The 1978 Dodge Magnum GT
Dodge Magnum
Production 1978-1979
Class Intermediate
Body Style 2-Door Coupe
Length 215.8"
Width 77.1"
Height 53.1"
Wheelbase 114.9"
Weight 3600 - 3900 lb
Transmissions 3-Speed Automatic, RWD
Engine 5.2L (318 cid) V8 (1978-1979)
5.9L (360 cid) V8 (1978-1979)
6.6L (400 cid) V8 (1978)
Power 150-190 hp
Similar Chrysler Cordoba
Platform B

See the Dodge Magnum entry for more information about the current 2005-present model.

The B-body Dodge Magnum was introduced at the beginning of the 1978 model year. With waiting lines at local dealerships the new Magnum enjoyed the spot light with Richard Petty. The Magnum Mid-Sized body was shared by the Chrysler Cordoba, but the Magnum's front fenders and rear quarters were more pronounced, the nose had quad rectangular headlights hidden by a retractable Plexiglas covering accompanied by a horizontally-barred grille that was reminiscent of a 1930's Cord. Taillights differed by being horizontally ribbed. Naturally, engine and transmission choices mirrored the Cordoba's as well; the 5.2L (318 cid) V8 was standard, with the 5.9L (360 cid) V8 and 6.6L (400 cid) as options. A 3-speed floor or Column shift automatic transmission was available. Many interior colors could be picked out when ordering your new Magnum along with roof styles. Two-tone exterior colors were also available.

1979 Magnums changed very little, the only real change was the 400 V8 was no longer available; the 360 became the top option. As with the Cordoba, the star of Chrysler's show in the mid to late '70s, the Magnum was an instant hit with over 80,000 Made in two years during a national fuel crisis. The 1978 Magnum also allowed Richard Petty to continue racing in NASCAR for another season and helped Kyle Petty win his first race. The Magnum was replaced by the smaller J-body Mirada in 1980.

See the first generation Chrysler Cordoba entry for more information about the B-body Dodge Magnum.

History[edit | edit source]

1979 Dodge Magnum XE

The 1978 and 1979 Dodge Magnum in the United States and Canada 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 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 3,900 lbs. 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 "E58" police interceptor engine, 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 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".

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