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HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1979 Dodge Magnum XE

Pick of the Day: 1979 Dodge Magnum XE

Charging in a slightly different direction

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The 1970s were quite horrendous to enthusiasts, but I’m of the opinion that there’s some very worthy cars after the federalization of cars became a thing. Even if a vehicle doesn’t offer the horsepower of a pre-1972 world, that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of collector adoration. The Pick of the Day is one of those cars: a 1979 Dodge Magnum XE listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Volo, Illinois.  (Click the link to view the listing)

To discuss the Magnum, we need to take the time machine back to 1962 when Chrysler introduced the B-body platform. Though marketed as a full-size vehicle, it was a little smaller than those from Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, and Mercury. That was a mistake in an era where bigger was better so, through 1964, Chrysler tweaked the platform. In 1965, the B-body was marketed as a mid-size platform, which would be its position in the marketplace through 1979, upon which it was discontinued.

Starting in 1975, Chrysler restyled the B-body Dodge Charger into the chunky cousin of the Chrysler Cordoba. Available as Charger SE, it was joined in 1976 by the Charger Daytona plus two down-market version with different styling: Charger and Charger Sport. For 1977, the latter two were renamed Monaco, leaving the Charger SE to continue into 1978.

In that year, the Dodge Magnum was introduced. Looking very much like a Charger with softer edges and a more attractive, aerodynamic nose, the Magnum was available in XE and GT trim levels. Why both were produced concurrently is beyond our knowledge, but Dodge produced the Magnum for one more year upon which it was put to rest at the end of the 1979 model year. It also was the last of the B-bodies, to be succeeded by the 1980 Dodge Mirada, which was produced on the new J-body platform.

This 1979 Dodge Magnum XE is claimed to be a 22,213-mile survivor with its original coat of Chianti Red paint. Apparently, it was ordered as a demonstrator for a dealership, so it is loaded with options like T-top, red leather buckets, air conditioning, Roadability Package with rear sway bar, 360 two-barrel, rear window defroster, dual sport remote mirrors, 15×8 Styled Road Wheels, AM/FM Stereo with CB, power windows, locks, and trunk, speed control, and more. “This car is documented with original window sticker, contracts, and manuals,” says the seller. “The bumpers, glass and rubber trim are really good originals.” Inside, the seller adds, “It looks practically new inside and it’s all original … the door panels are pristine. You’ll be looking at a dash that’s in mint condition. All the plastic trim, knobs, instruments, and even the ashtray look like new.”

The Magnum has a small following among Mopar folks, but few are likely as neat as this time capsule. We can’t qualify the claim that “this may be the best ’79 Magnum there is,” but there likely are few as nice as this one. For $32,998, you can certainly find a car that’s faster and has more collector interest, or you can buy what’s possibly the best example of the car you wish you had in high school.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.

9 COMMENTS

    • Hi, Mr. McCabe, my research doesn’t show this to be true. The Magnum was a gussied-up Cordoba, which preceded the R platform (which wasn’t available as a coupe, I believe). Do you have evidence to the contrary?

  1. I owned a black with red interior, black vinyl top with t-tops, 79 GT. Came with the rubber fender flairs and since we ordered it we opted for the police interceptor 360 4 barrel with a certified 150mph speedometer and true dual exhausts with dual cats. One weird thing was once we ordered the car after checking every option, we got a call saying the electric seats could not be ordered with the police package. They thought we would delete the police package, they were nuts, we deleted the electric seats. A fun car that I ultamately sold in the mid 90’s. Wish I had it back. It was an awesome car for the time.

  2. The red car pictured is not at “GT” car but an “XE” car. I have a ’79 true :GT” car in black with the complete hoot “GT” stripes missing on the red car. Those who know the ultimate Magnum will have the “GT” package, E-58 Police package, T-tops, leather interior etc . My car all of those and more

  3. So the wheel opening flairs could be ordered as an option on the XE? The window sticker does not show them as being ordered on this car. They were standard on the GT. The 360 2 barrel was optional also on the GT, a 318 being standard.So I think this is a GT not an optioned up XE.

    • The window sticker is posted. Not a GT. But, after a discussion with some folks on FB, it seem there’s some curious aspects of the vehicle.

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