM products.

So what is it about this Arizona-roasted 1979 that has me at attention? Cost. If you have a set of wheels and tires ready to go and aren’t attached to the Bart wheels you see in the photos, the car is $600. With wheels and tires, it’s $1,200. The 360 underhood doesn’t currently run, “ran when parked”, and has documentation out the yang, so it’s not like this car is something to be sincerely scared of. In fact, I’m willing to bet that so long as the 360 isn’t locked up, a half-hour worth of work and some fresh gas, plugs, wires and fluids will have that engine running and the car drivable. So, call it $1,500 to get the car to roll down the street and shift gears. Keep those wheels, start planning on engine work and picture this car with real power. Leave the look…the Road Warrior vibe this Magnum is giving me has me contemplating the consequences right now. I’d still be a dead man, but the only problem I see there is that I’d be dead before I even saw the car in person.

Ooof, this is good. The rough, violent muscular car in black. Excuse me, I need a moment…

Craigslist Link: 1979 Dodge Magnum XE

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3 thoughts on “Rough Start: This 1979 Dodge Magnum Is A Cheap Mopar Build On A Silver Platter!


    Lose the landau top, clean up the bodywork and spray hot rod black, get the front seats recovered and drop in an 440 from an RV. drive it til you can add heads, intake, headers and other goodies to make it a beastly boulevard bomber.

  2. Eric

    I had a Mirada that I dropped a 440 in… used Charger headers with a few heat and bend modifications… and a rearend out of a B body… I hate I sold that car…

  3. tom

    Underhood is a disaster . Strip it out , get rid of all those stupid accessories that don’t do anything and tidy it up . Stripout that awful interior . blast the body and paint . (I hate rust) It’s stupid heavy . Put on a diet

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