The Dodge Magnum name has been used on a number of different automobiles. The most recent is a large rear-wheel drive station wagon introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year and produced through to 2008. This new Magnum is Dodge's first car to use the new Chrysler LX platform, shared with the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger. The LX Line is assembled at Brampton Assembly Plant, near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Historically, the Dodge Magnum model name had been used from 1978 to 1979 for a large coupe in the United States. In Brazil, the Magnum name was a top of the line version of the local Dodge Dart from 1979 to 1981. In Mexico, the Dodge Magnum was a sporty rear-wheel drive two-door car based on Chrysler's M body (American Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Gran Fury). It had a 360 CID (5.9L) V-8 engine with a single 4 barrel carburetor rated at 300 hp (224 kW). From 1983 to 1988 it was a sporty two-door K-car with available turbocharger from 1984 on. Four engines were offered for the Mexican Magnum K, a SOHC I-4 2.2L (K-Trans-4), a turbocharged SOHC I-4 2.2L (1983–86) and two other 2.5L SOHC I-4s, with and without turbocharger (1987–88). The Mexican front-wheel drive Magnum was officially called "Dodge Magnum 400" between 1983 and 1984, as it was a sporty Mexican variation of the American Dodge 400 of the early eighties. For 1985, the "400" suffix was dropped. For the 1987 season, the turbocharger received an intercooler and the power from the turbo engine changed from 140 to 150 hp (112 kW). The K-car based Magnum was replaced by the Mexican Chrysler Shadow GTS for the 1989 model year.
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 1975-78 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 lb (1,800 kg). 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 400 V8 in 1978 and the "E58" police interceptor (360 V8-195 HP) engine in 1979 along with 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 name was discarded quickly in favor of the Mirada, a smaller car that was also a rebadged Chrysler Cordoba. 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". In 1979, they made 3,704 Dodge Magnums with the T-Top.
For the 1978 NASCAR season, the 1974 Charger that Chrysler teams had continued to use was no longer eligible for competition. Chrysler worked on several car designs to smooth out the current 1975 bodied Charger into something that would be reasonably aerodynamic for the big racetracks and the Magnum design was settled on early in 1977 for use in the 1978 racing season. While not as aerodynamic as the previous 1974 Charger body, the shape of the Magnum showed promise, and the Petty built test cars easily reached 190 mph (310 km/h) on test runs. Once out on the tracks the cars ran well with Richard Petty almost winning his Daytona 125 (finishing 2nd), and lead 30+ laps of the Daytona 500 until a blown front tire caused him to wreck. However, the lack of factory support of continued development of the small-block Chrysler 360 V8 as a race engine was becoming more of a problem, and in high speed racing traffic the Magnum did not handle well. Richard Petty was particularly harsh in his criticism of the car. By the latter half of the 1978 season, Petty and Neil Bonnett (the two top Mopar teams) gave up on the cars inconsistent performance and switched to Chevrolets, leaving independent drivers Buddy Arrington (who bought a few of Petty's Magnums, along with some parts) and Frank Warren, and C&W singer Marty Robbins to soldier on without any substantial (Chrysler did provide sheet metal and some engine parts to teams driving Magnums) factory support. From August 1978, 2-5 independent teams showed up with Magnums in NASCAR races until January 1981, when NASCAR switched to smaller bodied cars. The Magnum never enjoyed the racing heritage of its predecessors, but it was not without its own glorious moments. Petty scored 7 top five finishes in his 17 races with the car, and Neil Bonnett won three poles and scored 5 top five finishes with his. Richard Petty recognized the Magnum with a commemorative decal, depicting his famous number 43 emblazoned on a Magnum for his 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour. Though Richard never won a race in a Magnum, Petty's son, Kyle Petty drove one of his father's year old Dodge Magnums in his first race (1979 Daytona ARCA 200), and won! Kyle raced in 5 NASCAR races using the left-over Magnums in 1979, but by the end of that year wrecked them beyond reasonable repair. As of now (JUL 2008) only two NASCAR Magnums still exist; one (an ex-Petty car) resides in the Talledega NASCAR museum, and the other; (Marty Robbins' 1978 Magnum #42) has been superbly restored and is owned by a private party in southern CA. The owner occasionally races it in the vintage NASCAR series.
In the old Simca Factory in São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil, the Dodge Dart was produced from 1969 until 1981 (more than 92,000 cars were sold). They were built with minor changes from the original model, starting in 1969, and were all largely based on the 1968 Dart GT (and GTS). For its last three years of production, a two-door upper trim level version of the Dart was sold as the Magnum, featuring the 318 in³ V8 engine used in all Dodge coupé and sedan models in Brazil. A unique fiberglass front fascia that included four headlights to give it a more modern look was used, while the rear end was very similar to the American Dart 1975 (the Dart model from the same year having been identical to the Swinger from USA). The Magnum (top of the line) was sold as a separate model from the Dart (bottom line), despite being technically almost identical to the Dart.
