Sensible Mods: 1978 Dodge Magnum XE

There are some cars with designs that seem to transcend time, as if they could be mildly worked over by a modern-day designer and still look quite fresh. I’m reminded of the BMWs from the early and mid-2000s that caused much consternation when new and now look quite handsome years later, and the original Dodge Magnum is another car that has aged incredibly well. This example here on eBay has some pleasing cosmetic tweaks that make it quite appealing, and bidding is at $3,500.

In an era of big personal luxury coupes, the Magnum stood out with its covered headlights and flared-out “cove” running down the fender and doors. While I realize this era of car building involved re-styling the same model over and over again, the Magnum at least had some interesting visual cues. This one is enhanced by a set of gorgeous Appliance Wire mag wheels.

The seller notes the wheels were stripped and refinished, painted metallic charcoal with metal flake and really pop when rolling. The tires are modern white-letter radials, which gives it a mild NASCAR-inspired flavor. Inside, the cabin is in nice shape, with a crack-free dash, functional A/C, working eight-track player, and a factory digital clock and trunk release.

The two-barrel 360 is said to run well, and the seller notes a recent slog in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the A/C cranked, and the Magnum running cool and quiet. The brakes have been gone through and the gas tank flushed and cleaned. Other new components include plugs, wires, battery, and headlight motor. If you’re looking for a Magnum, this seems like the one to buy.


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    Ugliest wheels ever.

    Like 3
    • Chas358 Chasman358

      Great looking car – cheap too.

      Like 2
  2. Bongo

    No with that lean burn system it isn’t. These cars where smog to death.

    Like 4
  3. Rosco

    It’s simple, replace the lean burn equipment and add true dual exhaust! More power, better mpg, and an all around better daily driver!

    Like 7
  4. Raymond Smith

    Look at the blown up photos. Both quarters are full of bondo and rust. The rear bumper is rusted through on the left side. These are cool cars in my opinion and I would be tempted if I found a pristine one. This one is not that car though.

    Like 2

    I love this car though I agree it looks like there is bondo in rear quarters
    I would do the same thing here as I did with my St.Regis and get rid of lean burn system which is junk put on 4 barrel intake and spreadbore Holley carb with dual exhaust (the St.Regis had factory 4 barrel)(police package)
    with thermoquad carb. Good carb when new not so good with 100,000 miles IMO

    Like 3
    • Srt8

      In my limited experience with this era of car (I had a 76 Charger Daytona) the rust will be prevalent. Mine had holes in the quarter panels big enough to throw a cat through by the time it was 6 yrs old. It was a Kansas car so it’s not like it earned its rust from some oceanside weather. By ’83 it was sold to a salvage yard to be used as soup cans the world over.

      Like 1
  6. 36Packard

    Pretty cars, but I think the Mirada that replaced them was far prettier, plus more power, at least for a few short months in 1980. First few months Chrysler got away with installing the high output police 360 in like 90 or so cars. That was incredible power for those days (195 HP net, I think, more power then a base Corvette if I recall correctly) , gave the beautiful car some oomph to back it up. There is a blue Mirada floating around this site somewhere that I am still lusting over, does anyone have a picture of it that they could post? Such rare cars, I wish I could find one like that blue one, but you never see a Mirada, and when you do, it is pretty much gone already, and it is not like you could buy parts for it. I wish I had bought a new one 40 years ago.

    Like 2
    • Sandy Claws

      Hey Packy, one of the good things about being retired is being able to spend far too much time on all sorts of car oriented sites. I ran across this Mirada a few weeks ago, to me it looks like one that was posted here in the comments months back, does it look like what you remember? I really like this car, look at the shine on that paint! Are those factory wheels? Odd to see white walls on the wheels, but I kind of like the look. Also, I see no pictures on posts anymore, I miss that. has something changed?

      Like 1
      • 36Packard

        Yes! Sandy I think that is it! Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! OH please, I hope this guy puts it up here for sale someday. I really think I would be a serious buyer for that car. Of course, I would need to see it in person, but if it is as good as it looks, I might be making an offer. Listen to me, the car isn’t even for sale. Hmmmm, wonder if he would consider a sale?

        Like 1
      • John D.

        I had that car as a Cordoba demonstrator (personal car). That dark blue color with no vinyl roof, the dark blue vinyl bucket seats, and the spoke alloy wheels. I only ordered a 318, but that was enough oomph. It was a good handling car and was one of my favorites.

        Like 1
    • Moparman Member

      @36 Packard: I, too, lust after the Mirada that you describe, LOL!! :-)

      Like 1
      • 36Packard

        Did you look at Sandys link? Is it the one you remember? What do you think of that car? What do you think it might be worth if someone were to make an offer out of the blue for it? With a name like Moparman, I am thinking you know your Chryslers.

        Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Here’s the Mirada that was listed here:

      Check this one ou that I found doing a quick national Craigslist Search:

      • Sandy Claws

        Neat cars, like the one I linked for Packy. I suspect Miradas will soon be going up in price and I will never be able to afford one of those either. Oh well, I soon will be in the market for a nice lined box, so what do I need another cool car for anyway?

        Like 1
      • 36Packard

        Yes, I remember that one, but the one I was thinking of was not a full story, just a picture from a comment . I think Sandy has the right one in his link. Man, do I love that car, but your links are nice too.

        Like 2
  7. Del

    Should have spent that Wheel money under the hood instead. Clean it up too.

    Oh well next guy can. Its cheap enough

    Like 2
  8. Seth KARPEN

    Had a 76 magnum. Front seal about a quart every 1000 miles was fast for its days

  9. Pete Kaczmarski

    I owned a ’79 Magnum GT for a couple of years in 1981-1983. It had the police package to include the 360HP etc. including T-tops etc. It took me 30 years to find the right one. Another G.T. with Police package T-tops etc from Colorado about four years ago. The Gt with the wheel flares make the car even sportier. If BarnFinds ever goes back to allowing pictures on these responses I would post a picture. I disagree with the comments that the Mirada looks better. The same era Cordoba I also owned. It was a dog with terrible gas mileage. Give me my ’78-’79 Magnum GT if you want something sporty.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I agree. I like the Magnums / Cordobas / Chargers from this era. The Mirada is too “K Car” looking to me.

      • Sandy Claws

        Nah, you are thinking of a Dodge 600, the Miradas were a longer Volare/Aspen chassis. The 600 had a very similar front end, but it was FWD and only four poppers under the hood, the Mirada was RWD and could be fitted with Mopar V8s. Apples and oranges my friend. I think they are really sharp cars. Did you see the link I posted above for Packy?. I would almost kill for a car like that. Just think of the engine that could go into that pretty beast?!!!!!!

        Like 1

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