The Other Charger: 1978 Dodge Magnum XE

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The Magnum XE was another variant on Chrysler’s mid-size B-body platform. It was a personal luxury coupe that may have confused buyers, as the similar Charger saw a simultaneous drop in demand. Offered for only two model years, this 1978 entry looks like a gorgeous example from an era of automobiles that haven’t survived in large numbers. This tasteful entry is in Omaha, Nebraska, and available here on eBay where interested parties have bid it up to $7,600 so far, but the reserve is still an unknown.

Cars like the Magnum were long on comfort and short on performance, given the neutering of engines that took place in the 1970s. The Magnum XE came in “regular” trim, but a GT option was available that added more to its looks and handling, but nothing changed under the hood. No mention of a GT is made by the seller, so this Magnum must be focused on the kinds of comfort that Ricardo Montalban was able to draw buyers with to the Chrysler Cordoba. Dodge sold nearly 48,000 Magnums in 1978, but production dropped to nearly half that the following year which may have led to the car being retired.

We’re told this white on white on red Magnum is original except for modifications to the interior. The previous owner liked a combination of black and red materials in the passenger compartment, so changes were made, and they look good, yet they still say this car is a product of the flamboyant 1970s. Everything seems to be in order except for a couple of cracks in the dash pad. This Magnum has T-tops, and they don’t leak although the seal has deteriorated a bit.

The body and paint are good with the only flaw being a small rust spot trying the develop by the Landau vinyl top in the back. At 67,000 miles, the car has only had one repaint in its 44 years and that appears to have been done well. Not everything is perfect on this Dodge, so the seller says the following will need attention: the factory air conditioning doesn’t work, the 360 “Lean Burn” V8 may require a tune-up, the front shocks are soft, and the transmission shift points could use an adjustment. Also, the tires have age working against them and may need replacing.

Dodge had high hopes for the Magnum in NASCAR. The 1975-77 Chargers were aerodynamically challenged on Super Speedways, so drivers like Richard Petty drove the 1974 Chargers instead. The Magnum proved to be no slipperier than the Chargers, causing Petty to proclaim them some of his least favorite cars, and his team shifted to Chevrolet for a time. This Magnum makes the car show circuit and you could do the same with it while fixing the few issues that have been indicated.

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  1. OldSchool Muscle

    To me the interiors back then look more comfortable than today’s vehicles. This looks like a nice ride….

    Like 11
  2. CCFisher

    Great car, awful interior. I’d put it back to stock.

    Like 8
  3. Emel

    My sis had the ’76 or ’77 restyled Charger (twin of the Cordoba). Silver with Red half landau roof & interior. It was sharp, she would hit a deer with it, seemed every other week. As you see the deer fur stuck in the grill.
    So the rear of this car looks identical or nearly identical to those Chargers
    and they put a slightly different front end (headlights mostly) on the Magnum.
    I thought they were pretty sharp cars that for some reason didn’t entice the vast majority of the populace. But I always have liked cars that most didn’t and that didn’t last long.

    Like 8
  4. BoatmanMember

    Lean Burn. Them’s fightin’ words, or used to be.

    Like 14
  5. BoatmanMember

    Car was rustproofed. Seller didn’t mention that.

    Like 2
  6. Squigly

    Replaced by the Mirada. A better car in my opinion, at least if properly equipped. Also, I hope those seals on the T Bar have been recently changed, because a soggy day will ruin your hairdo. T Bars, such a great idea, but such a poor application.

    Like 4
  7. Terrry

    They were called “lean burn” because the cars that used the system barely ran, hence, they used less gas.

    Like 10
    • Norbert Beard

      I had to dump my 81 Cordoba due that lean burn crap. Lovely car but Cadillac made me happier.

      Like 3
  8. Big C

    $7600 is top dollar for this bad boy. Malaise era Chryslers were much unloved.

    Like 5
    • bone

      I dont know about that, the Cordoba’s were good sellers for Chrysler

      Like 6
  9. bone

    I dont know about that, the Cordoba’s were good sellers for Chrysler

    Like 4
    • Emel

      Fantasy Island was a Top 10 show. So that was the reason. Ricardo
      was good for marketing. And the K car came out….Lee sold that
      non-stop. The American way to beat the pump !!

      Like 2
  10. DON

    Most of the reason these weren’t big sellers is the U.S. was in its second “energy crisis” and prices were on the rise again. At the time, all you heard about was that the world was running out of oil . GM had already downsized its mid size cars that got better mileage, and they sold like hot cakes. Cheapo economy cars like the Rabbit, Omni, and Monza were huge sellers, as well as Fords Fox body Fairmont’s and Mustangs. These were nice looking smooth riding cruisers , but they came out a few years too late as most people were looking for economy .

    Like 5
  11. Steve Clinton

    This Charger was for those who liked the style but didn’t want a lady’s Cordoba.

    Like 2
  12. princeofprussia

    Absolutely gorgeous! And you don’t see these very often. I LOVE that interior, and Chrysler bucket seats from this era are incredibly comfortable! This would be an amazing cruiser, and you’d be the only one showing up in one!

    Like 5
  13. Larry

    I had a a 78 that I drove until 73 in matlic blue.loved it!
    Same spec as the one shone without the tee tops

    Like 0
    • Classics Fan

      I think you’re mistaking a Magnum for a time-traveling Delorean 😁

      Like 1

    Great job on that interior. Classes up the car and looks sharp. Needs a modern hemi swap.

    Like 0

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