Magtona? 1978 Dodge Magnum

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Sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words in the car world, and this is definitely one of those cases if I’ve ever seen one.  The seller of this 1978 Dodge Magnum says very little about the car in his ad here on Craigslist, but he probably doesn’t really need to, as that rear end sort of speaks for itself.  While it would be a lot cooler if this was a  factory Mopar rarity called the Magtona, this one kind of looks more like a shop project, but for $2,000 it should do the job nicely if standing out like a sore thumb is your automotive objective.  This oddity can be found in Santee, California, and our thanks go out to reader Tony Primo for making us aware of it!

I was in my young teenage years when the B-Bodied Magnum was introduced in 1978, and I remember them being one of my favorite-looking cars back then, with those cool headlight covers and menacing grille.  Even to this day I still like them, and if this car was closer to my home I’d seriously have to consider going to check it out.  I mean, for two grand, why not?  We don’t get any background information on this one, such as how old the paint is or when the elephant in the room was put on, but from what we can see the body actually looks to be in decent shape.

There are no specific details given about the drivetrain either, other than the seller saying the engine runs but the components needed for it to pass a smog test are missing, definitely a problem in states where you have to get an annual vehicle inspection but no big deal in places you don’t.  Things under the hood seem to be in pretty good order, with the car’s mileage listed as being 75,000, but no word on whether or not the motor or transmission has ever had a rebuild.

We don’t get any photos at all of the interior or even a mention of it for that matter, but for the low price, it seems worth a gamble so I’d probably take my chances that things inside are at least OK.  The seller also tells us that he’s selling the car for his father and that the price is firm, but it does include a title and you can tell all your friends you bought a Dodge wing car with Cragar S/S mags for two thousand dollars.  Or take it off and never tell anybody and end up with a driver-quality Magnum.  What are your thoughts on this one?  Is it a bargain?

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  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Oh, this will be good. Looks like someone went dumpster diving at their local Dodge dealer. I read, the Daytona was such a poor seller, many unsold ones, the nose and wing were removed and were made into “regular” Chargers just to move them. It’s not a bad looking car, the wheels are awesome, but the wing gotta go. Dad was clearly a fan and probably worked at that Dodge dealer.

    Like 21
    • 8banger 8bangerMember

      ha ha!

      Like 8
    • Joe Machado

      Howard A, as I have decades, trying to save history, some of it is in knowledge.
      The Daytona, having 499 being built, and one Factory serialed RT converted into a Daytona at Chrysler for Dale Reeker, Daytona’s did not linger on dealer lots.
      That was the SuperBird.
      The Bird, because of a Nascar rule, had to produce almost 2,000 units.
      That was more than the public could handle.
      Whoever buys the Magnum, gets the car for free.
      The wing, which is a Bird wing, not a Daytona, will bring more than that $2,000.

      Like 16
      • Melton Mooney

        That’s not an oem or accurate repro wing. Probably owner fabricated.

        Like 6
      • TinCanSailor

        You are correct about the Superbird. There was one that lingered on the lot at Wright Motors in Martinsburg WV until 1973 or 74. I remember riding my bike out to see it several times during the 3-4 years it sat there. It was a 440, auto on the column, with bench seats.

        It is hard to fathom that a car like that would sit for so long knowing what we know now. But back then it was a gas-guzzler with a funny beak and wing, limited visibility that was a pain in the rear to parallel park!

        Like 11
      • Randy

        History aside, I have enough specific Pontiac parts to actually construct a 1978 GTO using a 1978 two door hardtop Pontiac Lemans. That said I’ve never seen a two door hardtop for sale. Someday….

        Like 1
    • bone

      That would have been the Superbird, not the Daytona , and it wasn’t just the nose , The Superbird used 70 Coronet fenders and had a longer than stock hood, so the entire front clip would have been replaced . The modified roof would have remained , so it would be easy to tell if a Road Runner started life as a Superbird . I’ve never seen one converted ; I would imagine not too many would have as the cost to change it all would have been high .

      Like 2
  2. CadmanlsMember

    No, no, no that’s just wrong in so many ways. Not that they didn’t have their time, but it wasn’t a real good look ever.

    Like 8
    • Mike H.

      Remember the old saying, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      Like 6
    • SubGothius

      Yeah, the Daytona/Superbird weren’t made to look pretty, only to win races.

      Like 5
  3. 370zpp 370zppMember

    That rear “wing” is known in some circles as a “skyhook”.

    Like 6
  4. angliagt angliagtMember

    Or,you could remove the wing,and add some decals,
    & make it a Roadrunner.

    Like 7
  5. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    King Richard is not laughing…..”43”……👍

    Like 10
    • Ervin Thompson

      Richard got disgusted with Chrysler in 1978(?) when he tried to run a Mirada at Daytona,in his words- ” the thing was so bad that I shut it off on the back stretch, and it wouldn’t even coast back to the pits for a plug check- we took it back home, put it on a surface plate and turned it into a Buick, came back and won the race with it !!”