The Dodge was very well received in Brazil. Today you can find cars clubs with lots of Dodge coupes in good condition. The coupe and sedan models in Brazil were (all variations from the Dart 1968 model): Dart [1969-1981] (as a 2-door coupé from 1970 until 1981 or as a four-door sedan from 1969 until 1981), sporting but lower priced Dart SE, bettwr equipped Dart DeLuxo (two or four doors), Gran Coupé (more luxurious yet than the Dart DeLuxo, with two doors only), Gran Sedan (above the Dart DeLuxo model, with four doors only), Charger R/T [1971-1980] (coupé bodywork only, from 1971 to 1980 it was the top model in sport segment), LeBaron (replacing the 'Gran Sedan' with four-door sedan body, from 1979 to 1981) and Magnum (substitute for the 'Gran Coupé', Brazil's top model in the luxurius segment from 1979 to 1981).
In 1970 Automex (former name of Chrysler de Mexico) started the production of the Chrysler Valiant Super Bee based in the Chrysler A-Body semi-fastback (notchback) platform (same used on the American 1970-1976 Plymouth Duster). First, it had a 318 CID (5.2L) engine rated at 270 hp (1970–74), then, in 1975 was this was replaced by the famous 360 CID 4-barrel (5.9L) engine rated at 300 hp (224 kW). It was produced from 1970 to 1976, and then (for the 1977-79 model years) it changed to the F-body (Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré) body, being very similar to the American 1976-1980 Plymouth Volaré Road Runner. The F-body Valiant Super Bee was the fastest car in Mexico in the seventies, with a 360 CID engine rated at 300 hp (224 kW). It lasted through the 1980 model year. In 1979, Chrysler de México introduced the Chrysler LeBaron based in the M-Body Platform, and two years later it introduced the Dodge Diplomat as Dodge Dart. This Mexican M-body Dart was very similar to the American Plymouth Gran Fury in appearance/trim, but had Chrysler's Rallye road wheels instead of deluxe wheel covers. As the same case that in 1970, Chrysler de Mexico used a small platform and the name of an American sports car (the B-Body Dodge Magnum) and equipped it with the 360 LA V8 engine. The Mexican Dodge Magnum had the 360 CID (5.9L) engine with a Carter Thermoquad four barrel carburator rated in 300 hp (224 kW), oil cooler Mopar, a 3-Speed A727 automatic transmission, with the 4-speed A833 manual transmission optional, heavy duty suspension, power brakes, estabilizer bar in the front and rear and a Dana 44 differential with positive pass and positraction. All the windows and windshield chromed metals were painted flat black, only the bumpers and the front grill were chromed, and the front fascia wore "Magnum" logo, in the side of the front fenders was put again the "Magnum" logo with a 5.9L decal. The Mexican RWD Dodge Magnum was offered only for the 1981-1982 model years.
The K-car based Mexican Dodge Magnum was a sporty 2-door compact, based on the Dodge Aries coupé body (with blackout 1982-1985 Dodge 400 grille in 1983-1985 and a blackout 1986-1988 Plymouth Caravelle grille in 1986-1988) offered from 1983 to 1988 with available turbocharger ("TurboChrysler" engine) from 1984 on. Four engines were offered for the Mexican Dodge Magnum K, a SOHC I-4 2.2L (K-Trans-4, 1983–86), a turbocharged SOHC I-4 2.2L (1984–1986) and two other 2.5L SOHC I-4s, with and without turbocharger (1987–88). When it was introduced, the Mexican Dodge Magnum 400 Turbo was advertised as "Mexico's fastest car" in the TV commercials of the time, and it surely was in 1985, when the "Fox" (1979–1984) 5.0L Mexican Ford Mustang was dropped from the catalog of Ford Mexico. The Mexican front-wheel drive Magnum was officially called "Dodge Magnum 400" between 1983 and 1984, as it was a sporty Mexican variation of the American Dodge 400 of the early eighties (without the vinyl roof of the US version and with high output 2.2L engine (available turbocharger from 1984 on), heavy-duty suspension, sporty wheels, tires, dash, steering wheel, console, shifter and seats). In 1984, the Mexican Magnum 400 Turbo was the closest thing to an American Dodge Daytona Turbo south of the border. For 1985, the "400" suffix was dropped. For the 1987 season, the turbocharger received an intercooler and the power from the turbo engine changed from 140 to 150 hp (112 kW). The K-car based Magnum was replaced by the Mexican Chrysler Shadow GTS for the 1989 model year.