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1 of 8 Made: 1978 Dodge Magnum GT

A few things we love: survivor cars, long-term ownership, and rare options and configurations. This 1978 Dodge Magnum GT seemingly has it all, with the seller being the long-time original owner who took this Magnum home from Bruce Rossmeyer Dodge in Daytona Beach, Florida as an untitled “demo” car way back when. The listing states that it is just one of eight Magnum GTs configured this way, which is to say it has a T-top roof option along with the 400 cubic inch V8 and black-on-black color scheme. The Magnum has just under 116,000 miles and is listed here on craigslist, and still living in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Nate for sending this in. The Magnum is one of my favorite Mopars from the 1970s, mostly because of its enclosed headlamps that for some reason, I just really dig. The big body coupe hails from an interesting time when personal luxury coupes were a must-have in any domestic lineup along with welcoming any associations with NASCAR it could muster. The Magnum achieved both of these requirements, offering a spacious interior wrapped in a muscular shell, while also providing a more aerodynamic shape to make it a worthwhile entry into NASCAR where wind resistance was a major consideration. This Magnum edges closer to the sportier side of the equation thanks to its optional T-top roof.

The seller notes that the “GT” package – short for Gran Torino – added fender flares, P255/60R/15 tires with 7-inch wide Magnum road wheels, “Firm-Feel Steering,” heavy-duty shocks, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and special badges. All of these details appear to still be present, along with nicely preserved chrome bumpers and jet black paint. The small opera windows behind the front side glass gave rear passengers a window on the world, while the T-top roof obviously let plenty of light in for everyone else. I love the story of this Magnum having been in Daytona Beach since new, which seems like the absolute best place for a car like this. Bring it to the speedway or to Bike Week, it will be welcomed with open arms at either.

Based on the description, it sounds like the Magnum was taken off the road for a few years and left parked in the seller’s garage for a spell. He mentions refurbishing the fuel, ignition, and brake systems, and “…returning it to running condition.” More than likely, it just stopped seeing regular use and needed a spring cleaning to fire back up. The seller also confirms that just 861 GT-spec cars were produced in 1978 and that only eight were built exactly like his. To me, this is a dirt-cheap entry into owning one of the rarer Mopars made and in the sort of condition that very few Magnums remain in today. The seller is asking $8,500, which seems like a reasonable ask to me. What do you think?

Comments

  1. David Sebben

    Always enjoyed this body style. Why don’t I remember them racing in NASCAR?

    Like 5
    • Big_Fun Member

      The King drove one.

      Like 12
      • Mark

        Petty drove the Magnum half a season because it handled bad. He switched to a 78 Monte Carlo.

        Like 0
    • wallyum

      They were very brick-like cars on the race track. The biggest problem was that Dodge wasn’t producing the engine parts that were needed to compete, and the combination drove Richard Petty to switch to a Chevy Monte Carlo in mid-season. Kyle Petty took one of the leftover Magnums and won his first race out in it in a February, 1979 ARCA race, then depleted the backlog of them by wadding them up all over the southeast in his early Winston Cup career.

      Like 8
    • Mark

      Because they rarely won.

      Like 2
      • Bill "the Magnumguy" Member

        The Magnum did well considering. Chrysler was not supporting their teams due to financial woes. Petty was leading with this “brick” at Daytona when he blew a tire. And if memory serves, Neil Bonnet won a pole for one race. And Kyle Petty won his first race with one. C’mon now. And, this 1 of 8 is wrong. I have owned Magnums since ’78, ( a new one like this one pictured, still have it) and have ran across numerous triple-black Magnums w/T’s & 400’s. I own one virtually identical to this one. And on my Magnum Facebook page, there’s several on there.

        Like 0
    • Kent

      Richard Petty had one. He stated it was undrivable at 190 MPH. Ran a couple of races, then switched to GM.

      Like 0
  2. GTiDave

    Isn’t it “Grand Tourismo”

    Like 18
    • Tony Primo

      No not “grand torino” or “grand tourismo”. GT is short for gran turismo.

      Like 21
    • Corvair Jim

      Close. It is English for the Italian “Gran Turismo”, or “Grand Touring” in English. “Grand Torino” was a Clint Eastwood movie from about 10 years ago about a bigoted old guy and his irrational attachment to an old car.

      Like 6
      • John Kearney

        I think the comment above can leave off with the word “bigoted” eh.
        It was a movie, it wasn’t real, but never the less it was a good movie dating back to a time when life was different but good.
        So lighten up ol mate as this is a car format that l actually enjoy and usually keeps the squirely at bay👍.. happy days

        Like 2
      • Armel P

        “Gran Torino” (no D) the movie referred to a version of the Ford Torino called the Gran Torino. It was named after the Italian city Torino (Turin) as opposed to “tourismo” which means “touring.” It would be wrong to refer to a Ford Gran Torino a “GT.” To add to the confusion, though, there were older Torinos (not Gran Torinos) that were actually Torino GTs.

        Like 0
    • Richard Jensen

      Wrong, in this case GT stands for “Giga-Tonnage” like this damn things curb weight. 😜

      Like 3
  3. Junior Samples

    Why would you select this package & not opt for the console / floor shift?

    Like 16
    • PRA4SNW

      I was thinking the same thing – why would a package be called GT and not include the floor shifter.

      Like 2
  4. Stan

    Grand Touring ?

    Magnums raced Nascar i recall. Great looking cars by Dodge

    Like 6
  5. George Mattar

    What a beautiful design these cars were. You never see these at cars and coffee. And that is unfortunate.

