Digestible Collectible: 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8
As I continue the search for the family hauler that is less emasculating than the minivan I currently drive, my eye wanders to hot wagons. Like the Subaru I featured a few weeks ago, a quick wagon looks a bit more “menacing” on the road than a bloated van. It’s likely much more rewarding to drive to boot.
Besides a better drive, other senses can be engaged; for many enthusiasts, a great engine note can trigger primal urges. The sound of a proper V8 tops the list for many. Personally, I can’t help but turn my head anytime an uncorked HEMI, Coyote, or LS drives by.
That leads us to today’s subject: the 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8.
A limited edition with a 425 horsepower HEMI V-8 rather than the pedestrian 340 horsepower unit, the SRT8 has an undeniable street presence. The leather-clad interior, embroidered with SRT logos, would be great for my spill-prone kids, but less than ideal for those with sharp-clawed dogs.
This one for sale in Texas looks to be the recipient of some clever badge and/or package fiddling, as it carries a “Hemi Interceptor” nameplate and a cruiser-worthy push bar that is sure to scare anyone who dares linger in the left lane. I know there was a patrol version of the Magnum, but I can’t find any records of the SRT8 hitting police departments.
The missing feature that would likely seal the deal on a Magnum for me would be a rear-facing third row of seats, as found in the big old wagons of the ’60s and ’70s (and Volvos thereafter). I have that occasional need to haul a few extra kids or inlaws that makes the seven-passenger capacity of my van so invaluable. Though, having an excuse to not haul in-laws could be a selling point.
I've had my magnum for 7 years and have 160k on it now, bought it used with 30k. What a great car, probably one of the best cars I've owned. The Hemi is great, my kids love it, and I still love driving it. The interior is not the nicest, but it has held up well. The front suspension had to be rebuilt at 100,000, but I would attribute that more to NYC roads than the car. Its easy to work on if there's a problem. The best things I did to it were the Borla exhaust and K&N intake, it sounds great. The best advice buy one that was maintained and not heavily modified. I still have the 18 inch wheels on mine and always replace the 16 spark plugs with Champions. It had Bosch plugs when i bought it and never ran right, i put the stock champions and it ran beautifully. Champion plugs every 30k, and a PCV catch can make all the difference on these early Hemis. I plan on replacing this with a Charger when the time comes, but I still enjoy the Magnum.
Other options: Buick Roadmaster up until 1996 Mercedes E class up until 2001 (not sure about the rear facing seat after that)
NOPE NOPE NOPE I went to a customer meeting in a colleague's Hemi mommy rocket some years back. A 30 minute ride in the back seat that felt like my kidneys were being turned into a smoothie. All the while he was going on about how the suspension bits were sourced by Daimler-Benz and how great it handled. It sure felt like the rear suspension was hitting the stops, and if not, it telegraphed every bump in the road straight up my spine. Fast, yes Fun, Probably Comfortable, maybe in the front seat.
Sounds like you really need a van though. Personally, I'd say screw it and get a mercedes 4x4 sprinter. However- Magnums are great. Don't know why Chryslers are so polarizing. They've been good ever since they started sourcing decent transmissions. The interiors may be plasticky on some models but they do seem to hold up well and are well screwed together, at least on the bigger cars and trucks. I can give you my anecdotes which would be about meaningless to you (they're positive). TBH, I've had the good fortune never to have a domestic lemon of any make.