      Like 2
  6. Big Bear 🇺🇸


    Like 4
  7. Dave


    Like 3
  8. Tim

    Ha! Sweet!

    Like 3
  9. James Quinn

    Wings are for airplanes.

    Like 4
  10. Chevychase71

    2 grand. What do you get for 2 grand nowadays? Great kickaround car if its as good as it looks from 3000 miles away. Lose the wing if it’s not your thing and clean out the trunk….”Hun, I bought it to get the groceries” will probably help avert the silent treatment that could follow.

    Like 9
  11. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    I’m sure a real “Super Bird/Daytona” racing valance would be easy enough to find. But why gaudy it up with anything like that?

    Like 1
  12. Lee Wells

    This reminds me of a guy that would cruise around my high school in an about a 63 Nova, jacked up in the rear, slot mags, giant hood scoop, and to top it all off, a Superbird wing on the back! It was about 1978, and he had already graduated, but just couldn’t stay away, lol.

    Like 6
    • Paul N

      sounds like Wooderson, in Dazed & Confused.

      Like 4
    • Emel

      I think every HS in America had at least one….most more.
      If it was in the ’80’s some big hair band music would be blaring too.

      But it sure beats the crap rap you get imposed upon now with, that
      seems to send out shock waves. lol

      Like 7
  13. Bass Player Mike Mike WMember

    I used to have a 78 Magnum back in the day and loved it. Super comfortable interior, floated down the road and looked great doing it… A couple of drivers in NASCAR, including Richard Petty tried using them but said that they were horrible aerodynamically and were scrapped… they did look great painted up in Petty livery though!
    2000 bucks for this example would be worth the money, just to show up around my city’s tuned Japanese car community and their sometimes outrageous spoilers…A guy could become a pretty good BS artist about its “history” with the keys for this winged, possibly Corinthian leather laden testament to a funky Saturday afternoon project!

    Like 6
  14. jwaltb


    Like 1
  15. Don S

    I can just imagine some 16 year old kid beating the pi*s out of this on a daily basis

    Like 4
  16. Jack Quantrill

    Where’s the Corinthian “ Lather”?

    Like 1
  17. Mike H.

    Get that wing off the car and it might just be a good $2000 car, depending on how it runs out. I bought a 78 Magnum new, and it was a nice car. I think that may have been the 2nd new car I ever bought. My question is does those headlight covers still open?

    Like 2
  18. Uncle AL

    …would make a nice shuttle car for the HOME DEPOT….a 4 x 8 piece of plywood will fit perfectly along the top to the wing…as well as long long lumber (4 x 4 x 8 or longer)…

    Like 2
  19. Lothar... of the Hill People

    It isn’t so bad… seems like a good deal for $2K to me! I’ve driven a lot worse.

    Buy it, take the wing off and that wing might make a nice shelf for the garage w/ a few modifications.

    Like 5
  20. Kent Krueger

    Wish I had $2,000 laying around. I’d buy just to piss my “It’s gotta be GM” brother-in-law off. I’ve always liked Mopars. Probably would lose the wing. If it is indeed a real wing, there is someone out there who would gladly purchase it from you. Maybe you could own this Magnum for under zero dollars. Then again, you might want to have the holes patched. The money from the wing might just pay for that.

    Like 1
    • Mike H.

      Kint, I can tell you for a fact it is not an original Daytona wing. Looks like one that a sheet metal guy might have fabricated up.

      Like 0
  21. Tom R

    That’s a roach big time. I mean screwed together spoiler definitely says it was made in a sheet metal shop and the person who made it didn’t know anything about layout and how to bend sheet metal

    Like 1
  22. JagManBill

    it might not look so “odd” if it were body color…

    Like 1
  23. Emel

    75,000 miles only. If that’s true. Body appears pretty decent, Ad doesn’t mention if it runs, but i presume that it does, since it’s pictured not only in driveway pulloff but in the street as well. So the tranny must be ok.
    Paint isn’t bad it appears. Wheels look ok.
    $2K seems like a steal. I’d remove the stupid wing. And you got a low cost V8 car. Even if you had to invest some cash on the interior.
    Wish it was closer than frickin SD.

    Like 3
  24. Mark

    Hideous is an understatement.

    Like 0
    • Emel

      Come on man, you could add those dangling curtain balls along the top of the inner windshield….maybe a aztec colored steering wheel wrap and you’d be a big hit, right across the border in Tijuana.

      Like 3
  25. Tracy

    If you squint it looks just like a superbird………NOPE not even close.

    Like 1
  26. CCFisher

    I smell Bondo.

    Like 0
  27. Mark

    It looks like a 400 engine the distributor is on the front of the engine

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW

      J code in the VIN = 360 4 barrel.

      If it runs and being a CA car with hopefully little to no bondo – not a bad deal.

      Like 0
  28. Bear Davidson

    I always liked the Magnums but couldn’t they matched the color of the wing to the car ?
    WOW !!!!!!

    Like 1
    • DON

      I think they were going for the look of the original Daytona, where the wing was the color of the tail stripe

      Like 1

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