Junkyard Find: 1978 Dodge Magnum

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 dodge magnum

Is there any vehicle more emblematic of the Malaise Era than the first-gen Dodge Magnum? Other than the Plymouth Fire Arrow, that is… or the black-bumper MGB… or the Mustang II. Terrible as it is, however, this junked Magnum I found mouldering in a San Jose self-service junkyard still has a certain undeniable presence.

The Magnum was the last of the storied Chrysler B-Body series, which means it’s a sibling to such Chrysler superstars as the Super Bee, Road Runner, and Charger.

I’m not going to look up the horsepower figures on the California-spec 318 for 1978. You don’t want to know.

Maybe I’m getting too tolerant in my old age, but I think that the weird styling touches on this car have aged better than most Malaise Detroit weird styling touches (e.g., the quarter-window louvers on the Pontiac Grand Am Colonnade).


Just up the 880 from this yard, I passed the Solyndra and NUMMI buildings in rapid succession. What does it mean?

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2 of 65 comments
  • I've got a Jaaaaag I've got a Jaaaaag on Dec 09, 2011

    I wish the self service junkyards around Atlanta would get cool iron like that, I would grab those headlight assemblies for a Rat Rod project I am currently involved with.

  • And003 And003 on May 14, 2012

    If I had one of these Magnums, I'd turn it into a hot rod.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys for that money, it had better be built by people listening to ABBA
  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?