    Like 2
    • Rigor Mortis

      A few years later Dodge used a similar grill design on the Mirada. I think they are even more beautiful and as they were much lighter, probably a lot quicker too. At least in 1980 with a 195 HP 360. Mirada, maybe one of the most beautiful designs to come out of Detroit in that time period. One of the cars I wish I had bought in those days, but never did. Now you never see one, much less, have a half way decent one come up for sale.

      Like 1
  6. Mike Stephens Staff

    I was 14 in 1978 and remember these making a huge impression on me every time I saw one, in a good sort of way. I love the front end too Jeff, thought it looked good then and still do! I think $8500 is way reasonable for the 400, black, and the T-Tops plus exterior condition. f I had the room I’d seriously consider forking over the cash for this one and just live with the interior.

    Like 7
  7. Connecticut Mark

    I would Rather have 12 of these than 1 Lincoln for 105,000.

    Like 11
    • Dusty Rider

      This is probably more reliable too.

      Like 5
  8. Raymond Smith

    When I was back in high school I worked at a big Seattle auto auction. We took in program cars from both Chrysler and Ford. I remember our general manager who was a real car guy at the time snagged one of these. I think it had every option available (except the landau vinyl top) including the 400 V8 and center console. Outside was arrest me red as well as the interior with the exception of the seats. The seats were white leather which created a striking contrast against the red. When given the chance I was always happy to hand wash that car. It gave me an excuse to drive from one end of the facility to the back shops. I wanted to have that car so bad but there was no way I could ever afford it. I tell you what though, if I were to run across that same car now and if it were in pristine condition lord knows what kind of crazy money I would pay for it. It would finally fulfill a childhood dream of mine.

    Like 18
    • FireAxeGXP

      Great story Raymond. It’s those sort of experiences that inspire many of us to this day. Thanks for sharing it!

      Like 6
  9. Paul Bandelier

    My aunt bought one of these new in ’78. It was an XE, SE, GT with T tops. I bet it was expensive. My uncle bought a new 78 Trailduster at the same time.

    Like 5
  10. John

    My brother had a 79 Magnum XE which was my first car after my parents bought it from him. Loved it!! Was totaled in an accident. Just picked up a 79 Chrysler 300 – top of the line Cordoba and can’t wait to get it running this summer. Loved these car. The only thing the 300 is missing is the flip covered headlights.

    $8500 seems reasonable.

    Like 0
  11. JerryK

    Bruce Rossmeyer was a real man, besides being a long time long dealer he owned a handful of Harley dealers. He dies on his way to Sturgis a few years ago on his Harley when a truck pulled out in front of he and a couple of his buddies…

    Like 4
  12. robert lewis

    these cars in black always reminds me of Darth Vader…..sharp car

    Like 4
  13. Gary hunter

    No center gearshift and console = deal breaker .

    Like 6
  14. Chasbro

    Beautifully preserved Magnum. I had a new 78, red on red w/ t-tops, and a new 79 GT that looked just like this one but with tan leather. Badass looking but very luxurious inside. Wish I could have kept either one of those, but they were leased, so I only had each one for a year.

    Like 2
  15. Douglas Threlfall Member

    I almost bought a ‘79 Magnum XE w/ the GT package & every option, it was a dark brown metallic with the white leather bucket seat/floor shift interior. It had the 360 w/ the 4 bbl. with duel exhaust (factory option) that gave you a narrower fuel tank to make enough room for the twin tailpipes. Power windows, door lock, six way power Driver’s bucket seat. AM/FM w/ cassette & the CB radio (hey it was 1979). It was a “zone demonstrator” with just under 500 miles on it. I just couldn’t swing it financially at the time…

    Like 2
  16. Allen L

    Guys complaining about it not having a console and floor shifter never have a gf?
    Front seat action, before moving to the back seat….

    Like 10
    • Rigor Mortis

      You young guys really missed out on the older cars. Much bigger seating area, both front and back. Gave plenty of room for what ever struck your fancy. The late 40s was the prime era for these cars. Nash even had an option that turned your trunk and rear seating area into a full sized double bed.

      Like 2
  17. Greg Gustafson

    The “T” top would be a deal breaker for me. Out in California, the last thing you need is more time in the sun. Or the high potential for water leaks in the rain or from car washes.

    Like 3
  18. Frank

    When Dodge sold a very small percentage of Chargers compared to the Chrysler Cordoba, somebody at Dodge thought a new name and new front end would be just what they needed. Turned out, it wasn’t so, and the Magnum went the way of the Charger. Name Engineering!

    Like 2
  19. Cam W.

    Back in the day……I had a mildly uncool neighbour that bought one of these brand-new, T-roof and all. He became cool instantly.
    He kept it in immaculate condition. Last time I was in the old neighbourhood, about 5 years ago, it was still in his garage.

    Like 3
  20. Rw

    On new mustangs GT stands for glued together

    Like 5
  21. Tom goodhall

    I had a 78 GT, black exterior, red interior, 400 4 bbl. No T tops. Sold it to my brother in law, second accident totaled it, wish I still had it.

    Like 0
  22. Stevieg

    Seems to me like a great price on a cool car. Already sold but I would havecpaid the price. Not too surprisedcit is gone already.

    Like 0
  23. earl fennell

    i own a 78 magnum gt with a 400 in it. this car has never been driven in the winter. it has about 20,000 miles on it. dove grey with a silver vinyl top. perfect shape

    Like 1

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